Does Anyone Care About Avatar Anymore?

I don’t know if any movie has ever had a stranger life than Avatar. When this thing dropped, it was a phenomenon. It broke box office records, set a new standard for 3-D cinema, won the Golden Globe for Best Drama and people forget this, but it almost won the Academy Award for Best Picture. This was a film that was the highest grossing film of all-time for almost 10 years and yet today, almost 12 years after its release, it seems to have made very little impact on pop culture and the world of cinema. According to that poll, most people haven’t even seen it in a decade. This was a film that at the time many people believed was going to change movies, but it hasn’t. Why is that? How has a film that was such a massive deal when it came out only become a footnote in history? 

To start off, the characters are mostly pretty lame. You ever watch the Red Letter Media reviews for the Star Wars prequels? If you haven’t, look them up, they’re the Citizen Kane of film criticism, but in their review of The Phantom Menace they did a thing where they asked several people to describe a character without bringing up their name, clothing, or profession. They were easily able to describe all the characters from the Original Trilogy and they struggled to describe the characters from the Prequel Trilogy. 

I’m gonna take that a step further. If you’re reading this article, I want you to give me the name of ONE of the characters in Avatar, just one. And no, “wheel chair guy”, “army dude”, and “corporate muckity muck” are not acceptable answers. James Cameron made a film so thin on character that you don’t even know some of these people’s names. Yes, the Navi are far and away the heart of the film but they don’t have enough screen time to really be considered main players except for Zoe Saldana’s character. A blockbuster film doesn’t become a classic because of that one scene where something got blowed up real good, they became classics because you’re drawn to the characters, and the characterization in this film is suspect at best.  

The other big reason this film never became a classic is because it so desperately wanted to be. James Cameron came out during Comic Con in 2009 and essentially said that Avatar was going to be a film that was going to change cinema. James Cameron is a genius. He’s made some of the greatest movies of all-time, but filmmakers don’t dictate which of their movies are going to change cinema, audiences do. Audiences have a tendency to be pretty stupid, but they don’t like being told that what they’re watching is important.

There’s a level of pretension that has always wafted over Avatar like a stinky fart. It’s too bad because honestly, I really like this movie. Yeah, I know I haven’t said my feelings about it yet but I really like it. I borderline love it actually. It is very flawed, the characterization is weak and the story, while not bad, is incredibly familiar. It’s FernGully, it’s Dances With Wolves, it’s Pocahontas, but they do a lot with it. The visuals are still stunning. The imagination that went into creating Pandora is awe inspiring. You get wrapped up in the world of the Navi. In terms of visuals, creating an entire universe using nothing except your imagination and whole lot of computers, there still hasn’t been a movie that’s done it better. No, this movie was not the game changing, cinematic home run that changed movies forever, but it was a cinematic double that at least affected how filmmakers use CG technology. This movie showed that motion capture is here to stay, and films like The Planet Of the Apes trilogy, The Hobbit, and Kong: Skull Island have followed in Avatar’s footsteps in regards to how they used their CG characters. I don’t believe we have a Ceaser if not for Avatar, AND I DON’T WANNA LIVE IN A WORLD WITHOUT CEASER! 


James Cameron is currently in the process of making 4 MORE SEQUELS to Avatar! I don’t see that happening. I just don’t thing the demand is there for them. I’m definitely intrigued and genuinely curious though, not so much about the quality of the films, I’m sure they’ll be fine, but more so the box office results. When you tell people they’re making Avatar sequels most people’s response is “Meh”. In 2009, Avatar was the biggest film ever, but 12 years later we’ve seen big budget films get even bigger. We’ve seen Planet Of The Apes, we’ve seen stuff like Avengers: Endgame, we’ve seen an entirely new Star Wars trilogy. And then there’s Avatar, and 12 years after its release, will anyone even care about the sequels? That the billion dollar, or in Avatar’s case, the 2.79 billion dollar question.