After reading “Art and ‘Avatar’” (Jan 13), I felt obliged to reply in some way. Although the article was well-written and thoughtful, Timmia Hearn Feldman overlooked quite a bit.
The plot of “Avatar” was quite similar to that of the 1991 film “Dances with Wolves,” which won the Oscar for best picture the year. But while that film was well written and executed, the plot of “Avatar” was flat, clichéd and ridiculous: telling of humanoid (Native American) cardboard-cutout aliens on a Earth-like planet which contained deposits of “unobtainium.” Was Michael Bay afraid we might miss the hint? Unobtanium?
The flaws of “Avatar” highlight failings of recent American movies. Designed to get people out of their living rooms (with plasma screens and Blu-ray players) and into theaters, movies have become spectacles rather than carefully crafted tales. Plot is sacrificed to in order to increase the base of appeal.
Hearn Feldman missed the point; “Avatar” was a revolutionary film for one reason — its extensive use of computer-generated avatars. This film signals a paradigm shift in digital technology. It means that we have almost reached the point where filmmakers can erase the line between reality and fiction. For a while, we may have to endure trite plots and clichés in exchange for spectacle. However, when stunning graphics become the norm, I hope that people will demand more from their movies. Then perhaps we can have the best of both worlds.
The writer is a sophomore in Calhoun College.