Thursday, 28 January 2010

Everyone’s a critic.

As I was stood on the train platform this morning I overheard a conversation about the film Avatar. As I am planning to see it soon I was interested to hear their views.

“You know, there was one thing that ruined it for me.” Said a young woman. “They have called the star system Alpha Centauri. Can you believe it? What a terrible name. What struck me was the lack of imagination!”

Hang on a minute. ‘Lack of imagination.’ Are you serious? I haven’t seen the film so can’t comment, but let’s exam a few facts:

1) James Cameron created an entire planet from scratch that matched the vision in his head.
2) He conceived the movie 15 years ago, and had to wait for the technology to catch up before he could make it.
3) It took four years to make and consists of 60% computer generated elements. To clarify ‘computer generated’ does not mean the computer had the ideas. They came from somebody’s imagination.
4) They invented an entire language, consisting of over a thousand words.
5) The critics said it would crash and burn in a ball of blue, CGI flames.
6) It is already the highest grossing movie of all time.

Now, what part of that suffers from a lack of imagination? Oh yes, the name. Alpha Centauri, how terrible. James Cameron should hide his head in shame, how dare he make so little effort. He was probably lying around all day on the settee, scratching his balls and watching Oprah, whilst being fed grapes by a small Polynesian virgin. What a lazy bastard!

I dare say the young lady who stood with us mortals on the train platform, waiting to be transported into our delightful capital had a far more imaginative day ahead. Perhaps she was going to re-examine the theory of relativity. Possibly she had been troubled by the artist André Breton’s assertion that Surrealism was first and foremost a revolutionary movement, and intended to spend her lunch hour developing an obscure, yet aesthetic and more temperate art movement of her own? One can only wonder at the sheer majesty and wonder of her imaginative and productive day.

It’s all so easy to criticize the work of others, and is usually done without thought or consideration for their endeavours. Everyone knows better than everyone else. It’s easier to criticize than to do.

It’s the same at work, down the pub, on the football terrace and in front of the TV.

Clearly not all criticism is bad. Constructive criticism is a good thing, and if you are reviewing something like the lyrics to a cheeky girls song, then even destructive criticism is a good thing.
Criticism is fine, just as long as it’s considered, considerate and justified.

Surely to accuse a film like Avatar of lacking imagination for the sake of one name, is a bit like suggesting the ceiling to the Sistine chapel is a bit unambitious.


  1. I too have noticed the inverse relationship between talent and the tendancy to criticise the efforts of others. I can only assume that it is an attempt by the talentless to validate their own sad, miserable existence.

    Crap blog by the way.

  2. Thanks Darrel. Great comment. Really, really great.
    How about that? Leading by example.

  3. Also, Alpha Centauri is a real star system.