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 James Cameron's Avatar

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Donald McKinney
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PostSubject: James Cameron's Avatar   Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:02 pm

How do you follow up Titanic?? No-one guessed back in 1997 it would do so well. At the time, it was the most expensive film ever made, and alot of nay-sayers predicted it would be a film, and spell the end for it's director, James Cameron. It was a change of scene for him in a way, a world away from his early action packed films and he was diving into romance films. Had Cameron sold out and gone all mushy-wushy? No he had not, he created an epic romance in the vein of Gone With The Wild and Dr. Zhivago. It would gross $1.8 billion worldwide, and would win 11 Oscars, with Cameron selflessly proclaiming he was "King of the World". That was 12 years ago, since then, what had Cameron been up to?? Well, he did two underwater IMAX documentaries for Disney, Ghosts of the Abyss (2003) and Aliens of the Deep (2005), he also produced Steven Soderbergh's remake of Solaris (2002). But, would he return to cinema?? The gap since Titanic was widening, but he did have something in mind, something he'd had planned since 1994, but was waiting for technology to catch up so he could fully realise what he had in mind. 15 years later, he's finally completed it. He also wanted to change the way people look at cinema, by filming it in 3-D as well. Avatar isn't life changing, but it's a wonderous, amazing and extremely well imagined film, showcasing just how much of an imagination Cameron really has. He's succeeded in making a worthy follow-up to Titanic.

Set in the year 2154, it has paralysed U.S. Marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), being offered a chance to take part in the AVATAR programme on the planet of Pandora, which is a 6 years away from Earth. His twin brother Tom was killed in action on the planet, but he was part of the AVATAR programme, and because he and Jake have identical DNA, Jake has been recruited for this. Pandora is home to the alien race, the Na'vi, all blue and tribal and peaceful, but the military wants to move an entire colony as they live upon a deposit of valuable mineral unobtainium, worth $20 million per kilo. Jake meets Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver), who has studied the Na'vi for years, and who runs the AVATAR programme. She had created human/Na'vi's called Avatars, which are controlled by humans via computers. However, hard-as-nails Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) wants Sully to collect information on the Na'vi. Once in Na'vi form, Sully goes into the wild and comes across native Neytiri (Zoe Saldaņa), who takes him to her tribe, who are suspicious of Sully at first, but they soon become to trust him, and train him up as a warrior. But, even so, Quaritch and unobtainium mining chief Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi) want to destroy the Na'vi's home. So, it's up to Sully to lead the Na'vi into battle.

The plot is Dances With Wolves in a way. But, it's a little more complex than that. The Na'vi do look similiar to the Sioux of Costner's Oscar winning masterpiece, but this delves deeply into the world of sci-fi, but it's similiar with it's theme of the white man going native, and accepting this new lifestyle. But it's Cameron's imagination and the creation of an entire world, landscape, race of people and language that's the biggest success of this film. It's a truly jaw-dropping creation, with floating mountains and entire rainforests that glow in the dark and with a life of it's own, plus creatures like nothing you've ever seen. Including the amazing pteranodon-like Banshees, the Hammerhead Titanothere and the 6 legged Direhorse. All realised for Cameron by WETA Workshop maestro Richard Taylor, whose work on Lord of the Rings and King Kong won him Oscars. The plants and wildlife are so beautifully imagined and they look so stunning on the big screen, that it's all too much to absorb in one sitting. Speaking of the big screen, if you do manage to see this in cinemas, please see it in 3-D. That's how Big Jim intended for us to see it, he shot it with newly developed stereoscopic cameras that emulate human sight, he personally oversaw the development of these cameras. And what he's shot looks crystal clear and stunning. Oh, and he used motion capture for the Na'vi, something which Robert Zemeckis made famous, but Cameron has taken it a step further. The Na'vi have human qualities, and you can associate with them, put the controversial dead-eye problem is fixed, and lets hope it stays fixed. There's so much detail on display and so much going on, you'll wish the film was longer.

Big Jim didn't go with big name stars for this film, (maybe as a way to keep the costs down), so he went with smaller names. He cast Australian actor Sam Worthington as Jake Sully, who was popular in Australia but little known elsewhere. But, Cameron took a gamble, and it paid off. Worthington has a likeable presence, he gives Jake Sully a likeable charm, someone who is a good soldier and when he becomes one of the Na'vi, he becomes one of them, but is unable to tell his human peers that he's gone native, they find that out for themselves. Stephen Lang becomes the latest in a long line of movie hardasses, his Col. Quaritch, (Cameron has such a way with character names), looks like a good guy at first, but he shows his true colours later on. It's a character only Cameron could have created, and one which could have been done in Aliens. Razz Oh, and it's good to see Sigourney Weaver back with James Cameron again, she portrays Grace Augustine with a gruff attitude, drinking and smoking in human form, but motherlike in Na'vi form. Completely against type, but she's a strong and likeable character. Cameron likes making tough women for his films, and he continues the trend here. Zoe Saldaņa's Neytiri is a tough, fearless warrior who teaches Sully the way of the Na'vi, plus there's Michelle Rodriguez as tough wisecracking helicopter pilot Trudy Chacon which is reminiscent of Jenette Vasquez from Aliens. Razz

It's a wonderfully imaginative work, and it's good to have Cameron working behind the camera again after 12 years since Titanic. It's good to see he's back with sci-fi again, a genre he's well used to. And once again, he's pushed the boundry of special effects once again, like he did 20 years ago with The Abyss (1989) and with his next film Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991). But, he was determined that this one would be different, and it would be something new. It's certainly set a new benchmark for filmmaking technology, and already, filmmakers are adapting Cameron's new way of making films. Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are using it for their Tintin films. It's a wonderful experience, and you'll need to see it twice to take it all in!!



Welcome back Big Jim!! You've been away for far too long, and don't be away for another 12 years. Whatever you do next, Battle Angel Alita, or another Avatar sequel or Fantastic Voyage, or even Heavy Metal, it's good to have you back. You've created something really special and unique here, I loved it. I was a little skeptical about it at first, but I remained optimistic about it. It's exceeded my expectations, and it's not just another sci-fi film. The fanboys who dissed it before it came out were wrong, it is not like Ferngully or the Smurfs. It's a romantic and epic tale of becoming one with nature in a foreign environment. I wouldn't be surprised if it gets a bit of recognition at the Oscars next year. Cameron has retained his crown as King of the World as this film. How will he top THIS one, never mind topping Titanic. This'll make it's money back, whatever Cameron does next, it'll be exciting to see!! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron's Avatar   Mon Dec 28, 2009 1:25 pm

It was released a week and a half ago, and already it's made $615 million worldwide!! Shocked Very Happy Big Jim wins again!! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron's Avatar   Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:40 pm

There's gonna be a Na'vi sex scene on the unrated DVD!! Very Happy

It's grossed $760 million worldwide so far and counting!! Cool
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron's Avatar   Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:13 pm

The Vatican don't like Avatar... Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron's Avatar   Fri Jan 15, 2010 4:29 am

They did like the effects though!

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Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron's Avatar   Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:13 pm



Big Jim wins again!! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron's Avatar   Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:07 am

IT'S DONE IT!! IT'S BEAT TITANIC!! Very Happy Very Happy

Big Jim has beaten himself!! Only he could do it!! Very Happy Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron's Avatar   Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:39 am

I don't understand it. I really, really don't.

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Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron's Avatar   Tue Jan 26, 2010 11:26 pm

To be honest, it has had a bit of an unfair advantage, most of the takings have been from 3-D screenings and IMAX screenings which cost more.
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron's Avatar   Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:31 pm

It's made $2 billion worldwide!! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron's Avatar   Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:31 pm

Didnt fair so well in the ol Baftas now did it, only 2 awards

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