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I love this:

Quote:

The man then told Cameron, who has directed the blockbuster hits Titanic, and Terminator 2, the plot of his movie was "garbage."

"The plot is so simple a three-year-old could follow it. Make a real movie."

http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/A...537/story.html

A celebrity pap news article, but that is a succinct, well-delivered review.

EDIT: Also! A terrible, long-winded review:

Quote:

The remarkable thing about “Avatar” is the degree to which the technology is integral to the story. It is important to show Pandora and its Na’Vi natives in 3-D because “Avatar” is fundamentally about the moral necessity of seeing other beings fully.

Fucking ridiculous oh fuck, read this review:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/26/opinion/26sat4.html

The message of egalitarianism had to be delivered in three dimensions!!

Quote:

All of this draws on a well-known principle of totalitarianism and genocide — that it is easiest to oppress those we cannot see. This is one reason the Nazis pushed Jews into ghettos, and one reason that the worst Soviet abuses occurred in far-off gulags.

ROFLMAO

Damn! Come on Spielberg, where's Schindler's List 3D? I can imagine somebody watching that movie in twenty years: "I didn't mind the Jews in the film, but you know how I'd really be able to relate to them? If Jews were three-dimensional!"
Quote:

Originally Posted by dreary louse
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All of this draws on a well-known principle of totalitarianism and genocide — that it is easiest to oppress those we cannot see. This is one reason the Nazis pushed Jews into ghettos, and one reason that the worst Soviet abuses occurred in far-off gulags.

Retarded.

"I SEE YOU!"
*kicks Na'vi child into an incinerator*
I just saw it over the weekend and all I can say is...meh. And I've loved everything Cameron has done (yes, I didn't even hate Titanic).
Not that anyone gives a shit, but I'll post more of feelings later, but long story short...I was totally underwhelmed, extremely bored and not even remotely "awed".
Sure the story has been done before and is predictable, but it was the most amazing thing I've ever experienced in a theater. I don't think I can ever watch this in 2D.
I've decided I maybe would have liked it more if it had a joke or two. It takes itself way too seriously.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew Woods
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I've decided I maybe would have liked it more if it had a joke or two. It takes itself way too seriously.

What about the part when Jake wears the loin cloth for the first time and he feels uncomfortable being so naked and reaches back and touches/covers up his bare ass?

That got a good chuckle out of the crowd.
Yes, wedgie humor.
Don't forget that he stepped on some guy's tail!
Oops!
More unobtanium = cat litter, please.
Both exotic female and jealous nerd call Jake a moron! Fuuuunny!
I don't know, the thundercat sex scene had people laughing in my theater.
I went to a 3D show last night and I wasn't sold at first but I ended up really enjoying the experience. Too bad the movie is so empty. I can't imagine watching this on a regular TV which sucks because I would love to experience it again. In 3D or IMAX.
Unused ending of Avatar:

Jake opens his eyes as a Na'vi; the soul transfer is complete. Hurrah. He'll never be in a wheelchair again.

The next day, Jake falls out of a tree and breaks his spine.
I wonder if Cameron started to lose sight over how the film, as it is, would play out. Perhaps he started to become so engulfed in his background mythology and all that added depth found in the scriptment that he lost his grip on how much of that would transfer to the audience with his nips and cuts.

But then, I think about how talented Cameron is in many ways and how long he's been in the business, and I come back around to: he must've known that by jettisoning details, the story would start to become less rich and engaging. But he just didn't care and/or think it was important enough.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew Woods
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I've decided I maybe would have liked it more if it had a joke or two. It takes itself way too seriously.

Oh it had jokes, just none that were remotely funny.
Whatever you think of the film, you've got to acknowledge that whatever business it does do is based on word of mouth. Obviously, the advertising for the film dig jack shit to put the picture over with anybody. People I know weren't even aware of the damn thing. I find it encouraging that an original, non-sequel/prequel/franchise film that might as well have gone unadvertised is finding an audience.
Well, finally saw it tonight. I'm pretty tired, so I'll keep it short.

I loved it. The story's straight-up pulp but there was something primal about it that I really responded to. I thought it was beautiful, fun, emotional in all the right places. I saw it with one of my best friends and we raved about it for a couple of hours afterward. I'm not really feeling the need to nitpick it (although I could) because the experience of seeing it was overwhelming and I really, really had a great time.

I want to see it again.
My favorite moment was the Bagger 288 cameo.
Quote:

Originally Posted by joeypants
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I wonder if Cameron started to lose sight over how the film, as it is, would play out. Perhaps he started to become so engulfed in his background mythology and all that added depth found in the scriptment that he lost his grip on how much of that would transfer to the audience with his nips and cuts.

But then, I think about how talented Cameron is in many ways and how long he's been in the business, and I come back around to: he must've known that by jettisoning details, the story would start to become less rich and engaging. But he just didn't care and/or think it was important enough.

Actually, having explored his filmmaking since Titanic, I've come to think that Avatar does reflect Cameron's personal interests, and he hasn't proven to be any less of an auteur; like Ghosts of the Abyss and Aliens of the Deep, the director's latest is more interested in transporting an audience to another world, not necessarily in terms of storytelling or characterization - the reasons to see Avatar are related to the depiction of Pandora, which is basically his way of showing audiences his wonder at the wreckage of the Titanic or underwater life, except he created this world himself. Cameron isn't very interested in narrative filmmaking anymore, but it's not like a movie such as Avatar could be made with any other structure. He's becoming more like a biologist than a movie maker, but he is a creative who wants to make his own forms of life to invoke wonder.

Unfortunately, he's apparently not as self-aware as somebody like Werner Herzog, who has made actual documentary films about nature (fictionalized though they are, like The Wild Blue Yonder especially) in between his fiction movies. The only way I can relate to Avatar is to envision it as a Discovery Channel-like documentary about a place that doesn't exist, the information of which is conveyed in the form of a fictional re-enactment.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Alan "Nordling" Cerny
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Well, finally saw it tonight. I'm pretty tired, so I'll keep it short.

I loved it. The story's straight-up pulp but there was something primal about it that I really responded to. I thought it was beautiful, fun, emotional in all the right places. I saw it with one of my best friends and we raved about it for a couple of hours afterward. I'm not really feeling the need to nitpick it (although I could) because the experience of seeing it was overwhelming and I really, really had a great time.

I want to see it again.

That's exactly what I wanted to say, but I couldn't word it like that.
I finally saw this puppy a day ago so here's the bit where I spew my vitally important opinion all over this unweildy thread. My experience in the theatre was overall positive because I loved the shit out of the hardware, the dragon flying and the jungle and the fact it was all there in 3 separate Ds in my face.

The problem with the story isn't that it's unoriginal, I can and do love films which have stories that are by-the-book as long as the flesh on that predictable skelton is developed well enough. In Avatar the skeleton has all the right parts (aka beats) in all the right places but the meat on it is un-ignorably malnourished. Go broad all you like James, welcome the audience in and get them comfortable with familiarities so that they might accept your weirdo aliens into their hearts, just make sure to give the characters and their relationships a spark to make them memorable.

Avatar doesn't have that, the characters don't live on once the movie is over. If there's a one word summation of the way this element of Avatar feels it's probably "lazy". It's as if the thinking was, "fourteen year old boys don't need proper writing so this half-assed story is good enough," and that's why what it ultimately feels like is a kids' movie. Someone in this thread (I think Johnny Tremaine) said that it feels like a Saturday morning cartoon, and that's about right, there's no emotional backbone to give the admittedly awesome action the impact it deserves. It's just a shame Cameron didn't look to Pixar to see that a genuinely good kids' film is one which doesn't neglect smart, fully-rounded storytelling.

In the end Avatar is merely a spectacular depiction of poorly executed sci-fi fantasy pulp, a good old story (I like Dances With Wolves just fine, wanna make something of it?) told with with great world-creation but poor writing. To put it another way, it's like a football team where all the training has been done to near perfection in the gym, the muscles are bulging, and they have borrowed a decent playbook, but they keep fumbling the ball because the execution of that solid playbook is lacking*. It's a fun ride for 2:45 but once the lights come on it starts to fade significantly as memory tries to take over from sensory input. When pulp is done right it becomes iconic because it's about memorable characters. When it's done like Avatar it becomes just a pretty also-ran.

(* For a stark example of this dropping of the ball, aka missed potential, think of the support characters' deaths. In well-done pulp stories Michelle Rodriguez and Wind In His Hair's deaths would have been moving and badass and hit me in the gut and heart. In Avatar, weak pulp, they're completely flat and inconsequential. There is simply no excuse to spend almost three hours on a story and have character development so weak when other writers and directors accomplish good work with an hour less.)

I give the film a win on the visual front though, the 3D is superbly employed to welcome us into this world and the world itself, although not blessed with designs bursting with imagination, is a lot of fun to vicariously inhabit for a couple of hours or three. I found the Na'vi, as goofy as that design is, and other creatures mostly very believable as living breathing things instead of stacks of pixels. There are momentary lapses in physics where the CGI leaps out, but only momentary ones.

In the end, 30 hours or so after seeing it, I don't feel a strong urge to see it again. For a film predicated on being the biggest fish in the cinematic sea this year I'm finding that outside of the theatre, without my fancypants glasses to beam the awe into my eyeballs, its storytelling shortcomings left it feeling somehow small in the memorybanks. Neither Pandora nor the people who inhabit it linger in my imagination (nope, not even that hot piece of blue ass Neytiri). Hardly the mark of a game-changer.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bucho
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Neither Pandora nor the people who inhabit it linger in my imagination (nope, not even that hot piece of blue ass Neytiri). Hardly the mark of a game-changer.

*Zoe Saldana honks angrily*

Otherwise, I totally agree with you. The only reason I want to see it again is to check out the regular non-IMAX 3D version to see if it does any justice to the graphics, because the general fuzziness/soft-focus that kept happening sort of screwed everything else over for me.
For the technology interested here's a long audio interview with a couple of the guys working on the movie.

Oh and interesting enough:

Quote:

One of the VFX guys working on Avatar:
...It was great to see your work on the screen after so many years of hard work but I mean there was a whole lot, a whole, WHOLE lot that was cut out and that was painfull to watch... I know there has been some qualms about a lack of story and character development, I mean it's 2:40 and there is some good stuff in there, but if people had seen the 4 hour cut there would be absolutely no complaints at all. It's just that there is a limit as to what people are willing to sit through...

So maybe they did film project880 heh.
Quote:

Originally Posted by dreary louse
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Actually, having explored his filmmaking since Titanic, I've come to think that Avatar does reflect Cameron's personal interests, and he hasn't proven to be any less of an auteur; like Ghosts of the Abyss and Aliens of the Deep, the director's latest is more interested in transporting an audience to another world, not necessarily in terms of storytelling or characterization - the reasons to see Avatar are related to the depiction of Pandora, which is basically his way of showing audiences his wonder at the wreckage of the Titanic or underwater life, except he created this world himself. Cameron isn't very interested in narrative filmmaking anymore, but it's not like a movie such as Avatar could be made with any other structure. He's becoming more like a biologist than a movie maker, but he is a creative who wants to make his own forms of life to invoke wonder.

Unfortunately, he's apparently not as self-aware as somebody like Werner Herzog, who has made actual documentary films about nature (fictionalized though they are, like The Wild Blue Yonder especially) in between his fiction movies. The only way I can relate to Avatar is to envision it as a Discovery Channel-like documentary about a place that doesn't exist, the information of which is conveyed in the form of a fictional re-enactment.

I'm not trying to be a snarky asshole here...

but that's some pretty hard-driving apologist speak there. Basically all of what you're saying amounts to: as a MOVIE, it's really not great at all, but as a nature documentary, it's amazing.

He's making MOVIES. He's not making fake nature-documentaries.

The form in which he's chosen to work (narrative filmmaking) actually does require you to be good at all the things champions of this film are asking others to brush aside or not pay too much attention to.
Yeah, that's why this movie isn't very good and I wouldn't recommend it to anybody, unless one is really keen on the 3D. I guess the word auteur usually has some positive connotation, but a personal movie could not be any good if the person making the movie isnt very interesting. Certainly I wouldnt call Avatar a fascinating motion picture. Im just trying to make sense of Camerons motivations and I cant even type punctuation on this keyboard for some reason.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Renn Brown
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My favorite moment was the Bagger 288 cameo.

Yes!!! I saw that fucker too.
Saw this in 3D on a huge 40 foot screen. Pretty fun time. Was it the greatest movie ever made? No. But I have no urge to nit pick this. I enjoyed it for what it was.

Biggest laugh in the theater came when Sully and Neytiri mated and then she says "I'm yours for life", to which an audience member yells out something to the effect of "Ain't that a bitch!"
Quote:

Originally Posted by VFX GUYS

...It was great to see your work on the screen after so many years of hard work but I mean there was a whole lot, a whole, WHOLE lot that was cut out and that was painfull to watch... I know there has been some qualms about a lack of story and character development, I mean it's 2:40 and there is some good stuff in there, but if people had seen the 4 hour cut there would be absolutely no complaints at all. It's just that there is a limit as to what people are willing to sit through...

Horrendous excuse. It doesn't take 4 hours to develop a character or tell a good story.
Pretty much what I was thinking.
My hope is that this is a Kingdom of Heaven situation, where the film was stripped to its structure. I think there is a point and purpose to four hour narratives, even cinematically, though it's unfortunate that Cameron seems unable to multi-task narratively speaking. But the global phenomenon type gross this has may temper the need or desire for an extended cut, especially if it costs a shit ton. Even if it makes sense to double dip, when films become this successful, showing what was left out is no longer a priority.
But it seems like the studio execs know the film's a theatrical success because of the 3D. An extended cut would give fans a reason to purchase the eventual double-dip.

That said, I'm fairly certain no cut of Avatar would include my favorite change up from 880; Jake leading a raid on Hell's Gate. That might be too much nuance for mass audiences to digest.
I shouldn't be, but I still can't believe that this thing is getting Oscar nomination heat.

I mean seriously. Even if you're one of the ones who enjoyed it, you have to admit that this just isn't "Best Picture" material.

But then, the Academy has worked hard to make those awards almost completely irrelevant, so I don't even know why I think about it.

But every time I hear someone talk about this thing as the "possible front runner for Best Picture," I get a little enraged. And yes, I know that a lot of people say that from a prognostication standpoint, not actually championing it as a deserving contender.

But are we really to the point where we're just doling out Best Picture trophies for hollow spectacle?
Quote:

Originally Posted by Andre Dellamorte
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My hope is that this is a Kingdom of Heaven situation, where the film was stripped to its structure. I think there is a point and purpose to four hour narratives, even cinematically, though it's unfortunate that Cameron seems unable to multi-task narratively speaking.

But Kingdom of Heaven requires that time in a way that Avatar shouldn't. It's the simplest story on earth and as it is, has very little going on underneath. I really think it's a result of Cameron's inability to be concise as a storyteller rather than Avatar actually needing a longer running time. I mean, even True Lies is 140 minutes.
Quote:

Originally Posted by joeypants
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But are we really to the point where we're just doling out Best Picture trophies for hollow spectacle?

"To the point"? Doctor Doolittle, The Towering Inferno, The Greatest Show on Earth, Airport, all were nominated for Best Picture when there were only five nominations. Hell, Greatest Show on Earth fucking WON. For years the Oscars threw a nom at a blockbuster, a practice that's only recently faded and which many blame for the low ratings and the move to ten nominations. So we'll get four or five blockbusters nominated along with the usual Oscar fare, which will probably still carry the day. The worst thing is that you'll see Avatar DVDs with "BEST PICTURE NOMINEE" stickers on them.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pop Zeus
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But it seems like the studio execs know the film's a theatrical success because of the 3D. An extended cut would give fans a reason to purchase the eventual double-dip.

That said, I'm fairly certain no cut of Avatar would include my favorite change up from 880; Jake leading a raid on Hell's Gate. That might be too much nuance for mass audiences to digest.

These Behind the Scenes videos show them filming what looks to be the raid on Hell's Gate. Footage can be found in 2:30 into Video 1.

http://www.traileraddict.com/trailer/avatar/b-roll-i