Avatar (2009)

Avatar nc

Release Date
May 27, 2020
Running Time
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(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 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?

Cameron: Huh?

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.

Cameron: Huh?

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 Dance 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, Frengully, 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...

(Cut abruptly to a clip of X-Men Origins: Wolverine)

Wolverine (Hugh Jackman): (to Gambit)'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 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.

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