Ebert was figuratively on both knees in front of a very pleased James Cameron with his review for Avatar. Wipe off that mouth of yours, Ebert! It’s unbecoming of you. I don’t know about anyone else, but I threw up a little bit onto myself when I read it.
Avatar is a psychedelic save the world movie. Apart from anything else, it’s hard to look at what is happening in the world and watch Avatar and not feel a resonance. It taps into all our guilt and all our hopes. Reading Eberts review just confirmed all my feelings about the film and to be fair to be Ebert, it’s quite hard to criticize Avatar without attacking it’s Green/Anti-War message. The problem with Avatar for many is that it is actually good and that perhaps Cameron has actually made an important film. There is no doubt in my mind having seen the film that Ebert is really just telling it like it is. Avatar is good. Its a very Good film.
Marvel, having a Green/Anti-war message does not make a film important. If the film is Cameron’s usual junky fare with a conclusion that a lot of people can agree with, that doesn’t mean it’s not superficial.
What I’m saying is it’s not the story that matters, it’s the way the story is told.
I can see that Fraser but this isn’t Free Willy. Avatar delivers on all fronts. There is no lack of story and no lack of imagination in it’s telling.
I think a second viewing is needed with Avatar. It’ been playing on my mind a bit. My memory of it more like a dream than that of a film, very peculiar.
I’m not worried about it being Free Willy, I’m worried it’ll be Titanic or True Lies or The Terminator or Terminator 2 or The Abyss or Aliens.
“All of the “possibilities” you say these achievements can open up are more distractions from real art concerns. By the way, don’t get me wrong when I say the movie camera isn’t important. I love all the great films that I have seen but technology, for me, is never “important.” A man on a desert island with no dvd player and nothing but the complete works of Shakespeare isn’t missing out on anything important because he lacks knowledge about Cameron’s lame advancements.”"
I am going to have to disagree with you here. Film, like any medium, IS technology. Like the telephone, film is simply a medium in which to communicate ideas. The screenplay, the acquisition of images, editing, and projection of said images are all technology to send light into your eyes for your brain to interpret. How these images are manipulated to manipulate you COULD be considered art. To say that technology has nothing to do with anything, and then to mention print immediately after is a contradiction, because print is just another technology: a medium in which to communicate those ideas. How that medium changes affects how communication takes place.
Music, print, film, architecture, etc, are all technology and carry ideas, yet saying this technology doesn’t mean anything, and only the ideas are important is a misunderstanding in my humble opinion. Though a song and a film may have the exact same message, the way this technology interacts with people physically and emotionally are completely different, and that is 100% in the technology. I am not suggesting that technology is or isn’t art, rather that ideas that are communicated have different effects depending on the technology.
That being stated, I am not saying that Avatar will be good or bad (I haven’t seen the film yet), that it will change everything, or that it is the most important film ever made. Time will tell what really matters and what doesn’t.
The main aspect of Avatar that interests me is the advancement of film technology. Stereoscopic cinema has always been a gimmick, with poor execution. A serious attempt to use it for something other than cheap tricks is very important to me. Throughout cinema, we have gotten different advancements: lenses (the ability to use shallow or deep focus, to guide the audience emotionally throughout the piece), digital technology (ubiquitous access to content anywhere), and now maybe stereo cinema. Depth could be used in unique ways to help carry ideas in a new aspect through cinema, we just don’t know yet because it is so new.
“On that note, I will agree to disagree with you about the importance of technology and Cameron’s use of it. This goes for Kubrick and the steadycam and, for me all the way back to the Lumiere’s and others who invented the cinema. None of it is “important.” If the movie camera was never invented we’d all be just fine working our way through In Search of Lost Time for the fifth or sixth time before we started reading the entire works of Balzac or doing something else worthwhile.”
This illustrates the exact opposite of how I feel about cinema and film technology. The more ways you can communicate, the more you CAN communicate. Language (also a technology) is the perfect example of this. The more words you have, the more words you have to chose from and can more clearly and accurately describe what you want to communicate. The more facets and dimensions to film there are, the more ways we can communicate with one another.
I am not suggesting that stereoscopic cinema is the answer to everything, nor that James Cameron’s version of it is the best version, nor that Avatar will or will not be anything, but to say such things and not understand that technology is PIVOTAL in communicating with one another and simply dismiss a film because it is actively trying to expand film technology is an attitude I don’t share. Film is technology, simple as that.
The thing I am hearing the most in this thread is that this film is tripe because it costs a lot of money to make and that it is in 3D, but does that mean that all 2D films that cost less than $100k are somehow better?
Again, film is a technology, no matter what form it takes or how much it costs.
So whose seen it and what do we make of it?
Well i found it entertaining but a bit of the same ol Dances with Wolves cliche’s mixed in with some of Titanic’s score. I personally loved the way it was filmed but hated that everything looked a bit artificial. Cameron definitely is a filmmaker that can give Michael Bay a run for his money on top of the fact that he does write his own material something Bay doesn’t even try to do(thank god). I was also a bit surprised that Ebert gave this film such applaud it’s good but to change cinema i think no. Though Ebert tends to give in to corporate pressure i remember him giving Phantom Menace very favorable reviews!
“To say that technology has nothing to do with anything, and then to mention print immediately after is a contradiction, because print is just another technology: a medium in which to communicate those ideas”
The point was not that technology can’t be used to convey great ideas and art, but that advances in technology aren’t necessary to do so. Advances in technology have nothing to do with advances in artistry so they don’t matter.
A simple very formulaic story pulled off beautifully. Do we really expect someone to spend 250 million and not tell the story in a safe, predictable way to guarantee sucess? It’s what the majority of the mainstream audience demands. Cameron created a remarkable 3D world and filled it with bland one dimensional characters. It was still a great spectacle and a fun ride. Now, in the future, after this film earns a sizable profit, I hope to see more daring films that take advantage of CGI and 3D in a similar way. As new technology becomes more prevalent and cheaper, I imagine this will happen. I could be wrong. But the thought of a creative, risk-taking script matched with the dreamlike 3D immersion of the Pandora scenes in Avatar is something I’m excited about. For now, I love Avatar for what it is. 5 years from now, I expect better or like any new technology, 3D will be something we quickly tire of and take for granted.
Not much to add. Thoroughly enjoyable. Derivative? Sure. One-dimensional? Yes. A game-changer? Nah, that’s an overstatement. It was still immensely pleasurable. The 3D was handled splendidly. Not at all gimmicky. The care that went into this production is beyond impressive. Like Jay, I hope the sequel (who you kidding? There WILL be a sequel) takes more chances with narrative, but as an introduction to this world, it was good enough.
What’s really interesting about Cameron is that for all his sophistication and know-how in the technology area, his ideas regarding nature and empathy are rather simplistic, to be charitable. Clearly, these notions have some importance to him and are expressed quite earnestly, which some might be inclined to snicker at, but because he is so deeply invested in them they never seem anything less than heartfelt. He’s a hardware geek whose titanium exoskeleton protects a very romantic core.
I definitely think there was much to admire about the film if you don’t pay attention to the story, writing and acting. The film is not so much revolutionary as it is evolutionary. It takes established techniques and moves them to the next level. The motion capture was very well done, especially with Neytiri. I definitely give Cameron credit for creating this entire world on his own, similar to what Lucas has done.
Ok. So it’s the fasting grossing film of all time. Avatar is a resounding box office success unlike no other before it. How do you think this will change things for film makers and film making? And can 3D really be considered just a fad now?