Author Topic: Avatar (3D)  (Read 23023 times)

1SO

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Re: Avatar (3D)
« Reply #70 on: December 21, 2009, 12:45:40 AM »
Coming into this year my two most anticipated films were Inglourious Basterds and Avatar.  For those that don't know me well enough, I love James Cameron films and I think he's is absolutely one of the finest filmmakers in history.  I never doubted the greatness of this film.  I never thought the early trailers looked like a video game.  I never believed the doubters.  He makes the kind of movies that I watch and rewatch.

So it's not much of a surprise that I was not disappointed with Avatar.  The filmmaking is as good as I've seen all year.  I will definitely see it again, and it certainly hasn't settled into a permanent spot on my Top 3 for the year.  Here are some thoughts.

The Dances With Wolves comparison undervalues Cameron's achievement.  There are similar story points, but Kevin Costner had a ton of info about the Indians and their culture.  He knew what a buffalo looks like.  Cameron created an entire planet: people, animals, plants.  An entire ecosystem from scratch.  Sure you recognize pieces, indigenous wardrobe and new age rituals but he made these things completely his own.

zarodinu is dead on.  I kept thinking how much this felt like James Cameron's Princes Mononoke, in ways both big and small.  (That being said I'm anxious to hear 'Noke's take on it.)  The other film I kept think of was this year's District 9.  Both their lead character and lead military jarhead walk similar terrain.  Right now I think District 9 had a better final battle, although the unkillable military jarhead was better in Avatar.

The film's greatest weakness is not the script, which is functional and nowhere near the dreck George Lucas has been feeding us.  (No matter what a few of critic have told you, it never gets the bad.)  No, the weak link here is Sam Worthington who just doesn't bring a lot to the part.  He walks the paces of his character, but never makes it his own.  He's not a bad actor, just a mostly uninteresting one.  I have to wonder how much he was hurt by suppressing his accent (which still pokes through here and there.)  And I have to ask further, why not just let him have an accent?  Is he supposed to be all-american?

The film slowed up for me between the destruction of Hometree and the final battle.  The destruction was hit a little too hard, with slo-mo crying and James Horner's choir score, and there are 2 scenes involving the big magic tree that were necessary set-ups to payoffs at the end but really slowed down the momentum of the film.
 
Best use of 3-D ever.  The first time I can't imagine seeing the film in 2-D and fully enjoying it.  Cameron is taking you to another world.  He wants you to experience it, not just watch it.  I will definitely see this film again before it leaves the big screen.

A big film like this is going to get picked apart.  That can't be helped.  It's not a film for everyone, although certainly a film for me.  I'll say this... I'm pretty certain I liked The Matrix more, but this is the very definition of an event picture and a real triumph of filmmaking.

Between this and Watchmen, I guess I really like films with naked blue guys.
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Clovis8

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Re: Avatar (3D)
« Reply #71 on: December 21, 2009, 01:05:53 AM »
To be fair it is nearly the identical plot of Dances with Wolves right up to the warrior who at first hates him but later becomes his best friend. It really does not deviate one bit from the basic story of DWW.

In fact, the scene when they are driving the tractor through the woods leaving a swath of destruction behind was identical to the bison scene in DWW.

pixote

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Re: Avatar (3D)
« Reply #72 on: December 21, 2009, 05:04:15 AM »
Between this and Watchmen, I guess I really like films with naked blue guys.
Wait, is there penis in avatar?  More than in Watchmen?

pixote
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

FLYmeatwad

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Re: Avatar (3D)
« Reply #73 on: December 21, 2009, 07:42:59 AM »
Between this and Watchmen, I guess I really like films with naked blue guys.
Wait, is there penis in avatar?  More than in Watchmen?

pixote

Nah, it's just partial nudity here, all of that stuff is covered up.

Also, I have not seen District 9, getting it from Netflix this week probably, but I drew that comparison also while watching the film, and afterwards reading the critics blurbs where many said it falls apart in the third act and just becomes a big action film. Wasn't "Interesting allegory and filmmaking, but becomes a common action film towards the end" the consensus on District 9 as well? While watching and making these connections, without seeing District 9 yet, of course, I wondered if it would be possible to like District 9 and not like Avatar. I'll test this theory out Tuesday or Wednesday night, but I'm inclined to hypothesize that the answer is, and should be, no.

joker

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Re: Avatar (3D)
« Reply #74 on: December 21, 2009, 08:18:56 AM »

A good story is a story well told. Naysayers can say nay all they want, but Jurassic Park is a decent story very well told.

Avatar is a bad story well-experienced, if that makes any sense.

bad stroy?  I really really find that hilarious... beause the story is anything but bad... has it been told before... yes... but just because it's a story that has been told before, doesn't make it bad.....

Hell, just look at the story, told visually, through the world of Pandora... the fuana, the flora all within it... the way things look, move... yes, those are VISUALS, but they are also telling a story within themselves....
« Last Edit: December 21, 2009, 08:48:27 AM by jokernick »
"This movie made me laugh so hard, I had mild headaches. So I went to the doctor to get checked out, I'm currently awaiting results"
-Gene Siskel

jamesintexas

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Avatar--George Lucas needs to study this film...and be ashamed. Very ashamed.
« Reply #75 on: December 21, 2009, 08:24:49 AM »
George Lucas, are you listening? 

Experiencing "Avatar" on the big screen in all of its grandeur was the experience I kept waiting for with the Star Wars prequels.  I saw "Episode 1: The Phantom Menace" over 8 times in the theater, and the second and third films underwhelmed and disappointed me.  They are not movies I want to watch again and again.  It was crushing to see George Lucas take my childhood as well as worlds of wonder/beauty (Hoth, Cloud City, Tatooine, Endor), and crush the spirit out of it. 

Where those Star Wars movies were disappointing, cloying, and ultimately a failure in terms of integrating mind-blowing effects and telling a politically relevant story, "Avatar" exceeds all expectations, brilliantly sets up a compelling frame to the story (much like Cameron did in "Titanic"), integrates the amazing special effects in a close to seamless way, as well as making a powerful statement about the War on Terror/War on Iraq. 

Who would have thought that James Cameron would have made a $250,000,000 film that addresses militarism, our response to the other, winning "the hearts and minds," as well as what we ruin in our quest for the MacGuffin of "unobtanium" (insert gold, oil, metals, etc...)

Cameron confidently spirits his camera through swooping tracking shots in the jungle-Endor-like planet of Pandora, focusing lovingly on beautiful, amazing, glow-in-the-dark creatures, terrifying animals, and the inventive, fresh Na'avi tribe who live in harmony with nature, not in opposition to it.

There were moments in this film that made me want to cheer.  It appealed to me on a very childish level, as well as an adult level.  As a child, I cheered when the battle scenes combined everything I loved in "Return of the Jedi's" X-wing attack sequences on the Death Star at the end of the trilogy with the brutally violent effects of "Starship Trooper's" best alien attack moments.  As an adult, I cheered when Sigourney Weaver shows up and has a compelling role as an eco-warrior, fighting for understanding the Na'avi, not obliterating them.  I cheered for the complexity of the Matrix-like pods the characters used to link-in to their avatars, as well as the way characters were treated like adults.  I cheered when Cameron allowed his camera to linger on incredible, unique creatures and landscapes, not just whizzing past them, like Lucas on his way to telling his story.  Cameron is not afraid to spend time to play in this world.  The play is what defines this film as much as the action. 

I liked the way Cameron referenced his previous works--hearing elements of the "Aliens" pounding score, the vague references to "The Company" who I believe sent Ellen Ripley back to bring back an alien, the ship crashing like the boat in "Titanic," and having a protagonist hang off of a missile ala "True Lies"--in tiny, revealing ways, as well I liked Cameron's belief that we the audience can draw our own conclusions about what to make of the plot, (i.e. What is the statement being made about America and its incursions into other parts of the world? )  though a few of the "we fight terror with terror" lines were more explicitly drawn than I needed them to be.

The score is moving; the Na'avi creatures are wonderful to look at.  The riding scenes are some of my favorites, as well as scenes where characters balance precariously on logs, hopping through this incredible, eye-popping world.  The visuals of this film are so colorful in surprising ways, and I love how Cameron hides things in the background and shows the intricacy of this world through a delicate, floating jellyfish style dandelion seed pod that floats through certain scenes. 

In conclusion, Cameron's eye for visual effects and for crafting a story that uses those effects in a compelling way worked in a way I haven't seen in a film in a long, long time, maybe since "Titanic" and "Return of the Jedi."  If I was a ten-year old kid, this movie would have completely blown my mind.  As a 32-year old kid, this movie filled me with wonder and amazement. 

Well-done, Jim Cameron.  You truly are the King of the World.   Take as much time as you need to for your next film.  I

joker

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Re: Avatar (3D)
« Reply #76 on: December 21, 2009, 08:50:14 AM »

P.S. Unobtainium, really?

I thought that was an awesome nod to science....

"This movie made me laugh so hard, I had mild headaches. So I went to the doctor to get checked out, I'm currently awaiting results"
-Gene Siskel

Clovis8

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Re: Avatar (3D)
« Reply #77 on: December 21, 2009, 09:22:58 AM »

P.S. Unobtainium, really?

I thought that was an awesome nod to science....



no scientist would ever name anything that. It was so bad.

joker

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Re: Avatar (3D)
« Reply #78 on: December 21, 2009, 09:27:52 AM »

P.S. Unobtainium, really?

I thought that was an awesome nod to science....



no scientist would ever name anything that. It was so bad.

 ::)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unobtainium
"This movie made me laugh so hard, I had mild headaches. So I went to the doctor to get checked out, I'm currently awaiting results"
-Gene Siskel

Clovis8

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Re: Avatar (3D)
« Reply #79 on: December 21, 2009, 09:29:38 AM »