Really, Avatar Is The Best Picture?

Who’s in the mood for a conspiracy theory?

Not one involving weighty matters like why it took an earthquake for people to care about the western hemisphere’s poorest nation or how NBC’s ratings are going sky high with a brouhaha between two comedians no one was watching a week earlier.

This conspiracy involves why critics are drooling over the box office behemoth Avatar.

Why is it the same critics who trashed GI Joe and Transformers 2 completely reconstituted their rules for what makes a good movie when Avatar came out? Did the 3-D rob them of their senses?

Get ready, because I’m going to propose a controversial and completely irresponsible theory.

The newspaper industry is dying. Subscribers have been way down because they can receive the same information for free on the internet. But what’s hurting newspapers worse is the slow down in advertising. One of the few streams that hasn’t run dry is supplied by the movie studios. Two page advertisements showing quotes from newspaper critics are printed next to an article with the same critic’s byline.

Is it that far flung to believe Fox which had already spent 300 million on Avatar wouldn’t spend  300,000 more to ensure good publicity? Wouldn’t a top notch review encourage them to step up their advertising commitments?

I consider myself to have integrity, but if a representative of Fox dropped a suitcase with 25,000 in it I would most probably take down my Jar Jar Binks: The Movie posting and replace it with How Avatar Helped Me Beat Cancer and spend the next few weeks reviewing the topless beaches of Spain (Fox representatives, we can make this happen).

Maybe I’m being cynical and all the holiday egg nog robbed the critics collectively of their senses. But shouldn’t the newspaper industry which at one point prided itself on  a lack oF bias be more careful with the seeming conflict of interests between the movie reviews and the movie advertisements? Perhaps they could constitute a rule that they will not run an ad that has a quote from one of their critics.

Or they could just stay true to one of their few steady sources of revenue.


6 thoughts on “Really, Avatar Is The Best Picture?

  1. What’s up, Dave? Happy New Year! I read your previous post about Avatar and how you didn’t see it in IMAX-3D. I have to say, this film NEEDS to be watched in the way that it was intended to be watched – in all of its grandiose, 3-dimensional splendor. You could almost say that the glasses worn during the film are similar to the exclusive hair-bond that was formed between the Na’vi and the animals. There are so many times when you are watching the film and you feel as if you, yourself, are right there in the scene with the characters.
    Granted, the story may not have been the most original idea to grace the big screen. But, the technological advances more than compensate for whatever cliches and bromides may have been stretched out repetitively. I think for this reason, the film is receiving all the accolades that it has. And, for this reason, this type of movie-making is opening new doors for what one can experience as a cinemagoer.

  2. I agree that something like the theory you describe is likely. Whether deliberate conspiracy or unconscious gremlin in the media and culture, I don’t know. I am not familiar with these reviews you’ve referred to, but someone should have not liked it. The set-up/pay offs (Cameron’s characteristic) were painfully on the nose. The beginning of the film is very slow and clumsy, and too much is straight from Aliens.

    That being said, I absolutely loved it! But what I love about it has much less to do with the film critic in me, and more about rooting for the Earth and humanity’s indigenous spirit. Some might say that’s why it got all the great reviews, as it truly connected with people mythologically. I don’t think that’s true with the critics, but I don’t know. I’m pretty sure though that is the reason people like it.

    But the 3D experience is important because it really takes you to the place.

  3. I don’t smell any conspiracy. I just thought that was standard practice for the tabloids. Why not just tune into Jorge Pennocio ( channel 7 news ) and get all the same shameless agrandizing.

    The 3D, as impressive as it looks, didn’t make it any more “real” for me. Those damn glasses are just plain annoying. I got sucked in. I only saw Avatar because of the technology. I saw Titanic because I wanted to see the ship sink. James Cameron is the avatar of his own creation “Skynet” and tecnology will indeed one day reign as we willingly succumb to it as our brains shrink in all its awesomeness.

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