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You're raging against simplistic arguments which no one is actually making.
Maybe. Maybe I am lumping all you guys in together when there is but a handful of die-hard Avatar nuts doing the heavy-lifting. I'll admit to finding it maddening that a well-made hamburger of a movie pushes so many obviously intelligent people's buttons to the point that they lavish more praise and attention on it than genuinely interesting and exciting cinema. Not specifically aimed at anyone in this thread, but there are examples both here and across the wider critical community.
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Originally Posted by Merriweather
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Maybe. Maybe I am lumping all you guys in together when there is but a handful of die-hard Avatar nuts doing the heavy-lifting. I'll admit to finding it maddening that a well-made hamburger of a movie pushes so many obviously intelligent people's buttons to the point that they lavish more praise and attention on it than genuinely interesting and exciting cinema. Not specifically aimed at anyone in this thread, but there are examples both here and across the wider critical community.

Well part of me agrees on that, but in the end people are always gonna discuss the big movie everyone's seen. And talking about something more doesn't mean you enjoy it more - I saw The Fall the day before I saw Avatar and that movie made much more of a personal impression on me, but it being a low key cultish kind of thing rather than a controversial cultural force it was never likely to be a massive talking point.

And hey at least this stuff is slightly higher up the food chain than those painfully redundant and pointless star wars threads going on at the moment. 'Good lord, so you felt episode 2 was hampered by narrative and conceptual shortcomings? Won't you sit down and take the time to elaborate on this radical and hitherto unarticulated thesis, my good sir?'
Don't worry Merriweather. I'm on your side.
Its not what he's saying, its how he's saying it - over and over again.
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Originally Posted by Keith F
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Yeah, I enjoyed Avatar but there is nothing risky about the story, not one bit. Every beat is supremely calculated.

I'll just defer to Cobretti's statement.

Not a big fan of Rain Dog's assertion that the ticket sales equals mass ignorance of the public, or maybe I'm laying something on Dog that I shouldn't- the notion that if you liked Avatar you must be stupid.

This is what I say to that: Mittens!

I'm not saying that everyone who enjoyed the film is stupid - seriously I'm not. I guess for some people plot and character can happily take a backseat to spectacle and prettiness.

I am just not one of those people - at all.

If I was, I'm sure I would have enjoyed Transformers and then bothered to buy a ticket for Transformers 2. If I was, I'm sure I'd love the work of directors like Michael Bay and his ilk, rather than personally seeing them as heralding the death of good mainstream cinema.

I love cinema - even mainstream cinema - that turns my brain on. I like thinking in a movie, I like being emotionally involved with characters I care about and who's stories grip me. I like the head and the herat working in tandem while I have my arse kicked watching a brilliant movie for the first time - or the fifth. It's why the original Terminator is one of the few Cameron films I still like and The Abyss is the only one I truely love.

I don't like feeling cynically manipulated, I don't like feeling like a sucker, and unfortunately, with my brain switched on through something like Avatar and my need for compelling stories and characters, that's exactly how I feel.

Avatar is sumptuous to look at - I'm not arguing that fact with anyone - it's just that outside of memories of the odd pretty moment and the splitting headache the 3D gave me, I can barely remember the dramatic beats of the story. I personally want more from a film than that, that's what I got into loving the movies for in the first place - and I love my spectacle cinema, shit, epics are damn near my favorite genre.

Avatar for me tho was the very definition of empty spectacle.

It didn't offend me, it was simply an overly long showreel for the wonders of modern 3D and cgi - a 21st century Captain EO if you will - but sorry, that's not a movie. Not to me anyway.

If that's what floats your boat - and it obviously floats a lotta boats - more power to you, but don't expect me to sit there and applaud just because so many people seemingly prefer a blandly safe, non-challenging, cynically manipulative piece of pretty pap over the myriad of actual great movies released every year from all around the world - especially around here.

I'm not shitting on you and thinking your stupid if you liked or even loved it - but I'm not going to agree with you on what makes a great movie either.
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Originally Posted by dynamotv
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The highlight for me was when he called out the people who are depressed about not living in Pandora.

Well if Quincy Jones can resurrect "We are the World" for Haiti, why can't Midnight Oil throw a little remix together for these afflicted fans? How can we sleep when the Na'avi trees are burning?
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Originally Posted by The Rain Dog
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I'm not saying that everyone who enjoyed the film is stupid - seriously I'm not. I guess for some people plot and character can happily take a backseat to spectacle and prettiness.

I am just not one of those people - at all.

If I was, I'm sure I would have enjoyed Transformers and then bothered to buy a ticket for Transformers 2. If I was, I'm sure I'd love the work of directors like Michael Bay and his ilk, rather than personally seeing them as heralding the death of good mainstream cinema.

I love cinema - even mainstream cinema - that turns my brain on. I like thinking in a movie, I like being emotionally involved with characters I care about and who's stories grip me. I like the head and the herat working in tandem while I have my arse kicked watching a brilliant movie for the first time - or the fifth. It's why the original Terminator is one of the few Cameron films I still like and The Abyss is the only one I truely love.

I don't like feeling cynically manipulated, I don't like feeling like a sucker, and unfortunately, with my brain switched on through something like Avatar and my need for compelling stories and characters, that's exactly how I feel.

Avatar is sumptuous to look at - I'm not arguing that fact with anyone - it's just that outside of memories of the odd pretty moment and the splitting headache the 3D gave me, I can barely remember the dramatic beats of the story. I personally want more from a film than that, that's what I got into loving the movies for in the first place - and I love my spectacle cinema, shit, epics are damn near my favorite genre.

Avatar for me tho was the very definition of empty spectacle.

It didn't offend me, it was simply an overly long showreel for the wonders of modern 3D and cgi - a 21st century Captain EO if you will - but sorry, that's not a movie. Not to me anyway.

If that's what floats your boat - and it obviously floats a lotta boats - more power to you, but don't expect me to sit there and applaud just because so many people seemingly prefer a blandly safe, non-challenging, cynically manipulative piece of pretty pap over the myriad of actual great movies released every year from all around the world - especially around here.

I'm not shitting on you and thinking your stupid if you liked or even loved it - but I'm not going to agree with you on what makes a great movie either.

Very well put, and agreed 100%.
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Originally Posted by The Rain Dog
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I'm not saying that everyone who enjoyed the film is stupid - seriously I'm not. I guess for some people plot and character can happily take a backseat to spectacle and prettiness.

I am just not one of those people - at all.

If I was, I'm sure I would have enjoyed Transformers and then bothered to buy a ticket for Transformers 2. If I was, I'm sure I'd love the work of directors like Michael Bay and his ilk, rather than personally seeing them as heralding the death of good mainstream cinema.

The problem is that you're trying to compare movies with incoherent plots and characters like Transformers 2 (which I hated) with a movie like Avatar that has simple but well crafted plotting and characters. Avatar had a strong (but derivative) foundation that spectacle and prettiness could stand on. The problems of Michael Bay and his ilk is that they suck at storytelling and try to disguise it with spectacle. That is the cause of bad mainstream cinema.
I honestly thought the storytelling in Avatar kinda sucked. Nothing near the level of Transformers 2, mind you. But compared to Cameron's previous highs, it was weak. People get through it just fine because the story is so well-worn that they can comfortably fill in the blanks.
The problem I have is that Cameron IS capable of doing so much better. Hell, the "They used to call this arm THE HAMMER" guy in The Abyss had more personality than anyone in Avatar, including the lead actor.
The heroic death of Tough Latina seemed way more effective in Aliens than the heroic death of Tough Latina 2 in Avatar.

Cameron does broad and simple. He's done broad and simple better before.
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Originally Posted by NoahtheStud
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The problem is that you're trying to compare movies with incoherent plots and characters like Transformers 2 (which I hated) with a movie like Avatar that has simple but well crafted plotting and characters. Avatar had a strong (but derivative) foundation that spectacle and prettiness could stand on. The problems of Michael Bay and his ilk is that they suck at storytelling and try to disguise it with spectacle. That is the cause of bad mainstream cinema.

This.

At least Avatar was coherent and flowed well. Yeah yeah it's tired, cliche, bad dialogue etc etc but compare it to absolute messes of plots like TF2 or the phantom menace and it's kind of mind boggling how hard it seems to be to tell even a simplistic straight story with big FX.
Vasquez could take out Trudy with a fart.
I sense a Youtube mash-up coming!
with "next-gen" movie making like this it will always be a difficulty to still get actor's charisma captured despite:
-shooting happening in tiny bits, often done over months or years. reshoots are essentially part of the deal
-no chance for charismatic crew bonding to happen when there is no on location adventure or real set, no appearance of real danger.
-the usual greenscreen "nothing to act against" dilemma
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Originally Posted by Barkatthemoon
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Vasquez could take out Trudy with a fart.

You could argue that Trudy only shows toughness when it's needed.
I like 'em both, but I think my vote goes to Trudy
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Originally Posted by Ryan Bean
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At least Avatar was coherent and flowed well. Yeah yeah it's tired, cliche, bad dialogue etc etc but compare it to absolute messes of plots like TF2 or the phantom menace and it's kind of mind boggling how hard it seems to be to tell even a simplistic straight story with big FX.

Ah yes, the old "It was better than these pieces of shit, therefore it's good" argument. Why don't we compare it to Plan Nine From Outer Space while we're at it? That should make it look even better.

If you want a level playing field for comparison, compare it to Cameron's other films, most of which are significantly better than this one.
A blog headed up by Pixar animators with some words about the way Cameron seems to deny the reliance on animators. Still, the animators seemed to love the movie. The comments at the bottom have lots to say about just how much the animators were integral to all this ballyhooed performance capture.

http://splinedoctors.com/2010/01/coo...s-avatar-clip/
That's something that really bugs me about all this mocap business. People are being given the impression that it goes right from the actor's performance to the finished character without any kind of artistic filter.
...and just in case there's absolutely anyone out there wondering why Fox News hasn't gone to town on Avatars laboured and bombastically hackneyed lefty greeny message:

Avatar propels News Corp back to profit

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News Corp's Hollywood studio business saw its operating income nearly triple to $US324 million thanks to a record-breaking performance from the 3D sci-fi movie "Avatar," which James Cameron directed.

"Avatar" has sold more than $US2 billion in ticket sales at the worldwide box office, overtaking "Titanic" to become the biggest movie of all time.

IG Markets research analyst Ben Potter said News Corp’s result was ‘‘smashing’’ and exceeded market expectations.

‘‘Whilst a profit upgrade was expected, the magnitude clearly surprised,’’ he said in a research note. ‘‘Impressively, the full impacts of Avatar and an improving US advertising market are not expected to benefit the company until next quarter.’’

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Originally Posted by Greg David
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That's something that really bugs me about all this mocap business. People are being given the impression that it goes right from the actor's performance to the finished character without any kind of artistic filter.

It's not even an impression. That's specifically the company line they're towing. And it's a lie. And the lie seems to be common practice when it comes to this technology.
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Originally Posted by Greg David
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If you want a level playing field for comparison, compare it to Cameron's other films, most of which are significantly better than this one.

Yes, compare it to Cameron's other films.
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Originally Posted by NoahtheStud
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Yes, compare it to Cameron's other films.

I already said that.
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Originally Posted by NoahtheStud
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Yes, compare it to Cameron's other films.

I will, Mister! And when I do, it suffers.
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Originally Posted by Greg David
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I already said that.

I know, I was agreeing with your statement.
I wonder if Speed Racer would've made more money if it had been in 3-D.
It would not have.
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Originally Posted by NoahtheStud
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I know, I was agreeing with your statement.

Okay, I was confused about what you were saying. Or maybe I'm just used to the combative atmosphere around here. This is what the Spartans felt like.
I'll take it over anything but the original Terminator and The Abyss.

Never was a huge Aliens fan and T2 and True Lies, eh, haven't aged well to me.

Still, I'm not making excuses for liking Avatar. I was entertained. I've been entertained by movies with suspect dialogue and paper thin characterization before, and I will be again.

BTW, I'm reallly not trying to ignite an Aliens vs Avatar argument, so please don't. Or if you do, leave me out of it.
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Originally Posted by NathanW
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I wonder if Speed Racer would've made more money if it had been in 3-D.

Probably, the crappy "Journey to the Center of the Earth" made $242,000,000 worldwide.

(edit: Actually, I don't know if it was crappy or not. I did not see it, but I did see it's trailer in 3D which looked like crap.)
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Originally Posted by mcnooj82
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It would not have.

You have made me sad.
Ok, Avatar > Titanic. Ridiculous comparison? Sure is. But its still true.
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Originally Posted by Greg David
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That's something that really bugs me about all this mocap business. People are being given the impression that it goes right from the actor's performance to the finished character without any kind of artistic filter.

There is a reason why they constantly dismiss the animators and push the 100% actor performance angle:
They want actors to be able to win an Oscar based on their performance and if these mo-cap performances keep getting polished by an army of animators, the actors won't be eligible for awards, thus the directors can't attract the big stars for their mo-cap pet projects.

At least that's what I heard.
It might be the reason, but it's still BS and unfair to the army of animators who fine-tune the performance.