8 Feb 2010

Honey, I Blew Up the Box Office & update

2 billion dollars in box office and counting…

But is Avatar any good?

Take the technology of, say, Epcot's Honey, I Shrunk the Audience and bring it into the 21st century. Borrow liberally from other movies, including your own, and tick every box in the Hollywood Blockbuster Checklist and you have James Cameron's latest masterpiece. It’s a movie that will literally take your breath away with its visuals (believe me, it will), but it's the filmic equivalent of Frankenstein's Monster – aesthetic impact with no real soul. Therein lies the problem: almost everything about Avatar feels like a simulation, a copy, albeit an improved copy of something else you've seen. There are elements of Ferngully, A Man Called Horse, Return of the King, The Abyss, Aliens, and so on. What this creates is a movie in which every single plot movement (the general flow and progress of the storyline) is predictable well in advance because there's a good chance you've seen it somewhere before, though not so gorgeously rendered. So, at 162 minutes there are no surprises. Jaw-dropping visuals? Absolutely. Make no mistake, this is the most visually stunning film of all-time. But I'll repeat: 162 minutes. Once you get comfortable with that glorious 3D you're in for a lot of sitting around watching CG paint dry. Harsh? Maybe. But if you're anything like me, you'll emerge from the beauty of Pandora oddly ambivalent about the whole experience. I recommend watching Avatar solely for those visuals - don't wait for the DVD/Blu-ray release; you must see this in 3D on the big screen to appreciate its strengths - and you will be transported and you will be astounded. But you might be a little bit disappointed too.

If you don't want to hand over the price of a ticket to see Avatar why not pick up the latest issue of GUD Magazine for $3.50 (PDF) or $12 (print). Includes my story, Lost Lying on Your Back. You can read a preview here. Go on, it's not like James Cameron needs the money.

storySouth's Million Writer's Award 2010 is now open and accepting nominations from editors and readers alike. I have two stories eligible for consideration:

The Bug in the Suit at Electric Spec
Sand Between a Dead Boy's Toes at Nossa Morte



Brian G Ross said...

The Wife and I saw Avatar today and yeah, the best lookin' 3D film I have seen - sometimes the third dimension washes out the colours and chops the frame rate, but not so here. She was bright and (mostly) chop-free.

Predictable? For sure. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, yadda yadda. Let's face it, it's basically a not particularly well disguised CG tale of terrorism - there was even a blatant allusion to 9/11 thrown in there.

Overlong? Yeah, maybe a good half hour could have been trimmed, probably from the beginnin'. Once the blue folk were in the picture it was a good ride, and the climactic battle was fun.

But, a sequel? Really, James?

Steven J. Dines said...

I heard there are plans for a Christmas re-release with 40mins of additional footage. Tsk. They clearly did not read my review...