You’ve Ruined It For Everybody

Ever since Captain Underpants tried to blow up a commercial jet with explosives hidden under his ball sack, air travel has turned into an ordeal only slightly less luxurious than a prison bus trip to the new wing of the super-max detention facility. Very nearly known as the Christmas Day Taint Massacre, the thought of what might have happened if this would-be suicide bomber had been competent enough to light a fuse has gripped a worried world. I mean, MY GOD, one flight out of the ten million airliner passenger runs last year may have possibly, perhaps, we’re-not-quite-sure, ended in disaster. Which would have increased the number of airliner disasters last year…um…slightly.

Remember when air travel was glamorous and exotic? Back when you could smoke and drink to your heart’s content and stewardesses, most of them blonde and Swedish, would perform any variety of sexual acts with you in your choice of toilet stall or first-class seat. Well I remember that, and a great many other things I learned from watching 1970s pornography, and I miss those times terribly. Mostly because I never experienced them due to inconvenient age issues.

Well those heady days of hot stewardess head are gone forever. If a stewardess touches you inappropriately now, it’s probably because she’s performing a digital cavity search for banned substances like finger nail clippers, tweezers, or C4. New security measures are in place, with more on the way, and we won’t see them rescinded in this lifetime. I expect we’ll be stuck with this crap forever — or at least until Brundlefly perfects his teleportation machine. Yes, congratulations Captain Underpants, you’ve ruined it for everybody.

Which brings us to James Cameron.

I finally saw Avatar or, as I like to call it when I’m feeling snide (which, let’s face it, is pretty much all the time), Dances With Smurfs. Third time was lucky, because 3D IMAX tickets are booked weeks in advance, with any convenient days sold out completely as I found out the hard way twice before. Avatar has become the fastest movie to reach the one billion box-office mark. Apparently, the secret to accomplishing this feat is to charge people damn near twenty bucks for a ticket. If only someone had thought to charge, say, a hundred bucks a pop to go see Hotel for Dogs, that could have become the box-office champ of the year. Or at least the opening weekend.

After ten years of development, Avatar is being rolled out as the big game-changer. There’s innovative special effects technology poured into it by the tanker load. It’s just too bad the story itself doesn’t offer a single drop of originality. There’s not one thing here I haven’t seen before at some point, and the overall plot can be traced back to somewhere around the genesis of literature itself. In case you were too busy being dazzled by the eye candy and weren’t paying attention to what you were told by the often clunky exposition, it goes something like this: Invading imperialist-colonialist comes to appreciate the beauty of aboriginal culture and goes native, turning against his former masters in a righteous battle to avoid all-out genocide. Yeah, seen that one before. About a hundred times. Just not with smurfs.

Nevertheless, because Cameron’s new film is so successful, we’re going to see a million billion knock-offs and copycats in the coming decade. Everyone will want to make their own 3D movie, ignoring the fact that 3D has always been a gimmick, revived once a generation, that does more to take you out of a movie than draw you in. Everyone will want to fill their movie with computer-generated motion-capture performances, even though you can never replace real acting by a real human being. And everyone will want to plagiarize whatever content they saw in the last World of Warcraft patch and turn it into an action sequence or plot point. Sure, I liked the part where he got his epic flying mount, but did the movie really have to cut to a loading screen right after that?

Yes, congratulations James Cameron, you’ve ruined it for everybody. Again.

That’s right, again. He’s just too damn influential, and whatever shit he tries in whatever movie he’s shooting catches on and spreads like the swine flu (you know, like if the swine flu had actually spread and become the promised pandemic… Sorry, bad analogy).

Movie titles referred to by acronyms? T2. His fault. Movies with an unstoppable killing machine? Terminator. His fault. Monster movie sequels where all they can think to do with their cool monster design is multiply it a couple hundred times over? Aliens. His fault. Movies where the creatures are all computer graphics that don’t quite gel with how physics actually works? T2 and The Abyss. His fault. Movies where some spectacular historical event, recreated with an unsurpassed level of detail, is ultimately ruined by a trite and stupid romantic sub-plot? Titanic. His fault. Movies where carnivorous flying fish terrorize humanity by soaring through the air and being all bitey? Piranha Two: The Spawning. His bloody fault.

Goddamn you James Cameron, who elected you king of the world? Oh wait. We did. At the box office.

Zoe Saldana tries to form an expression for director, Papa Smurf, despite slow computer processing times caused by pop-up ads, cookies, MMORPGs, telesynch bit torrents, Windows Vista, virus definition updates, Nigerian identity theft spam, Youtube cat videos, Chinese hacker assaults, IP crashes, and Steve the new intern who doesn’t know which button is the “any key.”

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