Star Wars vs. Avatar

[from the vaults, July 10, 2011]

Big conversation yesterday at knitting about Star Wars vs. Avatar. (Talking about the first Star Wars film, here.)

My main objection to Avatar is that there isn’t one quotable line in the whole shebang.

In a film speculated to have cost anywhere from $230 million (The New Yorker) to nearly $500 million (The New York Times), it seems like spending a couple of million on a decent writer wouldn’t have been a bad idea. Avatar is beautiful to look at, the new film tech is spectacular, it is unquestionably a game changer, definitely a, um, Star Wars moment in film history, but there is isn’t a single line in it to compare with

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.


Aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper?

or, hell, even

May the Force be with you.

Don’t get me wrong, I will forever revere James Cameron for Aliens

and Terminator 2

the sources of many great lines, like

They can bill me.


Anybody not wearing 2 million sunblock is gonna have a real bad day.

but there is nothing remotely approaching this caliber of dialogue in Avatar. Although at knitting yesterday Marian did remind me there was one memorable word.


Obvious, much?

Chatter Random Friday

Dana View All →

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6 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Only writers seem to KNOW that movies are written and that writing makes a difference.

    Most people appear to think that actors make up the words as they go along.

    PS: I am not “beautiful eyes” though I admit mine are splendid. Beauzeaux is a French bozo.

  2. I agree with your comment about the lack of good lines. But AVATAR is a hodgepodge of plot lines, all of which have been done many times and it is a remarkable film for the technology, not for the quality of the screenplay or the writing. Cameron borrowed from many people, some of them among the best SF writers of our time and displayed remarkable talent and perseverance in the creation of this movie. Unlike his previous movies, the screenplay was his own creation and the wisdom that appears to apply here is, “Talent hits targets that no one else can; genius sees things no one else can see.” The talent here is undeniable and there is genius in the technology, but the writing and characterization is relatively flat. I have seen this movie three times in theaters, once in regular screen, once on the large IMAX, screen and once at home on a rental. The regular screen movie was incredibly good and the IMAX 3D so impressive that any faults with the plot or dialogue disappear into the spectacle of the film. When everything else is said, the writing, plotting and characterization fall far short of the technical accomplishments. If the requirements for the latter areas had been as rigorous, this movie would be one for the ages. As it stands, right now it sets the benchmark for movie technology and on that basis alone is remarkable.

  3. Dana,

    Went to San Mateo to see Craig Johnson and hear him speak about the new one, “Hell is Empty”. Picked up the book and read it in two sittings. Craig’s talk was helpful in following the story, but I’m beginning to wonder if his talent is a bit bigger than his books have indicated so far. There’s definitely a lot of brains inside that cowboy hat. And I’m not disparaging his books, either. He’s certainly got a lot more going on than the straight modern westerns his books first appeared to be.

    Also, speaking of space opera, have you had a chance to read Brin’s “Star Tide Rising” yet? That’s a book that could be made into a hell of movie or mini series and would probably provide some great lines, as well.



  4. I’m only well acquainted with one of these films (“I have a bad feeling about this” being one of my favorite lines), but I do know that I want to come knit with you.

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