Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Giving Blockbusters a Good Name

I’m not normally greatly impressed by fx. Give me a good script and cheesy fx over the reverse any day -- any day but yesterday when I caught Avatar.

Avatar’s cgi animation achievement (in 3D) is so over-the-top that it deserves to seen just as a spectacle. See it in the theater no matter how big your plasma or LCD screen may be. This needs a really big screen. The script? Well, there is a certain irony to a film that relies so heavily on advanced industrial technology carrying an anti-high-tech-industry message. The whole Noble Savage thing may be a bit overdone (in the way that a Caterpillar D10 is a trifle large for a tractor). For all that, it is well-plotted, well-written, and well-paced – so much so that the 162 minutes passed quickly. In this it is unlike Cameron’s earlier film Titanic which seemed to me interminable – I know it was a hit, but by an hour into it I was rooting heartily for the iceberg. The villains in Avatar are villainous, the heroes heroic, and their clash makes for a rousing drama. This kind of thing could give blockbusters a good name.

Now if I only could get my hands on some Un-obtainium. I'm guessing that’s the stuff that makes the mountains float in the air on the moon Pandora.


  1. Need to catch this one still. My wife was not impressed with Titanic, so she's a bit resistant to seeing this one. I keep telling her that she enjoyed Cameron's other movies. But that Titanic thing just hangs there. :-)

    But your the fourth person who has similar taste in movies that enjoyed it. So that's a good sign.

  2. Actually I enjoyed them both. There are scenes in Titanic that I like, which are atypical to what a reviewer might point to, like the enormous engine room on that ship. I guess that comes from working around large machinery. The love story and villain in the film work well, but is not the main draw for me per se--it's the overall look of the film. So I'm still drawn to the effects moreso than the story. That said, I don't enjoy it so much I own a copy of it. It's a bit too long in the tooth as well.