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Avatar post-release discussion - Printable Version

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- MichaelM - 12-26-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jake
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Point. Also, I still need to see Appaloosa! Is it really that bad? If so I'll just turn that shit off before the song starts rolling.

It's really that bad. Especially so for following a near-classic Western, for fuck's sake. Syrupy, bland pop songs aren't nearly as out of place following something that happens in the future as a story that takes place in the mythic Old West.

And User_32, you're simply not paying enough attention to movie scores. There's a lot of great work being done, by the big names and newer composers. Horner's score for Avatar was lazily self-referential and serviceable. It in no way enhanced or bolstered the visual story.


- dom mac - 12-26-2009

I'm split on this movie. I loved the visuals, but the story left me cold and pissed off. I haven't looked forward to a movie and been this disappointed since The Last Samurai.


- bitches leave - 12-26-2009

And this is ironically The Last Samurai in space.


- carnotaur3 - 12-26-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by Banandar
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Pretty terrible movie.

Not a single character is worth a damn. Everybody's either defined by the comic book level themes the story uses - corporate thugs are corporationy (to be fair, Giovanni looks reluctant at one point), evil military men are evil , scientists only ever pursue the study of natural phenomenon objectively, and noble savages are noble - or simply uninteresting. Even the "sympathetic" characters play out like plot devices (like Weaver).

The movie should have dropped the dead brother device since it's never even mentioned after it's...well, mentioned. It would have been more interesting to see, for example, an established bond at the onset between Quaritch and Sully. Anything other than making these people such a loosely connected network of cliches and bullshit. The King Kong comparison is so appropriate because it's one of those prestigious blockbusters that somehow manages to utterly fade away in spite of its initial status: difference being, Avatar has already started to fade away in my memory. Is a moment of conscience really enough for the Michelle Rodriquez character to sacrifice her life for a bunch of people she barely knows? Or did I miss the part where Michelle plugs into her own avatar and she-fucks Zoe Saldana with her ponytail?

In the ironically immortal words of George Lucas, ' a special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing'. The truth of that statement doesn't change just because the effects are extra special.

This is pretty spot on. Maybe it was just the imax 3D talking, but there are so many character beats missing its not even funny. Cameron is better than this. It's like he spent so much time investing into the creation of the world that he forgot about the characters. When Michelle Rodriguez dies I was pretty numb. Even Weaver, who was the last secondary character we ever got to know, bites the dust I was pretty dried eyed. I didn't care. So she gets pissed off at the military and thinks highly of the Na'vi. Should I automatically like her because of that?

There's a lack of personality in almost every character, save Jake Sully and maybe Ne'teri (spell?). They're all there to serve the plot. And that's how they feel.


- joeypants - 12-26-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by User_32
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I thought Horner's score was good. Although, if you hate Horner of course you'll hate the score. He rips himself off sure but it's better than half the crap that goes for score nowadays.

Pound for pound, this was one of the worst scores I've heard in years. Maybe ever. Not the worst, but one of them.


- sebastian ob - 12-26-2009

Considering it was from an "a-list" composer on a mega-budget film, I'm comfortable with calling it THE worst.


- MichaelM - 12-26-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bitches Leave
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And this is ironically The Last Samurai in space.

I can see the similarities, but it's really Dances with Wolves in space, only with the ending we hoped for in Costner's film. The signal difference is that in Wolves (and Avatar), the fight is not just for a way of life, but really the survival of a race. In Samurai, it's one guy's dislike of guns and the leveling effect they have on the feudal culture.

Both Wolves and Avatar (as Devin noted) worship at the altar of the Noble Savage, but that's palatable and easily filtered. I found Samurai far more repugnant and just untenable; basically, it was Watanabe's character trying to keep Japan in the 16th century while their closest neighbor (and long time enemy) loads up on cutting edge weaponry.


- syd - 12-26-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jake
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Also, Ney'tiri's depressed, overwrought gooselike honk every time someone died/her heart was broken made me laugh like an idiot.

Thank God I wasn't the only one. All I could think of was poor Zoe making that noise covered in dots in a green screen room. I don't know how actors do it.


- litmus configuration - 12-26-2009

I like this guy's video review of AVATAR. It doesn't really kick in until the end though...

http://www.tmz.com/videos?autoplay=t...9-d84a40f5864c


- jacknifejohnny - 12-26-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by Banandar
View Post
Pretty terrible movie.

Not a single character is worth a damn. Everybody's either defined by the comic book level themes the story uses - corporate thugs are corporationy (to be fair, Giovanni looks reluctant at one point), evil military men are evil , scientists only ever pursue the study of natural phenomenon objectively, and noble savages are noble - or simply uninteresting. Even the "sympathetic" characters play out like plot devices (like Weaver).

The movie should have dropped the dead brother device since it's never even mentioned after it's...well, mentioned. It would have been more interesting to see, for example, an established bond at the onset between Quaritch and Sully. Anything other than making these people such a loosely connected network of cliches and bullshit. The King Kong comparison is so appropriate because it's one of those prestigious blockbusters that somehow manages to utterly fade away in spite of its initial status: difference being, Avatar has already started to fade away in my memory. Is a moment of conscience really enough for the Michelle Rodriquez character to sacrifice her life for a bunch of people she barely knows? Or did I miss the part where Michelle plugs into her own avatar and she-fucks Zoe Saldana with her ponytail?

In the ironically immortal words of George Lucas, ' a special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing'. The truth of that statement doesn't change just because the effects are extra special.

Yeah, I've pretty much reached this point.


- andres - 12-26-2009

http://www.slashfilm.com/2009/12/26/...-about-avatar/


- Richard Dickson - 12-26-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by Feral Akodon
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Three comments, and two of them are anti-CHUD/Devin, gotta love it.


- Nooj - 12-26-2009

Amidst all the meh-to-negative reactions to the film (which include mine), I wanted to call out a moment I found totally thrilling on a spectacle level. It's during the "Getting to Know You" montage after Jake USB-rapes his banshee. There's a shot of Jake and Neytiri dive-bombing their banshees straight down along the cliff wall.

Just a really thrilling moment. Especially in 3D, I'll bet (haven't seen it in 2D).


- damon houx - 12-26-2009

There's the flaming horse, as well.


- Nooj - 12-26-2009

That shot definitely stood out as particularly 'cinematic' from everything else. Very striking.

EDIT: It actually reminded me of a shot in one of the Animatrix shorts. Part 2 of the Second Renaissance, I think. A flaming mechanical horse galloping in slow-motion.


- mr. coombs - 12-26-2009

Been thinking about this movie off and on in the week or so since I saw it. For everything wrong with this movie, I could have found it worthwhile if we at least had a main character worth following. Jake Sully is such a non-entity it's embarrassing. Devin made the best comparison when he mentioned Master Chief. Sully is a video game protagonist: an empty shell upon whom we should project our own traits (the ultimate irony here being that he's not even who you play as in the video game adaptation, if I've read correctly). What's more, that hilarious article about the movie being "alien porn" made me think: Jake Sully is just a mashup of the two Twilight leads. He's a sparkly, super-powered Bella Swan.

The movie almost goes out of its way to give us no information about him outside of "wheelchair." Hell, we don't even know why he's in the damn wheelchair. What kind of soldier was he? As it stands in the movie, he does several reckless things. These could be informed by his previous life as a soldier, a reckless guy who gets results or something (cliched, I know, but it's something).

Personally, I would have ditched the brother angle. This would require a larger look at the avatar program - one that understands that soldiers, not just scientists, would have an obvious application - where Jake signs up himself. He can't afford to get his own legs back and this is the next best thing, etc.

I could go on, but this thing needed a huge script overhaul and we could spend forever going over our own personal visions which just sounds tedious.


- Nooj - 12-26-2009

Just caught Russ' review. He was more positive than I thought he'd be, but I think my reaction to the film most closely resembles his. Like Beaks, he should be back here!


- hammerhead - 12-27-2009

The thing about the 'dead twin brother' angle is that it's clearly only in the film to justify having a genetically-compatible (and lookalike) avatar ready-made for Jake to use. It's like Cameron got so tied up in the faux science he forgot he made it up and could have thrown any other explanation in there.


- Richard Dickson - 12-27-2009

Sully having no backstory makes it easier to buy his abandoning his human life to become a Na'vi. If you don't introduce his family (aside from his brother, ), his memories of his past, any connections he might have to Earth, you don't have anyone asking "Wait, what about _________ back home?" when he makes the final transfer. It's a sloppy way to do that though. Just give him some dialog about his parents being dead, the Avatar project was a last chance kind of thing to get him out of trouble, some reason he'd so easily leave his human life without a look back.


- devincf - 12-27-2009

I'm reading the scriptment. Cameron undercut his whole movie by removing the first half of the first act. You see Earth you get why Sully stays on Pandora. I still think it's too easy and lacks drama - he's giving up NOTHING - but it's dead obvious why Pandora's a big deal in the scriptment. Less so in the movie.


- devincf - 12-27-2009

The scriptment is so much better. I hate in the movie how Sully - a trained Marine - just disobeys orders and takes his avatar for a joyride when he first gets in. In the scriptment he struggles to use the body and then... cries. Because he's walking again. It's wonderful.


- MichaelM - 12-27-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by devincf
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The scriptment is so much better. I hate in the movie how Sully - a trained Marine - just disobeys orders and takes his avatar for a joyride when he first gets in. In the scriptment he struggles to use the body and then... cries. Because he's walking again. It's wonderful.

Did they film this and it was cut? (Obviously thinking of a 3-hour DC.)

I don't think Sully was completely lacking personality or defining characteristics, but he was essentially a cipher for the viewer. As Nick said in his review, this is pulp, and leans heavily on pulp archetypes for characters and implied motivation.


- hammerhead - 12-27-2009

That would have been a good beat to keep. "THIS IS GREAT" doesn't cut it.


- damon houx - 12-27-2009

Action defines character, but when does Jake earn his role as leader, etc?


- mr. coombs - 12-27-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by devincf
View Post
The scriptment is so much better. I hate in the movie how Sully - a trained Marine - just disobeys orders and takes his avatar for a joyride when he first gets in. In the scriptment he struggles to use the body and then... cries. Because he's walking again. It's wonderful.

That is definitely something that would have been worth seeing in the film. And along the same lines with him disobeying there, I found it pretty hilarious when he just kinda wanders away from Weaver and Moore's avatars. Sure, it might be dull for our hero, but watching over them is, at first, his entire job and he just goes exploring - in the location that the Colonel just described as the most dangerous place ever.


- bitches leave - 12-27-2009

I think we'll definately see future earth stuff in some extended version. I know they shot stuff of Jake on earth as his cramped appartment has been described by some who saw early footage and from that bar shot in the trailer.


- devincf - 12-27-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by EnemyoftheStamos
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That is definitely something that would have been worth seeing in the film. And along the same lines with him disobeying there, I found it pretty hilarious when he just kinda wanders away from Weaver and Moore's avatars. Sure, it might be dull for our hero, but watching over them is, at first, his entire job and he just goes exploring - in the location that the Colonel just described as the most dangerous place ever.

The scriptment also includes a scene where they SHOW how dangerous Pandora is for humans. It's just so much better than what ended up in the movie. Makes the movie more of a travesty. The real shit was THERE and he ignored it.


- machiav - 12-27-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by devincf
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The scriptment also includes a scene where they SHOW how dangerous Pandora is for humans. It's just so much better than what ended up in the movie. Makes the movie more of a travesty. The real shit was THERE and he ignored it.

Rothman effect. He chips away all through pre-production/scripting, production, and especially post-production. Diluting, simplifying, just dumbing down. Obviously I'm not imagining it on the level of a Gavin Hood production. It's still the follow-up to the biggest film of all time, after all. But the film's narrative leaves me with that distinct Rothman genre stench. The simplest way to describe it is, the film doesn't "stick" with you as you leave the theatre. It literally evaporates from your mind. Quite a feat with those "eye fucking visuals".


BTW, ILM was brought to work on the film because WETA was overworked down the stretch. They claim the film was over 40 minutes longer than what ended up being the final run time. That's a fucking lot of narrative. Some was cut for cost-saving, obviously, but still. This film was in need of some fucking narrative connective tissue!


- andrew woods - 12-27-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by machiav
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Rothman effect. He chips away all through pre-production/scripting, production, and especially post-production. Diluting, simplifying, just dumbing down. Obviously I'm not imagining it on the level of a Gavin Hood production. It's still the follow-up to the biggest film of all time, after all. But the film's narrative leaves me with that distinct Rothman genre stench. The simplest way to describe it is, the film doesn't "stick" with you as you leave the theatre. It literally evaporates from your mind. Quite a feat with those "eye fucking visuals".


BTW, ILM was brought to work on the film because WETA was overworked down the stretch. They claim the film was over 40 minutes longer than what ended up being the final run time. That's a fucking lot of narrative. Some was cut for cost-saving, obviously, but still. This film was in need of some fucking narrative connective tissue!

Come on. Tom Rothman had no say when it came to the final edit of this movie. This film was all Cameron.


- nabster - 12-27-2009

Didn't Cameron want to actually release the film later on, and didn't Rothman kinda force this release date? I mean the movie was way overdue. Could be wrong, but I remember reading that.


- ocp-001 - 12-27-2009

Even Darren Aronofsky hates 3D it one big gimmick according to him


skip to 5.22 minutes of the video



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sk9NB...aynext_from=PL

http://remingtons.wordpress.com/

Aronofsky: [on a John Waters film in 3D] I think it has that kitsch value. That’d be great to see what he’d do with that; see Pink Flamingos in 3D, that’s what I’d want to see, not Star Wars.

Interviewer: It was interesting, yesterday… [audio indecipherable] was looking at 3D sports, and seemed to think that’s where the technology might be revolutionary.

Aronofsky: I saw that reel, with that same 3D stuff. You see the players in the foreground, totally sharp, and then the people in the crowd all the way in the back are the sharp. So the whole time I was staring at the different people watching it, so I don’t know, maybe I’m just not used to it. I just thought when you’re watching the guy on the field, or a woman on the field, your focus is there, so it might just be about training yourself to do it. I’m not sold on it.


- machiav - 12-27-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew Woods
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Come on. Tom Rothman had no say when it came to the final edit of this movie. This film was all Cameron.

I believe Rothman had say. I can feel it.

The voice-over/rushed compression of the first half of the film's narrative definitely does not feel like classical Cameron narrative. I'd bet that was not Cameron's original vision of how the story would play out. Like I said earlier, I'm not talking Gavin Hood/Brett Ratner//PWAnderson/Tim Story level of influence.

(And don't forget it's not just hacks that feel the Rothman touch. Look at what Ridley Scott went through with "Kingdom Of Heaven". Compare those two cuts.)


Also, don't be under the false impression that Fox kissed Cameron's ass and gave him carte blanche. They actually turned Avatar down several times before Cameron started talking to Disney. Made him rewrite the script before greenlighting. This isn't the ballsy Fox management (ie:Bill Mechanic) that made Titanic with him. This is Rothman country.


There are rules




- dreary louse - 12-27-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by OCP-001
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Even Darren Aronofsky hates 3D it one big gimmick according to him

But I would love to see a 3D Requiem for a Dream, it would be tacky and exploitative as fuck but damned entertaining...it's easy to imagine quite a bit of that film's imagery popping out at you, especially since Aronofsky's directorial hand is as unsubtle as possible...


- ocp-001 - 12-27-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by dreary louse
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But I would love to see a 3D Requiem for a Dream, it would be tacky and exploitative as fuck but damned entertaining...it's easy to imagine quite a bit of that film's imagery popping out at you, especially since Aronofsky's directorial hand is as unsubtle as possible...


nah

We need something better,bigger more realistic i say take the route of REAL IMAX.

that would be great. Requiem for an Imax


- dreary louse - 12-27-2009

What are you talking about? You want to see realistic 3D and you don't think Requiem would be realistic? And this is in a thread about a movie which depicts blue cat people fucking.

What a nonsensical post.