Amph James Cameron's Avatar (3 sequels announced for 2016-2018)

Discussion in 'Community' started by Clonuscant, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. Lurking_Around Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 26, 2002
    star 6
    Weaver's whole character might as well have walked out of Aliens. Her entrance via waking up from cryo was nice for us Aliens fanboys. Plus, she did a Ripley-worthy job of ripping the military and corporate thugs a new a-hole.

    Weaver's character is the only human that's fleshed out. Everyone else is "Military Stereotype!" or "Nerd Stereotype!" or "Corporate Pig Stereotype!" or...need I go on?

    :p

    Plus Weaver gets the best lines, noteworthy is her reaction about the hero sleeping with the native gal.

    "Oh ****!"

    [face_laugh]

    PS: She still looks great, good genes or surgery?

    [face_thinking]
  2. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 10
    Definitely- those scrapmetal bots don't deserve anything othe rthan a ten year hiatus until someone wises up and gives me the rights and budget to do a proper TF movie :D

    As far as the phrases go- I can see how combined they can suggest one thing- but they're mostly within one scene whose purpose is propaganda that has been used before, preently and will be again one day. I just don't think those phrases suddenly mean they refer to the currents wars just because Bush reused them as a catchphrase at some point. The perception of any such reference will be lost within a decade or so.

    And, beyond that, while I can see how one can make the parallels with that one briefing scene, I just don't think the context of the greater film around it supports the theory at all other than perhaps a vague "war over resources" angle, but even then it's more specificlaly a war over land being taken away from natives by a technologically supoerior colonial force, which more directly aligns with other points in history (native americans come to my mind most prominently, a perception not lessened by the constant comparisons to Dances With Wolves, Last of the Mohicans, etc).


    And I realized I forgot to respond to that Superman Returns quote from you- whoops!

    I only intended to point out that I thought that was understandable in SR because it was so heavily based on the Donnor films which intentionally started out with the Christ parallels.



    Anyways, I saw the film a second time (Dolby Digital 3D...not quite as flawless as IMAX 3D, as occasionally the 3D image will break into it's components depending on how 3D an object is, but still pretty good). Two things I picked up extra foreshadow meaning to were two lines regarding Grace-

    There's the whole Tree of Souls and her line "I'd die to get a sample", and while the first time through you get the "samples" callback as a moment of levity, I find it interesting that she literally had to die to get in there.

    The second is during the shouting match with the Colonel where she goes "What are you going to do, shoot me?" to which he replies "I can do that.". First time through it's just a badass line for the villain, second ime through you realize he literally does shoot her later on.

    Stuff like that I really do appeciate.
  3. EmpireForever Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 15, 2004
    star 8
    She was even insanely hot in Galaxy Quest. I actually think she looked better in that than in Alien(s), and she was 50.


    Anyway, there wasn't exactly time to flesh out most of the secondary characters, so I didn't really have a problem with it, although Ribisi's character seemed to be having second thoughts after a while.
  4. JohnWesleyDowney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2004
    star 5
  5. Lurking_Around Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 26, 2002
    star 6
    Ah, so ILM was involved. I'll give them fair credit too. ILM-WETA cooperation may be the best way to get the best FX, oh how I would kill for a Dune adaptation utilising both of 'em. The article seems to suggest that WETA-ILM working together is something new, I thought they already did some stuff together in films like 'Master and Commander' and the Narnia movies.

    I don't see any different FX in my viewing, so they must have done it right. Would be great if both get the Oscar.

    EDIT:

    As far as the phrases go- I can see how combined they can suggest one thing- but they're mostly within one scene whose purpose is propaganda that has been used before, preently and will be again one day. I just don't think those phrases suddenly mean they refer to the currents wars just because Bush reused them as a catchphrase at some point. The perception of any such reference will be lost within a decade or so.

    Ah, but this is not "a decade or so", nor do I credit Cameron with taking those phrases while not thinking of current events at all. Nope, I'm of the opinion that Cameron wanted to be "relevant!11!" I just expect some subtlety. Alas, the only movie less subtle is 'On Deadly Ground'.

    Imagine someone adapting Dune and inserting a line where Emperor Shaddam says "We will fight Fremen terror with terror! Launch a preemptive strike on Sietch Tabar!" Or perhaps the Baron declaring the launch of "Operation Arrakis* Freedom!" What, is this something 'universal' drawn from different eras?

    *shrug* Still worth watching, and still great FX done by WETA and ILM.

    *BTW I always thought Arakkis should be pronounced "Iraq-is", heh :p
  6. darth-amedda Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 8, 2003
    star 4
    I have just realized that I haven't read or heard any comments criticising "Avatar" for the over-use of the visual effects.
    When AOTC had been released, most of the posts and reviews were filled with "too much CGI" complaints and somehow I feel that Cameron's film is using this technique on much bigger scale.
    Does it mean that bigger part of the audience got used to CG visuals or are SW fans just prejudiced and nitpicking?
  7. Drac39 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 2002
    star 6
    I saw it and I enjoyed it visually and technically. The script though is really terrible especially for Cameron. This is really no different than the cuddly Ewoks going up against the Empire. It plays on countless cliches and the ending is laughable. It's like Cameron checked out Zen and Eastern Philosophy for Dummies.
  8. Drew_Atreides Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 30, 2002
    star 5
    Saw it last night. An incredible cinematic experience. Nuts to the script (yes it's pretty cliche) this film is about the EXPERIENCE. The way Cameron uses the 3D to immerse the viwer into the world of Pandora is nothing short of genius.


    I cannot count the number of times my jaw hit the floor, or a tear came to my eye with regards to the beauty and scope of this world.


  9. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    I will continue to disagree that the script is in any way "terrible" or "predictable". I invite anyone leveling that criticism to put forward a single scene, idea or line of dialogue that comes across as poorly conceived, obvious or badly written. The screenplay is elegant and efficient, and its ingenious details unfold with a level of suspense and mystery that flatly contradicts all accusations of predictability and "formulaic"-ness.

    I will grant that at a certain point late in the film, the narrative thrust at last becomes apparent, and for the last half-hour or so, events play out according to their most emotionally satisfying solution. Some genre fans, familiar with sci-fi/fantasy tropes via a thousand other films and novels, are calling this archetypal climax "cliche". I call it "the story".

    There are only a few ways the plot could have climaxed, a limited number of winning squares at the end of the Avatar gameboard. That Cameron chose the endings that speak most deeply to the heart of the masses, and which clever fans can suss out owing to long experience with this kind of story, is not a meaningful criticism of the film.

    It's anyone's prerogative to dislike a film for being a crowd-pleaser, which is essentially what is meant by "predictable". You know what's going to happen because there is a narrative thrust behind the story that is leading the audience in a certain direction, and the audience develops a sense of what they want to see happen at the end. Given Cameron's track record since the 80s, and the glowing reviews this new film is garnering, it would be difficult to argue that Cameron's "cliche" storytelling has anything but the most profound effect on the hearts and minds of general audiences across the world.
  10. Lurking_Around Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 26, 2002
    star 6
    I will continue to disagree that the script is in any way "terrible" or "predictable".

    "Terrible"? Nope (if one discounts the Dune elements :p) but "mediocre" is the word I would use.

    "Predictable"? Yup, definitely. On its own, "predictable" is OK, but when the line between "predictable" and "wait, this seems awfully familiar..." is crossed, it's a legitimate criticism.

    This is really no different than the cuddly Ewoks going up against the Empire

    This is almost correct. The Ewoks and Navi both have ancient tech (bows and arrows!!!) going against advanced weapons and armour....yet they still won. Riiiight, and I'm sure insurgents everywhere used bow and arrows against helicopters!

    However, to be fair, the Navi look damn tougher than a bunch of teddy bears. Plus, the Navi fought against mercenaries who don't look much motivated beyond money. By contrast, the Ewoks fought an "entire legion of my best troops" according to the Emperor. An entire legion of HIS BEST TROOPS!!!

    [face_laugh]

    it would be difficult to argue that Cameron's "cliche" storytelling has anything but the most profound effect on the hearts and minds of general audiences across the world.

    I'm not sure what's the argument here, aside from "Lalalala cliche good!11! Not listening!11!"

    Twilight also clearly touched a lot of hearts and minds, clearly that must be the pinnacle of story telling and filmmaking. Heck, last time I checked, Transformers touched a whole lot of hearts and minds...or, thanks to Megan Fox, touched some other part of the anatomy?

    *shrug* For me, Cameron's best is still the first Terminator movie, followed closely by Aliens.

    When AOTC had been released, most of the posts and reviews were filled with "too much CGI" complaints and somehow I feel that Cameron's film is using this technique on much bigger scale.
    Does it mean that bigger part of the audience got used to CG visuals or are SW fans just prejudiced and nitpicking?


    Without digging too much into my basher persona, I'll just say that for AOTC, and the PT in general, CGI is the least of their problems. Not when the heroine willingly and knowingly marries a mass murderer and lost the will to live, leaving her two children to be raised by strangers and...

    I'll stop.

    [face_shhh]
  11. Darth Dark Helmet Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 27, 1999
    star 6
    Just back from seeing this the second time. The theater I go to has both versions showing. They have a 3D theater and an Ultrascreen (bigger, little better picture, better sound). I much preferred the Ultrascreen experience. The 3D was good, but maybe it was just me, but the visuals seemed a bit blurry, not always in focus. The regular viewing was so beautiful, the visuals so colorful and sharp, that the 3D seemed almost muted.

    But, as far as the movie itself, like I said, its just beautiful. It just floors me how far this technology has come from Beowulf, last year. I walked out that one thinking that it wasn't ready yet, but Avatar convinced me. It was so life like and realistic, and everything had a sense of weight that can be lacking with CGI creations. Everything felt like it was on screen, that it was there on a set, not created on a computer. The movements were extremely realistic, down to subtle facial expressions.

    The preformances by the actors were all solid, but Zoe Saldana deserves the most credit. An outstanding performance it what could be a very demanding role. She was strong, powerful, emotional and sexy. She, more then any other actor, made me forget that they were almost pure CGI.

    The story. Yes, there are elements that have been done before, yes it was a bit cliched, but none the less, it drew me in. I was invested in characters and the outcome. I was never bored, and more importantly, never drawn out of the world.

    I think that's the biggest accomplishment of this movie. There were never any moments were the CGI, or the acting, or the story telling knocked me out of the story. Which is difficult for a movie like this. But I was totally immersed in the world and the movie from start to finish. Outstanding movie.
  12. JohnWesleyDowney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2004
    star 5


    I haven't seen AVATAR yet, but I'm surprised I haven't seen much mentioned here among those of you that have seen it regarding James Horner's score. Horner's one of the best composers around, he did a superb job on Braveheart, Glory and Titanic, among others.

    Did anyone notice the score?
  13. Coruscant Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2004
    star 6
    Yes, I definitely noticed it. Interestingly enough, the choir music, I thought, was most impressive (and I've gotten tired of choirs in soundtracks). Besides the chorals, the soundtrack seemed to be most similar to Titanic (the romance scenes) and Mask of Zorro (the action scenes- particularly when everything slows down and shows the world falling apart around Neytiri).
  14. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 10
    It's not Horner's best score- it's certainly his most unoriginal (there are segments that almost sound exacly like scenes from Glory and Aliens). It's mostly ambient and unnoticable/remarkable though. There's maybe 2 or 3 scenes where the jungle choir motifs are played up and the music becomes noticable, though- but it's nothing particularly memorable. You don't really leave the theater remembering any themes or sequences for their music.
  15. LawJedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2009
    star 4


    Okay, you are carefully ignoring the point of the very relevant original post (in favor of an irrelevant story criticism). Why is the CGI in the prequels (which was certainly a main complaint from critics and fans) unacceptable, while Avatar's is being accepted at face value, despite the arguable lack of "photorealism?"

    While the tolerance of the public may have developed, I think a similar insincere double standard took place during the Lord of the Rings releases. Frankly, I've always felt that people will accept any special effect, even puppets with visible strings, if they are invested in the story. For whatever reason, movie fans responded to the Prequels without an adequate suspension of disbelief, and it should not detract from the herculean effects by ILM.

    Of course every movie (including Avatar) has flawed effects, but prequel effects bashing has always left a sour taste in my mouth. A sour taste that is very prevalent when I notice the work of Lucas and ILM during the prequels not being acknowledged as a historical stepping stone (along with the great WETA Digital) to the vast CGI environments in Avatar. Lucas made a massive "hail mary pass" with the creation of Prequels (as is his nature), and the very talented Cameron is now staking his claim on very fertile ground.
  16. LawJedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2009
    star 4
    "Hummability" is overused as a critiquing device for scoring. Is the Danny Elfman Batman score more memorable than the Nolan Batman movies? Maybe, but I would argue that the later scores are much more creative, appropriate to the material, and effective.

    I'm curious as to how Horner feels about the use of his score in the final cut.
  17. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    The score is thoroughly Horner, with shades of Titanic and Aliens being especially noticeable to my ear. There are a few "hummable" melodies, but these occur only briefly before melding into the more ambient, mood-setting stuff that's popular these days. I expect with repeat viewings the memorable refrains will impress themselves more on our minds.

    I must also report that much of the score seems influenced in places by John Barry. His four-note masterpiece of dramatic tension -- "da na na naaaahhhh" (so potently used in King Kong, Starcrash, and several Bond films of the 70s) -- occurs in at least two sequences.
  18. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    Jan 27, 2000
    star 10
    Well, taking the score by itself, Elfman's is better. For the material, the Nolan stuff works (though I think the Elfman themes would have worked just fine, though with a tweak of instrumentation choices- they're not all that different).

    In the film itself, I still think the Avatar score is lacking- it never really enhances the emotional resonance as well as it could, IMO.


    As for the CGI- I think, besides the quality improvements, it's a matter of how it's used and how fully fleshed out the world is which makes it immersive and in support to enhance the story instead of being the story. At no point is it distracting or pulls you out of the story.
  19. Lurking_Around Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 26, 2002
    star 6
    Okay, you are carefully ignoring the point of the very relevant original post (in favor of an irrelevant story criticism). Why is the CGI in the prequels (which was certainly a main complaint from critics and fans) unacceptable, while Avatar's is being accepted at face value, despite the arguable lack of "photorealism?"

    Sorry, I still shudder when I think of Padme. Even my fellow bashers laugh at my Padme hatred and call me the president of the Hate Padme Club :p Oops, irrelevant...

    OK, let's move to the CGI issue...

    While the tolerance of the public may have developed, I think a similar insincere double standard took place during the Lord of the Rings releases. Frankly, I've always felt that people will accept any special effect, even puppets with visible strings, if they are invested in the story. For whatever reason, movie fans responded to the Prequels without an adequate suspension of disbelief, and it should not detract from the herculean effects by ILM.

    My dear, you asked the question, yet you seem to have the answer already. Many of us thought the PT was just one big ILM ad with Lucas more interested in showcasing ILM's capabilities rather than having story and good acting to match the technical acomplishments.

    As you said yourself, it's all abut being invested in the story. And, one might add, the characters. I feel genuinely sorry for the schizo Smeagol/Gollum when he debated with himself, does not matter to me if he's CGI. But what am I to feel about Jar Jar and his "humour"?

    (dare I even mention the human characters? Honestly, only Kenobi had my sympathy, especially when he shouted "YOU were the Chosen One!" The others? Well, I'll stop, it's "irrelevant")

    Plus, other directors IMO strive as much as possible to make their CGI blend with other elements in the movie, Lucas seem a wee bit lazy and didn't push the envelope, didn't demand the best from ILM. Indeed, it's ironic that in many other movies, ILM showed their best works, not the PT. Avatar is an apt example, whatever my complains, Cameron pushed WETA and ILM to their limits. The organic Navi looked real and felt real, unlike Jar Jar or CGI Yoda.

    There may be a lack of "photo realism" but much more effort was made IMO than anything in the PT. *shrug* Still, I was never an anti-CGI fundemantalist, there are other bashers out there more concerned with it (contrary to rumours, not all bashers like LOTR. And not all hate CGI. Hell, some complain about editing-particularly the editing of the music- more than CGI).

    Then there's the utterly crap scripts of the PT, again whatever my complains about Cameron, I'd still label his Avatar script as 'mediocre' rather than 'crap'. Oh wait, irrelevant, sorry!

    *raises shield*


    (seriously, she lost the will to live??? Okay, I'll stop :p)

    At the end of the day, Lucas gave us nothing to be "invested" in (unless one admires stalker-ish young men who massacre whole tribes and naive women who willingly marry mass murderers) while displaying sub-par CGI which seemed to be showcased merely for the sake of it. By contrast, other directors make more effort. Sure, there's still more crap out there (Speed Racer *shudders*) but it does not excuse the PT's sins. MHO of course.

    Also, I still admire the likes of Chris Nolan who used CGI with restrain (Two-Face's face was awesome, and Nolan took precautions -darkness, angle of shots- in case the CGI wasn't that good, something Lucas could learn IMO) and using real explosions (ah, but demolishing a building for every movie... [face_laugh] ).

    OK, this is too long, sorry again!
  20. Darth-Lando Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 6
    Isn't that the plot of Twilight? :p
  21. Miana Kenobi Costuming & Props Mod - Retired Admin

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    Apr 5, 2000
    star 8
    IMO, I think it's because Avatar isn't a sequel/prequel.

    With the PT, I too felt that there was way too much CGI just because of the lack-thereof in the OT. With the OT being made with sets and models, it just made the CGI of the PT feel way more fake.


    With Avatar, it doesn't have a predecessor to compare to. This is our first experience on Pandora, therefore this is what we're being told is the norm.


    I imagine it would be like if Avatar was originally shot 20 years ago in a real rainforest, and then this was a sequel/prequel. It just wouldn't have the same feeling.
  22. DarthNotsonice Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 2005
    star 5
    Well yeah once he saw what a bat**** insane genocidal murderer Quaritch turned out to be.
  23. LawJedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2009
    star 4
    Miana, again, that's not a quality issue, its a suspension of disbelief issue, which is at least somewhat, the responsibility of the viewer.

    I would also point out that the Prequels were the largest model projects ever produced by ILM. Yet people are less critical of Avatar's 100% CGI environments.

    I've recently rewatched Emmett Otter's Jugband Christmas with my teenage nephew, and simply could not get past the visible puppet strings in many shots. It completely took him out of the story. Is that a quality issue or a problem with disbelief?

    Again, not addressing story quality. Just wondering about the technical critiques.
  24. LawJedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2009
    star 4
  25. Blue_Jedi33 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2003
    star 5
    Finally saw it in 3D on a really good screen, I found it to be an excellent film going experience. Theater was packed on a Wednesday night, 3 sold out IMAX shows in a row, huge lines for both regular and IMAX. Word of mouth is spreading on this to be so busy mid week. Also there was a spontaneous applause after the movie ended. The guys in the row behind me were really into the movie by there comments, when the movie was over one of them said "now we have to wait for AVATAR 2"

    Great use of 3D but it took me about twenty minutes to get used to it.
    For me the acting and plot was not bad at all, I thought Zoe Saldana character was the best acted of the characters.
    I guess it isn't possible for me to have the wow factor like I had in my younger years like I did for Star Wars & T2. But still it's was a cool experience, and isn't that why we go to the big screen these days, the experience we can't get at home. If we want a good stories & acting we can always rent those.

    I highly recommend this movie to all Star Wars fans.=D=