RT Podcast

"Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong" About... Avatar

Plug in as we examinine the mammoth movie with the minuscule pop-culture footprint and ask: Has the world been fair to Jake and the Na'vi?

by | January 21, 2021 | Comments


(Photo by ©20th Century Fox. All rights reserved/Courtesy Everett Collection)

It’s hard to believe given the absence of any sort of rabid fandom – no one is clamoring for a Jake Sully Funko Pop! – that James Cameron’s Avatar was, at one point in time, the biggest film ever and a genuine pop-culture phenomenon. So muted has its impact been in the decade since its release – aside from the saga of the frequently-delayed sequels – that it’s sometimes easy to forget that Avatar ever existed at all.

And yet exist it did way back in 2009, revolutionizing moviemaking with advanced motion-capture technology, new effects, and a fresh approach to 3D, and pulling in a staggering $2.7 billion at the global box office. The story of the alien world of Pandora, the Na’vi who inhabited it, and the humans that “linked” to Na’vi “avatars” to interact with them struck a chord in a big way. It’s just that the note didn’t exactly ring out for long.

What happened to this Certified Fresh film with the Fresh Tomatometer Score, strong Audience Score, and a bunch of Oscar nominations – including for Best Picture? Were we all high on something blue and potent back in 2009 as we sat there pinned in our seats? Or has the movie been unfairly dismissed – and ridiculed – over the years? Does it actually hold up upon a rewatch?

That’s what we’re discussing in the latest episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast from Rotten Tomatoes), asking all the big questions about the one-time biggest movie in the history of the medium. Joining hosts Jacqueline Coley and Mark Ellis this week is the actor, comedian, and host you know as the Swaggy Blerd, Winston A. Marshall (write it in Papyrus, please). There will be defenses, smackdowns, a deep dive into the ambitious oeuvre of Cameron, and musings about the sequels we’re about to get – whether we want them or not.

Listen Now:  Spotify |  Apple Podcasts  |  Stitcher  |  TuneIn  |  Google Podcasts | Radio Public | Deezer | iHeart | Art19

Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”

If you have a suggestion for a movie or show you think we should do an episode on, let us know in the comments, or email us at rtiswrong@rottentomatoes.com.

Meet the hosts

Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.

Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

what to watch Star Wars Emmys Universal spanish language cancelled boxing Film Festival Interview directors international ESPN razzies video ABC Signature cancelled television Amazon adaptation adventure Grammys History nfl cinemax Christmas sag awards natural history superhero reboot HBO Go 007 Nickelodeon prank Crunchyroll Exclusive Video superman supernatural jamie lee curtis The Walking Dead blaxploitation Paramount Network emmy awards GIFs Watching Series suspense Discovery Channel kaiju NBC die hard Lifetime historical drama films BET Stephen King godzilla San Diego Comic-Con screenings streaming movies ID OWN miniseries 99% free movies Black Mirror crossover Sci-Fi YA heist movie Alien cats worst movies Reality cancelled TV shows justice league nbcuniversal mission: impossible RT History rom-coms chucky news Biopics DirecTV spinoff legend golden globe awards Comics on TV spider-man batman science fiction king kong rotten movies we love Video Games kids festival movie political drama Tumblr dogs canceled TV shows Mystery HBO Max See It Skip It halloween Summer DGA know your critic composers Set visit TCM Quiz Food Network Warner Bros. Binge Guide Teen series spain Fox News Travel Channel comics comic renewed TV shows Musical The Walt Disney Company Opinion Certified Fresh dragons Paramount Legendary halloween tv mockumentary hist ghosts Fantasy indiana jones kong blockbusters Schedule Disney+ Disney Plus Hulu women Endgame 2016 toronto 2020 TV renewals king arthur sequel National Geographic aapi Tokyo Olympics streaming movies saw Bravo GLAAD Action werewolf unscripted italian Calendar Oscars Mudbound south america Walt Disney Pictures 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards jurassic park Apple TV Plus Marvel Studios technology documentaries independent toy story Best and Worst name the review Cosplay indie comedies asian-american Television Academy Syfy The CW Shondaland zombies BBC One FOX GoT all-time animated Winners politics ABC Family best theme song Pirates Valentine's Day japan Ovation Pride Month wonder woman A&E The Academy scary movies franchise Song of Ice and Fire rotten television Disney streaming service WGN harry potter 2018 comic books Rom-Com 45 Mary poppins children's TV FX on Hulu SundanceTV VICE breaking bad Pop TV Tomatazos RT21 hollywood Mary Tyler Moore Awards dramedy President Comedy telelvision Character Guide reviews Paramount Plus CMT casting 2015 tv talk Turner Classic Movies police drama foreign MCU award winner Marvel Television Mary Poppins Returns satire Trophy Talk fresh cars Academy Awards OneApp Britbox 2017 nature Emmy Nominations fast and furious transformers boxoffice blockbuster Reality Competition video on demand ABC Music YouTube The Arrangement Image Comics LGBTQ Funimation sequels Country Chernobyl Election VH1 finale First Look Lionsgate green book cults Apple MSNBC 2019 canceled Television Critics Association Brie Larson dark obituary Apple TV+ romance classics Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Acorn TV Thanksgiving Polls and Games Sundance hispanic laika First Reviews BBC parents Chilling Adventures of Sabrina stoner Trivia 2021 TCA Winter 2020 Western CBS All Access pirates of the caribbean Super Bowl aliens Anna Paquin Hallmark Marathons black Mindy Kaling TV One Awards Tour remakes Masterpiece dceu ITV PBS 72 Emmy Awards criterion Showtime APB Ellie Kemper IFC Turner Cartoon Network Infographic Drama A24 Columbia Pictures french CW Seed Arrowverse Amazon Studios X-Men 93rd Oscars TV E3 japanese Year in Review Epix Sony Pictures critics medical drama archives sitcom robots festivals 90s Comic Book cops New York Comic Con Holidays Lifetime Christmas movies 1990s Martial Arts Toys quibi The Purge Holiday Pet Sematary spy thriller Captain marvel book adaptation crime El Rey dc YouTube Red BAFTA SXSW worst ViacomCBS BBC America hidden camera USA Network LGBT elevated horror American Society of Cinematographers Photos binge Esquire joker YouTube Premium live action Crackle PaleyFest Fox Searchlight rt archives Dark Horse Comics crime thriller Family Sundance TV cancelled TV series thriller social media twilight Netflix Christmas movies Pixar stand-up comedy sports lord of the rings Black History Month AMC TV Land Lucasfilm zero dark thirty psychological thriller Musicals WarnerMedia Logo Tarantino Sneak Peek TLC BET Awards documentary CNN Ghostbusters venice TV movies Horror Nat Geo TCA romantic comedy CBS stop motion Comedy Central Creative Arts Emmys discovery game show based on movie comiccon DC Comics Rocky period drama scorecard singing competition richard e. Grant Rocketman slashers screen actors guild Superheroe Amazon Prime anime Pacific Islander trailers docuseries E! witnail SDCC a nightmare on elm street Rock war TCA 2017 Freeform 24 frames TNT 20th Century Fox Avengers Disney adenture TruTV Film Amazon Prime Video TIFF zombie Heroines FX Pop Adult Swim Classic Film marvel cinematic universe doctor who Extras Trailer DC streaming service cooking high school PlayStation deadpool Superheroes australia Sundance Now Star Trek mutant monster movies popular psycho Animation new york concert Cannes golden globes docudrama ratings Spring TV Writers Guild of America teaser Spike Baby Yoda vampires The Witch TBS Elton John 71st Emmy Awards Red Carpet scene in color NYCC diversity cartoon basketball Vudu revenge Marvel anthology Kids & Family true crime space FXX universal monsters Comic-Con@Home 2021 Broadway 21st Century Fox Wes Anderson Netflix NBA Hallmark Christmas movies strong female leads travel IFC Films TCA Awards Disney Plus target latino facebook Hear Us Out Winter TV Tubi james bond Countdown biography VOD Box Office olympics 4/20 game of thrones Premiere Dates new star wars movies child's play Fall TV USA new zealand Nominations serial killer versus DC Universe Women's History Month disaster crime drama talk show Disney Channel book Podcast Shudder spanish HBO Starz Spectrum Originals christmas movies Peacock MTV football