Avengers Bests Avatar at Box Office – But Avatar Is Still #1 in My Heart

avatar na'vi man and woman in blue
Hawkeye would fit right in on Pandora.

Avatar is one of my all time favorite movies.  So I’m a little torn that Avengers: Endgame has broken its box office record. Yes, it’s cool that a superhero movie is now the reigning box office champ of all time.

Endgame is the reigning champ

And it’s an impressive feat wrapping up 11 years worth of a series of movies so successfully.  Some series never even make it off the ground (I’m looking at you King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and The Mummy 2017).  Other series have no expiration date (*ahem*James Bond *ahem*).  So to wrap up an epic story in an emotionally satisfying way is no small feat.  Marvel deserves all the kudos they are receiving.

And it’s not that I’m not a fan of Marvel or the actors involved.  I was a Robert Downey Junior fan long before Iron Man came out.  I loved watching Paul Rudd and Mark Ruffalo in art house films for years.  I’ve adored Scarlett Johansson since Lost in Translation.  I’ve crushed on Gwyneth Paltrow ever since Shakespeare in Love.

So Endgame meant as much to me as anyone else.

avatar by james cameron
Avatars In Love.

What I love about Avatar

But, Avatar.  Avatar is something different. It came out of nowhere and wasn’t part of a franchise or any preexisting property.  James Cameron took audiences to another world.  Avatar reflected my spirituality. For instance, the idea that we are all connected.  Plus, it came out at a time in my life when I needed a beautiful world to escape to.

It could be worse

If it had to happen, I’m glad Avatar was beaten by another movie I like.  At least it wasn’t a Jason Bourne film or a Transformers movie or a Fast and the Furious entry (they look fun, but I don’t keep up with them).

Still, it does kind of sting.  And it feels like Daddy beat Mommy at a
popularity contest.  As long as no one gives Jason Bourne super powers, I guess I’ll be okay.

(Kevin Feige, if you’re reading this, that Howard the Duck/Spider-Ham movie would really ease my pain.)

Movie review : Avatar

Endgame spoiler free review – We got what we needed!

Why Avatar Deserves to be the Number 1 Movie Over Avengers: Endgame

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Movie Review — Titanic

Is there any movie more touching and exciting than Titanic? And the first time you watch it, it’s completely unexpected. I didn’t even want to see this in the theater, and resisted for months. Fool that I am, I figured, “Yeah, it sinks. I know what happens. Why see it?

I was never so glad to be so wrong. The hype was deserved. The small, interpersonal story is so damn good you even forget the ship is going down forever, that thousands of people will die in sub-freezing water for no other reason than White Star Lines’ vanity. Man, I sobbed for the entire final act at my first viewing. Some scenes — like seeing the old couple, terrified, holding each other in bed as the waters rise — still make the tears flow. And I hold my breath as Rose and Jack do on the far stern, when they are sucked into the ocean. (We’ll just call that my 4D interactive experience. I do this in The Abyss too.)

The heart of the story is Rose and Jack: actors DiCaprio and Winslet exhibit charming charisma, chemistry, and commitment to their forbidden inter-class love affair.

The sparkling James Horner soundtrack helps, as well as the indelible visuals of the gigantic, “unsinkable” ship. The big screen viewing’s sense of scale draws you right now. DVDs don’t do it justice.

Bill Paxton’s framing story adds the perfect storytelling device, bridging past and present in a poignant way, making the heroes, villains, and tragic deaths more meaningfully real. The old decayed ship on the sea floor morphs into the Ship of Dreams, where the “the china had never been used. The sheets had never been slept in. ” You just get chills. It’s a storytelling triumph: James Cameron went to extraordinary lengths (and expense) to film the actual submerged remains, bringing us to that forbidding, painful, fascinating setting.

This sh!t happened. A cascade of small mistakes, human hubris, and major design oversights led to over 1500 people dying horribly, unnecessarily, in the far North Pacific on April 15, 1912.

Through the fabulous medium of movies, at their best, you get to feel and care for real history, even if the two main characters here are fictional. I love this movie so much that I now devour any books, movies, or museum exhibits on the Titanic. Yes, I do.

Does this movie need RunPee? Um, do sharks swim? YES. It’s really really really long. Loooooong. So long that it needs two DVDs to play on a home theater. If Titanic came out now, we’d probably have to have four or more Peetimes…a human bladder can only go so long. (But my heart will go on…)

Movie Grade – A+

Movie Review – The Terminator

He came back.

The Terminator is one of the truly perfect films in the science fiction genre. Sure, there are temporal paradox/causality loop issues, but you have to handwave that and go along with the premise. And why not? If you’re going to tell a time travel story about what happens when the singularity occurs — and it turns out AI cyborgs decide to eradicate Man — it doesn’t get better than this. Argue all you like, Asimov fans. 😉

This is heart-pounding action with a bit of sweet, wistful romance, some humor, magnificent chase scenes, a great urban 1980s setting, fatal mistakes by a rookie Sarah Connor, sardonic wisdom from the young, war-hardened time traveler, and a really scary unstoppable killing machine.

Everyone showed a spirited commitment to their unlikely roles. There are some interesting early ‘cameos’, like Bill Paxton as a young punk. I still have a crush on Michael Biehn’s Kyle Reese (who played the equally awesome but essentially same character in the fantastically-scary-but-delicious Aliens film), and Linda Hamilton will always be my Sarah Connor. Finally, Arnold, as the Terminator, was a revelation (his entire acting and subsequent political career really kicked off right here).

Some lines might be hokey to modern ears, but I love it all, after all this time, and quote them in daily life. (Here’s three quotes, offhand: “Come with me if you want to live.” “That’s what he does! That’s ALL he does!… And he absolutely will not stop…ever, until you are dead!” And, of course, “I’ll be back.” Duh.)

There’s also an interestingly mechanized score by Brad Fiedel, with the subtle thrumming theme of the Terminator lingering as an iconic sound, recognizable through the entire franchise. (We can debate the various merits of the other Terminator movies/TV shows in the comments section below.)

When the exoskeletal version of the T-800 rises from the flames, it’s a horrifying moment. (Although, if you were aware at all of James Cameron movies, you would expect his signature ‘fake-out’ endings. But hey, they do work.) The scene where a wounded Sarah kills the crawling death robot is gripping, chilling, and deeply satisfying. (“You’re terminated, [email protected]” Yeah.)

The final moment in Mexico is superbly understated, ominous, frightening, and strangely hopeful. “There’s a storm coming.” “I know.” And now I have goosebumps. An enduring film, worthy of RunPee’s Classic Movie Hits List.

Movie Grade – A+