Avatar Uptick

“I spoke to a person who saw Avatar and he said the action scenes delivered everything you’d expect from Cameron, even in this digital form. Visceral, detailed, a ‘first-person shooter’ experience on the biggest game screen ever hoisted.

“The simple, predictable story was deemed as almost perfunctory, as if adding too much storytelling and exposition would have amounted to a sensory overload. After all, no one discusses 2001: A Space Odyssey in relation to its plot. Star Wars either.

“What we have is: Boy meets alien through marines, boy loses aliens and marines, boy fights marines and gets girl.

“And I was also told that despite all the trappings of special effects, blue people and CGI skies, Sigourney Weaver still manages to register strongly with warmth and a commanding presence.” — an HE friend who gets around and knows people.

70 thoughts on “Avatar Uptick

  1. HanekeFanBoyNumberOne on said:

    So when taken in as a whole, the film is…

  2. Which is pretty much what it looked like from that first trailer. Curious, did this person see it in 3D? Would that matter?

  3. I’m honestly wary of anyone that puts 2001 and Star Wars on the same “plotless” plane, considering the former is about so much and the latter so little.

  4. Doesn’t this particular review pretty much confirm the worries that we’ve all had about this thing?

    Usually, when I hear something looks “like a video game”, it’s an insult.

  5. I’m confused. Surely video games are, for the most part, based on, and use cinematic techniques. As Cameron has said ‘Halo was a rip-off of Aliens’. I just want to know if i’m in for a thrilling, spectacular and engaging two and half hours of my life, without it pissing me off like Star Trek, Terminator Salvation etc.

  6. Gogocrank, you are not seriously suggesting 2001 has more plot than Star Wars? A deeper, though difficult, narrative with more ideas then yes. More plot? In no uncertain circumstances.

  7. That is a truly bizarre statement.

    2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars are both heavily discussed about in direct relation to their respective plots. 2001 inspires assiduous philosophical analysis and Star Wars is frequently viewed as a cinematic treatise of postmodernist deconstruction.

  8. “you are not seriously suggesting 2001 has more plot than Star Wars?”

    No, not at all. Though I’d say the former is a much deeper flick, which is something different and also why I thought it so weird the guy would invoke both those flicks as an Avatar comparison. I mean, if you say a movie is sort of like 2001, I’d take something totally different from that than if you’d compared a film to Star Wars. So again, so strange that anonymous dude would invoke those two polar opposite flicks that share so little in common beyond setting.

    Oh:

    “Star Wars is frequently viewed as a cinematic treatise of postmodernist deconstruction.”

    Frequently? Really? What is being deconstructed? If anything it’s a literal invocation of the ur-hero myth.

  9. Not sure if I agree with the idea that STAR WARS is postmodernist deconstruction. That analysis sounds like someone who buys overpriced brie to impress his friends.

    What we need to remember is that Lucas spent several years examining plot structure and archetypes while writing STAR WARS. The film is a brilliant example of plotting, and it succeeds despite all the weirdness on display for precisely that reason.

  10. It’s all semantics, I suppose. I interpreted it to mean that while the themes and symbolism of 2001 are complex and yielded endless interpretation and debate, the actual narrative wasn’t all that complicated… especially if distilled into a beat by beat synopsis of the second half of the film, squaring off against HAL and the psychedelic journey the movie climaxes with. As far as its meaning, that’s something else altogether. STAR WARS follows familiar archetypes that hereto hadn’t been set in space, so it’s also easy to describe the basic plot points without much elaboration. The characters and their respective arc can be discussed independently of the act one, two and three overall narrative. At least it sounds like someobyd callling AVATAR a more visual journey than a narrative one. Personally, I think it looks like LAST OF THE MO CAPTURE.

  11. So it’s a good choice for those who need / want to take a break from War Craft and would like to see how Jim Cameron spends $400 M — give or take $100 M.

  12. STAR WARS and 2001 *do* have really simple plots. STAR WARS: naive innocent farmboy goes on a grand adventure to rescue a princess from an evil warlord. 2001: Several men are sent on an expedition to find out what the purpose of an alien artifact is.

    These movies are enduring because of the nuances in character, how various details are done, the kineticism of the action (for STAR WARS) or the philosophical elements (of 2001) — that’s why saying AVATAR has a simple plot is almost meaningless. It’s what’s done (or isn’t done) within the framework of the basic story that’ll make it interesting (or boring).

  13. “Visceral, detailed, a ‘first-person shooter’ experience on the biggest game screen ever hoisted.”

    Um, you *don’t* want to compare it to a video game, because when there is a difference between imitating the format and adapting an example of the format.

    “…one of the best, most highly detailed and most expensive video games ever made. Only experienced in a theatre.”

    So it’s a Spirits Within remake?

    loyal: If they wanted to nominate anything, it should’ve been Silent Hill.

    Fortune: Well, sort of. I generally hate to side with Ebert on trashing the genre, but games generally still provide an artificial experience which, even done well, can’t convey the same feeling as connecting to the situation as with cinema.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjCND6oubqs

  14. Well, here’s the plot of the highest grossing film of all time, directed by the same guy:

    Girl meets boy

    Ship sinks

    Girl loses boy

    …billy zane

    So I think Avatar will be OK.

  15. Reducing “2001″ (still the greatest sci-fi movie of all time) to a bare-bones plot is like saying that “Citizen Kane” is about what happens to a boy’s sled after he grows up. The genius of Kubrick is that he used groundbreaking special effects to raise more questions than he answered in his movie; the banality of Cameron is that all of his movies never raise any questions in a viewer’s mind except, “What’s all the fuss about?”

  16. Gogocrank – I may have gotten the wrong end of yout stick. But I hope my point is still there.

    Telemachos – No, that’s story, not plot. How Luke SKywalker gets from sweeping Owen Lars floor to his medal is the plot. You know, all the bits inbetween. 2001′s plot is more simple. The story and its connotations are far deeper. To my simple brain at any rate. But let’s not get caught up in arguments about plot point so we can get all big about what really counts as science fiction. Fuck genre, Look past it to the story.

    Anyway, this should be about Avatar. Lets not get all AICN TB about this.

  17. It’ll also be interesting to see if Cameron can top JJ Abrams and Michael Bay, two directors having career highs in the theaters this year and who are both clearly influenced by the action auteur (one adopting Cameron’s slick sense of story structure and character; the other, Cameron’s technological machismo).

    Can the master beat the apprentices?

  18. Zac: You forgot to mention that Titanic was fairly hoakey and full of itself, and the only reason that people looked the other way on it was because it was an excuse to score a date. If someone in Lex’s position were to catch it now, they’d wait to get to the Cate Blanchett nude scene and bad PG-13 softcore porn scene and then fall asleep afterwards. So I’m not sure the rest of us have patience to sit through an over-priced Dances with Smurfs fanfic, just to get to the sci-fi video game remake of Braveheart’s battle scenes.

    cox: Bay’s in a career low, actually. Yeah, his ass is rich as hell, but he’ll never be able to associate himself with a project with a pretense of quality, like The Rock, again. He’s in Emmerich post-Godzilla, Steve Sommers post-Van Helsing, and Spielberg post-WOTW territory right now.

  19. Whatever, still looking forward to the first showing Friday at midnight at the IMAX in Lincoln Square, and nothing’s going to change that.

    For what it’s worth, we could probably go article-for-article with doomsaying articles and bad reviews written about TITANIC.

  20. I don’t doubt that the film will be an incredible experience. I’d never bet against Cameron on that front.

    But what’s most interesting about the marketing is that Fox seems to have released enough material to create both incredible awareness in the public, as well as a somewhat predictable backlash given the motion capture look of the film. And now, as the movie actually starts to be seen, expectations have been lowered from “here comes the motherfucking future of all cinema” to simply “will it be good?” To have this incredibly high public awareness with just this level of lowered expectations is exactly where Fox wants the public before releasing the movie…that is, if it’s as good as Jeffrey’s pal says it is. The result will be a positive backlash against negative backlash we’ve seen in the past few months.

    If Fox did that on purpose, it’s a stunning demonstration of marketing genius. And with so much money on the line, I wouldn’t bet that it was an accident.

  21. Atticus: I don’t think FOX is smart enough to dabble in that kind of reverse psychology, or it wouldn’t send in the next Chipmunks movie to cannibalize Avatar’s sales a week later.

    Anyway, courtesy of Scott Green @ AICN Anime, QT has apparently seen Caligula. http://www.flicksnews.net/2009/11/wtf-quentin-tarantino-joins-softbank.html

    The opening of the movie.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ximzxs7ELII

    The disco version used inappropriately.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQBZhwhUjxc

    English Solomon Kane trailer.

    http://www.kungfucinema.com/solomon-kane-french-poster-and-english-trailer-12004

  22. Atticus: I don’t think FOX is smart enough to dabble in that kind of reverse psychology, or it wouldn’t send in the next Chipmunks movie to cannibalize Avatar’s sales a week later.

    You mean the way the first huge-hit Chipmunks movie ate into the box office of the record-setting I Am Legend when they opened against each other in 07? Different audiences DeeZee.

    Fox may not care about the quality of their movies, but their marketing is top tier. They know exactly what they’re doing.

  23. If there’s any real depth to this film, I’d be surprised. That doesn’t mean it won’t be fun and entertaining. I don’t think anybody is going in thinking this is the sci-fi answer to No Country For Old Men.

  24. Atticus: “I Am Legend” had Will Smith and targeted an older audience than the Chipmunks. Avatar has no one, and, as Cameron himself has noted, is targeting everyone who’s “8 to 80″.

    “Fox may not care about the quality of their movies, but their marketing is top tier. ”

    *cough* Die Hard 2, Speed 2, Lake Placid, Swimfan, LXG, John Tucker, AVP, Dragonball: Evolution, Chun-Li, and Jennifer’s Body, *cough* Oh, and Zardoz.

  25. It’s funny how the same exact people who handled the marketing of ‘Zardoz’ are all still employed by Fox, making that comparison completely relevant.

  26. The funny thing is that you’re the only person I’ve ever heard discussing that movie as if it is in any way related to any other movie. Yet I’ve seen you do it so much, I know immediately what you mean.

    The funny thing isn’t so much “Why do you need to compare things to other things?” as it is “Why are the things you compare them to so random and from such a small list of things?” I mean, you’ve compared fifteen or twenty movies in the past year to ‘Dragonball: Evolution’, and I’m betting not a single person here knew what the fuck you were talking about. And any time anybody compares a movie to any video game ever, you’ll jump in with a reference to ‘Final Fantasy’. For somebody who pretends to have really good taste, you have the shallowest, shittiest pool of movies you’re actually familiar enough with to reference.

  27. Gordon: “For somebody who pretends to have really good taste, you have the shallowest, shittiest pool of movies you’re actually familiar enough with to reference.”

    At least they’re not remade by QT.

    markj: He shot Munich around the same time as WOTW, so that depends, especially since I haven’t seen the former. Of course, if Munich is anything like what I imagined he was gonna to do Oldboy, then maybe.

  28. If Cameron can’t deliver a movie better than Michael Bay or JJ Abrams I’m gonna stop watching movies. It’s a sure sign that the quality of movie-making has dropped really far in the last decade that JJ Abrams is even mentioned at all. He’s a TV director who got lucky and has little to no knowledge of the art of film.

  29. If there’s any real depth to this film, I’d be surprised. That doesn’t mean it won’t be fun and entertaining. I don’t think anybody is going in thinking this is the sci-fi answer to No Country For Old Men.

  30. That response is so inane, I’m tempted to think it’s a joke.

    Why don’t you add Fox’s 1951 “The Elephant Mouse” and 1938 “Timber Toppers” to your list of Fox duds released under an entirely different regime?

  31. “the action scenes delivered everything you’d expect from Cameron, even in this digital form. Visceral, detailed, a ‘first-person shooter’ experience on the biggest game screen ever hoisted.”

    THis sounds good. Also, isn`t the main complaint about video game adaptations that they don`t capture the first-person shooter experience but feel like watching someone else play the game? Now there`s a movie that gives the game experience to gamers and non-gamers alike. Cameron style.

    “And I was also told that despite all the trappings of special effects, blue people and CGI skies, Sigourney Weaver still manages to register strongly with warmth and a commanding presence.”

    Means one can connect with the chaarcters. Typical Cameron. This is so not like Michael Bay movie.

    Maybe I`m reading too much into these snippets but sounds really good.

  32. You know your blind hatred of Tarantino has gone too far when the only thing you can bring up is an unfinished movie that he disowned. But that puts us all on an even playing field; usually, you’re the only person in the conversation who hasn’t seen the specific Tarantino movie which you’re criticizing.

  33. Gordon: The guy’s only disowned it, because it got leaked on the internet. Otherwise, he’d be calling it his unappreciated masterpiece.

  34. As usual, your guessing conflicts with the facts that, as far back as ‘True Romance’, he was saying it had never finished, and was mostly not that good, but that he had taken the stuff he felt was good and used it in other scripts.

    Still, I definitely agree with you that the person you’ve imagined Tarantino to be tends to be a pretty awful guy.

  35. Well, I can’t argue with that, since it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. You do realize that recycling little bits out of a script does not mean the movie was well-acted, well-shot, or well-edited, right? No, of course you don’t, that would require the ability to think.

  36. “You do realize that recycling little bits out of a script does not mean the movie was well-acted, well-shot, or well-edited, right?”

    Considering what he did to City on Fire, you never know.

  37. You always go for petty points that make sense only to you (perhaps that’s a generous assumption), sacrificing any actual coherent argument you can make. For instance, what you just wrote above directly contradicts your general assertion that Tarantino stole the entire style of “City on Fire’ — whereas now, you’re accusing him of ignoring all that and stealing only the script, which is the stupidest thing you can say, because the dialogue in ‘City on Fire’ is terrible compared to an Ed Wood movie, let alone a Tarantino one.

    It’s fun to watch how your dumb, dumb mind works.

  38. A film critic from a major east-coast city wrote this morning about new potential pressures that may be visited upon N.Y. Times critic A.O. Scott in his new capacity as costar (along with Chicago Tribune critic Michael Phillips) of At The Movies. “Remember the old days when almost every movie ad had a ‘two thumbs…way up’ quote from Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert?,” he wrote. He meant that Siskel/Ebert didn’t start out as black-or-white, yes-or-no, positively-inclined thumb critics, but they seemed to lean in that direction after their show took off. “I’m saying this because TV audiences don’t like people who are perceived as ‘negative’ or ‘mean’ or ‘elitist,’” my critic pal said. “i don’t want to be part of this discussion, but i’d like to hear what you and your readers might have to say.” Degree AND Online early education degree AND adult education degree

    Teaching learning degree AND Special Education degree

  39. MBT shoes sale is a term that now appears more and more. Great news for those using it should be noted that all newspapers and magazines with dignity. This is not really a shoe, more like anti-shoes, most experts explain the cheap MBT shoes. In the case of soft and uneven nature is not fixed, which imitate the physical construction of MBT tembea sals cheap barefoot in our way, and thus activate the body a little muscle grouping. Physiological footwear sales in the United States as per the majority of women color matching shape the role and needs to buy womens MBT walking shoes.

  40. 00zoe

    MBT shoes, timberland is.

    MBT shoes sale, The Boots UK and sale for you.

    MBT trainers, 笑三少.

    Timberland boots, 西门吹雪.

    cheap timberland boots, 博客.

    Coach Handbags, manufacturing for others, and.

    Timberland Boots, 笑三少.

    Timberland Boots Sale, 海子 1990.

    timberland roll top, on the Internet..

    Timberland Chukka, in a river, and your.

    MBT sale, of a family.

    MBT shoes clearance, 叶孤城 output was.

    MBT women’s shoes, manufacturing for others, and.

    Cheap Timberland Boots, 经典1956.

    Timberland UK, Nothing to worry.

    Timberland outlet uk, ak22-.

    Timberland outlet, about, you could.

    MBT shoes UK, The source of.

    MBT UK, an offshoot.

    Coach Handbags Outlet, have not looked back..

    Timberland 6 Inch, store is popular.

    timberland boots sale, ak11-.

    timberland boots uk, qkl000.

    Timberland Custom, five miles.

    timberland sale UK, making cutprice.

    MBT shoes clearance, Timberlands. They stopped.

  41. Found very cool and unique info here in this blog. This is a great addition in my favorite blog list. I like your style of writing. You break it down nicely. Very informative post. Keep up the good work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>