Sunday, December 27, 2009

Avatar ...

Ok, I've seen James Cameron's Avatar in 3D. I wasn't particularly fussed about seeing it in 3D but my husband said it would be worth it and I'm glad I did. There were no gratuitous objects looming out of the screen.

A boy of about 6 was seated a couple of rows in front of us. When the floating powder puffs floated out of the screen he tried to catch them. It was delightful.

I thought the film was visually rich. And it should be for the price. Over at TheWrap they said:

'Speculation over the film’s costs and profitability started with a Nov. 8 story by the New York Times that claimed “when global marketing expenses are added, ‘Avatar’ may cost its various backers $500 million." The piece added up all production costs, New Zealand tax credits, Cameron’s efforts and marketing to put the “Titanic” director’s decade-long effort at close to a Hollywood heart stopping sum.'

But ...

'The budget for “Avatar,” a Fox spokesperson bluntly told TheWrap this week, “is $237 million, with $150 million for promotion, end of story.”'

What ever the cost of the movie, the most interesting thing to me was that this much money was spent on a film in which the main characters were not white American protestants. The backers felt the viewing public was sophisticated enough to identify with aliens, who follow their own Gaian religion. True, the aliens were a variation on the ideal noble savage, but considering how insular and safe the hollywood studios are backing Avatar was a brave move.

Here is George Dvorksy's take on the film. I felt the plot which was pretty basic and I did not feel that the blue aliens had 'won' at the end. Humans are just too bloody minded.

What did you think of Avatar?


Brendan said...

I don't want to discuss the film in too much detail because of the spoilers, but I felt that Cameron anticipated most of the criticisms that would be thrown at the film(Amerinds in space, Scientist Good/Corporations bad, too simplistic rationales) and while it is easy to see why the criticisms were made and he has given at least lip service to greater complexity. I think he should have someone working at a novelisation because there is scope to properly develop some of the lesser characters and scenes that we only glimpsed or heard of second hand. Cameron couldn't do it in the film without blowing it out of all proportion. The film was long enough as it is.

Visually the film was stunning. I am not sure if there were problems with the 3D or if the issues I had were a result of me having to wear the glasses over my own specs but I may see it again in 2D before making a decision.

The CG was superb and as far as I could tell, the transitions between live and CG work seamless.

If you haven't gone, well worth the trip imo.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Brendan said:

If you haven't gone, well worth the trip imo.

My feeling, too.

And WOW, SF has become so mainstream, the audience is asked to identify with a blue alien.

Now if only they could identify with a fellow human being who happens to have different coloured skin, or follow a different religion!

Brendan said...

Pixar is doing their little bit to change things. I recently saw UP and after all the hoopla about the "Princess and the Frog" having black leads I thought it was intresting that the boy in the film Russell was Asian(voiced by Jordan Nagai) and unlike the usual where he is "Ethnic for a reason", there is no reason, it looks like a case of why not?

Rowena Cory Daniells said...


This is an interesting point. Many years ago I saw a black actor being interviewed about a film he'd been in. And he said he took the role because it was not about a black man, it was just a character.