Vanilla is a product of Lussumo:Documentation and Support.
1 to 19 of 19
While I do agree with you regarding Zoe Saldana and the movie's visual effects, I think that you give the job that James Cameron did on the plot more credit than it's due honestly. How is this movie, fundamentally, any different than a ton of other movies where "X white person joins Y group (be they PoC, aliens, or some other oppressed minority) to study them, discovers they are some take on the Noble Savage trope, and sides with them over his former corporate/military/imperial masters"?
The characters themselves were also cliche in just about every way, showing about as much depth as paper cut-out shadow-puppets, with the female pilot being an almost exact knock off of Vasquez from Aliens
and Sigourney Weaver's character (and I did enjoy Sigourney Weaver) being like every other lead scientist in a movie who is saddled with some know-nothing layperson who eventually has their respect earned by their bumbling-yet-successful ways.
I mean, can we not have a bad-ass female who isn't Latina?
And the thing is I don't think that the *plot* achieved that. Were some of the performances good? Yes. The setting and the visual effects good? Yes. The plot was the same hacknied, recycled cliche in a host of other movies. Hell, we saw the same plot, with only slight adaptations, in Fern Gully.
I would argue that Vasquez was a little bit more than that, she obviously cared about her compatriots and wasn't
I agree with you that what Weaver brought to the character was good but it still doesn't change the fact we've seen that character, without any significant change other than what the actor brings to it,
Where I think this movie went right is that the N'avi aren't out to save their world just because it is pretty and they are conservational noble savages. They literally have a link to their planet and can actually commune with it. The "natural internet" description is pretty spot on.
See, the thing for me is that I don't necessarily see such things as particularly attributed to the person who wrote the script. Sure, Cameron wrote the dialog (or at least most of it) as did the writers of Gran Torino and Up, but would the performance of those characters be quite the same if we didn't have the people acting them the way they did? Look at V is for Vendetta: I think Hugo Weaving's job as V was fucking inspired and I wholeheartedly believe that the character of V would probably not have been done as well if done by a particular other person. Same thing with Gran Torino and UP; the characters might be slightly cliche but it is often the actor, not the script, that make them little more than caricature. Also, arguably, your two examples have underlying plot reasons of why those individuals are both at the same time cliche and not; in Avatar we have an angry Marine commander who is simply an angry Marine commander. Sure, he might have some scars across his face but he has about as much depth as a piece of printer paper. Neytiri was, in many ways, the cliche native who falls for the White guy/savior who ends up with feelings (misplaced or otherwise) of betrayal but it was the job that the actress did in performing that cliche that made it more than that.
To put it simply: I think the individual actors, by the way they went about performing the cliche writing of Cameron, made the movie better. My comments aren't directed at their good (or mediocre, I don't think anyone was truly bad) performances but at what they had to build off of; I don't find the overall plot of the movie any more than an overdone cliche and that the movie is saved by individual performances and the brilliance of the visuals. I think that if Cameron hadn't pulled off the look of the movie as well as he did it would've been a flop. Maybe not an Ishtar-sized flop but still a flop.
I know exactly the scene you're talking about (TLS happens to be one of my favorite, guilty pleasure movies) and I agree.