Thursday, October 6, 2011


Hello again, readers. Thursday - that time for my weekly article that is not directly related to the news. I’m sure that makes you very excited. Please, don’t hold back your enthusiasm.

This week, I shall be discussing my favourite film genre - science fiction - and it’s tenuous relationship with actual science. My relationship with scifi is so broad that both my favourite film and least favourite film hail from it - and let me tell you, both of those positions are highly contested at all times. Did I ever mention that my focus of studies was in English language and film studies? Yeah, that becomes relevant right... About... A a couple sentences ago, actually.

I was going to write about several good films in depth, but...

According to this weeks poll, Avatar is our readers' favourite science fiction film - by a margin of 2 votes to nil. This is most unfortunate, as it means that I officially have to hate you all now. Oh yes, and it means that instead of reading the very broad, interesting and analytical article I had prepared that would cross-reference all of the polled films, you are now going to be subjected to a relentless tirade of rage against Avatar for the next 1000 or so words.

Well done, you two who voted. Actually, well done to those of you who didn't vote too - you could have saved yourselves by participating in democracy and not voting for this terrible film.

They're all smiling big smiles on the outside.
Because of you, they're weeping on the inside.

Before we begin, let me just say that this matter is so disgusting that I not only literally rewrote today's article from scratch, but even did research on it. That link leads to the most beautiful review of Avatar that I have ever read, and the perfect carbon copy of my every feeling towards the film. The site, if you're interested, also has sterling reviews (in a similar vein as this) on The Karate Kid remake, The Da Vinci Code, and The Day the Earth Stood Still remake. Almost feels like a shame actually staying awake to type the rest of this, since I'll basically be repeating what this site said in my own words...


However, I can't sing the film's terribleness enough. The internet will always need more of these opinions; especially since the thing that annoys me more than anything else about Avatar is how willingly everyone forgave it for being so damn beautiful. First of all, having seen the 2-D version of the film, let me say: without the third dimension, it was no more stunning than any other modern film. Visually, it was about on par with Lord of the Rings, but without hot elves.

Blue skin, bizarre bio-USB plugs, flat noses...
This is how not to arouse me.

Now, I've heard that the 3-D version was optically orgasmic, and I'm more than willing to give Cameron that much credit. He just about managed to use the most high-tech cameras in the world to somehow get a decent quality shot. I just don't know how he does it. Of course, there's still the fact that 3-D tickets costs the viewer 50-100% more than 2-D cinema tickets do - often not including the cost of the dorky looking glasses. Why? Yeah they have incurred some extra costs with the fancy new cameras and digital magic, but that stuff is pennies to Hollywood... Especially when you consider that 3-D films are distributed digitally rather than with reels.

What's the difference?

In the case of a 2 3/4 hour film (that feels more like 12 weeks) like Avatar, about $7,000. The film would've been on about 7x2,000 foot reels, each of which costs the studio 1,000 USD to produce. Then, the cinemas would rent it for (let's be conservative) 10,000 USD for the first run - that's how much they are charged for most first-run blockbusters that aren't directed by James Cameron. On the other hand, the cost of putting this film on what is effectively a fancy DVD is virtually nil for the studios. Do you reckon they passed along the savings to the theatres? Noooo...*

Okay, so you've paid too much to see the version of the film that the cinema has paid to much to rent to the man who has spent too much to make said movie. Now what? You get a film that has a plot as predictable as Scooby and the Gang unmasking the crook at the end of a classic episode. I kid you not - I said to my (ex)-girlfriend in the first five minutes: 'I bet you that the protagonist finds out he prefers life as a blue guy, falls in love with that female blue thing, then they save the day by banishing the evil American Empire. Oh yeah, and there'll be a couple of setbacks borne from the fact that he is initially deceiving the good guys'. No those weren't my precise words; it was nearly two years ago. I did definitely say all of that, and I hadn't heard a single thing about the plot from anyone in advance.

What's more, apart from the deceiving of natives in the beginning (something that he's already changing about 1/3 of the way into the film), the protagonist is completely without flaw and is utterly one-dimensional in every way. The technology is ridiculous, the physics are skewed, and the plot is non-existent and OH MY GOD YOU'RE GIVING JAMES CAMERON LOTS OF MONEY FOR THIS RUBBISH!!! He nearly won the Oscar for Best Picture with this half-arsed attempt he made at getting even more filthy rich with a[nother] terrible script, half-decent cinematography, sub-par acting, and a shiny new gimmick. 

Don't feel too bad; I paid for both my ticket and my then-girlfriend's, so technically I paid to see this film twice.

Oh wait.

He called the valuably unobtainable mcguffin Unob[freakin]tanium**. Feel bad. Feel very, very bad.

Please read the article I linked above for any further information on how unbelievable Avatar is in every possible way. In the meantime, since I am officially twice the enemy of art that anybody who paid to see this film just once is, I need to commit ritual suicide.

Next time, just vote for 2001: A Space Odyssey please.

It'll save my fingers having to unleash this torrent.
It'll save your eyes having to read it.

As always, wishing the world a final goodbye,

Y. S. Rice


*Data gathered from a tour of an actual cinema + two years getting absolute top marks in film studies.

**"[freakin]" was my own input. Actual name was 'Unobtanium'. Freakin' Hell. That's worse.

Please do check out that review. Otherwise, all pictures are linked to stuff I haven't read. Might be good - dunno really. Meh.

Just so you know (in case it wasn't obvious enough in its satire), I aren't really going to kill myself. Not until Avatar 2 gets released at least.

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