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

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