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Avatar: Thoughts of a Brown Boy


Some post hype/awards/box office success thoughts

I’ve said from the offset that if I was going to see Avatar it would be the way James Cameron had originally intended. In full IMAX 3D glory. So having managed to resist its charms and a ludicrous amount of pressure from my flat mate Little Timmy to simply just go and watch it at Camden Odeon, Saturday March 20, was the day of destiny. Here is my “review”, but as this has come 3 months too late, please just consider this an opportunity for you to agree or disagree with my dissection of the film.

Why did I wait so long to see it? Well, getting tickets to the IMAX was apparently more difficult than acquiring tickets to see Jesus’ comeback gig at the Comedy Store. Adamant that holding out would be the policy, this firm stance certainly paid off when I finally saw this celluloid behemoth. I have to say that before we went to see it at the very unsociable time of 23.45 I was genuinely excited, much in the same way I was excited when I heard Michael Jackson was coming to town last year, but then after a few weeks with that knowledge, I wondered… Could he really live up to the hype? He did die during this period of contemplation and based on This Is It, where he clearly looks sick, I’m not convinced it would have answered all my questions. I went to see Avatar having being exposed to it early in 2008 and then again during last years’ summer at the 15 minute teaser screening. I then kept a close look at how it performed at the box office and the subsequent nominations at this years’ awards ceremonies like the Academy Awards and the BAFTAs. Even through the enormous spoonfuls of media hype and attention that surrounded the film I kept reminding myself not pass judgement and stay impartial. I had conversations around the time we were predicting our BAFTA winners with the kids at Feref that largely focused around the Hurt Locker vs. Avatar battle that would be fought out. As I hadn’t seen the 3D revolution I was forced to stick with The Hurt Locker. Now that I’ve seen it, I can honestly say … GREAT ODEN’S RAVEN! There’s a reason why The Hurt Locker cleaned up this year in front of Avatar. I shall attempt to illustrate why using a few words and some semi-carefully constructed sentences.

The first thing I noticed with Avatar is the sheer depth and scale of everything that occurs in the movie. You need a pair of wellies to tackle the Na’vi world and JC completely immerses you in their every culture, tradition and belief of the natives, a large amount of this is deriving from the inherent belief that everything the Na’vi do is tied to the land in which they live. The 3D was well worth waiting for and seeing it on a screen such as the IMAX, I couldn’t help but be impressed. But, and there is one, I think that this film is all solely about spectacle. The substance really wasn’t there. Unlike his previous work such as Terminator and Aliens which I adore, I felt that given the fact that JC should have spent more time on the visuals than the story. Perhaps with a cool 350 million I could of had a stab at knocking out something that, to date, has pulled down a box office crippling $2,667,907,957. Mine of course wouldn’t have just been a rip off of the Pocahontas story line, but having said that I would have spent a large proportion of that budget on catering and anoraks.

Despite these minor criticism of the film, it really is a triumph for the film industry. Both commercially and in terms of driving things forward and forcing film makers to re-think and re-imagine the way they think about both making and marketing films. I was on a real high after watching it. JC’s story-telling, whilst a little mental in places, is easy to follow and does allow you to really focus in on the utterly immense special effects. When I left the IMAX at the equally unsociable hour of 3.40 am I was completely aching, but in a good way. The film is dangerously long, but there is enough to keep your mind focused on the action. My big concern is whether or not I was completely blown away by the 3D and didn’t rip it apart perhaps like I should have. I guess we’ll see once it’s released on DVD. Will we all be so keen to see it then? Especially considering it was sold principally on the revolutionary 3D aspect. Right now a 3D TV will set you back around £3k which isn’t exactly pocket change. Only time will tell if Avatar really was the stuff of film legend or if we just all got a little too carried away and desperately wanted to buy JC that 4th home in the Maldives.

I wanted to take some time before committing my thoughts to the web purely because I was left feeling both exhilarated and underwhelmed all in one go. It was a very strange Sunday afternoon. If I were to offer a rating it would be 4/5 stars. Largely thanks to its pioneering work in the visuals dep, but looses a gold star for its loco script and plot madness. Either way my thoughts matter not and it will be interesting to see where Avatar levels out at the box office especially with its impending DVD release.

Agree?/Disagree?/Have some crap you want to flog me? – Get in contact! Either on here on Twitter. Thanks, as always, for reading.

Sexy Rob

(*Box Office Mojo – 23.03.10)


About Rob Orme

Brown is the new Black.


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