Friday, December 25, 2009

A Cinematic Public Service Announcement

In the 17 months that we’ve written about the movies for this blog, the four of us have seen countless films, arguing over many, partly seeing eye-to-eye over some, and agreeing unequivocally on a few.

This is one of those few.

The hype over James Cameron’s Avatar has been building up steadily over the past several years, reaching fever pitch over the past few months. Avatar has been touted as an event movie of epic proportions, and the “one” that will change the way that films are made in the future. Now that we’ve all had a chance to see it, we wanted to share our excitement with you as a group, because the four of us feel so strongly about Avatar that we feel that it’s one of THOSE movies that anyone who considers himself/herself a fan of the movies really ought to go see.

Below, you’ll find our individual comments on the film.

“Twelve years is a long time to wait for anything, but James Cameron has made it more than worth the wait. AVATAR is unlike anything you have ever seen before. It’ll dazzle your senses, melt your eyeballs and pin you to your seat. It immerses you in a world up until now you only thought you could see in your dreams. In short, AVATAR is the reason they make movie theatres. If you want to see the future of film making converge with the best that modern story telling has to offer, get your butt to a theatre NOW!”
--Chris W.

“My girlfriend didn't want to see it. This isn't anything new when it comes to her feelings on movies involving fantasy. But she was adamant that it looked stupid. Fortunately, I had a coupon that was a gift from her, stating she'd go to a movie she didn't want to see. I knew we were in for a treat, and wanted her to experience it too. By the end of the movie, she was on the edge of her seat, gripping my arm with suspense and enjoyment all in one. I simply ate my popcorn, grinned with satisfaction, and enjoyed the rest of my Christmas present.

James Cameron consistently delivers fascinating stories, classic characters, amazing worlds, and he does it while raising the standard for not only the technology that he's using, but also how those effects should be used. You are emotionally involved with the world and characters you are introduced to, as if you are in an Avatar yourself. It's Dances with Wolves with a little bit of The Matrix, and the hottest and most badass version of Pocahontas you will ever see. This movie has heart, and I love it. If you haven't seen it, you are crazy. If you haven't seen it twice, sell something so you can see it again. And if you haven't seen it in IMAX 3D, then you don't know Pandora. For those of you that have done all of the above, ‘I see you.’"

Avatar is something not seen very often – a film that delivers on concept, story and craftsmanship. James Cameron promised that with Avatar we’d be visiting another planet and, while watching the film, we are. The astounding thing is that, in 2D, you are invested in the story of Jake Sully & the Na’vi people, but, in 3D, you are walking on Pandora with them. Avatar is a film that cannot be missed on the big screen, and, no matter what exhibition format you see it in, Cameron will take you into a story that you will cheer for.”
“It’s no surprise that I’ve been somewhat skeptical about Avatar for the past several months. The first trailer was somewhat unimpressive, and while the second was better, my doubts still remained as I sat in the theater last weekend. Over the course of the next 2 hours and 40 minutes, my cinematic mind was blown. Sure, the script could have used another pass, but I found myself in a strange place. I just didn’t care. Cameron’s use of visual effects is second to none and Pandora is one of the most distinctive (and beautiful) environments I’ve ever seen in a movie. Look, I’ll just say it: if you miss seeing Avatar on the big screen, you might regret it for the rest of your life.”

If you go to see only one movie the rest of the year, let that movie be Avatar.
-Chris W, FilmNinja, Megan, & Adam


Anonymous said...

Nice to hear from Filmninja since I haven't seen an entry for him in awhile on here and thought he dropped off or something.

Like Basterds before it, I'm going to reserve judgement until I actually see the film.

The worst complaints I've heard about it thus far is that its too much like "Dances with Wolves", "Ferngully: The Last Rainforest", "Platoon", etc. but honestly, its not like "King Kong" was breaking any ground story-wise when it came out and its a cinema classic today.

Even if I dislike the story, I'll still see it if only because its by Cameron and looks to be like one of the film going experiences of the 00's similar to the LOTR trilogy a few years back.

Anonymous said...

Again, I still don't really get the criticism with the film in terms of the plot. Though I've yet to see it, the original Star Wars trilogy is near and dear to me and almost everything in those films can be traced to something done in another one and you rarely hear anyone complain about that.

Though, I understand why people have a problem with that if its a remake or sequel that's doing the same thing over and over again or if they steal an idea and just change the title of the film.

Anonymous said...

Another talking point is all this hoopla over its supposed "left wing stance" on things.

To the best of my knowledge, James Cameron is a Democrat but if they're going to try and politicize this film they should also realize that Aliens and The Abyss had stories that were both critical towards big corporations and the military and again not many people complained about it at the time.

It could be argued that the Weyland corporation and the brass in both the aforementioned films were critiques on the Reagan administration, they're too broad to be considered a direct attack on them.

Unless they have a planet named "Iraq" in the film and the plot centers around oil then I call BS on this being a type of propaganda film as some people in the media have made it out to be.

From what I read, its just more of the same type of people who found "Revenge of The Sith" to be a satire of The Bush II regime. Sure, there were parallels but Lucas started writing it in the 60's with the Empire as a combo of the Nazi's during WWII and The Emperor as Nixon.

It really says more about people in general though and how they tend to have the long term memory of gnats.

Adam said...

I'm sorry it took so long for me to respond.

Avatar doesn't get a ton of originality points for the script, that's for sure. Essentially, it's a revisionist western on another planet. However, like I said, I found the film so enthralling that I stopped caring about the been there-done that story. Still though, had Cameron been a little gutsier, I would have probably have had even more respect for his achievement. There were times when I knew that a real-life Marine would have responded with much more intensity than was the case in Avatar.

Isn't it funny how Star Wars is essentially Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress crossed with Ford's The Searchers? I suppose that Lucas had it a little easier in that what he did with SW was a relatively new thing at the time. Nowadays, 32 years after the dawn of SW, it's a bit harder to get stuff like that across without the "CLICHE" alarms going off.

For some reason, a presentation I did in my Screenwriting class in college comes to mind. I chose the first scene of The Godfather as my "text." Dr. P asked me why I thought that the mass of cliches that the film presented worked. I replied that, at the time, the film was probably introducing those thematic devices for the very first time, and, as such, weren't cliches yet.

As for the political angle, the case can definitely be made that Cameron's trying to make a point, but I tend to agree with you. People need to majorly chill out.

Be sure to let us know what you think of Avatar when you finally see it!