May 27, 2020
(The Channel Awesome logo is shown. Then we cold-open on a montage of shots of Avatar)
Narrator (Jim Jarosz): It's been a whole (The following words pop up in yellow...) ten years and some months since the release of the groundbreaking (The title is shown...) Avatar. And all these years later, people are still celebrating its brilliance.
(The narrator is revealed: James Cameron, also played by Jim. The words "JAMES CAMERON – Auteur of This Cinematic Masterpiece")
Cameron: I'm James Cameron, auteur of this cinematic masterpiece. We're going to revisit the impact that Avatar had on an entire generation.
(Cut to a young man, played by Malcolm, whose name is revealed to be Ben Benjamin, a movie fan)
Ben: Yeah, I love watching Avatar, but then my bigger TV broke years ago, and I could only watch it on a smaller screen, so I haven't seen it in a while.
(Cut back to Cameron)
Cameron: Ah, the heavy symbolism and character development was too powerful for you to take in without a larger screen.
Ben: (looks around shiftily) Uh, yeah, that's it.
(Cut to a woman, played by Tamara, whose name is revealed to be Elizabeth Fakename, a film historian)
Elizabeth: It's no doubt that Avatar has left its mark with stellar 3D technology, incredible groundbreaking digital advances, and breathtaking visuals.
Cameron: As well as its message that haunts and inspires every viewer who is deep enough to understand it.
Elizabeth: (looks around shiftily) Um, sure.
Cameron: And where do you keep my prized cinematic achievement?
Elizabeth: Well, my bigger TV is on the fritz, so I've just been using it as a coffee coaster.
Cameron: No doubt adding to your beverage so that you can drink in the deepness–
Elizabeth: (abruptly) Sure! Yes.
Cameron: But fear not, dear viewers, for there is more on the way.
(A shot of Avatar 2 is shown)
Cameron (vo): For I have been spending years writing and directing even more Avatar movies. In Avatar 2, Jake goes missing, so Neytiri goes to the human world to find him and must adapt to its new environment to find her love.
Ben: Isn't that Pocahontas II?
Ben: I'm pretty sure that's...
(A shot of the cover for Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World is shown)
Ben (vo): ...the plot to Pocahontas II.
Ben: I saw it as a kid.
Cameron: Never heard of it. But let me tell you about my other sequel.
(Shots of Avatar 3 are now shown)
Cameron (vo): In Avatar 3, several of Na'vi's babies are kidnapped by humans, so a team of fierce warriors have to go rescue them, but get sucked into Earth's addictive ways. With the help of a little girl who wants to be a circus performer, they–
Elizabeth: That's Ferngully 2.
Elizabeth: That's the exact story of...
(Cut to a shot of the cover for...)
Elizabeth (vo): ...Ferngully 2: The Magical Rescue.
Elizabeth: (with a slight look of guilt) I know that, because I was forced to watch it when I misbehave.
Cameron: Impossible. I don't even introduce (A shot of Batty amid the Na'vi natives is shown in the corner) Batty until Act 2.
Ben: Do you have any original ideas for these flicks?
Cameron: Of course I do. Why, in Part 4, they... What's the plot of Dances with Wolves 2?
Elizabeth: I should have been an accountant.
(The title for this movie is shown again, as Cameron appears in the corner)
Cameron: Avatar – It was nominated for Best Picture, and you can never change that.
(On that note, we go to the NC opening title sequence)
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. It's practically a cliche to say that Avatar is full of cliches.
(The title for Avatar is shown, followed by footage of the movie)
NC (vo): The incredibly hyped, over-budget, former highest-grossing film ever still seems to have the same reaction it did now that it did over ten years ago. The plot and characters aren't very good, everybody knows it, but nobody cares. Everyone's made the comparisons to (Shots of the following are superimposed...) Dances with Wolves, Ferngully, and Pocahontas, but to many, Avatar was more of a spectacle than a film. The 3D was unlike anything seen at the time. The entire film being shot in IMAX as opposed to just part of it was rarely seen for big-budget films, and the visuals were colorful and grand in scale. Many said it felt like you were really there, in a completely different world. You don't judge the story and characters of a roller coaster, you just enjoyed the ride. That seemed to be most people, (A shot of the movie's Rotten Tomatoes page is superimposed, showing a score of 82%, both on the Tomatometer and the Audience Score) and even critics', reactions.
NC: But for a film that took the world by storm, the highest-grossing movie of all time for several years...nobody really talks about.
NC (vo): I mean, how many talks have you heard about (Images of the following are superimposed...) Star Wars, Marvel, Harry Potter? Tons. But after it [Avatar] left theaters with an impressive eight-month run, people stopped talking about it. Think about that: the highest-grossing movie for a decade, and people have little passion to discuss it. Whether you like (Poster of...) Titanic or not, the former highest-grossing movie made, everyone had a strong opinion about it, but with Avatar? Not so much.
NC: So, rather than kick a movie while it's (makes "finger quotes") "kinda down", I wanted to look at the impact and...lack of impact this movie had.
NC (vo): I made it no secret that I wasn't a big fan of this film, but it's interesting to look over what elements are still being utilized years later and what elements aren't. (beat) While still poking fun at the stupid shit, because there's a lot of stupid shit.
NC: Let's go back to Pandora, or more importantly...
NC (vo): ...Papyrus Font!
(Subtitles for the characters' dialogue is shown, written in the font that looks like the kind used for Papyrus stores)
NC (vo): Ah, Comic Sans' pretentious roommate.
NC: ...over ten years later. This is Avatar.
NC (vo): The film opens with a paraplegic soldier named Jake, played by British-Australian-Southerner Sam Worthington...
(A montage of lines by Jake plays)
Jake: So it's a week before Tommy's gonna ship out? / Don't, got this. / He was the one who wanted to get shot light-years out in space. / Figured it's another hellhole. / The guy where the gun ends his journey...
Wolverine (Hugh Jackman): (to Gambit) ...you're gonna take me to this "island." And I can kill Creed...
NC: (startled) Oh, sorry, that was Hugh Jackman not caring in X-Men Origins, though it's hard to tell, wasn't it?
NC (vo): ...waking up in space, heading towards the planet Pandora. With compliments to the 3D, I still look at many of these shots and still see them in three dimensions, despite me only seeing them once years ago. In fact, the majority of these shots still look impressively massive, because not only is so much kept in focus, but the main subjects are almost entirely in view at the center of the screen, allowing you to take in the scenery while also having something to compare in size. And then...you know, they talk.
Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang): You're not in Kansas anymore.
Jake: (narrating) There's no such thing as an ex-marine. You may be out, but you never lose the attitude.
Col. Quaritch: It is my job to keep you alive. I will not succeed.
NC (vo): Okay, the writing in this is by no means the worst, but it's very...
NC: Oh, what's the best comparison here? Hot Shots.
(Alternating snippets of Avatar and Hot Shots are shown)
Col. Quaritch: (in Avatar) If there is a hell, you might want to go there for some R&R.
Drill Sergeant (Cylk Cozart): (in Hot Shots) I don't care how good you think you are! Your ego's writing checks your body can't cash.
Jake: (in Avatar) Man, I'm just another dumb grump going someplace he's gonna regret.
Topper Harley (Charlie Sheen): (in Hot Shots) I could never find time for love. It's too heavy. It's an anchor that drowns a man.
Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver): Yeah, yeah, I know who you are and I don't need you.
Soldier: (in Hot Shots) He's the type of guy that could end up killing every man in this outfit.
NC (vo): They sound like cliched, dramatic setups for Lloyd Bridges to say something funny to.
Col. Quaritch: You've got to obey the rules. You're on Pandora.
(Cut to another clip of Hot Shots, this one of Lloyd Bridges as RADM Thomas "Tug" Benson)
Benson: Goddammit, Phil, I'm supposed to be in California.
Jake: (in Avatar) These guys were army dogs, fighting for freedom, but out here, they're just hired guns, taking the money.
(Cut to another clip of Hot Shots, again showing Tug Benson)
Benson: I don't have a clue what he's talking about, Phil. Not a fucking clue.
(Cut back to Avatar again)
NC (vo): Like I said, though, this isn't the worst. I'd argue it's almost expected for a movie about blue cats fighting mechanical ripoffs of (A shot of the Apu from The Matrix is superimposed) your own ripoffs. And yes, even the lame-ass reason why a soldier with absolutely no knowledge about this species is chosen to be put in the body of one is...enjoyably weak. You see, Jake's brother was the one who was gonna do it, but then died, so they sent this guy in only because he has the same genome.
General: (to Jake about his brother) Since your genome is identical to his, you could step into his shoes.
NC: That's like a football player dying and putting in his brother, who has no idea how to play the game because (An image of a football jersey is shown in the corner) the uniform fit.
NC (vo): But again, I feel like most people would be expecting this from a James Cameron script. It's when we get to "the company", and yes, that is what Jake calls them...
Jake: (narrating) ...taking the money, working for the company.
NC: (as Jake) The Man!
NC (vo): ...where the head, named Selfridge, played by Giovanni Ribisi, doesn't care about the precious life on the planet; he just wants gold! I mean, diamonds! I mean, oil! I mean... Oh, like it matters. Just call it "unobtainium".
Selfridge: (holding up rock to Dr. Grace Augustine) This is why we're here: unobtainium.
NC (vo): Yeah, that's actually what it's called: unobtainium! It's like in (A shot of the following is superimposed...) Pulp Fiction, if the item in the briefcase was called the MacGuffin. It's honestly kind of hilarious.
Selfridge: Well, lucky your guy had a twin brother, and lucky that brother wasn't some oral hygienist or something.
NC: (as Selfridge) I'm hoping the atmosphere on Pandora can drain my sinuses.
NC (vo): If you're like me, this guy and Stephen Lang as the Colonel is when you start to put together this movie's in trouble. Both of them are so comedically one-note, even celebrating it in their performances, that Billy Zane from Titanic is looking like Kylo Ren from Star Wars. If you don't take it seriously, it's actually pretty funny.
(A montage is shown of Selfridge and Col. Quaritch)
Selfridge: (playing golf, to a random acquaintance) You see that?
Acquaintance: (walking past) Yes, sir.
Selfridge: No, you didn't, you were looking at the monitor.
(Cut to Col. Quaritch)
Col. Quaritch: Avatar program is a bad joke. Limp dick science majors!
(Back to Selfridge)
Selfridge: We build them a school, we teach 'em English...
(Back again to Col. Quaritch)
Col. Quaritch: Learn these savages from the inside. I want you to gain their trust.
NC: Well, I think it's about time...
(A shot of Rick Edwards from Best F(r)iends is shown alongside Col. Quaritch)
NC (vo): ...Rick Edwards from Best F(r)iends did sci-fi. As soon as you see these two, you can already sense that (An image of a wagging finger is added in) waving finger of guilt getting ready to wag at you.
NC: In fact, you can see it...
(The camera zooms in on one corner of the screen, showing a wagging finger in the corner)
NC (vo): ...in one of the corners, waiting to burst out and make you feel bad for not being as enlightened as the movie is.
(In the NC's room, another wagging finger rises, but NC pushes it down)
NC: Not yet. (A shot of Hexxus from Ferngully appears in the corner) Tim Curry still has to sing "Toxic Love".
Dr. Augustine: Who's got my goddamn cigarette?
NC (vo): It's cool to see Sigourney Weaver in this as the scientist who studies the Na'vi, but even her performance feels a little...um, Captain Marvel-y.
(Another set of alternating snippets is shown, this time between Avatar and Captain Marvel)
Scientist: Grace, I don't think that's good idea–
Dr. Augustine: No, this is such bullshit!
(Cut to Captain Marvel)
Carol Danvers (Brie Larson): I don't even know who I am!
Dr. Augustine: (in Avatar) I'm gonna kick his corporate butt. He has no business sticking his nose in my department.
Danvers: (in Captain Marvel; to Talos the Untamed) Your people are terrorists. They kill innocents.
(Cut back to Dr. Augustine)
NC (vo): I hate saying that, as she's such a badass icon, but I think it's similar to (A shot of Indiana Jones holding up the Crystal Skull is superimposed) [Harrison] Ford in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; she might have been away from this kind of role a little too long and is overcompensating her toughness a bit.
NC: Of course, the dialogue doesn't help either.
Dr. Augustine: (to Jake) I need your brother. You know, the PhD who trained for three years for this mission.
(Cut to a clip of Brackish in Independence Day: Resurgence)
Doctor: You've been in a coma for 7,300 days.
NC: But again, like many people have said, who cares?
NC (vo): We just want to see the Na'vi, the natives who are stopping the humans from getting their unobtainium, inhabiting that awesome world.
(An operation is underway to surgically transform Jake into an "avatar", a Na'vi-human hybrid. He awakens from his surgery in his new blue form and sits up, wearing nothing but an operating gown, and looks at his feet. We then cut to a Star Trek movie, showing Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy), as though they are watching what happened in Avatar)
NC (vo; as Kirk): Spock, did we just witness the beginning of a new fetish? (as Spock) Yes, Captain. We've witnessed the birth of countless hours of computer-generated Na'vi porn. (as Kirk) Ew!
(Jake looks at his new form and freaks out, running out of the operating room and out of the base)
NC (vo): Jake is put into the Na'vi avatar and... (sarcastically) Gee, it's almost like he wasn't properly prepared for any of this.
(Another avatar spots Jake running excitedly and runs after him)
Avatar: Jake! You're not supposed to be running! (Laughing, Jake only runs faster)
NC: (as one of the scientists, looking at a piece of paper) His chart says he has way too much free spirit! He might even be– (as another scientist) Don't say it! (as the first scientist) A dreamer! (He then cries out as the second scientist, putting his finger in his teeth)
NC (vo): They go out into the jungles of Pandora, and I'll admit, I remember the effects being a little distracting because of the Na'vi were just so silly-looking to me, but now that I look back, these are very good effects. To give you an idea of how well they held up...
(Cut to a clip of the climax of Justice League, which has less stellar special effects)
NC (vo): ...this is Justice League. It's only three years old, and it looks like this.
(Now cut to a clip of Cats, which has even worse special effects)
NC (vo): Hell, Cats is less than one year old, and it looks like this!
(Cut back to Avatar)
NC (vo): Avatar is over ten years old and looks like a movie that was released today. Yes, there's naturally some scenes that don't hold up as well, but seeing this on a smaller screen, I know it's gonna sound odd, but it actually showed me how well the effects held up. On IMAX, you're distracted by the size, the 3D, the unusual visuals, but on a smaller screen, you notice how well everything blends together. Oh, and you know, there's characters and a plot, I guess.
(Jake hears some strange noises and aims his gun in the direction of some strange monkey-like creatures that were making the noise. One stares at him)
NC: (softly) Don't shoot those! The Na'vi shit those out!
NC (vo): They come across a giant beast, but Jake seemingly scares it off.
(The beast runs off)
Jake: That's right, get your punk ass back to Mommy! (Another, more vicious beast sneaks up behind him, but he doesn't notice) Yeah? Yeah, you got nothing! You keep running!
NC: Yeah, we're already (Posters for Pocahontas and Ferngully appear to both sides of him) stealing from a ton of kids' media.
NC (vo): Why not steal from Beethoven as well?
(As he says this, a clip of Beethoven is shown, showing the titular dog confronting bullies is shown in the corner)
NC (vo): With a dash of Jurassic Park.
(Jake turns around to see the second beast roaring at him like a dinosaur. He runs off and the beast gives chase. Cut briefly to a clip of a Tyrannosaurus Rex from Jurassic Park that also roars, while the words "LAWYER UP, BITCH!" appear on the bottom of the screen. Cut back to Avatar again, as Jake escapes the rampaging beast by jumping over a cliff by a waterfall)
NC (vo): Jake is separated from his team, but is discovered by Tasteful Side Boob [actually Neytiri] getting ready to take him out.
(As Neytiri aims a bow and arrow at Jake, a small dandelion-like plant floats by her face)
NC (vo; as dandelion): No! Grandma Jellyfish Willow senses good in him.
(Neytiri lowers her bow and arrow. That night, Jake is covering a stick in some kind of goop)
NC (vo; as Jake): This Cheerios beast splooge should scare away any predators.
(The goop on the stick is then lit on fire and Jake runs around holding it and swinging it around at any wild animal that comes near him. Suddenly, Neytiri runs up and fires arrows at the attacking wild animals, saving Jake)
NC (vo): He's saved by Neytiri, played by Zoe Saldana...
(In slow motion, Neytiri fires another arrow, yelling as she does so, and the beast the arrow hits cries out)
NC: Hmm, this shouldn't be turning me on. Thank God it isn't.
NC (vo): ...and she mocks his survival skills.
Neytiri: (pointing at Jake with a stick) You're like a baby – making noise, don't know what to do.
NC: Hey, don't talk about the director like that.
(A group of the dandelion-like beings descend on the two. Jake swats one of them away and Neytiri yells at him for it in her native tongue, grabbing his arm as she does so)
NC (vo; as Neytiri): He had one day until retirement!
Neytiri: (as the dandelion-like beings surround Jake) Seeds of the sacred tree. Very few spirits.
NC: Yeah, they never did that for Weaver, who...
NC (vo): ...literally dedicated her entire life saving them. You're Neo! You're just the one because you're the one! Isn't it nice being born important?
Jake: What was that all about?
NC (vo): That was "Come, Christ, I knew it felt sticky and reproductive!" So because the tree semen picked him as the Messiah, Neytiri takes him to her clan. Provide more Jurassic Park ripoffs!
(As the clansmen surround Jake, we hear the sound of a dinosaur-like roar, followed by another clip of Jurassic Park, showing a Tyrannosaurus Rex roaring, which apparently translates to, according to conveniently-added subtitles, "LICK MY SEE YOU NEXT TUES...". Then cut back again to Avatar, where Neytiri's tribe speak in their native tongue, helpfully translated with subtitles)
NC (vo): Oh, and see if this sounds familiar: Neytiri is the daughter of an old chief; is betrothed to a stern, angry warrior; and may have eventual feelings for our lead outsider.
Neytiri: What are you called?
NC: (as Jake) John Smith. (A shot of John Smith from Pocahontas is superimposed) I mean, the blond guy from Ferngully. (A shot of said blond guy, Zack, is superimposed) I mean, name-an-after-school-special with trees, and I'm the main guy in that.
NC (vo): They decide to show him their ways because he's a soldier and...I guess they trust him more than scientists. Again, how long was Weaver with them? And Neytiri is tasked with showing him how they live. He sleeps in their tamales and wakes up back at base [human again].
(On the base, they are looking at a scale model of the Na'vi planet)
Selfridge: Look, Sully, Sully, just find out what the blue monkeys want.
NC: (as Jake) Uh, I believe they prefer the term "turquoise monkeys".
Selfridge: We tried to give them medicine, education, roads, but no, no, no, they like mud.
NC (vo; as Selfridge): Metaphor, metaphor, metaphor. (The raised, wagging index finger is shown again in the corner) Don't worry, finger, they'll catch on to our subtlety.
Selfridge: Hey, can somebody... Sector 12?
NC (vo): He tells Jake that their village, around Disney's Animal Kingdom tree, has the largest amount of unobtainium, and it's his job to get them to leave.
Selfridge: Look at all that cheddar! (laughs a sinister laugh)
NC: (as Selfridge, mocking sinister laugh) Humanity sucks. God, I'm a waste of a good actor! (shakes head)
(Now an avatar again, Jake goes back to the Na'vi)
NC (vo): He's given three months, as the Na'vi show him all the secrets of their ways and...
NC: (shrugs) Yeah, this stuff is still pretty cool. (shakes head)
NC (vo): This is what people got into the most. They said this film was great at world-building and making you believe you travel to a new realm. While these scenes are very beautiful, I have a theory.
NC: I don't think it's the world that drew people in, I think it's the look.
NC (vo): Avatar is visually amazing; the colors and creatures are beautifully designed. But I don't think it's an example of good world-building. In my opinion, (A shot of the game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is superimposed) good world-building should be innovative in either environment, (A shot of Adventure Time is now superimposed) character, or both. It should leave you wanting to know more (A shot of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is superimposed) about how the world works.
NC: There's a show called Upload...
(Footage of the show Upload is shown)
NC (vo): ...about a digital afterlife, that makes you want to walk through this world and see how everything functions. But the characters are kind of cookie-cutter.
NC: Then you have something like...
(Cut to footage of...)
NC (vo): ...Into the Spider-verse. The environment isn't anything new, but the variation of characters based on the same premise, being bitten by a spider and turning you into a hero, makes you want to see more of how each universe they're from created these people; an example on how the characters create the world-building.
NC (vo): Then you have things like Star Wars...
(Cut to a shot of a Lord of the Rings movie)
NC (vo): ...Lord of the Rings or, funny enough...
(Cut to a shot of...)
NC (vo): ...Avatar, that are rich in unique characters and unique environments.
(Cut briefly to a search for Avatar on IMDB, showing Avatar: The Last Airbender first and then the 2009 Avatar movie)
NC (vo): By the way, I love that it comes first on IMDB if you search it. And you know why? More people are interested.
(More shots of Avatar: TLA are shown)
NC (vo): I want to know more about how Aang as well as the world he inhabits operates. Both are filled engaging possibilities and ideas.
NC: What... (looks up briefly) ideas does Avatar offer, exactly?
NC (vo): Well, their literal connection to Pandora is kind of interesting. There's energy their hair can plug into with the animals and even the planet itself, lighting up as they get closer to the main energy source in this giant tree.
NC: I'll even say the floating mountains.
(The mountains are shown floating in midair, with waterfalls cascading down from them into nothingness)
NC (vo): Both of these take from existing ideas and add new elements to them.
NC: But there's a difference between adding to an environment and just copying it.
NC (vo): (about a horse-like creature that Jake mounts) What are those? They're horses. (A group of snarling dog-like creatures is shown) What are these? They're dogs. They even have the exact same call as a hyena.
(They make noises like a hyena)
NC (vo): What are the Na'vi? Every tribe ever shown on film. They focus on their connection to the environment, spirits, gods, and think our ways veer too far from them. Even their language sounds like a bad imitation of Native Americans from old westerns.
Chief Eytucan: (alien language, translated with subtitles) I have said no dreamwalker will come here.
Neytiri: (as the Na'vi hold Jake at knife point) Step back!
(Cut to a clip of Hot Shots!, showing a clip of a Native American chief speaking, also translated via subtitles)
Chief: We knew this day would come. While you're out, pick up some AA batteries.
NC: I have to admit, I didn't think I'd be referencing Hot Shots! this much.
NC (vo): I feel like it's not creating something new; rather (An painting of a Native American on horseback is shown in the corner) painting something that's old.
NC: How cool would it be if the Na'vi had...
(The Na'vi are shown again, as a shot of a ten-armed Asian statue is superimposed, followed by a shot of a hippo with its mouth wide open)
NC (vo): ...ten arms, a language that sounded like a gargling hippo, and were born from (An image of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the L.A. Lakers is superimposed) a giant Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?
NC: I don't know, I'm just saying this off the top of my head! I already wanna know more about how that world works!
NC (vo): But here, I bet their version of a lemur is similar to (An image of a real lemur is shown in the corner) our version of a lemur. I bet their flying lizards (A shot of a real pterodactyl is shown in the corner) are similar to our flying lizards. Even when they go to other tribes, they all look the same. I can tell the difference between (A montage of shots of all the armies in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is superimposed) every army in Return of the King. (The camera focuses on Na'vi tribesman) But which tribe is this guy from? I have no idea.
NC: But okay, they're focusing on allegory. That's fine.
(A montage of shots of entertainment involving allegories is shown: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, George Orwell's "Animal Farm", Star Trek: The Next Generation)
NC (vo): A lot of great world-building has done that before.
NC: But once again, those examples tap into character archetypes, rather than just copying them.
(A shot of an anime (I forget what it is) is shown of a man and a wolf)
NC (vo): There's a difference between (A shot of Lieutenant Dunbar is shown in the corner) a Lieut. Dunbar type...
(Cut to Jake in this movie)
NC (vo): ...and a Lieut. Dunbar exactly.
(Shots of Pocahontas are shown alongside the Avatar characters for further comparisons: a Na'vi warrior alongside Kocoum, Neytiri alongside Pocahontas, Chief Eytucan alongside Chief Powhatan, Jake alongside John Smith, Selfridge alongside Governor Ratcliffe)
NC (vo): Nothing new is added to these character cutouts that were not only old twenty years ago, but also used in children's media, and even they did it pretty lame. Because of this, I admire Avatar for its visual design, not for its world-building.
NC: But you got to give credit: having a giant robot suit...
(A shot of a Na'vi in said robot suit holding a gun is shown)
NC (vo): ...hold a giant gun instead of just having a gun already in the suit?
NC: (points to camera) That's just being smart. (nods)
(With that, we go to a commercial break. Upon return, the movie resumes with Jake among the Na'vi, as an avatar once again, as he kills an animal)
NC (vo): So after Jake kills an animal while giving the proper Na'vi thanks...
Jake: (speaking in Na'vi tongue) I see you...Brother...
NC (vo; as dying animal): Yeah, can you just kill me? I'm in a lot of pain.
Jake: (Na'vi tongue) ...and thank you.
NC (vo; as dying animal): You're welcome, asshole. That means (Jake stabs animal) nothing to me...! (normal) ...Neytiri decides he's ready to ride one of their flying banshees to become a true warrior.
(Having chosen one of the flying creatures, Jake takes)
Na'vi warrior: (laughs, to another Na'vi tribesman; Na'vi tongue) That moron's going to die.
NC: (nodding) What every studio says when Cameron goes over budget.
NC (vo): He of course makes the bond and is taken to the Tree of Souls.
(Meanwhile, back at the base, Dr. Augustine is watching the Tree of Souls on a monitor)
Dr. Augustine: The Tree of Souls. It's their most sacred place.
NC (vo): You know, I'm finding I rarely like movies that have a tree of something, unless it's a Tree of Death, Mayhem or Chocolate, I'll usually pass.
(Suddenly, an orange winged creature appears and attacks Jake, Neytiri and their flying lizards)
NC (vo): But it looks like they're chased by a dangerous animal called Toruk, who has chosen only five riders in all the years the Na'vi have existed.
Neytiri: My grandfather's grandfather was Toruk Makto. Turok chose him. He brought the plans together in a time of great sorrow.
NC: (as Jake) Well, I've only been here three months. I'm sure I can be a better Na'vi than the actual Na'vi are.
Neytiri: This is a place for prayers to be heard and sometimes answered.
NC (vo; as Neytiri): Well, I'm gonna pray I can bang you, despite being betrothed to someone else. (sings) When you wish upon a star system...!
(Jake and Neytiri kiss)
NC: Just a heads-up: Cinema Snob has already reviewed (A shot of CS' review of The Smurfs is shown) a Smurfs porno. It's as messy as it sounds.
NC (vo): But they're awoken to an unpleasant sound.
(Said unpleasant sound is a bulldozer, which is tearing down trees in its path)
Neytiri: (shaking Jake awake) JAKE!! (Jake is startled awake)
NC (vo; as Jake): Ready for round two? (suddenly alarmed) WHAT THE FUCK?!? (normal) It looks like big, bad humanity has started the demolition, so Jake and the others try to explain how they're ripping off Atlantis: The Lost Empire as well.
Dr. Augustine: There's some kind of electrochemical communication between the roots of the trees. It's a global network and the Na'vi can access it.
(Cut to footage of Atlantis)
Milo Thatch: The crystal is...alive. Their deity. It's their power source. They're part of it, it's a part of them.
NC (vo; as Vinny Santorini): Oh, come on, we bombed with the same story, and you broke box office records. Eh, who cares? We own you now anyway. We're gonna own everything.
(Cut back to Avatar)
Dr. Augustine: They can upload and download data.
Selfridge: What the hell have you people been smoking up there? (laughs)
NC: (as Selfridge) I mean, you think I spent millions of dollars in your department to actually listen to you?! (scoffs) I just like burning money! (holds up a cell phone) Look!
(He pushes a button on his cell phone and we cut to a shot of a pile of money, which explodes)
NC: (still as Selfridge) I do the same thing when I finance an Emmerich movie.
NC (vo): To make things worse, Jake recorded that the Na'vi would never leave and it was pointless to have him out there!
Jake: (on video) And I'm gonna make a deal. There's...nothing that we have that they want. Everything they sent me out here to do is a waste of time.
NC: (as Jake, stroking chin and looking up in thought) I suppose someone could check my log whenever they wanted, but (Shots of Selfridge and Col. Quaritch are shown on both sides of him) with these guys, they seem on the level.
NC (vo): The demolition heads for the giant tree as Jake tries to warn them, leading to another timeless cliche that's always celebrated: the liar revealed.
Neytiri: (to Jake) You knew this would happen?
Jake: Everything changed. I fell in love.
Neytiri: (backing away) I trusted you!
NC: (as Neytiri) You're not a prince, warrior, family member...
NC (vo; as Neytiri): ...gay, or celebrity singer?!
NC: (as Neytiri) I AM INSTANTLY DISMISSING ANYTHING YOU SAY, EVEN IT WILL HELP US, OWEN WILSON! I MEAN, JAKE!
(To a ding, the words "BEST PICTURE NOMINEE" pop up)
NC (vo): They of course don't listen to them, and hey, we're being attacked! Someone should've warned us!
(Col. Quaritch's forces launch an all-out attack on Pandora, firing missiles from their flying machines at the fleeing Na'vi)
NC (vo): They take down the tree with their missiles and Southern sayings...
(A montage of cuts of Quaritch's dialogue during this scene is shown)
Quaritch: Right in the front door. / Good shootin', ace. / All right, let's turn up the heat. / And that's how you scatter the roaches.
(Cut to a clip of a Foghorn Leghorn cartoon, showing Foggy walking up to Barnyard Dawg, holding a rifle in one hand and a rope in the other)
Foghorn: I need, I say, I need a pointer, and that dog's got just the head for it.
NC: ...leading to easily my favorite laughable cliche in the movie, and I know it's yours, too...
(Said cliche is of Quaritch taking a sip of coffee)
NC (vo): ...sipping the coffee while people burn!
(As Pandora's landscape explodes in places and the Na'vi flee for their lives, Quaritch casually takes another sip of coffee)
NC: (shakes head) How can you not burst with laughter at that scene? It is the ultimate villain cliche!
NC (vo): All that's missing is a line like...
NC: (as Quaritch, pretending to sip coffee) ..."I love the smell of burnt Gonzo in the morning!"
Walter Sobchak (audio from The Big Lebowski): I'm finishing my coffee. Enjoying my coffee.
(As the Na'vi people scream and cower as the invading enemy reaches ever closer, NC looks up to see the raised, waving index finger from earlier)
NC: Yes, finger, it's time for you to wave in full swing.
(As dramatic music plays and the Na'vi cry out in misery as their home is being destroyed, the raised finger appears, waving slowly back and forth)
NC: (pointing at camera dramatically; hushed) You! You! All of this is because of you!
NC (vo): I know you think it isn't, but it is! It's 'cause of you!
NC: See that...
NC (vo): ...tree falling?
NC: It's you!
NC (vo): It's 'cause of you!
NC: Thank God we're here as the enlightened path to show you...that it's you!
NC (vo): Even the Chief has fallen. (halfheartedly) Oh, no, not him.
Chief Eytucan: (to Neytiri; Na'vi language, translated with subtitles) ...take...my...bow. Protect The People.
NC: You know, I can't imagine how I would feel if any of the Sioux from...
(Cut to shots of the following...)
NC (vo): ...Dances with Wolves died: Kicking Bird, Wind In His Hair, Stands With A Fist.
(Cut back to Avatar)
NC (vo): I have to struggle to remember any of these characters' names! (The dying Chief is shown) Yeah, who is that? I don't know, I'll just call him Chuck. Chuck's dead, everybody. Poor Chuck! Dry your eyes! Chuck!
Jake: (narrating) I was a warrior who dreamed he could bring peace. Sooner or later, though, you always have to wake up.
NC: Wouldn't a thermos make more sense?
(Quaritch's coffee-drinking is shown again)
NC (vo): I mean, if you're going to a battle with heavy fire, it's gonna spill in a cup.
NC: Oh, I mean...
NC (vo; halfhearted sadness): ...the poor Na'vi! Oh, my God! I got to know 'em so well! Oh... (normal) The tree is knocked down, Jake and his friends are thrown in the brig, and even a pilot played by Michelle Rodriguez [Trudy Chacón] disobeys orders and flies away, no doubt being thrown in the brig with them.
(She does go to the brig, but is not thrown in, but pushes a cart full of food for the prisoners)
NC (vo): Or...she's fine.
Trudy: (to the guard on duty) Personally, I don't feel these tree-hugging traitors deserve this steak.
Guard: (bending down to reach under cart) They get steak? That's bullshit.
NC: (as guard) Hey, I heard you disobeyed a direct order. I think I'm supposed to slap you on the wrist or something. Let me check protocol.
(Suddenly, however, as the guard bends down, puts a gun at his head, demanding the prisoners' release)
NC (vo; as guard): Oh! I was wondering why a pilot was serving food.
Jake: (to one his friends) Stay here. I need someone on the inside I can trust.
NC: And thankfully, there's no security cameras...
NC (vo): ...in this technologically-advanced base! BEST FUCKING PICTURE!!
(Col. Quaritch, however, catches the prisoners fleeing and opens fire on them)
Jake: GO! Go, go!
(The gunfire, however, hits Dr. Augustine, mortally wounding her)
NC (vo): Weaver is shot, though, leading to another great, corny-as-hell line...
Dr. Augustine: This is gonna ruin my whole day.
NC: (as Dr. Augustine) Yeah, I wanted those to be (A shot of Ellen Ripley in Alien 3 is shown in the corner) my last words in Alien 3, but even they weren't crazy enough to put it in. (shakes head)
Jake: (put Dr. Augustine in a bed) I'm gonna get you some help, Grace.
Dr. Augustine: I'm a scientist, remember? I don't believe in fairy tales.
NC: Well, too bad, you're in (Shots of the posters for Ferngully, Pocahontas and Atlantis all pop up) three of 'em!
Jake: (narrating) Outcast, betrayer, alien.
NC (vo): Okay, yeah, by this point, everybody figured out all your monologues are is this... (The words "HUMANITY = SUCK" pop up in yellow) You're not the Shakespearean soliloquy you think you are.
Jake: ...to work as the baddest cat in the sky. So why would he ever look up?
NC (vo): Jake believes he's the one to bond with Turok – again, three months, and he's so much more Na'vi than the Na'vi – and he wins over the tribe's respect once more. They try saving Weaver by...generating holy shits, I don't know...but it doesn't work, and she passes away.
Na'vi shaman: She's with Eywa now.
NC (vo; as Jake): Is that a goddess? (as shaman) No, A-1 steak sauce. We're gonna eat her in a moment. Grab a plate.
Jake: You ride out as fast as the wind can carry you. You tell the other clans to come.
NC (vo): So Jake encourages them to reach out to the other tribes...
(We then cut to Col. Quaritch addressing the other soldiers in a briefing for the invasion of Pandora)
NC (vo): Oh, wait, are we supposed to see if this guy's evil? I totally missed that. Better hammer it in more.
Quaritch: Now, the hostiles believe that this mountain stronghold of theirs is protected by their deity.
NC: (as Quaritch) That's as crazy as believing in life on other planets.
Quaritch: They won't come within a thousand clicks of this place ever again.
(The soldiers cheers)
NC: (as Quaritch) Now do the chant with me! (pumps fists, while offscreen voices join in with him) We're not wrong! We're not wrong!
NC (vo): They all set out, getting ready to attack.
Quaritch: (in his helicopter) I want this mission high and tight. I want to be home for dinner.
NC (vo; as Quaritch): And where is my evil coffee? (A jet plane is edited in, with the words "EVIL STARBUCKS" written on the side. A hand is shown reading a cup of coffee out to Quaritch) Thank you.
(The soldiers land in Pandora in giant robotic suits of armor, armed with guns. Somehow, they make very little noise, save for whispering between the soldiers)
NC: Wow, those are the most silent clunky metal giants I've ever seen in war!
NC (vo): Remember when (A shot of a Power Loader from Aliens is shown in the corner) the Power Loader sounded like delicate high heels?
(A clip of Aliens is shown of the Power Loader, powered by Ellen Ripley, making the sound of delicate high heels. Back to Avatar, the helicopter-like flying machines fly into view as the Na'vi cling to mountain walls, waiting to ambush them)
NC (vo; as Jake): Ready...and...SHIT ON THEM!
(The Na'vi on their Turoks suddenly swoop down at the flying machines, sending them sprawling to the ground)
NC (vo): The Na'vi attack and...
NC: (shrugs) Once again, this is a visually pleasing action sequence.
NC (vo): It's not like Cameron has ever done a bad action sequence, and this one is a lot of fun. Though, once again, the reasoning behind some of the fights is pretty lame, like when the goddess, A-1 – that is to say, the planet itself – joins the battle...
Neytiri: (seeing the planet come to life) Eywa's heard you... (yelling while raising her bow in the air) EYWA'S HEARD YOU!!
Eywa (voiced by Tamara): Yeah...sorry I, like, let so many of you get wiped out over the years. Please accept my apologies with me brainwashing more innocent life to sacrifice themselves to the slaughter. Best deity ever!
(Jake lands on Quaritch's flying machine)
Quaritch: It's Sully!
(Jake tosses some explosives on the flying machine. Quaritch turns the flying machine abruptly, dipping the wing so that Jake falls off)
NC (vo; as Jake): Oh, hey, I remember that move from True Lies! Nice!!!!!!!
(It's too late, for as Jake falls off, the explosives go off, blowing up the flying machine and burning Quaritch's arm. He drops down into the burning machine and gets into his own robotic suit of armor)
NC (vo): Lang is so tough, he treats his arm on fire as a mild annoyance...
(Quaritch manages to douse the flame on his arm by just running his hand across it)
NC: (as Quaritch, mimicking his arm movement) Eh, what do I care? I got another one.
NC (vo): ...and leaps out of a crashing ship in his robot, despite it would clearly turn his bones into pudding.
(As Quaritch hunts around, he spots in his rear-view mirror Neytiri charging at him on her horse-like creature)
NC (vo): He looks in his rear-view mirror...
(As we cut back to NC, a shot of the radar technology in the movie is shown in the corner)
NC: Yeah, this film is swimming in radars, yet he uses a mirror.
NC (vo): ...and Neytiri tries to stop him, killing Jake's human form.
(Neytiri on her horse jumps Quaritch and then jumps on top of his armor, repeatedly slamming him against the ground as it tries to smash it)
NC: Hey, weird question: how come they don't have avatars for human beings? Like, make a human being avatar to go fight your battles so that nobody gets hurt.
(Quaritch's robot armor draws a huge knife and holds it up menacingly at Neytiri)
NC: Oh! 'Cause no avatar would be clever enough to use...
NC (vo): ...a giant robot knife! (Quaritch stabs Neytiri's horse creature, killing it) Only a real human on the battlefield would want to be Robot Jock's Bayou Billy!
(Quaritch having Neytiri right where he wants her, he raises his knife above her, ready to kill her with it. She hisses at him, causing him to stare at her briefly)
NC: Please tell me while he watches this thing die...
(An image of a robot arm is added in, holding up a giant coffee mug labeled: "I [heart] Mondays")
NC (vo): ...he drinks a giant robotic cup of coffee.
NC: (holding up both hands) I need this to be a thing!
NC (vo): But Jake arrives and...doesn't do much better.
(Quaritch grabs Jake by his hair and holds him aloft, intending to do him in once and for all, lifting up protective shield as he does so to get at him. Big mistake, as suddenly, Neytiri fires an arrow at Quaritch. It impales him)
NC (vo): Neytiri gets the final shot, though...
(Neytiri then fires a second arrow at Quaritch, which also impales him. He gasps for breath as he dies)
NC: God, I hope that's the image they used when they won Best Picture at the Golden Globes.
(Cut to a shot of the Golden Globes Awards, where Avatar wins Best Picture Drama, with a shot of Quaritch being impaled by Neytiri's arrow used to represent it. Then we cut back to Avatar)
NC (vo): ...and she saves Jake. Those crazy humans are sent back to Earth like kids being grounded to their rooms, and Jake uses the Tree of Souls to transfer forever into his Na'vi form.
(And the movie ends with a closeup of Jake's face in his new Na'vi form. He opens his eyes dramatically and the screen cuts to black briefly before displaying the movie's title)
NC: And that was Avatar! Over ten years later, you still know what's wrong with it and you still don't care. (beat) But maybe I can see why.
(Footage of the movie is shown one last time as NC gives his final thoughts on it)
NC (vo): Avatar is not a good movie, but it is a good experience. I think there's a reason its opening weekend was just okay for a movie of that size, but the following weeks, it kept pulling people in, and why it's not watched or talked about as much on video. It truly was a big-screen spectacle.
NC: But on top of that, it did have a big impact on cinema. Just...not in the way movies usually do.
NC (vo): Most films like to ride the fads of story ideas or character traits, but (Shots of posters for Dances With Wolves, Ferngully and Pocahontas are shown yet again) Avatar was already ripped off of dated sources, so they took the technical inspiration. For example, the best 3D films know to be bright and colorful, as 3D requires more light that reflects better off of color. They also figured how to keep the main subject centered without it feeling too gimmicky, like the old days. I get the feeling we wouldn't have 3D as amazing in films like (Posters of the following are superimposed...) Hugo or How To Train Your Dragon if it wasn't for Avatar. In fact, I thought the 3D in those films was even better than Avatar. But we still have this film to thank for that. Despite 3D not really being used as much anymore, it did invite talented filmmakers to push it to new levels. The filters they created to amp up the color is also a common practice now in modern film.
(NC's room is dimly lit, with drab colors)
NC: So you can go from how it's originally shot like this... (The room brightens up) to this.
(A montage of movies is shown with grainier quality to them)
NC (vo): Films at that time weren't nearly as colorful. If anything, they were much more grainy and colorless.
NC (vo): Now it almost feels like films are almost as colorful as they've ever been. I remember having a fear that more movies were going to be like this, recycling obvious messages from after-school specials. I thought I hated this (The wagging finger appears again) wagging finger style of storytelling, and I thought we just guaranteed we were gonna see a lot more of it. But this type of writing never became popular again, at least not on a grand scale like Avatar. Everybody tried to imitate Star Wars when it came out, but not really with Avatar, at least in terms of story and characters. It really was just the look and the 3D that captured people's imagination, and that's what they tried to replicate.
NC: And that look has also led to new breakthroughs.
(Shots of the World of Pandora, a section of Disney's Animal Kingdom, are shown)
NC (vo): Not only is the World of Pandora a marvel at Disney theme parks, but it's pushing the boundaries of what can be done in animatronics.
Female Na'vi: I look forward to seeing you on Avatar. (says something else in Na'vi tongue, then looks offscreen) Was that okay?
NC (vo): How fucking crazy is that?
(Cut back once again to Avatar)
NC (vo): So yeah, when this movie came out, I hated it. I thought the story and characters were how the future of movies were gonna be, but it seems like only the good stuff was taken from Avatar and improved on it. So looking back, I can enjoy the impact it had and enjoy the strong elements even more because of it. Whether you love it, hate it, or somewhere in between, Avatar made a big difference in the way that matters most: the best way.
NC: I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. (gets up and leaves)
(However, the video is not quite over yet, as we are then shown a commercial)
Announcer (voiced by Malcolm): Do you love (A shot of John Williams conducting an orchestra is shown) film music? Do you want to feel deep, (The poster for Gregory Peck's To Kill a Mockingbird is shown) but not from subtle good movies, but rather (The poster for Will Smith's I Am Legend is shown) from ones where shit blows up? (The years "2000-2010" are shown) Are you living between the years of 2000 and 2010? Then do we have the perfect soundtrack for you!
(An image appears of a made-up CD showing a woman on it (played by Tamara) with red hair and sunglasses and looking angsty as she stands before a microphone. The announcer reads the title on the CD)
Announcer: It's "One Woman Wailing"! All of your classics are here, (The Avatar poster is shown) like "Ah!" from Avatar...
(Cut to the woman in the recording booth as she records the classic, with the accompanying text of what she's wailing)
Announcer: ...as well as (The poster for District 9 is shown) "Aye-ya-ya-ya-hey!" from District 9.
Woman: (text accompanying) Ah Ya Ya Ya Heeeey...
Announcer: Who can forget (The poster for Gladiator is shown) "Ooh, no, yah" from Gladiator?
Woman: (text accompanying) Ooooh No Ya...
Announcer: And of course, (The poster for The Passion of the Christ is shown) "Mmm, ya-ha!" from The Passion.
Woman: (text accompanying) Mmmm Ya Ha...
Announcer: We know you're sick of that one track from (Poster of...) Platoon being played over and over. You want something new that can be easily duplicated and manipulative.
(As we cut back to the woman "singing" and the announcer continues, a list of movie titles slides up the screen: Avatar, Black Hawk Down, District 9, Hulk, Kingdom of Heaven, Crash, The Passion, Matrix Revolutions)
Announcer: Is it a foreign language or complete gibberish? Who cares? You can act like that pretentious action movie is more important than it is because you know there's a woman screaming and crying on the soundtrack. So now it's art. Whether it's Hulk, Crash or even Matrix Revolutions, "One Woman Wailing" will always be there to make sure you won't sleep soundly.
(As the woman reaches a crescendo, she falls over, and then the CD pops up again)
Announcer: "One Woman Wailing". It means something...I think.
Channel Awesome tagline – Col. Quaritch: Limp-dick science majors!
(The credits roll)