There are only so many times you can hear about a cinema classic, without giving in to the pressure of watching it. The guilt surrounding your lack of enthusiasm around a movie that appears to have turned the whole world upside down, dragging with it the expectations of film making as we have come to know it, forces you to need to watch something (even if you’re not really that bothered.) This is what happened to me with James Cameron’s Avatar: much to the chagrin of planet Earth…I didn’t like it.
As far as I was aware, as I walked into that cinema with my dad, not really fussed about if I saw the movie about blue people or just went home, this movie was going to be the best film I had ever seen. Even better than Clueless which, to me, was not an easy feat.
I sat down, and as the lights dimmed and the popcorn rustling and straw slurps began to subside, I strapped myself in for an experience I thought would change my life. Spoiler alert: it didn’t.
I endured that CGI behemoth from start to finish, sat in a scratchy, red cinema seat that, I could tell, a lot of other people had sat in before me. One feeling overwhelmed me in this dark room, and it was one that I would continue to question until this day: boredom.
I came out of the movie with questions; so many questions. Had I watched it wrong? Had I just accidentally gone to see the wrong film? Why were they blue? I was so confused, I kept these questions to myself. I wasn’t going to let my ‘misconception’ of Avatar prevent me from being up-to-date with the world of film. I decided to have no opinion, and just let the world pass me by.
Then university rolled around. The place where you either have an opinion, or you are wrong. The conversation started about good films. Inception: obviously. The Dark Knight: definitely. Avatar: here is where I shut up. As someone who is highly opinionated on every other subject there is, especially film, my silence was deafening. It got to the point where I had to just come out and say it.
I don’t like Avatar. After a few minutes of silence and scattered gasps, the question of ‘Why?’ was thrown about with the same shock that I would have felt if someone told me that they didn’t like Christmas. I plucked up the courage, and simply said: “I just didn’t really get it.”
Silence. Then came the explanations. Somehow, through all the hidden meanings and deep readings and the fact that the blue people were metaphors, I took a step back. Why were people so defensive about this film that is, at best, alright? I couldn’t understand it.
I still, to this day, do not understand it. It’s convoluted, it’s long-winded, and it’s genuinely only mildly entertaining. In all my years, I have tried desperately to like this movie that has alluded me for so long. And now, I have accepted my dislike for a movie that most other people agree is one of the best movies ever made.
As soon as I heard about the sequels, and the world at Disney, and the excitement that surrounded this weird revival of what is, essentially, a more sophisticated and detailed reimagination of where the Blue Meanie is from, I was perplexed. Why was this one of the most celebrated movies ever? Why did it gross so much?
Luckily, for me, I now know that my Dad also agrees with me. He believes it is overrated, and that the hype surrounding it is a bit excessive. The entire situation is ridiculous. If anything, I find it more creepy than entertaining. Guillermo del Toro could have directed it and it probably would have made a lot more sense in my head.
Despite this, people still love it. Even though it has been knocked off of the top spot now by, luckily, a movie I genuinely believe is brilliant, it still lingers in people’s minds like a perfect representation of the science fiction genre. And although I disagree, I have faith in the fact that the multiple sequels that are to be regurgitated out of the money-making machine that is, essentially, an over glorified cartoon, people will begin to realise that Avatar is, actually, just a bit rubbish.