Aliens vs. Avatars (2011)

Aliens vs. Avatars (2011)
Aliens vs. Avatars (2011) DVD / Blu-ray

Gary Anderson (Six Beers)
How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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In 1986, James Cameron’s Aliens was an intense, muscular science fiction thrill-ride that terrified audiences everywhere. With 2009’s game-changing special effects smorgasbord space epic Avatar, Cameron enchanted moviegoers again, obliterating box-office records. Now, at last, maverick director Lewis Schoenbrun unleashes Aliens Vs Avatars…   a godforsaken micro-budget cash-in that has bugger all to do with either movie.

Instead, six obnoxious, beer-chugging kids on a camping trip find themselves at the mercy of a ruthless shapeshifting space creature. In the struggle for survival, the kids are aided by Ava, the humanoid avatar of a blue-skinned alien whose intervention could mean life or death for the universe…

This is one of those copycat I-can’t-believe-this-got-made movies that rely on grandma really not paying attention in the DVD store. So, if you unwittingly discover a copy of this in your Christmas stocking, I suggest hitting the sauce immediately and making the most of a galactically grim situation.

A Toast

Three cheers to Schoenbrun for sheer audacity. The director ham-fistedly plunders ideas from various sci-fi classics and manages to piss all over their collective legacies. ‘Starring’ Jason Lockhart (Vampire Boys) as virgin nerd Tyler, ...Avatars at least features a likeable hero, the actor working hard with a frightful script to imbue our hero with a geeky pathos. However, his glasses can’t mask his glaring hunkiness, making it impossible to truly buy him as an unlucky-in-love shrimp.

…Avatars asks us to accept many unlikely things, utilising sneaky gratuitous boobie-flash diversion tactics and, like most movies operating at this level of DTV purgatory, you simply must embrace its sub-par ridiculousness or be forever doomed. Beer helps.

Beer Two

Top-to-bottom, the visuals are diabolical. With CGI that would disgrace a PSOne game, the production values are so bad, you may expect someone to shout ‘It’s Morphin’ Time!!!’ The villainous ‘Scythe’ is clearly a bloke in the worst green plastic Halloween costume in history: If you could assume any form in the universe, you surely wouldn’t pick something fashioned out of macaroni, sparkles, and Fairy liquid bottles.

Does my bum look big in this?

Similarly, the ‘Avatar,’ or whatever the hell it is, is just a skinny  cat-suited chick plastered in blue paint, using immense cleavage sorcery to…wait…what was I talking about?

Worst of all, though, is Ava’s robotic weapon ‘The Robotar.’ Obviously conceived as a badass ED-209-style mecha killing-machine, this is actually the naffest screen robot since Torg in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, and was evidently assembled from cardboard and broken dreams.

Here’s one I made earlier!

Beer Three

Aside from Lockhart, the performances throughout are not so much phoned in as texted. Cassie Fliegel as Ava has clearly been directed to ‘act robot-like,’ resulting in some odd, jerky neck movements that wouldn’t look out of place in Madonna’s Vogue video.

Strike a pose!

The remaining cast of gorgeous, but insufferable creature-fodder are stiff-as-a-board lazy stock caricatures who, like Talladega Nights’ Ricky Bobby, apparently have absolutely no idea what to do with their hands.

Beer Four

The sound design, too, is atrocious, with the sort of 8-bit bleepy sound effects that didn’t work in the sixties, so sure as hell don’t work now, while the score is ear-splitting DTV 80s synth-style nonsense. It’s a shame that producers of these sci-fi cheapies don’t appreciate the benefits of a decent atmospheric soundtrack, but I guess Schoenbrun had more important things to invest his money in, like blue blood and desperate actresses with great racks.

You’re HIRED!!!

Beer Five

…Avatars’absurd script is so horrendous it’s actually quite heartening that it got made. That the gang simply accept Ava’s fantastic explanation for these extraterrestrial shenanigans without any proof is almost as hilarious as some of the film’s dire-logue. Jake (Dylan Vox)’s seductive pick-up line of ‘smells like fish…I love fish!’ takes some beating, though his beautiful observation that his beloved is ‘falling apart,’ right before her head actually falls of is outstandingly rib-tickling.

Beer Six

A veteran editor on dozens of films, including Wesley Snipes’ 1994 guilty pleasure Drop Zone, Schoenbrun should really have some idea of how to make a film, yet …Avatars appears to be the deranged work of a delusional madman. The action scenes are poorly edited, terribly shot and soul-sappingly dull, with most deaths occurring off-screen, and no amount of massive mammaries can atone for that. The director evidently had much more fun making this than anyone will have watching it and the whole thing feels like a bad joke.

Verdict

 

This film simply could not exist without beer and with the help of a refreshing six-pack, …Avatars might actually become your besht pal. Hilarious for all the wrong reasons, it’s a flick you can point and laugh at, while debating how the hell it ever got made. In fact, if Schoenbrun can get this cosmically comical pile of pooh released, there’s hope for my Dream Chimp movie yet…

Cheers!

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time you see cleavage.

Take a Drink: every time someone accepts something astronomically far-fetched as fact without stopping to question it at all.

Take a Drink :whenever the film rips off Predator, making you wonder why you didn’t just rent that instead.

About Gary Anderson

3 comments

  1. I would absolutely watch Dream Chimp. Absolutely.

  2. Hi Gary,

    I really appreciated your review of my movie, Aliens vs Avatars – I think you were very honest and fair. Please note that I was not one of the producers, the music choice was not mine. Also please note that it was my producers who got the film released, not just on DVD throughout the world (last year I purchased a copy in Hong Kong) but also theatrically throughout India.

    http://www.campaignindia.in/Article/277595,friday-box-office.aspx

    http://movies.sulekha.com/aliens-vs-avatars_english_movie_india-showtimes

    http://in.bookmyshow.com/movies/Aliens-vs-Avatars-(Hindi)/ET00008019

    I hope you will take the time to review my most recent film “The Amazing Bulk”. I was the producer and thus was responsible for the music and the one responsible to find distribution for the movie.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zLvIHvJ4hw

    • Thank you for your words and thank you for educating me too. I know all too well that making a film cannot be easy, and when one takes into account the immense difficulties involved with getting any film made, I firmly believe there can be no such thing as a ‘bad’ film. Though I had many issues with Aliens Vs Avatars, I certainly appreciate the effort that must have gone into making it and it actually heartens me to hear the film managed to achieve theatrical release in India.
      I admit that I do tend to seek out obscure B-movies that not many people have heard of and I do try to bring such films to people’s attention. Though films like Aliens Vs Avatars may never win Oscars, at the right time and in the right mood, they can prove hugely enjoyable fun. All films deserve to be seen at least once, so I am glad I got to experience your work.
      I am aware of the Amazing Bulk and will now endeavour to track it down and give it a fair hearing. From the youtube clip posted above I feel I am getting a better feel for the type of filmmaker you are and the films you are trying to make and I wish you all the best in making more movies and finding an audience.
      With a little more hard work, I am sure cult status beckons.
      Good luck.

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