Crispy Gamer

The Jones Report: So I went to a screening of Avatar last night...

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I let out an audible groan when the guy introducing Avatar at the Scotiabank theater last night announced that it was "almost three hours long."

Goddamn it. Three hours is one hour too long for a movie, in my opinion. I've got games to play, cats to pet, and Christmas presents to open

As soon as the lights went down and the movie began, I leaned over to Victor Lucas and whispered, "Only three more hours to go."

That's right--I'm a real hoot to go to the movies with.

I enjoyed the movie. Even after those almost three hours, I was genuinely sad when it ended. I wanted more, which is downright miraculous after three hours.

My cold, cynical heart was moved--no small feat.

Man, all I kept thinking through out the thing is how creatively bankrupt those last three Star Wars movies were. I know once in awhile we like to fondly remember the third movie as being kind of good, as if George needed the first two movies to get warmed up again. After seeing this movie, it's painfully, painfully obvious that George has not only been resting on his laurels; he's been sound asleep on his laurels for 25-plus years now. If/when he sees this movie, man, is he ever going to eat his hat.

Last weekend while at the Ready At Dawn holiday party (you can read about my studio visit here), Teti admitted that he'd never seen Aliens. This news literally made Gus and I stagger around like Fred Sanford pretending he was "having the big one, Elizabeth."

Enroute back to Vancouver, all I kept thinking about was Aliens and how long it has been since I'd seen that movie. What a film! I couldn't get it out of my head, so one night earlier this week, I put my coat on and grabbed an umbrella, and with my hair sticking up all over my head and my teeth unbrushed, I hurried to the nearby Future Shop before closing time. I wanted the Blu-ray of Aliens.

There is no Blu-ray of Aliens, as some of you probably know. It's not out on Blu-ray for some inexplicable reason. You want depressing? Try walking home in the rain after coming up empty on a self-indulgent impulse trip. That's depressing.

What impressed me about Avatar is how JC (!) continues to evolve and change not only as a filmmaker, but as a human being. His movies have always used cutting edge technology, and celebrated cutting edge technology. They are exercises in the fetishization of weapons, guns, bigger guns, high tech, gun ships, bots, etc. Think about Ripley and her mech suit and her get-away-from-her-you-bitch moment. That fight is fair only because Ripley is wearing the suit. Consider Titanic (which I despised, yet I couldn't look away from all of the awesome disaster shit in the third act). The boat itself was a monumental piece of technology that's been recreated using modern-day filmmaking technology, and then is destroyed--or re-destroyed--via that same technology. It's a story that's ultimately about Nature pantsing Man. It's Nature saying, "Go ahead and build your wonder ship; this little iceberg will undo all you've done."

And that brings me to Avatar (a movie that, I have to confess, I originally thought had something to do with those awful videogames based on the animated series about a bald kung-fu boy).

All I'll say is this: Who could have predicted that, late in life, JC would become a closet tree-hugging liberal?

Bless you, JC, for growing, changing, evolving, and for adding another holy-shit experience to your already superb resume.

You may rest on your laurels now, but only briefly.