Friday, 11 December 2009

Awesome Avatar

The trades have spoken and they're unanimous in their praise.

Variety calls it: "The King of the World sets his sights on creating another world entirely in Avatar, and it's very much a place worth visiting. The most expensive and technically ambitious film ever made, James Cameron's long-gestating epic pitting Earthly despoilers against a forest-dwelling alien race delivers unique spectacle, breathtaking sights, narrative excitement and an overarching anti-imperialist, back-to-nature theme that will play very well around the world, and yet is rather ironic coming from such a technology-driven picture. Twelve years after Titanic, which still stands as the all-time B.O. champ, Cameron delivers again with a film of universal appeal that just about everyone who ever goes to the movies will need to see."

ScreenDaily proclaims: "Twelve years after Titanic, James Cameron delivers his latest blockbuster and once again takes cinema to a new level of remarkable spectacle. An epic film born entirely of Cameron’s imagination, Avatar uses tailor-made technology to create the most astonishing visual effects yet seen on screen and blends them seamlessly into a mythical sci-fi story about an ancient alien civilisation fighting the encroaching human menace. It’s an unprecedented marriage of technology and storytelling which is on the whole remarkably successful."

The Hollywood Reporter declares: "A dozen years later, James Cameron has proven his point: He is king of the world. As commander-in-chief of an army of visual-effects technicians, creature designers, motion-capture mavens, stunt performers, dancers, actors and music and sound magicians, he brings science-fiction movies into the 21st century with the jaw-dropping wonder that is Avatar. And he did it almost from scratch."

8 comments:

Gerard said...

I'm not getting all the outright fawning, I have to say. Was a touch let down, personally. Enjoyed it, but characters are thin, dialogue tin-eared and unmemorable and numerous elements feel undercooked. The tech impresses (along with the world-builing), the standard "hero with a thousand faces" narrative is decent enough, and there's enough neat sci-fi conceits tying it all together. But frequently I found myself asking "...you had fifteen years to write this?" Still, it's certainly decent and the spectacle is some truly next-level stuff.

Mark Salisbury said...

I have to say — and this is coming from someone who has yet to see the film — I too was a little surprised by the trades' overwhelmingly positive reaction. Not that I want the movie to fail, or to be bad. I'm hoping it knocks it out of the park, to use a sporting metaphor for once. But there's a lot riding on this movie — and not just in terms of Cameron and Fox — and how well it performs...

Gerard said...

I think it will certainly perform exceedingly well, and everyone I spoke with afterwards was very impressed. And it's certainly engaging and hugely imaginative and flies by, for such a lengthy film. But I can't get away from the fact I've walked away from the thing without feeling like I've come to know any of the characters, without remembering any especially choice one-liners etc. It certainly impressed, but never really connected on any real emotional level in the way these archetypal epics are supposed to. Zoe Saldana certainly fares best - she's the strongest performer and is given the most to work with. Worthington comes out looking much better than he did after Terminator, and Stephen Lang makes for a great knowingly OTT bad-ass.

It's just, well - I liked The Princess and the Frog considerably more the other day, y'know?

Mark Salisbury said...

I have to say, I've always been more intrigued than excited.

What about the length? How did your eyes hold up?

Gerard said...

Eyes held up fine - although afterwards, a friend pointed out that mine were quite bloodshot. Noone else's were, however, and I was very tired prior to going in...

And really, it positively flies by. Drags once or twice, which is when I really had time to realise how disappointing much of the dialogue/characterisations were, but otherwise, it's very well paced and plays to its strengths. The extended finale is quite incredible - and, tellingly, is also largely dialogue-free.

Mark Salisbury said...

Good to know. About the length, I mean, not your bloodshot eyes...

Matt J said...

I'm with you Gerard-the film is visually mind-blowing but the story is SO hackneyed. Despite the film's audacious imagery I couldn't help feeling I've seen it all before; The power-lifters/gruff sergeant from Aliens or Matrix Revolutions, the Hispanic tough female soldier from Aliens, the 'going native'/environmental concern plot from Pocahontas, Ferngully the Last Rainforest. The whole story concept and visual aesthetic seems stuck in the 80s!

BUT it is still amazing! The CG characters utterly convincing-the Saldhana character's emotional range is quite remarkable.
It's the next phase in the Gollum,Kong evolution.

The glasses did irritate me this time at this length- it wasn't a problem with shorter flicks like CHRISTMAS CAROL or BEOWULF. Speaking of which Mr Zemeckis should definitely take a leaf out of the AVATAR manual when it comes to creating convincing CG characters!

Mark Salisbury said...

Interesting. Thanks for reporting back Matt.