Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What Is Avatar and why so much hub-bub?

Avatar (Not to the confused with The Last Airbender, sorry SS) is an upcoming science fiction film directed by James Cameron (Terminator, Titanic) which promises to revolutionize the medium of film as we know it. The story involves a paralyzed marine who regains use of his legs by becoming an Avatar on another planet populated by the Na'vi (the blue things seen below).

As the story progresses, the Marine falls in love with one of the aliens and is understandably conflicted when Earth attacks this planet. Mixing part CGI, part Live-action and part Motion Capture, Cameron developed several groundbreaking technologies to put this story to film. If that weren't enough, the film will be released in 3D using the new Fusion digital 3D system, developed by Cameron himself. Unsurprisingly, this new technology does not come cheap. A recent article claimed that it's total budget was almost $500 million dollars, a serious amount of cash to pony up for an alien love story, but considering the fact that Titanic took in almost 2 billion dollars worldwide, I suppose there are riskier ways to invest $500,000,000.

Even though this film features no A-list actors and has a plot line that sounds like a video game, the buzz has been deafening since Cameron premiered 15 minutes of the film to the rabid masses at Comic-Con in July. Apparently what transpired on the screen was so awe-inspiring that some critics ranked these mere 15 minutes amongst their top 100 films of the decade. Many called it "the future", likening it to the first Technicolor film. Others claimed that it washed over them like a drug, stimulating parts of the brain that dormant during traditional films (seriously).

These facts certainly point to something special, but I've already expressed my skepticism regarding motion-capture technology in film and I'm having a hard time believing that a 3 hour Sci-Fi-Motion-Capture-Alien-Romance-Action-Epic will make a profit, let alone change film forever.

Avatar is released December 18th, 2009.

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