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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jim's Magnificent Octopus

$237, 000, 000.
$237 million dollars.
Two hundred and thirty seven million dollars.
It doesn't matter how you say it, it's an awful lot of money to make a movie.
James Cameron's magnum opus, Avatar, is the current uber movie doing the rounds this Christmas, and, if Mr C himself is to be believed, it will change movie making for ever.
So . . . what's it like?

Well, what I can tell you is that this weekend I've also watched Sam Rockwell in Moon, and I probably enjoyed that as much as Avatar, and it only cost $5 million to make.
Don't get me wrong, Avatar isn't a bad movie. Far from it, it's an excellent movie. The problem for me is that James Cameron claims that he wrote the story for the film after waking one morning from a dream, a dream that quite clearly featured Kevin Costner from Dances With Wolves or Christian Slater from Fern Gully, as the plots of those two movies is broadly identical to that of Avatar.

The film itself is only 40% live action, the other 60% being CGI and it's here that all that cash has been spent. The CGI portions of this movie are utterly convincing, especially planet Pandora's flora and fauna. In fact I think the only way that the plants, creatures and landscape of this planet could have been any more believable is if there had been a running commentary by Sir David Attenborough. It's that good.

But not perfect.
One or two scenes still look a bit comic book-ish, and the 3D is mercifully subtle and restrained, but overall Avatar is a really good movie, not a great one. A great film needs a great story.

So has it changed movies forever?
The answer for me is no, unless you happen to be a film director with $300 million dollars of someone else's cash in your back pocket.


Steve said...

The wife has been dropping loads of comments about wanting to go and see this... plus Sherlock Holmes too. I'm not against Avatar but Holmes (despite it being Ritchie) draws me more.

Inchy said...

Dont get me wrong Steve, it's not a bad film, but it's well worth experiencing. I'm quite looking forward to Holmes myself, even though I'd have preferred Downey and Law to have swapped roles.

Löst Jimmy said...

Inchy I have lined up to see Avatar during the holiday break, it is an event in itself

So how is Michelle Rodriguez' character in it?
Along the same lines as the Vasquez character in Aliens or not?

As for Sherlock Holmes i'll be giving it a go too, i agree with you about the law downey role reversal. What gets me is the Holmes hairstyle on the poster ads; I didn't know they had L'oreal equipped stylists in Victorian London. Oh dear.

In case I haven't dropped by before then Have a great Christmas and a Guid Hogmanay

Inchy said...

Jimmy - It's a fine film, if you don't mind all the gaia theory and the thinly veiled commentaries on the environment, the exploitation of the indigenous peoples of the world and the increasingly predatory nature of multi-national corporations.

Michelle Rodriguez is far more feminine as the bizarrely named 'Trudy Chacon' than Jenette Goldstein was as 'Private Vasquez', to the point where I'd describe her as a "hottie".
Unfortunately her character isn't in the movie a great deal and suffers from lack of depth and development, a criticism that could be levelled at quite a few of the characters in the movie.

Have a great Christmas yourself, Jimmy, and a rocking New Year.

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