James Cameron hasn't made a movie since Titanic. Considering it made over a billion dollars, I guess he has an excuse. His next effort, Avatar (due out in December), has been one of the most widely anticipated movies among the wide circle of internet movie geeks. That is, it was until Friday and the debut of Avatar's first trailer. Since then tones have changed from giddy anticipation to increasing skepticism.
Initial buzz surrounded the film's radical use of CG and 3D, which Cameron says has been in development for over 10 years. 90 percent of the movie is [supposedly] computer generated to photo-realistic quality, and Cameron claims it will usher in a new era for 3D cinema. Everyone was on board until last week's trailer.
So why the drastic change? Unlike my fanboy counterparts, I really didn't have any bias for or against the film leading up to the trailer and went in with an open mind. Am I still curious about the movie? Yeah, but by no means am I excited. My problem is that the images I saw did not live up to Cameron's claims of "photo-realism." Characters and story are much more important than pretty pictures, though, and this could still be a great film. I don't believe this is where the majority of the negativity is coming from.
My completely uninformed opinion is that people were turned off by the fact that the aliens look like pussies. Seriously, they look like Thundercats with down syndrome, and they're supposed to battle giant beasts and robots? An audience can't be expected to buy into that when they look like they would get their asses kicked by a spray bottle wielding eight-year-old?
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe expectations were too high. Maybe Cameron will revolutionize the movies industry and go on to make another billion dollars. Who knows at this point. My money, though, is on the eight-year-old.