Friday, July 31, 2009

CC 2009 Avatar

People are always talking about the “future of cinema”. It’s a phrase that gets bandied about all the time and it’s been used to tout 3-D, Smell-O-Vision and the new fangled theatre seats that move around so you feel like you’re at an amusement park. Of course one of the major harbingers of the “future of cinema” is a little thing called motion capture, a technology that certain film makers (Such as Robert Zemmeckis) have fallen madly in love with, a technological advance that is supposed to completely change the way movies are made. The problem with all of these leaps and bounds into the “new frontier” of technology is that for the most part every single one of them seems like nothing more than a gimmick.

Pretty much every 3-D film that has ever been made up to this point hasn’t really benefited from the fact that it’s 3-D it’s just used to throw things in the audiences faces, not actually serve the story or the narrative. The same could be said of motion capture. Filmmakers say it’s saves money and allows them to do things that they could never do in the real world, but I’ve still yet to see any motion capture film that wouldn’t have been just as effective, if not more so if it had all been done with real actors in real locations. In fact as cool as some of this stuff is it often times temporarily removes the audience from the movie because you’re either hung up thinking about the technology or until very recently no matter how hard filmmakers try the animated actors look like just that, not the real flesh and blood the technology was created to reproduce. I mean last Thursday the stuff they showed from A CHRISTMAS CAROL looked AMAZING, it truly showed the leaps and bounds technology has made but at the same time it never really proved just WHY one would chose to make a movie that way instead of the old fashioned, tried and true methods.

Then James Cameron took the stage and blew everyone’s eyeballs out of the back of their skulls!

Friends I have seen the “future of cinema” and it is AVATAR. It has been over 12 years now since Cameron swept the Oscars and blew away every box office record known to mankind with his epic TITANIC. That film marked the last time he came even close to touching any sort of narrative film. If you’ve been wondering what he has been doing in that dozen year hiatus all of your questions will be resoundingly answered this December when he releases his latest masterpiece in cinemas.

Make no mistake, James Cameron is a mad man. If you know anything about him you know that his attention to detail and perfectionism is almost unparalleled and every bit of that was on display in the 24 minutes worth of footage he showed. The dude has literally created an entire alien world out of thin air, complete with its own eco-system, food chain and language. Hearing him talk there is literally NOTHING he didn’t figure out. His world of Pandora is just as deep and complex as earth only his doesn’t actually exist.

All of that insane, exacting detail takes a backseat however to the visuals that he assaulted us with. To be quite honest they make every other movie I’ve ever seen look like STEAMBOAT WILLIE. My brain KNOWS that Pandora and the alien and plant life that inhabit it aren’t real but my eyes have a hard time reconciling that with what they saw. The best way I can describe what was shown it to simply say that it honestly looks like James Cameron took a film crew to another planet and simply filmed there.

In 24 minutes Cameron blew away every expectation and preconceived notion I’ve ever had about motion capture technology. I’m still not one hundred percent sure how he did it and if it was all just motion capture or some weird amalgamation of technology that he’s unwilling to reveal but for the first time I understand why one would chose the technology and how it could be used to show something human eyes have never seen before. What Cameron showed should not be possible but sure enough for 24 minutes everyone in Hall H, myself included sat there with our jaws on the floor as an imaginary world came to full, three dimensional life (The footage was in 3-D) in a way that even George Lucas can only dream about.

Spending all this time talking about how mind numbingly exceptional the visuals were leaves me very little room to mention that the visuals, as in any great movie, seem to just be the tip of the iceberg. There appears to be a great story wrapped up in this cinematic break through, one that looks to engage the heart and the mind, one that is serviced by the technology not overrun by it.

James Cameron has spent his career shattering the barriers of reality and fiction in his films. He has shown the world things they never thought they would see all the while tapping into real human emotions, concepts and ideas. AVATAR looks to continue this trend and then some. I have NEVER seen anything like AVATAR and after that hour spent in Hall H and the 24 minutes worth of footage that assaulted my brain December can’t get here fast enough. Mark my words now, people will be talking about this one for the ages.


josapin said...

Avatar (2009) movie was upcoming and most of my friends have told me there was a movie upcoming so I look for a better reading of this movie and found this review and alone with the review I have found this better trailer of the movie which shows the quality of the movie I like this trailer very much

Anonymous said...

I loved the panel with Cameron and Jackson.