Thoughts on Avatar

>> Monday, December 28, 2009

It seems like everybody, or just about, is doing blog posts about Avatar these days, so I guess it only seems appropriate for me to offer up my thoughts. Sure, it's jumping on a bandwagon and all that, but what the hell?

On the balance, naturally, I like Avatar. After all, if a short, old, fat genius can score with a buxom faerie princess, presumably there's hope for me, right? He's clever, quick-witted, resourceful and forgiving. His compassion extends to evil assassin robots and traitors. He loves his mother. He likes going barefoot, which I kind of dig, though I suppose that's kind of a wizardly privilege (I mean, other people who step in radioactive sludge mutate or have their feet fall off, but Avatar can probably just twinkle it off--so you might consider the barefootery kind of ostentatious and rubbing it in). He's a nice guy, all-in-all, really.

But he's not perfect. First of all, he's a package deal--I mean, no Avatar, no Blackwolf, and no Blackwolf means that the inhabitants of Scortch would probably keep mostly to themselves, not to mention the Nazi propaganda would stay in those caves. Also, Avatar has his character flaws: he's stubborn, easily pricked, and he cheats at magical duels to the death. (Okay, so the last one I sort of understand; still, it kind of makes him a little bit dishonorable and kind of a hypocrite, right?) And you have to wonder about the ethics of Avatar's relationship with Elinore: technically, he's her teacher and yet he's sleeping with her--isn't that a pretty obvious conflict-of-interest? It would certainly be frowned upon by any schools still eking out an existence in the irradiated wastelands, and probably grounds for dismissal from the faculty.

I suppose I do identify with Avatar, when all is said and done: I'm funny and smart (if I do say so myself), but I'm also stubborn and a little irascible. Also, I wouldn't kick Elinore out of my bed, heaven help me, even if it did compromise the whole teacher-student dynamic. I even have a beard now, although it's obviously not nearly the length of Avatar's awesome growth. And I'd probably shoot my twin brother in the face if I had to, especially if he had some kind of creepy skeleton-arm thing going on, I mean, what the fuck is up with that? Is that a dad's-side-of-the-family thing or something?

And as an old Ralph Bakshi fan, I'm obviously happy that one of his better-done characters is suddenly and unaccountably popular again. I know Bakshi's wanted to do a sequel to Wizards for years--maybe now that everybody's blogging about Avatar and doing Google searches for Avatar and talking about Avatar, maybe now the money will be forthcoming at last. He deserves it, he's been burned by studios too many times.



Nathan Monday, December 28, 2009 at 6:28:00 PM EST  

I've never seen either one.


Jeff Hentosz Monday, December 28, 2009 at 7:34:00 PM EST  

"I'm glad you changed your last name, you son of a bitch!"

(Some great lines but, man, too many 30-years-past-sell-by-date ones as well. That's a movie that did not age well. XD)

Eric Monday, December 28, 2009 at 8:07:00 PM EST  

Like a lot of Bakshi's work, it's horribly uneven. I'm not sure it could age well. Part of what makes Bakshi special is that his movies have always aimed higher than what he could ever hope to achieve with his budget, or with the talent available to him, or beneath the studio he was affiliated with, etc. The result is that Bakshi's career, in many ways, is a catalogue of absolutely brilliant failures--that doesn't sound admirable, but I do admire him for it.

Wizards has some great lines and some beautiful conceptual art (especially some really lovely background stuff from the brilliant and distinctive F/SF artist Ian Miller). But it's also kind of a mess of a movie, bless its heart.

I still love it. Wouldn't necessarily say it's a good movie, and yet it's a great one, if you know what I mean.

Jeff Hentosz Monday, December 28, 2009 at 8:56:00 PM EST  

I know. To this day, my brother (especially) and I count American Pop among our favoritest movies.

Jim Wright Monday, December 28, 2009 at 10:21:00 PM EST  

Bah, the storyline was old and tired and done far better in Dances with Asteroids.

vince Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at 10:05:00 AM EST  

I own a number of Bakshi films, including Wizards and Fritz the Cat (yes, I know, Crumb hated it). I agree that Bakshi's films are uneven, but they're (for me) almost always interesting.

Jeri Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at 9:55:00 PM EST  

I went to see it last night but then it started snowing really hard - so we gave up and will try again tomorrow.

And: yeah, with a little charm, you could probably score with a buxom fairy princess. Or six. ROFL

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