Avatar Fails at Storytelling?

In an attempt to infiltrate an alien clan native to a planet called Pandora, a paraplegic ex-marine named Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is chosen to replace his late brother in a mission to gain the trust of the Na’vi tribe.  The military’s mission is to use whatever means necessary to obtain a natural resource in Pandora’s ground, which is a mineral that could significantly benefit Earth.  The only problem is that the Na’vi rest upon the very spot where the mineral resides, and they will not be forced to move from their sacred land.  Advanced technology and mixed human-Na’vi DNA allow Sully to take on the shape and form of a Na’vi alien, which is known to humans as an avatar “suit.”

With the help of the deceiving avatar suit, Sully is soon accepted into the Na’vi tribe after a series of teachings and incidents in which he proves to be worthy of the Na’vi way.  During his mission, he finds himself unexpectedly in love with the tribe leader’s daughter, Neytiri.  The story begins to unravel the true loyalty of Sully when he is forced to choose sides, while the fate of the Na’vi lay in the balance.

The movie Avatar was a very powerful movie for me.  Contrary to what some people are saying about the film, I wouldn’t have been disillusioned without the 3-D or CGI effects.  James Cameron did a spectacular job capturing his vision on screen.  For anyone that criticizes the film over the lack of an extraordinary script and virtually total reliance on stunning visual effects, wake up.  So what if the majority of the movie was in CGI; it’s a fantasy world, unless you can go find a set in a space similar to Pandora. The script didn’t take a backseat to CGI, but rather, it all worked seamlessly together to bring us into a place that only some of us could ever dream of. The CGI and 3-D were both added influences, but I don’t give all the credit of my enjoyment of the film to those two aspects.  It was a beautiful story told in a beautiful world.

A love story with action and imagery full of wonder, but it was also a story about trust, loyalty, betrayal, forgiveness, and strong bonds made between souls — not just shallowly seen as alien or human.  It was a great film that reached far into the corners of your imagination, revealing the splendor and the pure respect for a place whose inhabitants appreciate and interact with their world; all the while, they never lose sight of the wonders that were given to them.  Maybe Avatar is also trying to hint to us what we as a human race should think about as we continue to move forward into a technology-driven, money-hungry world at the expense of our planet and its people.

HBO’s True Blood: All Talk, No Bite?

True Blood is a new HBO drama series that premiered on September 7 of this year. It is based off of the Sookie Stackhouse book series by Charlaine Harris. The setting takes place in the deep South and stars Anna Paquin as the main character, Sookie. True Blood tells a story about vampires and humans co-existing with each other in society; however, the two groups remain much more separate in their own areas of town by their own preference. Although they live among each other, there is tension and trust issues between both groups. So far, the main plot revolves around a love story between Sookie and an age-old vampire, Bill (played by Stephen Moyer). The show has also taken a focus on an unknown killer murdering people in the town — someone who sees a new target in Sookie. There are a bunch of other characters engaging in their own story lines as well. In a series where vampires exist, there are bound to be other strange mysterious characters to come in the story ahead.

This show has been renewed for a second season and appears to be getting a good fan base. Some people just love this show. I’ve always been interested in anything vampire-related. When I first saw True Blood, I just thought it was a little cheesy. I mean the story doesn’t seem bad, but I don’t think it translates well on TV. It can really come across as a silly show, and I can’t figure out if the script is making actors seem like bad actors or if it’s the actors’ own doing. In my opinion, this show could be a lot better than what it is.

Since there were some nights where I couldn’t find anything to watch, I’d end up giving the show another shot. I became patient to see the story unfold, and I actually began to look forward to watching a new episode. I still can’t shake the feeling though that sometimes the show is painfully cheesy. Some people will only watch about three minutes of it and laugh hysterically — either at the story line or the actors — and they’ll get this are-you-serious look on their face and plainly say, “This show is so stupid.” I know how they feel though because that was me before and I’m still a little hesitant about the show’s quality.

Nonetheless, True Blood has reached a lot of people and made fans out of them. Check it out for yourself and be your own judge. True Blood airs Sunday nights at 9pm on HBO.

Two Movie Trailer Versions of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

Harry Potter is back again! Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opens in U.S. theaters on July 17, 2009. Who doesn’t like Harry Potter movies? I have not met one person. The trailers look awesome and the movie looks to be really good. Creativity really comes alive in these movies. J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter novels, must have been tapping into her inner child when she visualized and imagined such a fun story line. Not only do the Harry Potter movies deliver mystical fantasy scenes that tickle the creative mind, but they also tell a story of magical danger, good vs. evil, love and friendship in an extraordinary world.

Remember… July 17, 2009 (if you’re outside of the U.S., click here to get your release date). Mark your calendar!

Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans

Movie sequels have a bittersweet spot in my heart because you never know if you’re going to get a sequel that raises the bar or one that totally plays out/outdates a once-untouchable story. Do any of these movies ring a bell in the category of luke-warm sequels? Jurassic Park, The Mummy, or Scream.

Now, I loved Underworld (2003), and I was so excited for Underworld Evolution (2006) when it was first released. I thought the movie was going to be great; to some people, it was. For me, the experience was a completely different one. Somehow, there seemed to be a certain disconnection from the first movie, and why was Markus so incredibly non-human?! Sure, he was one of the original vampires, but come on, so was Viktor. Markus was literally just this vampire monster that flew around killing. There was no real insight into his character, which took away that special element to any movie—that element that engages the audience into the real depth of a story through its main characters (heroes and villains alike).

But what’s that I hear? An Underworld 3! Not a sequel exactly, but a prequel. I was a little hesitant when I heard about Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (watch the trailer here), which is due to hit U.S. theaters January 23, 2009. However, leave it to the video editors to make an awesome trailer and I’m a fan again! With pretty much the same writers from Underworld and Underworld Evolution (including Len Wiseman, who by the way, isn’t directing this third installment), the story line shouldn’t stray too far from its roots.

Can Underworld 3 redeem itself and bring back thrilling, action-packed scenes on top of a gripping story? I hope so, because I’m game!