In the upcoming Issue of Empire, James Cameron revealed that Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang) “will continue to menace Jake, Neytiri and the other Na’vi throughout all five movies as the saga’s main antagonist.” This news is extremely upsetting to me. If you notice, the featured image for this article shows the Colonel being shot through the chest by a couple Na’vi arrows ultimately leading to what should be his permanent death. This image was picked quite deliberately as this character deserved that death and needs to stay that way. Unfortunately, Cameron wants to bring him back from the dead and torture us all with this over the top, obnoxious villain.
“Avatar” released in 2009 to critical/commercial success and for good reason. The visuals, use of 3D and epic scale of the film are a testament to what high quality film making can accomplish. Avatar is a film I use to compare other films to. For instance, the recent flop, “Valerian” was something I hopeD could bring the same wonder and excitement of “Avatar” but it didn’t even come close to the marvel and beauty that Pandora provided. The franchise has yet to prove itself but “Avatar” alone is similar to “Star Wars” which revolutionized film making in the 1970’s. Where “Star Wars” demonstrated how to make Science Fantasy viable using clever special effects and camera tricks, “Avatar” demonstrated how to use CGI and 3D to create a fictional world that defies reality suspends the viewer’s belief that it is all fake. Instead, the world looks and feels so real that we want to visit it ourselves. If only Pandora was affordable!!!
A huge area where the two franchises differ is where “Star Wars” gave us the iconic and terrifying Darth Vader, we got the boring and uninteresting Colonel Quaritch. Quaritch was a bad villain, plain and simple. I guess it’s good that the film did a great job of getting me to hate him, a credit more to the acting of Stephen Lang than anything else. This doesn’t change that his character is so vile, one-dimensional and hate-able that I cheered on the inside when he “died”. This wasn’t the same type of cheer a person gets when seeing a well fleshed out villain taken down (i.e. Wilson Fisk in Daredevil) but rather a cheer that the atrocity was finally gone!
Oh, did I just show another picture of the Colonel being killed? My bad, I just can’t get that glorious image out of my head.
Moving on, it’s been known for some time that the character would return but I hoped it would be on a small-scale, not as the main antagonist. I feel that Cameron is out of touch in this decision. I can’t be the only one who thinks that bringing back this character is a bad idea! I’d much rather see Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi) be the main threat instead of an overzealous and uninteresting military goof who is hell-bent on genocide for no real reason! Selfridge is motivated by profits and, while this isn’t a great motivation for a story, it’s a real motivation and better than the psychopathic ravings of an old man! Can you tell that I don’t like the character yet???
Nothing about this decision makes any sense to me. Quaritch was better off left dead. Another villain could have come in to reign havoc on Jake and friends. My only hope is that they bring some actual depth to the character since he’s going to be around for four more pictures. I keep trying to remind myself that Cameron has proven that he can create great franchises (Terminator, Alien, and Avatar). While I think this news is disappointing, I will place my trust in this genius of a filmmaker and hope for the best.
And now I leave you in the very capable hands of a YouTube video masterfully showing the Colonel’s “demise.” Special thanks to Ion for posting it!