Even before the movie was over, I knew the haters were going to sound off about the overrated state of James Cameron’s Avatar, primarily due to the derivative nature of the plot. I thought Oh, so it’s like Dances With Wolves Meets The Matrix. That’s cool. And it is, really.
Update (4/9/2010): Since this is such a popular post, I highly recommend perusing my updated opinion on the nature of this story.
That is the main complaint right out of the gate, though, and even startup buzzkill complaints like what frakking font they used for subtitles can’t escape the comments section mob. They all huddle under the banner of Originality. They decry the sin of spending so much money on a project, and not letting some of it go to a creative story. I’m on the opposite pole. I think Cameron’s shrewdness is stellar, because “creative” can often spell doom to a film as ambitious as this. If I was investing 300 million on a world like Pandora, I would want to tell a story that’s tried and true. Tested and well-received.
Dances With Wolves and The Last Samurai told similar stories, yes. But we eat that shit up, and therefore it’s not lazy of Cameron. It’s a business decision. Anyway, setting that nitpick of story aside, you have a serious success in the presentation of a movie. And, the next big step in visual effects, especially 3-D technology.