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Quint saw the SBIFF Tribute to James Cameron! He talks AVATAR, TERMINATOR, ALIENS, Roger Corman, sneaking into USC & much more!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a rundown of tonight’s big James Cameron event at the 25th Santa Barbara International Film Festival. He received the Modern Master award from the festival tonight, presented by the Governor himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen Cameron get an award at SBIFF. He was given one for his documentary work in the heyday of his underwater exploration films and it was at that time that I sat down with him and did one of my favorite chats with one of my favorite directors. You can read that now 4 year old interview here. Ah, the old Dirty Joke final question days… I’m hoping that Copernicus gets some sit down time with Cameron this time out. If you read his Science of Avatar story you’ll know why he’s much more up to the task at quizzing the man than I am. Anyway, it’s late and I don’t want to bore you with all this crap. Let’s get into the event, which I’ll hit in bullet points as I feature Kraken’s photography. Leonard Maltin hosted the Q&A and when Cameron was called up on stage he immediately went into his speech because of a miscommunication about when he was actually getting the award. They paused the speech after about 5 minutes and started the Q&A only to stop it again when Arnold showed up to present the award. You’ll see that represented below, but I wanted to give an idea of how loose the night was.

-When asked about filmic influences, Cameron went back to the Harryhausen films… specifically name-checking Jason and the Argonauts, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, Mysterious Island and 20 Million Miles to Earth. He said it was dreamlike to him because he had no idea what Stop Motion was. He also had a steady diet of Science-Fiction and comic books. -Wizard of Oz is his favorite movie and he loves it because of the combination of beauty and terror that exist in that world. He told his design team on Avatar that he wanted to “scare the crap out of people, but I also want it to be beautiful.” -As a kid Cameron didn’t know if was going to draw or write. He drew a lot of his own comics as a kid. He had a “narrative impulse” and a “visual impulse” that he didn’t realize he could actually combine by becoming a filmmaker until he was in his 20s. -His first paying job was on Roger Corman’s (great) Battle Beyond the Stars. He was hired originally as a model builder, but he became the art director almost immediately. It was a trial by fire. “We knew just enough to be dangerous, but not enough to know we shouldn’t even be trying what we were doing.” -Said he was a better artist and a better filmmaker than a leader at the start. -“You have to create your own luck” is a lesson he learned on the Corman films. Not in a nefarious way, but that you have to be persistent and prepared for when opportunity comes. “No fate but what we make” from the Terminator films comes from this philosophy.

-When he was a truck driver, he’d drive all week, but on Saturdays he’d go down to USC (he was not a student there, mind you) and go into the stacks and Xeroxed copies of American Cinematographer to thesis done on optical printing or break downs of film stocks and he brought all that back home and organized it binders, studying them. -First break was when he was allowed to do 2nd unit directing on another Roger Corman film (he didn’t mention the title, but it’s probably the extremely twisted Galaxy of Terror). As an effects guy and production designer he convinced Corman that the director wasn’t getting enough coverage of the effects, so he got the 2nd Unit director job at the expense of his production designer gig. -The production was so over schedule that he got to direct a lot with the actors. The production essentially had two 1st Units running simultaneously. Even though he was petrified at working with actors they all started requesting to be put into his unit because they liked him better. -Piranha 2: The Spawning. Cameron was hired to direct, flew to Rome, completed a couple of weeks of preproduction, flew to Jamaica and shot for 4 days before being replaced by the Italian producer, notorious for taking over his films. “It ended up being good for me because the film turned out to be a stinker.” -They then showed the Power Suit vs. Alien Queen scene from ALIENS… it was really kinda cool to watch Cameron watching his own movies, especially for one of his best. He said afterwards that this is probably what “Hell for directors is… watching your movies on an endless loop at 180db.” -Cameron commented on the fight, that pre-CG the executed it with a Bunraku Japanese puppet style miniature effects and real life-sized puppets created by Stan Winston. There were two guys, sitting side by side inside the life-sized puppet, each one operating one big arm and one small arm. The Alien Queen was designed around the two-man rig. He then demonstrated the arm-waving.

-Cameron pointed out the shot where you can see Lance Henriksen’s body as he reaches for Newt, the half-body lifting up off the ground revealing his torso. “It’s an interesting lesson in how we perceive film. Nobody is looking there, they’re looking at where his hand is. ‘Will he be able to catch her?’” Cameron himself didn’t notice it until the premiere. -T2 was kicking around for a while. Schwarzenegger wanted to do one and when Cameron talked to Linda Hamilton, who he refused to do the movie without, she gave him the idea that Sarah Connor would be crazy, mentally torn apart with the foreknowledge of the murder of 6 billion people. He wrote from there. -After the clip from T2 (the drainage canal chase), the T-800 himself, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger came out to present Cameron the award.

-Schwarzenegger came out like a stand-up comic, saying he’s there to celebrate a great immigrant story, a man who came to Hollywood and made billions of dollars, became admired by millions of people… but “that’s enough talking about myself. I got carried away! Sorry about that!” -Another Governator zinger: “His movies have made billions and billions of dollars world-wide. As a matter of fact, he made so much money that all of this money together could have wiped out the State’s budget deficit!” -Schwarzenegger said “Avatar” a few times and every single time it came out like “Ahvadah.” He joked that Cameron intentionally chose that title because he knew it was impossible for Arnie to pronounce.

-Despite all the talk about Avatar 2 going forward, Cameron said he hasn’t decided what he’s going to do next. -After sitting back down to continue the discussion, Cameron fawned over Schwarzenegger’s presence in the original Terminator saying he was known as being “the ultimate physical form” back then, but that in 90% of the movie he’s in biker leather, with the camera close on his face. What attracted Cameron to him for the part was Schwarzenegger’s ability to be as cold as ice, the opposite from his turn in Conan the Barbarian. -Apparently Schwarzenegger loved going out to restaurants still in the Stan Winston make-up, with half of his face ripped off. -There were 42 CG shots in Terminator 2, which forced a merge of computer effects and Stan Winston’s mechanical work. Compare that with Avatar, which was 2600 CG shots.

-The Abyss was Cameron’s most demanding shoot, physically. He’d literally go home and fall asleep with his fork still in his mouth. -Originally the Water Tentacle was written as the aliens using water as a probe, but instead of a tentacle it was just “intelligent water” that spilled into the room on the floor. Although he had no idea how to pull it off, he changed it into a water tentacle and began the journey of figuring out how to do it “because it’d be cool.” -Dennis Muren did the CG Water Tentacle stuff in The Abyss… it took them 9 months to do 16 shots. -Although Cameron does rigorous storyboarding for action scenes (for safety reason first and foremost, he said), he doesn’t like to storyboard scenes for actors, preferring to block on the day with the actors giving their input. He said if you’re not willing, as a director, to look beyond the storyboards and seek out that spontaneity then you’ll miss the magic filmmaking can capture. -Titanic originated because he wanted an excuse to dive the wreckage. -Cameron went into Fox and pitched “Romeo & Juliet on the Titanic.” “That was it, I had a deal.” -Was Titanic a bigger project than he thought it was going to be? “They always are. It’s like a woman thinking about having another child. If she really had a clear memory of exactly what happened last time she wouldn’t do it.” -Regarding his famous temperament Cameron said he learned on Titanic that the studio looks to the director and the producer for clues on how screwed they are. “Leadership works in both directions, both down the chain and up.” He said particularly on Avatar the studio didn’t understand the process and he had to keep his cool to calm their nervousness. -“I’m the King of World” line is something they came up with on the day. Cameron was in a crane basket on a long lens talking to Leo via walkie-talkie. The set was next to the Pacific, but locked down, so Cameron had to give the illusion of movement with the camera. He wanted this moment to be big, so he had DiCaprio do a few things… howl like a wolf, etc… Cameron suggested “I’m the King of the World!” and DiCaprio was like “What?” “But he sold it. I didn’t sell it.” -Further talking about the illusion of filmmaking, Cameron commented that the actors are tasked with protecting that illusion. “Sigourney made the Alien Queen live because of the way she treated it as this thing that really seemed to be there, as her nemesis.” -IMAX has pulled in $250 million in only 261 theaters on Avatar. -Cameron’s Avatar research: animals, ecosystems, Colonial Period, the interactions between the natives and the first settlers, the American West and the Conquest of Spain. “But at a certain point you have to abandon the research and tell a story.”

-He first knocked out the story in 2-3 weeks in 1995, writing a 100 page template. Cameron did Titanic, but didn’t think the CG was there for Avatar, so he waited. -It took 4 ½ years to do Avatar “soup to nuts.” The first 2 years were design and technical development, no actors. The facial performance capture was the toughest technical hurdle to cross. April ’07 began a year’s worth of production including performance capture in Playa Vista, then 4 months of live action photography in Wellington, NZ. Then 1 ½ of post production. -Cameron joked that he wanted all the “hater bloggers” who kind of disappeared after Avatar became the highest grossing film of all time to come out and admit they were wrong. -After the laughs from that he was asked “What does Avatar’s success mean to you?” Cameron said that ultimately the most satisfying part of it is to know that he’s communicating with an audience, that people are connecting emotionally with the movie. -Cameron hopes the environmental message will help in places where it’s needed the most, pointing to its success in China. “I don’t delude myself that an entertainment film is going to change the world, but I do think what an entertainment film can do is associate an emotional response, a sense of outrage at the destruction of nature, with information you already have.” -His favorite scene in Avatar is the Jake/Neytiri learning to fly/bonding montage. The one where Jake’s voiceover says “I may not be much of a horse guy, but I was born to do this.”

That was the chat. Hope you enjoyed reading along and scoping out some of those pics! Tomorrow’s my final day at SBIFF, but I should be hitting the director’s panel and watching Kirk Douglas’ 1975 film POSSE hosted by Quentin Tarantino and featuring a Q&A between Tarantino and Kirk Douglas himself. It’s gonna be a good day. I’ll write it all up when I can! -Quint Follow Me On Twitter

Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:35 a.m. CST


    by ObnoxiousCamper

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:35 a.m. CST

    Very cool

    by jsscript2007

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:36 a.m. CST

    by ObnoxiousCamper

    Cool article BTW...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:40 a.m. CST


    by gotilk

    We eat and shit 'em here in talkback land. No "bloggers" came anywhere near the hate-fest that happened here. And some of 'em to this day probably think 3-d is a fad. One-eyed fools, the lot.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:46 a.m. CST

    Ahhhhhhhh... the satisfaction. 2.1 billion and counting

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    where you at you hatin mofo's? <p> Come and eat crow.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:51 a.m. CST

    Rule #1 of this talkback: Defend the film on it's merits.

    by IndustryKiller!

    It hasn't been done on this site or any other. You're fucking easily amused if you can't see the one dimensional characters, derivative cliche of a story, video game cut scene CG, and bland production design (space horse!, space panther, space rhino). I've made this argument a hundred times if I've made it once and NO ONE steps up to the plate to defend the film on it's content. Falling back on pathetic arguments like "it looks pretty" or "it's fun". Those people are the fucking worst kind of imbecile.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:08 a.m. CST

    Imbecile: one who compares Avatar to video game CG

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:11 a.m. CST

    Movie Snobs

    by armtv

    What is up with all the movie SNOBS on this site...ALL GREATER THAN THOU... THis is kind of poring over from the Harry Review thread but Fuuuuuuuuuuck. Whatever happened to just being entertained for a few hours. Industry Killer...let me guess...You can Shit better characters than JC. How about right direct, produce your #1 movie of all time..then come on here and critique. Most of you who criticise ..especially all of you Bayhaters are no different than the academy Snobs who shun films that appear on this site reguarly. It makes me sick to be truthful. Get a Grip on reality.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:31 a.m. CST

    RE: Where the haters came from....

    by The Tao of Joe

    Cameron comes down on the "Hater Bloggers" but it's not like they had no reason to doubt the film wasn't going to be good. Fox only screened "Avatar" for critics in about half the cities they usually do -- a similar strategy that they used for "Wolverine" and "Hitman." It was a poor sign of faith by the studio that created the blog-hate, but of course Cameron can't bite the hand that feeds him. He'll probably make a $1 billion paycheck off of this film before all is said and done.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:39 a.m. CST


    by Thall_Joben

    “hater bloggers” who kind of disappeared after Avatar became the highest grossing film of all time to come out and admit they were wrong" Popularity doesn't always equal quality, look at the music charts. The guy knows how to make money - but it still doesn't make Avatar anything but a steaming pile of pretty crap to me. Unoriginal corny dayglow shite. Give me Alien over Avatar any day.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:44 a.m. CST

    Battle Beyond the Stars Comic Book

    by tronprogram

    An official prequel, Battle Amongst the Stars, is being released in March as 4 issues:

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:53 a.m. CST

    by Son of the Suns

    Oh JC. I still don't like the movie and no matter how much money it earns it's still not going to have any depth to it.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:58 a.m. CST

    Takes a whole other breed of male...

    by Flummage

    ... to pull off the soft, rufflesome and yet ever so alpha-manly neck-swaddling allure of the middle-aged man's polo neck. <p> One day I'll be ready. One day.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:05 a.m. CST

    RE: Industry Killer

    by The Tao of Joe

    You've asked for a defense of the film and I will do it on my own terms. I will make this post, you can retort, I will respond just once, and then that's it. First and foremost, I loved "Avatar" because it is a beautiful film. I know you just scoffed those who use beauty as a reason to love a film, but since film's a visual medium, I think beauty is enough to enjoy a film. But that's not the only thing "Avatar" has in its corner. Yes, the script is simple (Cameron was juggling a lot of technical concerns with this one, so it makes sense he would go out with a very simple story so he didn't have an Episode 1 on his hands), but with that simplicity, Cameron does a few things right. 1) He sets up a good conflict - look at the history of our planet, and all you see is the story of white people coming to a place, exploiting its people and its lands, and then peace-ing out with boatloads of riches. Chances are, if we do discover life in space, we'll be doing the same thing these people do in the film, which is a genuine twist on the whole alien invasion plot we see in so many movies, books, comics, novels, etc. That we humans are the violent, alien invaders on another planet is highly likely, should we master space travel. 2) Cameron's script is generous with the exposition. The first hour of the film is more or less a Cameron introducing us to this new planet, showing us who all of the big players are, then letting us know how all the machines and animals work. That way, when we get to the final battle scenes, at no point are we asking, 'Who's this? What's that? How does that work?' Cameron was so thorough in this regard that people who usually don't like science fiction enjoy "Avatar," too. Of course, people lob the criticism that the story is simple. I won't disagree, but I liken it's narrative simplicity to that of early films like "Voyage to the Moon," or the work of D.W. Griffith. Based on today's standards, the stories for these films are simple to a fault, however, we view them positively because they pushed the envelope of film, which at that time had been used mostly to document things like trains rolling into stations, boxing matches, etc. without any narrative flair whatsoever. At the time "Avatar" was made, 3-D filmmaking was in a similar place. Every time the fad was unearthed, it was used merely to generate theme park ride thrills and poke the viewer in the eye. And when the gimmick lost its luster, it quickly died again. Cameron avoid this pitfall entirely, and instead opted to use 3-D as a way of adding texture and depth to his imaginary landscape. The last point I want to make is that I've seen the film in all three 3-D projection formats, and I can say in all honesty that the beauty of the film is vastly compromised by RealD. Reason? To generate a bright enough picture for their crappy, low-end disposable sunglasses to work, RealD movie screens are coated in a silver paint that creates ghosting, as well as a giant glare at the center of the screen. This might be acceptable when playing dark 3-D movies like "Beowulf" or "A Christmas Carol" but since "Avatar" is already a bright film, the ghosting and the reflective hotspot really affect the image quality of the picture. Also, the resolution is not as sharp as Dolby 3-D. Simple as that, and since most "Avatar"-day screenings were held on RealD projectors owned by the Regal theater chain, it's no wonder that the early word was less than positive. The best way to see the film is in IMAX, but if that's not available to people, they should try to check it out in a Dolby 3-D projection. The beauty of the film is more than half the battle, so when people watch it in Real-D, it's no surprise that their response was negative. I'll wait for your retort then give you my final response.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:06 a.m. CST

    Cool stuff

    by Wordage

    A lot of cool tidbits there...particularly how he talked about having to become a leader to both those above him and beneath him...and having to stay cool to ease their fears. Cameron is a model of success.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:16 a.m. CST

    The Tao of Joe....nicely written

    by Wordage

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:17 a.m. CST


    by Toilet_Terror

    I'm really sick of Avatar.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:18 a.m. CST

    The Tao of Joe

    by Son of the Suns

    I don't agree with your point 1). It's not a good conflict. Not even close. Evil human beings wanting something worth a lot of money (but we're not told why) vs. tree hugging beautiful creatures. No real nuance to that. It didn't challenge me to think at all. Your point 2) to me is again pointless. Giving an hour to introduce a planet without giving me surprises or pushing an interesting plot... pointless. As for the 3D, I'd still say the tech isn't there but I appreciate on this point that this is an opinion of mine, not a fact.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:20 a.m. CST

    Cameron looks like a Mushroom with a human face

    by Toilet_Terror

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:21 a.m. CST

    Nice interview

    by Tomarru

    Always nice to have a director talk about their past, only so much you can learn from the internet records. The first flight montage is also my fave scene, love the cinematography and the score, gave me goosebumps when I watched it.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:31 a.m. CST

    Avatar Rocked

    by Cadderly99

    I want like, everything in 3D now.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:58 a.m. CST

    The best scene in Avatar.?

    by workshed

    For my money, it's where Neytiri holds the real life Jake in her arms. It looked like she was holding a baby (which she constantly referred to him as throughout the film) and I found it quite touching. For me, the film said just as much politically as Hurt Locker. I've seen it in 2D on five occasions now, never in 3D, and boy is Cameron's vision compelling, massive.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 7:05 a.m. CST

    And for those that say Cameron's script isn't ambitious...

    by workshed

    ...the standard Hollywood structure is three acts. Avatar, on the other hand, is a five act masterpiece written for the audience of it's day in languages they can, and cannot, understand - very clever in the way it leaves them feel elevated, in some way, intellectually, even though it may be a fake intellectualism. That's the magic of cinema that reflects the zeitgeist of which Avatar is a shining example.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 7:17 a.m. CST

    DAMMIT! Double standard!

    by eyeofthefrozen

    WHY is it that Avatar gets torn apart for one dimensional characters and relatively shallow depth, but LORD OF THE RINGS gets all the props from geekdom? Granted, LOTR has a loooong history in literature, but come on, let's be honest, as much as the movies ROCK, there really isn't much depth to them. But I'm on the side of LOTR...I think they were AMAZING for what they were! I just wish the naysayers of AVATAR would look at it through the same lenses they allowed LOTR to be viewed. Nothing amazingly new here, but I'm sure many think the same about certain genres; we allow a certain amount of forgiveness in action movies, but if the same suspension of belief was given to a straight-out drama, we'd be looked at as simpletons. I have to admit, I AM a fan of most of Cameron's work, but I truly believe that his "king of the world" statement at the Oscars created A LOT of haters out there, just praying for this self-generated demise, and therefore a lot of self-righteous geeks out there feel the need to point out the OBVIOUS. This is essentially like (and OHHH, you're gonna love this extreme comparison) critiquing a person who is mentally challenged, and scored at the top of his/her program, but openly lambasting their literature writing skills in comparison to Shakespeare! HAHAHA, I KNOW that I'm comparing Cameron's AVATAR to the work of a person who is mentally challenged, but the over-the-top point is that all movies should be judged withing their own genre. And, yes, if it transcends its own conventionally "simpler" genre, then THAT is an amazing feat to accomplish. I don't think that AVATAR accomplished that, but I DO think that it is on EQUAL grounds to LOTR. (of course if you do not like either film, then my point is moot) GOOD RIDDANCE and POPPYCOCK!

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 7:20 a.m. CST

    American audiences are dumb

    by Wordage

    So while some of you may fault Cameron for the story being too simplistic, I think part of it stems from his aim to make his films accessible to as many people as possible. I recently watched Dances With Wolves (which many compared this film to) and on the audio commentary, Costner said many studios didn't want to back the film because he planned to use subtitles when the Natives spoke in their language. I've heard many people say they didn't want to watch Mel Gibson's Passion and Apocalypto for the same reasons. I noticed in Avatar, the subtitles were in very large print...and I'm sure that was no accident...big words for those who aren't prone to reading. <p> Cameron is a populist filmmaker, and there's nothing wrong with that. But as far as populist films go, his are the best, by far. That's why box office becomes relevant. If you want alternative filmmaking...then watch films by another director.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 7:25 a.m. CST

    It sucked

    by Thall_Joben

    A lot. Look at da priddy birdy.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 7:26 a.m. CST

    highest grossing film or not...

    by vezner2007

    I still feel like the story sucked. Avatar was fun for the visuals and that's where it ends in my book.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 7:34 a.m. CST

    What are ARNOLD & JIM up to?

    by ABking

    What film are they gonna team up on in the near future? Arnie has until the end of this year. Jim and Arnie are hanging out so much they must be working together next. Hope it's something wild. I would have loved for it to be CRUSADE but I doubt it.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 7:37 a.m. CST

    I hope Kirk Douglas tells Tarantino to shut up.

    by RedEgiraahgnal

    I can see it:<p> Tarantino: "Blablablablappblappblappediblapp- (Y'know, what Tarantino always does.)<br> Douglas: Shut up, I'm trying to tell a story here.<p>

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 7:39 a.m. CST

    Darn. Was hoping he would announce Battle Angel would be next.

    by future help

    well, just as long as he gets back to work soon on something.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 7:48 a.m. CST

    Avatar is fucking incredible

    by kwisatzhaderach

    Yes you can nitpick the dialogue and some of the acting but if you can't be moved and awed by Avatar then you are dead inside. Just saw it for the fourth time and it is fucking incredible. Most cinematic end battle since Return of the Jedi. <p> Yeah the haters vanished pretty quick didnt they? Hilarious.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 7:58 a.m. CST

    BATTLE ANGEL is dead...can AICN confirm?

    by ABking

    Harry, Quint, Merrick, is BATTLE ANGEL dead? Thats the word.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 7:58 a.m. CST

    Congratulations, Tao... you got them all in there.

    by ScaryWaitress

    The story was simple on purpose! <P> 2. He knows how to pace a movie! <P> It's only about the graphics anyway, and it was a GAME-CHANGER!!! <P> You set your whole post up like it was going to be this epic thing, and in the end you spout the same stuff. Look, I actually kind of liked it... the SECOND time, when I knew, going in, that this was a kids' movie. The first time I saw it, it just pissed me off. NEWSFLASH, amigo: Cameron has great IDEAS FOR MOVIES. He can WRITE A SCREENPLAY. But other than that, he's not saying much, and fleshing out real three dimensional characters that speak interesting dialogue is NOT- and NEVER WILL BE- his forte. <P> Period.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 7:59 a.m. CST

    The haters may be gone. The skeptics remain.

    by ScaryWaitress

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8 a.m. CST

    How many of you would want a Cameron CRUSADE?

    by ABking

    Given the look of ROBIN HOOD, would you guys want Cameron to tackle CRUSADE with Arnold next...or not?

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:02 a.m. CST

    Cameron is in the same boat as the GOP in Congress...

    by ScaryWaitress

    ...he's backed himself into a corner. If he seeks out help with story or dialogue, it will mean he can't do everything... which he will NEVER admit.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:05 a.m. CST


    by kwisatzhaderach

    If it comes down to Cameron's story and dialogue or Kurtzman and Orci's story and dialogue i'll take Cameron everytime.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:06 a.m. CST

    by ScaryWaitress

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:06 a.m. CST


    by Wordage

    That's a pretty scattered analogy there...seems like you're throwing stuff at the wall to see what gets you attention. If not for your criticism of Cameron, you might get some attention for your criticism of the GOP. As for your contention that Cameron let anyone else write, etc., etc.,....the screenplay for Battle Angel was written by someone other than you might need to come up with something else.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:07 a.m. CST

    As much as I loved Avatar

    by kwisatzhaderach

    I have to admit I miss Cameron's live action action sequences. Nothing he has done since really tops the kinetic heart-in-mouth excitement of the canal chase from T2, where Cameron is sitting is a motorcycle sidecar filming the action himself from about two feet off the ground. I'd love to see him ditch CG for once and get back to basics. Unlikely to happen sadly. <p> And yes, i'd love to see a Cameron CRUSADE movie with Scwarzenegger. Rated R.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:07 a.m. CST

    Kwizzy... that's not much of a choice.

    by ScaryWaitress

    Hmmm. So it's between day-old fish, or moldy bananas for breakfast today....

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:09 a.m. CST

    Wordage? Umm...

    by ScaryWaitress

    Battle Angel doesn't exist yet. I was talking about the AVATAR... and the proposed sequel.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:10 a.m. CST

    Best Defense for Avatar : It's not what you tell

    by PTSDPete

    But how you tell it. </p> And this movie, tells it REALLY DAMN WELL.</p></p>Most people in Hollywood aren't bothered telling a story PROPERLY,nowadays. They think they could just get away with cool concepts, bad-ass attitude, pop-culture references, and sick pose. AND a very reactionary behavior alongside bendover 'liberalism'. They would project their nihilism, cynicism, in their work, and think that automatically makes them 'profound' and 'smart'. It's all about impression - because that's only how far they could get. They're too damn inept and scared to substantiate that impression, in the same way they can't dignify their stance to our face, either aimlessly circling a position, or campaigning that position 'ironically'.</p></p> 'Avatar' mocks all their bourgeois pretentions with its audacity and success, and that's why they ain't so damn pleased. </p></p> Now, to realize the extent of 'Avatar's success, consider it's direct corollary in the form of Zach Snyder's 'Watchmen'</P>

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:11 a.m. CST

    ScaryWaitress...the proposed sequel doesn't exist yet

    by Wordage

    So what's your point? You were talking about Cameron in general, and how he won't admit that he can't do everything, in your opinion.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:13 a.m. CST


    by kwisatzhaderach

    Nah, there's a gulf between the storytelling abilities of Cameron and those of Kurtzman and Orci. You should really be able to see that.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:13 a.m. CST

    PTSDPete... now THAT take, I can respect.

    by ScaryWaitress

    THAT actually makes sense. I even agree with it. <P> The thing that usually sets me off is when people say that the characters and story were INTENDED to be simple. I think that's utter bullshit- and I think there are enough signs to point to that prove that, far more likely, Cameron was WAY more concerned with HOW he told the story... than with having a story to tell.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:14 a.m. CST

    Well, Wordage, I think I just clarified my point.

    by ScaryWaitress

    I was referring to Avatar with that post.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:14 a.m. CST

    Re: Industry killer

    by The Ringwraith

    I wasn't impressed with Tao of Joe's defense of the film on its artistic merits, so I thought I would have a quick go. For me, Avatar was about the return of one of the masters of cinema, a director who walks the line of the commercial and the innovative like almost no other. I love his movies because they, like the early works of Spielberg, prove unquestionably that populist, commercial entertainment need not be the artless noise and pretty pictures of Transformers and 2012. They are almost always devoid of bullshit and "idiot plots", populated by smart characters who change and grow within the story, and they are built like unstoppable freight trains. In that respect, its useful to remember that Avatar is an action-adventure film, and its perhaps unrealistic to expect it to hold up to Michael Clayton as a character study. That said, I maintain that, dotted in and around the simple, old-fashioned story are some important, sophisticated and hardcore sci-fi concepts that should not go unnoticed. The obvious references to "fighting terror with terror" and the diatribe on western greed and the suppression of native cultures is only the face of a much more sophisticated story about the nature of self, the use and abuse of technology (a Cameron staple), and the mystery of the supernatural. The conception of Eywa, not just a supernatural deity but as something absolutely NATURAL is about as profound a melding of biological and theological concepts as I've ever seen. Its the single most original and "hardcore sci-fi" idea in the movie and, to me, its a damn good one. It could have been hoaky, but it struck me as fascinating as speculative science, which is exactly what science fiction is meant to be about. All this in addition to the "pretty pictures", the narrative drive, the flawless techique Cameron employs...well, its a pretty good movie, dude! And while I'm here, I just want to say I don't get the whole problem with Cameron's "I'm the king of the world" moment. He'd already made 2 speeches and he was just trying to convey his elation at having won. He wasn't actually laying claim to any title...he was being funny. I just don't get why people are so bothered by it.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:15 a.m. CST

    What to do next??? --HOLY COW!!! --Direct THE AVENGERS!!!

    by JDanielP

    Cameron + superhero flick = GEEK AWESOMENESS!!! <P>Cameron + THE AVENGERS = GEEKTASTIC JOYGASMS!!!!!

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:15 a.m. CST

    ScaryWaitress, if you want attention....

    by Wordage

    I suggest you put on a mini-skirt and some fishnet stockings in this chilly weather, and hit the sports bars right after the superbowl winds down. I'm not sure if you're a big girl or not...but either're sure to get attention of one sort or another.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:18 a.m. CST

    Kwizzy: he has GREAT IDEAS.

    by ScaryWaitress

    The fleshing them out part? That is up for debate. BUT, he told this simple, one-note story very well. THAT much, I will admit. <P> I will not yield on the point, though, that I think Cameron was doing anything other than what he considers to be his best work in the character and story department. I do not think he "meant for it to be simple" to make it more "easily digestible" for audiences. I just don't.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:20 a.m. CST

    Wordage... you first.

    by ScaryWaitress

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:21 a.m. CST

    I also agree with PTSDPete

    by The Ringwraith

    Execution is key. The Dark Knight, for exmaple, has a superior, more sophisticated and "original" screenplay, but Christopher Nolan is just not a very good visualist. Its not just his action sequences, its his overall command of the language of cinema, and in that respect Cameron is a far superior craftsman. I would argue TDK is the better film overall, but Avatar is better directed. And its just nice to see a film put together with more thought than any of the Spider-Man, Pirates of the Caribbean or the new Star Trek. I list those films because I actually really like them, but their director's, while way ahead of Michael Bay or Stephen Sommer's ,don't command the language of genre cinema like Cameron does. And for that reason alone, Avatar is worth my time.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:21 a.m. CST

    ScaryWaitress...I'm way ahead of you

    by Wordage

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:28 a.m. CST

    All this being said, Cameron deserves Best Director

    by ScaryWaitress

    ...hands down. No question. The job he did on this was INSANE. I mean, the dude shot most of it HIMSELF, for crying out loud, and directed actors cavorting in front of a bluescreen for months.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:29 a.m. CST

    A word to the wise, Wordage...

    by ScaryWaitress

    if you're going to wear fishnets... PLEASE SHAVE YOUR LEGS. Thank you.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:30 a.m. CST

    I want to see Cameron and Speilberg team up.

    by ScaryWaitress

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:31 a.m. CST

    I want to see Cameron grow a goatee

    by BendersShinyAss

    The man's getting better with age. I like that.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:32 a.m. CST first

    by Wordage

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:35 a.m. CST

    Watching the Spirits With In right now

    by TheJudger

    Thsi film failed at the BO. I own the DVD as well. I'll never understand it. I think of it as the Tron of Trying for realistic Characters in a CGI film. 9 years later has the opinion changed or the fanbase increased?

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:35 a.m. CST

    Legs? Check. Armpits? Check.

    by ScaryWaitress

    Fortunately, being a girl, I don't have to worry about my back. It must SUCK to be a guy sometimes.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:36 a.m. CST

    RE: Ringwrait

    by The Tao of Joe

    Nolan is an amazing visualist. The scene of Batman flying over the skyscrapers in Hong Hong - in IMAX less - is one of the most beautiful sequences of the last decade. Also, I find anyone who would use the words "PRETTY PICTURES" to describe Transformers or 2012 to be less than impressive myself. Eywa is a hardcore sci-fi element, but I doubt that is the reason most people enjoy the film.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:38 a.m. CST

    Oh and God Bless IR cameras

    by TheJudger

    James ignored that phot phos green paint and used plain jane IR cameras to record the faces with his head rigs. I wish i could find that old ass post I put up here telling people this was what was needed- long before Avatar was a blip on the radar. The lip sync in watchmen vs Avatar and to some extent BB, but Avatar proves you didnt have to paint the actors face to map it with by using the IR cameras. Fixing this problem once and for all.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:41 a.m. CST

    I don't shave my back

    by Wordage

    It gives the ladies something to hold the nylon rope for a bull rider.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:42 a.m. CST

    The biggest problem with Avatar is that Jake Sully is a douche w

    by Walterego

    He was supposed to be a combat hardened character, but he has a huge "change of heart" because he wants to hook up with Netiri and because he wants to live on a new world in a new body. It's selfish. Then he declares war on humans because they blew up a giant tree. The conflict could have ended there, but Sully launches a war on the humans to make them leave the planet without any of the precious resource that the humans back on Earth need so badly. As a result dozens, or more likely hundreds, of humans and alien blue-cat-people are killed senselessly. For what? The giant tree that was Netiri's tribe's home is already destroyed, and can't be brought back. The movie doesn't indicate that the humans will destroy any other tribes' homes, it would seem that only this one tribe lived on top of a rich deposit of unobtanium. What is Sully fighting for? To avenge the desruction of the tree? The guy is an ass. Col Quaritch is portrayed as a villain (in an over the top performance that is more a caricature of a person), but his actions really aren't any less justifiable than Sully. At least Col Quaritch is simply doing a job and trying to get it done with minimum loss of alien life (albeit through maximum damage to the ecology). Sully is so nuts about protecting Pandora's ecology that he causes a huge slaughter of both aliens and his fellow humans. I honestly didn't know whether to root for Quaritch or Sully when they finally fought. I felt sad for the humans survivors who were paraded in humiliating fashion past the giant aliens, even Selfridge, who I thought was extremely likable. I empathized with Selfridge when he would get exasperated with Dr Grace, and I laughed out loud in the theater when he burst out with "What are you smoking?" That was probably my favourite line in the movie. I liked Avatar's beautiful visuals, but story-wise, when the protagonist comes off as a jerk then the movie has failed (unless if he's supposed to be a bit of a jerk, a la District 9's protagonist).

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:47 a.m. CST

    Of all people, a Waitress should know better

    by jsscript2007

    Avatar dialogue was very calculated to please a wide audience. Try putting it in a different context so it might be easier for you, of all people, will understand. Food. If you were going to open a chain of resturants and needed to appeal to the most consumers possible what would you serve? (a) Pasta. (b) Prime Rib. (c) A hamburger. It's not what you personally prefer, it's what is acceptable to the masses.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:47 a.m. CST

    People saying Avatar is too simple...

    by BendersShinyAss

    ...have no real true hate for the film. Seriously, The trailer revealed how simple the story was. The execution was brilliant, nay, breathtaking, and you hater-fuckers have got nothing! <p>NOTHING!! <p>but keep hating. it's fun to read. Sort of like how people hate last years star trek but offer no reason. <p>now, you wanna talk about films that are trash. I just watched dark knight. my god..... it was terrible. and i LOVED it at the cinema. but now that the honeymoon is over the flaws are starting to show. we'll see how Avatar looks in 2 years :)

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:50 a.m. CST

    Re: Tao

    by The Ringwraith

    First of all, I agree with everything you wrote initially. I wasn't out to attack you, I just thought you focused too much on the 3D of Avatar in what I thought was intended to be a defense of the film's, as industrykiller put it, "content". The spectacle of 2012 was fairly impressive, and I think most would agree. Most would likely also agree that pretty pictures do not make a good film. And Megan Fox is makes a pretty enough subject that I can defend Transformers, albeit facetiously:) Now, I love Christopher Nolan as creative voice, I really do. And as a director, he gets more right than he gets wrong...casting, iconography, pacing, tone. But he's not a teribly sophisticated visualist in the same vein as Cameron or Spielberg or Kubrick. The staging and geography of his scenes is often confusing, and the camera moves often feel arbitrary and unmotivated. In only two scenes have I really seen Nolan shine as a director, both in TDK - the opening bank robbery and the prisoner transport van scene. These scenes are masterfully executed, and make me think Nolan can be much better than he seems when he really sits down to plan things out in detail. Again, I do love his work...but there's just something in the details that irks me.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:55 a.m. CST

    jsscript2007... not good enough.

    by ScaryWaitress

    Look, I marvel at some of you guys. I'm CLEARLY not a hater... you guys seem to think that it's all or nothing. Love it all, or you're a hater? That is extremely simplistic, belying either inexperience, or ignorance. This is a simple debate, and you turn it into the Gestapo.<P> It's like you actually think Cameron is watching... and that if he were, he would be pleased with you.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 9 a.m. CST

    "you hater-fuckers have got nothing"

    by Son of the Suns

    What's with the 'if you don't like something then you HATE it?'. Do you like living in very black and white worlds? If so I guess that's a good reason AVATAR appeals to you. I watched Fantastic Mr Fox shortly after AVATAR and I must say, for heart, for storytelling ability and for character, it shows up AVATAR to be very ordinary.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 9:15 a.m. CST

    son of suns

    by BendersShinyAss

    see, Avatar to me wasn't black and white, it was a constant shade of grey. Did you not see the strong argument of the invasion force? this is a big planet, the natives can move to another tree. they werent there to wipe anyone out, they were taking key logistical steps to avoid harming anyone - thats why part of their budget was being put into the scientists and the whole avatar program. they could have gone in and just wiped out the locals, but there was a genuine attempt to avoid that. but they were there for a commercial reason. and those bulldozers were coming in regardless. This is where i think a lot of you haters fail in your arguments. the story is simple, yes, but it is a very complex and layered simple story. And jake sulley went in there not caring at first - but when he got his legs and started to get to know the locals, he started to understand what it meant to be a native to the planet and how the humans had no right to come in and take what they needed. <p>This illustrated the true flaw in the human condition. there was a denial within humans that they could do what they were doing becuase they'd taken enough justifiable steps to come in and take what they needed. it was all about the mighty dollar in the end. and say what you will about the 'bad dialougue' ?? but the arguments between the scientists and the corporate heads with their hired guns really drove home the conflict of it all. See, humans arent really the bad guys in Avatar, it's the corporate table decisions and the short sighted micromanagement. it got to the point where it didn't even matter if the heads of the mining organisation started to see the impact of what they were doing - it didn't even matter to the mercinaries that were hired ... it was an unstoppable machine which had been planned decades before on another planet. there was a job to be done and the struggle to attempt to reason with it before the real destruction and impact took place. <p>and if you haters can't even see that the war which grew become one of personal vendetas then you'r blind to not only the scripts genius but also the technology employed to make this film possible.<p>the hate against Avatar on these AICN boards is up there with the most shallow and souless ive ever seen.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 9:22 a.m. CST

    LOL! This guy is truly a cunt

    by YackBacker


  • Feb. 7, 2010, 9:34 a.m. CST

    Bender... or should I call you ShinyAss...

    by ScaryWaitress

    ...the dialogue moved the plot forward. Hoo-fucking-ray. That doesn't make it good. Someone standing there reading the stage directions would have done that. That does not speak to the quality of the lines written, which was just JUICY with clichés. "Let's bring the pain, ladies!" and "What have you been smoking?" stand out... COME ON, man. This was simplistic language. Admit it. <P> And ONCE AGAIN, saying it was meant to be that way is not an argument, it's an opinion. It is MY opinion that that particular opinion is utter and total wishful-thinking bullshit of epic proportions. <P> Finally, once again- and I'll use little words so you will get it- criticisms on some elements of the movie DOES NOT EQUAL hate. You love to throw that hater word around, so you don't have to actually back your shit up. <P> You make me tired.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 9:37 a.m. CST


    by Wordage

    The scene at the end where the humans are paraded back to their ship and referred to as "aliens" was important, in my opinion. It's meant to create greater empathy for their situation. If an alien species landed on earth with a bunch of bulldozers and claimed that the dirt underneath New York City was crucial to their you think humans would help them? Especially if those aliens took a superior stance and were treating humans like an inferior race who they were tolerating so long as the humans gave them what they wanted, or else they would commit genocide? <p> That scene at the end of the humans being paraded back to their ship mirrored many earth invasion films where the "aliens" are paraded back to their ship at the end. Most of the people who hate that scene never mention that parallel and don't get it (although now that I've pointed it out I'm sure many will claim they do)...and have claimed that the Na'vi were cruel not to help the human invaders.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Lots of peope complain

    by Human_Bean_Juice_

    about the cliched story. Thing is, Cameron's just showing human nature. We would go to a planet like Pandora, exploit her resources and piss on the inhabitants. We're fucking arrogant, you know?

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 9:44 a.m. CST


    by Son of the Suns

    You must have been watching the extended cut with all the interesting scenes left in. I missed that version. Mine featured 'unobtanium', a 'something' that does 'something we don't know' but happens to be worth 'a lot of money' and also (un)luckily happens to be directly under the natives homes. Although at no point to my memory did they say unobtanium was scarce on the planet(though it's been a while since I saw it). Also, no one sees any value in a whole world of new creatures, plants and an alien race. Nope. Some kinda 'rocks' that we don't know what they do is the only thing of worth. And even though they could go elsewhere on the planet (after all the vein under the tree is actually only 'the second largest') they decide to 'ask' first, and by ask I mean send in a undercover marine to spy, knowing full well they'd blow the crap out of the natives two hours and thirty minutes later. However they failed due to their drop ships not being able to handle arrows, having to drop a 'big bomb' out of the back of a plane, Jake being able to rally a horde of natives (which we never saw before) in one very quick montage, along with riding the 'mega dragon' and making peace with all the people he just screwed (along with the tribe's leader's daughter) over. Then, although for no scientific reason, the world takes on an amazing ability to want to transfer human minds into new bodies, yet, for tension it didn't work with poor Ripley, so that everyone can live happily ever after. That's the version I saw. And although you may want to say 'You Hater'. I'm actually just indifferent to it. Which is a shame, because I wanted to see a really awesome, expensive, sci-fi flick by directing legend, James Cameron.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 9:46 a.m. CST

    More two cents...

    by Johnny Ahab

    I guess by the AICN definition here on the talkbalks, I would be considered a hater. But I didn’t hate the film. I was wowed by the eye-popping visuals and found lots of parts of the story massively entertaining. Loved the sequences on the flying dragons. Loved seeing Sigourney Weaver back in action. I’ve been a Stephen Lang fan since seeing him in “Death of a Salesman” on Broadway opposite Dustin Hoffman & John Malkovich. And I’m a big Cameron fan from way back. I saw both Terminators and ALIENS in theaters, and remember the rush of being in a room full of screaming sci-fi fans watching sheer action genius on the screen. So I was rooting for this film when I went to see it. But overall, AVATAR left me kind of cold. Saw it, liked it when I saw it…and kinda forgot about it the next day. And yet when I saw DISTRICT 9 this summer, I left the theater in a daze, thinking about it for over a week. I freaking LOVED that movie and couldn’t stop thinking about it or raving about it. Saw it again, and it had the same effect. Bought the DVD and I still don’t get tired of it – just brilliant and gut-wrenching. But AVATAR…? I don’t really feel the need to see it again nor to buy the DVD. Both films try to show darker aspects of humanity and the human condition – but I thought Wikus’s journey in D9 was much more gripping and visceral than AVATAR’s. I have a group of geek friends, and they pretty much all feel the same way about AVATAR: stunning visual effects, okay story. And if you loved the film, that’s great. But can we refrain from all the nastiness about people stating their opinion if they’re not bowing down and kissing Cameron’s feet over this film? Thinking the film was okay and not the second coming of sci-fi does not equal hate.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 9:49 a.m. CST

    Christopher Nolan's 'The Dark Knight'

    by PTSDPete

    Was a cold and calculated mish-mash of Michael Mann's 'Heat', Johnny To/New Hong Kong crime cinema, & Silence Of The Lambs - alongside their mean cerebral streak. That's what bothered me about it - but it's also what continues to blow my mind, ever since it surprised me at the theater. If only for being such a great idea. I figure, this was really how lots of people wished a Batman flick be done. 'Wouldn't it have been cool if Batman was totally done realistically and treated as an urban crime thriller' ? The Nolans jettisoned all sacred cows, went all-out on that sonofabitch, and gave us this treatment. But yeah, those things don't necessarily translate to cinematic mastery, so 'Avatar' is the far better-directed flick. ( It's actually what struck me moments after I saw THAT one. The practices w/c may have been lost, and shit... )</p>

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 10:07 a.m. CST


    by TehCreepyThinMan

    One the one hand, I'm glad that Cameron shoved it up the ass of people like Devin Faraci with the success of the movie and it's nice to see someone who is passionate enough about a project to fight for their vision.<br> <br>On the other hand, I still maintain that Avatar isn’t a very good movie as it couldn’t have been any more predictable if it tried. I’m sorry but I can’t applaud Generic Moviemaking 101. Now, Cameron is a superior Director to the likes of that fucking HACK Michael Bay but, let’s be honest, was Avatar really any better, or more innovative, then Transformers 2? Not really, although Cameron’s movie might be, slightly, better acted and a bit more earnest.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 10:08 a.m. CST

    I loved Avatar.

    by blackwood

    So much that I saw it three times. The last film I remember seeing multiple times in the theatre was Fellowship of the Ring - which I now find really dull.<p>Before that, Jurassic Park - which I still like, to a degree, but the distance between my 14-year-old self and me now gives it a pass for nostalgia but can't watch it anymore without acknowledging that a lot of it is kind of dumb. I remember being in the theatre, watching it for the second time, and there were a bunch of college students behind us, ragging on everything in the film. It made me so mad. I wanted to turn around and be like, "DON'T YOU SEE HOW AWESOME THIS IS? DINOSAURS! FUCKING DINOSAURS!" Now, sixteen years later, I can understand what they saw (although I never talk in movies because people that do are assholes).<p>But with both those films, and Avatar, I was completely swept away. To the point where my normally critical mind went blank and my discernment went numb and I was just... there. I respect films that can do that do me. Maybe in a while when I see Avatar again I'll be able to see all the things it does 'wrong', but I'm glad I've been able to honeymoon with it three times in the theatre and come away still feeling love.<p>The tired absolutes that are the currency of Talkbacks are rarely able to appreciate the validity of a personal emotional response. It's all about being nerdy, and right, and My Critic Is Bigger That Your Critic So I Am A Better Film-Goer. Blah ble blah blah.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 10:17 a.m. CST

    And thus George Lucas is pwned

    by WhoDis

    "He said if you’re not willing, as a director, to look beyond the storyboards and seek out that spontaneity then you’ll miss the magic filmmaking can capture."

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 10:23 a.m. CST

    A good question to ask J.C. would be

    by WhoDis

    How do you stay hungry as an artist with a billion dollars in your bank account and the world at your feet?

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 10:25 a.m. CST

    industry killer

    by dagwood

    gimme a break. I'm not a big defender of this film (it doesn't need defenders), but if it weren't a big mega hit, you'd be first in line saying how great and overlooked it is. By the way, do you work at Radio Shack?

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 10:26 a.m. CST

    Not defending Lucas at all, WhoDis, but what was spontaneous

    by YackBacker

    about AVATAR? There was not one dramatic surprise in the entire movie.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 10:26 a.m. CST

    by dagwood

    Oh and by the way, people continue to overlook inflation and how when it's accounted for, this film isn't even close to the top ten, let alone #1. And though I liked it, it's no Star Wars.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 10:28 a.m. CST

    Nolan's vision (or lack of) added to TDK's believability.

    by JDanielP

    The lack of a visual style can add to a movie's believability, as life is NOT a visually orchestrated (or choreographed) stage production. Some people argue that Nolan has little artistry (in the visual sense), and to an extent, I agree with that. But that is part of Nolan's appeal, in that his movies (can) feel more real, even when dealing with fantasy material. <P>While James Cameron remains my favorite movie director, Nolan trumps him in the ability of making material feel more real (excluding an argument for Cameron's 3D). And depending on your viewpoint, that can be good or bad. But from my perspective, it depends on the material being represented ...and the feel that a director is going for. In part, it really is apples and oranges. <P>While Nolan may trump Cameron in a visual plausibility, Peter Jackson arguably trumps Cameron in visual artistry. Love or hate Jackson's KING KONG, I love it for the incredible artistic eye that Jackson shows. So while Nolan and Jackson may trump Cameron in their own unique ways, it is Cameron's ability to meld these elements into his own vision, into his own unique artistry, love him or hate him. <P>THE DARK KNIGHT is my favorite movie of all time...but Batman should wear a visually awesome costume, even within Nolan's world. Function over design? Sure,...but to what extent???

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 10:44 a.m. CST


    by WhoDis

    sometimes you can just burn out on a movie... it doesn't mean the movie is suddenly bad or boring years later or you suddenly have your objective glasses on.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 10:47 a.m. CST


    by WhoDis

    My apologies, I didn't provide the complete quote (it applied to all of his movies, not just AVATAR):<p> "Although Cameron does rigorous storyboarding for action scenes (for safety reason first and foremost, he said), he doesn’t like to storyboard scenes for actors, preferring to block on the day with the actors giving their input. He said if you’re not willing, as a director, to look beyond the storyboards and seek out that spontaneity then you’ll miss the magic filmmaking can capture."<P> And I can't answer your question, I wasn't on set to watch the "magic" happen, nor have I seen any behind-the-scenes footage yet.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 10:56 a.m. CST


    by FlickaPoo day...we can only hope...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 11:14 a.m. CST

    Avatar was trash..

    by Doc_Hudson

    With people that looked like plastic. "OMG they are cutting down our tree" "For unobtainium lads" huh? No thanks,....3-d IS a fad..and one the MPAA will bend you over for. This hack must have been impressed with Capt Eo. I guess all the kids like it though,....all the pseudo erotic,horrible dialog,"look at me,..Im CGI" camerawork....looks just like a fairly well funded video can't play,...but hey,'s in 3d!!!So let's rave about that gimmick. I dont hate,....I just dont like. Thankfully Aliens is coming on Blu later on. You know,..the movie Avatar is based on,..but twisted backwards.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 11:15 a.m. CST

    Avatar was the greatest tech demo i've ever seen.

    by Bishop99999999

    Seriously, I hope they use these new techniques in a movie. Alright, past the lack of acting and the fact that the only truly popular character is a mass-murderer, I think the thing that really gets people is the resolution. You have two sides with two legitimate issues in conflict. One side wins, because it's 'right'. Congrats, you have now pissed off everyone sympathetic to other side. Instead of this approach, dont you think that a more poignant message could have been sent if both the humans and the navi managed to compromise? Humans learn a thing or two about respecting nature, aliens are introduced to new ideas about the world around them and beyond the planet. Of course, that kind of writing is hard to do. I understand James, it was either that or a Na'vi sex scene, and come on, everyone wants to see 10 foot tall cat-smurfs getting it on, right?

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 11:17 a.m. CST

    ...this AAAVIDAH back and forth is tedious. What's really...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...interesting is Cameron's self made rise to world Antichrist status. This guy hustled his way to the top of the pile...every little break or success he got he leveraged it into something three times bigger (not always better, but always bigger).<P>If he IS a prick, he put all that prick energy to good use...unlike most of us here who just squander our prick juice willy-nilly.<P>I hadn't heard that anecdote about Linda Hamilton's ideas about the Character being the springboard for T2...that's cool.<P>And the Alien Queen is still one of the all time best creature showdowns of all time...I love that the whole thing is a giant puppet. I hadn't really thought before about the fact that Sigourney Weaver's reaction the the Alien Queen sells the creature. It seems obvious in retrospect, but I hadn't thought about it that way before.<P>There's interesting shit to talk about here guys...stop being tedious.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 11:18 a.m. CST

    WhoDis, you don't need to be on set to answer my question

    by YackBacker

    What, in the movie itself, was a dramatic surprise? Cameron's quote about the filmmaking process is fine but nothing in AVATAR presented itself as spontaneous. It was about as predictable a story as possible. Maybe Giovanni Ribisi's golf putting scene had something in it that wasn't scripted, but that doesn't make the movie better. In fact, excising Ribisi's character entirely would have been an improvement.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 11:20 a.m. CST

    "squander our prick juice willy-nilly" Flicka!!!!

    by YackBacker

    I love your mastery of metaphors.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 11:24 a.m. CST

    ...why, thank you Yack...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...I love it when two relatively innocent words become dirty through friction and proximity...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 11:29 a.m. CST

    ...I believe the hardest I've laughed in the past...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...twelve months involved you and Stefania's delicate, trembling fingers...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 11:30 a.m. CST

    You're definitely bringing it, old boy

    by YackBacker

    As much as I think Cameron is an asshole, I don't begrudge his success. Heck no, he made his bones time and again through a lot of hard work. Sure, he didn't spend nearly enough time on AVATAR's story, script or characters, but a lot of filmgoers obviously don't care about those things when there's a spectacle to be had. So, no, I'm not a hater. I don't like this movie, but the guy is a cunt, and he earned that right.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 11:31 a.m. CST


    by YackBacker

    Oh yes, we had a breakthrough that day...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 11:37 a.m. CST comment wasn't aimed at you or anyone in...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...particular. I only made it halfway down the hadn't even shown up yet...I just think there are some interesting new (live) horses to beat here for a change.<P>I'm just as guilty as anyone.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 11:40 a.m. CST

    No worries, Flick

    by YackBacker

    I was simply responding to the content of your post, going beyond the willy-nilly that completely cracked me up. But seeing how this is a JC TB, the guy's fair game here, at least.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 11:40 a.m. CST

    Avatar was almost as good as 'Phantom Menace'!

    by SmokingRobot

    Who sucks more, JC or GL? That would be a VERY long conversation....

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 11:42 a.m. CST


    by edslostepisode

    Reading the threads on this site is better than any science fiction movie I have ever seen. I feel that over all there is an intelligent group of people on this site that really wants to talk about movie making and not movie bashing. I'm sorry that you were so disappointed in JC's AVATAR and that he destroyed all hope for movie making in your opinion. There is a group of people on here that doesn't seem to have a passion for much of anything except trying to cause an argument for those that actually like the movie. They just want to fight or make someone else fight back and defend something they care about just because they think it is fun. This forum is a bit of a sad project that the creator of this site probably feels has run its course and that the people that are still here to complain about how bad a movie was instead of true discussion of how the movie worked or didn't work. I realize that this site is filled with children of all ages with one thing in common. The love of movies. Why waste your life on deconstructing these movies and work on trying to make something yourself? We all have the tools to make our movies and tell the stories (so much better than James Cameron in your opinions)that we want to tell. You complainers are so creative and would have done this differently and that differently so why don't you start small and make a little movie and blow us out of the water with it. Or just stay on this site and tear others apart because this is easier to do. I know you think, you don't have the tools to make these movies but you have the tool to start sitting right in front of you. Write a story. A novel. A screenplay. You seem to think you are so much better than the billion dollar hack as you basically refer to James Cameron then sit down and write a better story. I know what you're thinking. You don't have time to write because I work and go to school and play video games. All you have to do is write 1 page a day and you will have a novel written in 1 year. Or 1 page a day on a screenplay and you'll have a rough draft in 3 months. Simple math. Or you can have ten pages of Talkback rants and have nothing to show for it. Can you imagine if you wrote 2 pages a day on your novel or screenplay? Do you have time to write two pages a day? It isn't that hard. You waste time trying to bash movies here all the time. Now take a breather and go work on your own projects that may be better than the ones that have actually been made. Good luck.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 11:53 a.m. CST

    ...oh, who am I kidding. I'm not above the fray...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...Yack, I think your arguments are perfectly valid...but two things surprised me about AAAVIDAH...<P>1- the sheer beauty of the damn thing...multiplied by the 3D. By the time night fell in the jungle I was having feelings of euphoria that I've only experienced in real nature before...combine that with the first truly successful 3D I've ever seen and it blew my mind.<P> 2- Cameron's ability to keep cranking it up...go for the bigger moment. The first time I was conscious of it was watching ALIENS on a crappy little TV in the family den. By the time Ripley is ready to make her first escape, the movie was already past the boundaries of cool set by most action movies...when the queen shows up it felt like all bets were off...and when the queen makes her second appearance and you get that shot of Ripley holding Newt with her hair flying straight up and the explosions all around...I couldn't believe what I was seeing.<P>AVATAR gave me that feeling again...on the first viewing. The second time was significantly less awe inspiring, so I think you're probably right about the rest of it. Still, that first time was the best theater experience I've had since I was a kid.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Kirk Douglas FTW

    by Gungan Slayer

    Please post that interview if you get a chance!

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 11:57 a.m. CST


    by There_will_be_Dickblood

    was 3 stars. Cant believe it has made so much money. I didnt pay to see it mind, my mate works in cineworld, got me in for free.I understand Titanic making money. Girls liked it, and old people, like my parents. None of my female friends have the slightest interest in avatar, and my parents dont even know it exists, its like the ad comes on but as soon as the navi appear their brains shut down. Anyway I put 10 euro on a serious man to win best picture at 100/1 today.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, noon CST

    I really want to see Cameron

    by jdhasson

    do the next Sandra Bullock romcom.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 12:04 p.m. CST

    AVATAR is STAR WARS (in a good way)

    by Adelai Niska

    I've said this before: STAR WARS was the last time a movie had all of the following... <p> A textbook archetypal story about good versus evil, the weak taking a stand against the strong. <p> A cast of characters who are very plainly archetypes taken from classic literature (the wise old man, the gatekeeper, etc.) <p> A simple, earnest story about beating the bad guys, framed by groundbreaking, awe-inspiring visual effects that are really something never before seen in movies. <p> If you don't like prototypical stories or beautiful sci-fi visuals, then I hope you're man enough to admit that you don't like STAR WARS either because AVATAR is basically the same ideas. <p> And just from my own perspective, James Cameron the director is so talented he can earn the moments that James Cameron the writer didn't quite nail. Little things like "You're not the only one with guns, bitch" were completely awesome because of the way the director raises the work of the writer. If you get what I mean.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 12:10 p.m. CST

    Cam is god

    by Six Demon Bag

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 12:17 p.m. CST

    edslostepisode, what movies/books have you written?

    by YackBacker

    I'd be happy to buy anything you've done.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 12:30 p.m. CST


    by YackBacker

    I saw it in IMAX 3-D and I was not immersed in the surroundings. I don't like 3-D to begin with- it left no lasting positive impression on me. In fact, I kept having to shift my glasses left and right to pick up the dual projection (not to mention wearing these goggles over my normal eyeglasses, which sucks). There were a couple of shots where I said "Wow, that's pretty" but then the banal story came back into frame. <p> Cameron wanted us to fall in love with Neytiri. That's his hook- you become emotionally involved in the love story and suddenly everything that's happening matters to you. Well, I didn't fall in love, I didn't care what was going on. I was paying attention throughout, but the movie dragged for me (about 40 minutes too long considering the sheer simplicity of the story) and I was happy when it was finally over. <p> Is it an achievement in filmmaking? Yes. Is it a great film? Take off the 3-D goggles and you tell me.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 12:32 p.m. CST

    the amazing aliens rap

    by tsnatch

    the cameron classic done in rap in 10 minutes

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 12:34 p.m. CST


    by HaterofCrap

    god damn mop on his head

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 12:39 p.m. CST

    Well deserved Mr. Cameron! I can't wait to see

    by RandomWordRandomWord

    what you have in store for us next.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 12:46 p.m. CST


    by Six Demon Bag

    Cameron has yet to make a bad film...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 12:54 p.m. CST

    ...can't argue with that Yack...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...but my wife saw it in both IMAX and regular screen digital 3D...she liked the regular theater a lot better. Apparently in her case, the IMAX theater was using the older 3D setup leftover from HARRY POTTER movies and stuff...cheapo glasses with different colored lenses and everything. Maybe that had something to do with it...<P>I agree that Neytiri is the hook...and I was really surprised to fall for it hook, line, and sinker. If she didn't do it for you than yeah...the movie is pretty pointless.<P>For the people who DO fall for the blue chick...I think there's some interesting psychology involved (intentional or accidental on Cameron's part).<P> I think it has something to do with the very concept of an Avatar...the Avatar is like the cool front you try to put on for your girl, and the guy in the wheelchair is the real you. Jake is disabled and depressed, so he's crippled physically and emotionally. If the 3D works for you, then you really feel his exhilaration at using his new and agile body...because you're getting a different sort of rush at the same exact moment. <P>When it comes to the relationship, Neytiri schools you get the whole hot for teacher thing. Then Jake gets to be the star student and she's proud of him...that's always a good feeling. Through his Avatar Jake gets to be the big hero, but inside he's still the same old Jake in a wheelchair...I think most guys can relate to trying to put on a heroic front while feeling shriveled inside. Finally, Jake sells the heroic front (his Avatar) so successfully that it becomes the real him...but not before Neytiri sees him in all his puniness and still loves him (the famous Cradling The Jake scene).<P>It's pretty amazing how effectively it works on most guys. My dad has a Neytiri screen saver on his desktop...he wants to have her babies.<P>You're right though, she's the hook. If you didn't fall for it then the movie's not for you.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 1:01 p.m. CST


    by HaterofCrap

    two and a half hours of pretty is more than what most people see in their fuckin typical drab day....ugly wives, ugly girlfriends..plain houses...ugly decorating, ugly office buildings...shitty cars...shitty towns. shitty weather. shitty shitty shitty. and don't give me metaphorically beautiful shit...i'm talking aesthetics. and i'm right. in this case, plot is irrelevant. and no, i did not like the movie. it is fuckin dumb.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 1:04 p.m. CST


    by Cobbio

    Cameron acknowledged the "hater bloggers." I love it.<p> Angered by their deluge of small-minded, self-important comments I read before "Avatar" was released, I took to cutting and pasting certain comments.<p> Here's one of the best, posted Nov. 14th by ThusSpakeSpymunk:<p> "Can't wait to watch this ["Avatar"] crash and burn. This is going to signal the end of genre cinema for Hollywood for a LONG time. Nobody's going to want to touch space stuff, the same way nobody wanted to do pirate flicks after CUTTHROAT ISLAND. I honestly think this will fail in ways so staggering, so monumental, they're not even READY for it. Nobody with a vagina wants to see this. I am a homosexual and I proclaim this movie EFFIN' GHEY! It's ugly as FUCK - gross, weirdly-deformed big-feet/horse-face big-mouth giant-teeth Na'Avi are NOT going to draw teenage girls, or adult females, or older ones, or anything like that. Ask any woman if she wants to see this bullshit. Seriously. And I don't mean your girlfriend who hates her vagina and wishes she could come with you when you go to play WARHAMMER. That's not a girl. I mean a real girl. Ask any of them and tell me the responses here. Do they have any honest interest in seeing AVATAR beyond train-wreck curiosity? I bet not."<p> Wow. Just... wow.<p> Asshole.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 1:08 p.m. CST

    Flick, that's awesome about your dad

    by YackBacker

    It's the Disney eyes thing that YouTube "Phantom Menace" dude mentions in his review. But whether she's a blue babe (as in AVATAR) or Native American like she was in POCAHONTAS, either way it's the idea of finding this pure, heroic girl who's sexy, interesting and totally into you. It's a fantasy, alright.<p> But there's no dimension to the story. I don't care if the plot is simple, but the story (the amalgamation of characters, interactions and conflicts) is too simple. Are all Na'vi good-hearted and above reproach? Really? How dull is that? There's that one dude that doesn't like "Jakesully" because his betrothed is messing around with him, but that gets washed away Jake shows up on that freaky orange pterodactyl (another plot convenience that makes me shake my head). <p> And all military dudes want to kill kill kill? For a 2 hour and 40 minute movie, don't tell me (not you Flicka) that Cameron didn't have enough time to develop a nuanced story. Let me repeat- the simplicity of the plot (and it's derivative nature) does not bother me. I'm all for a classic mythology being retold. What irked me was that there was no craft in the storytelling/characters aspect of this telling of the myth. And a lack of dimension there was greatly overshadowed by the visual texture of the movie. That's where 99% of the work went into this movie. The pictures. That's great, they succeeded at making this a visually unique film. But the story suffered from neglect. Blue people good. Soldiers for hire bad. Really? That's all you want to say, JC?

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 1:11 p.m. CST

    Re: HaterofCrap

    by Cobbio

    I rename you HaterofArt. Your opinion, as expressed above, is exactly why Cameron is laughing at you.<p> Your analysis is so far off-base that it's not even worth a rebuttal. I hope you find happiness somewhere in your existence. I really do.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 1:21 p.m. CST

    Yack... your last paragraph sums up my feelings nicely.

    by ScaryWaitress

    Well said. That has been my argument since my first viewing... and my conclusion is that, while JC has great overall ideas for movies- and the Avatar idea and technical execution were phenomenal- left to his own devices, he really DOESN'T have much to say. WHICH IS FINE for an action-film director!!! I'm not hating on Cameron overall. He makes GREAT action flicks. <P> I just really hope, for A2, he gets a little help with his story and characters.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 1:23 p.m. CST

    Tao of Joe, a retort

    by IndustryKiller!

    First of all thank you for responding in a way that actually attempts to talk about the film itself. Every time I say "judge on merits", I get nothing but cheap emotional responses, this is not that. Ok to the nitty gritty. I'm not scoffing at people who find the film beautiful, anyone is free to enjoy the film, but the film does not hold up under the weight of that argument. First of all I found nothing about the CG itself to be a step up from what has come before except in terms of sheer volume. It looks to me like a really well done video game cut scene. I've used pictures from the film in the past to illustrate the point, but we've all seen the film and know what it looks like so I don't feel the need to. The point is that since I hear almost exclusively as an argument that the film is gorgeous, it better be fucking pristine for that to hold up. Avatar is not. Not for a second did I feel like I was looking at organic beings. The disparagement is especially obvious whenever an Avatar is standing next to an actual human. This isn't my opinion, it's a fact that they do not even remotely look like they are on the same plane of existence. If you can't see that then I don't know what to tell you, because I can. And I don't have to strain my eyes or look at insanely nitpicky details to do so, it's right there in front of me from the get go. There are far more shots of realism in District 9 than Avatar.<P>As for the story having to be simple because of technical worries, I'm not seeing any logic there whatsoever. no one is asking for a twisty political tale of intrigue. What I do ask for, time in and time out, is characters who have depth and whose actions make some sense. I know Cameron can do it because he's done it in the past. Over and Over and Over again. You see I'm a huge Cameron fan, I've literally loved every single picture he's ever done except this one. He was always brilliant at juggling motivation and character relationships with brilliantly directed action and truly original concepts. And even when his scripts failed him (as admittedly would happen from time to time) he always hired actors who would pick that ball right up and run with it. This time he hires Sam Worthington, easily his dullest leading man in his entire career. The film collapses under a character written as nothing more than a cypher drifting through a bunch of random occurances and the insanely vanilla actor playing him. In fact this is true of literally every single character in the film. The only one up to the task is Zoe Saldana, who can only do so much with a character forced into making one ridiculous choice after another.<P>As for the exposition about building the world, all of it is completely unnecessary given Cameron didn't create a fucking world. It's our world, complete with the same god damn animals, the same basic landscape, but you can plug into it. BTW people saying the plugging in thing is so brilliant are funny. It's an alright idea but it could have just as easily come from an 80's cartoon. I can see it now, the gimmick is warriors who can plug into the animals they ride, you could have called it CONNECTORZ. What I care about more than idea is the execution, and that is where Cameron fails. He introduces the idea of plugging in to a planet and then immediately takes it for granted, leaving it totally and utterly unexplored. And no doing in the sequels doesn't count. We are talking about this film and this film only. But I digress. The world Cameron "creates" is absurdly derivative. If you area the reviews of the script treatment this makes it all the harder to take as it seem Cameron did flesh out a Pandora that was full of truly interesting creatures never seen before by the likes of man, he jettisoned all of it for the film itself. It's all just routine jungle planet shit, a gigantified rip off of Earth.<P>As for the 3-D, Im sorry butt hat makes no difference to me. At best 3-D is an accent. Something to add a HINT of depth that will help something already great, and distract from something found wanting. Avatar is the latter.<P> In wrapping up I would just like to say how much I abhor the populist argument of "He made it simple so everyone can enjoy it!" That's ridiculous and it's dangerous tot he art of cinema. A film does not have to be simplistic and dumb for people to enjoy it, the Dark Knight is a perfect example of that. Give yourselves a little fucking credit for god sakes.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 1:26 p.m. CST


    by YackBacker

    Thanks- I agree, there's no reason to hate JC or the fact that people love seeing his movie. I'm only talking about my expectations and taste, and I've seen AVATAR once and I don't feel the need to see it again because there's nothing there for me to see. It's unfortunate that he had a great sci-fi concept in place but spent such little time on that element of the story. All the stuff Flicka talked about is interesting, but it wasn't interesting enough for JC, not more interesting than his desire to wow us with visuals. And his taste hit the mark for millions of people, so he knows something about making popular entertainment. <p>But I don't care how much money a picture makes, I care about interesting, thought-provoking sci-fi. I know that JC is an action guy first and foremost, but at least with THE ABYSS he made a heartfelt effort at sci-fi. Of course that movie didn't make truckloads of money, so maybe he decided going to finger-painting route with the story was better financially. If that was his goal, fine. But I'll look elsewhere for intelligent storytelling next time.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 1:32 p.m. CST

    Adelai yous hould be shot for that asinine assessment

    by IndustryKiller!

    Comparing Avatar to Star Wars on the ground that they both have stories with archetypal characters and sexy visuals is patently fucking insane. You can compare Transformers to Star Wars then. or Disney films to Star Wars. Jesus Christ just about ANY big budget genre film could then be compared to Star Wars. You're complete lack of nuance and understanding for style and execution is absolutely chilling to me.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 1:32 p.m. CST

    Re: Yackbacker

    by Cobbio

    You wrote, "What irked me was that there was no craft in the storytelling/characters aspect of this telling of the myth."<p> You're welcome to your opinion, but I think you're very, very wrong. You wanted complexity, or "nuance," where it didn't need to be.<p> You also used the word "myth." Well, one aspect of myths is that they're simple. Everyone who reads them can understand the lessons they impart. They're not filled with nuance and backstory.<p> "Avatar" showed us enough to generate visual and emotional fireworks. Cameron kept the story clean and focused, which any screenwriter or moviegoer could appreciate.<p> Plus, seeing it three times, I picked up all kinds of subtleties I didn't notice the first time around. Small things. Hints. All over the place. It's chock full of them, which you wouldn't have noticed because you're focused on nuance.<p> The simplicity of the story is the basis of its appeal, yes. But there's a lot more going on than most detractors want to acknowledge. I think Cameron imbued his story with a huge amount of "craft."<p> But you're welcome to your opinion.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 1:40 p.m. CST

    Cobbio, againt hsoe are red herring arguments

    by IndustryKiller!

    That can literally be used to defend any garbage. Wolverine, GI Joe, you're average porn, you could defend anything by saying soemthing is SUPPOSED to be simple. But that's bullshit. Avatar didn't need to be simple and it's the lesser film for it. We don't live in ancient Greece, we aren't uneducated plebs, we are a modern people capable of understanding human drama. You say the film has depth, argue that with examples from the film. Otherwise keep your philosophy hat in the closet.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 1:41 p.m. CST

    *those arguments

    by IndustryKiller!

    My typing is shit, people not familiar with me should know this

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 1:46 p.m. CST

    "we aren't uneducated plebs"

    by Wordage

    Who is this "we" you speak of...the masses are stoooopid. Cameron knows this. He makes his films accessible to all, while the educated can still find enjoyment in them. Some people will be left out of the mix...but that's to be expected.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 1:51 p.m. CST

    Cobbio, the fact that one side is all good and the other evil

    by YackBacker

    is not appealing from an audience perspective, at least not to me. That's actually insulting to my intelligence. It's like saying all short people are evil or all fat people are greedy. Basically, Cameron felt it was sufficient to define large groups of people based on their color or origin. Blue is good. Human is evil/misguided. That's great for a certain audience, I don't dispute that. But he could have kept all the plot points in place and put some texture into the story that would have made this an interesting film beyond its visuals. The guy spent more time figuring out wood-grain and rock-texture to make a believable setting, but the characters that inhabit it are not nearly as real.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 1:52 p.m. CST

    The masses ARE uneducated plebs, for sure.

    by ScaryWaitress

    I mean come ON. JERSEY SHORE is fucking POPULAR. People watch AI by the horde. Decent TV programming is being forced out of broadcast TV by the likes of The Bachelorette and I Love New York. A LOT of the public is quite happy with the simplicity of Avatar, thank you very much. <P> However, Wordage... I think you're wrong in assuming the simplicity was a calculated move by JC. That is utter crap.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 1:54 p.m. CST

    Yack, that's actually not entirely true...

    by ScaryWaitress

    ...if you're a scientist, you're pretty much automatically a good guy. If your a meathead, however, you suck... unless you're a chick, in which case you're good. <P> See? There IS nuance in JC's worldview.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 1:59 p.m. CST


    by Cobbio

    As much as you want people to think otherwise, IndustryKiller!, you're full of shit.<p> And I'm calling you out on it.<p> Your arguments are all spurious and self-important.<p> So myths aren't supposed to be simple, huh? They're supposed to filled with layers that you personally think are so goddamn important to a story, thus diluting its impact?<p> I'll remember NOT to hire you as a script editor for the movie I'm shooting in May and June. I don't work well with such small-minded people.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2 p.m. CST

    You're right, EssDub

    by YackBacker

    AVATAR takes place in a universe where all geeky/brainy types are good (if misguided) and all Jarheads are bad (except for the one who suffers from beastiality tendancies, he's alright). <p> Think about this shit for a moment- what if Jake Sully is really a cat-fucker and he got paralyzed on Earth while trying to fuck a puma in Venezuela ("That was some mean bush!"). Sully's a hero? Hmmm....

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:07 p.m. CST

    So what? Batman 3 will end up as highest grossing film ever

    by SlimButNotreally

    It's true. The Dark Knight almost did it. By the time they do the next one inflation will help out, just like it did for Avatar. Avatar isnt really the highest grossing film ever. Well, let me say this: more people saw about 15 other movies in theaters, even Jurassic Park.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:09 p.m. CST

    Slim, imagine if JURASSIC PARK was released in IMAX 3-D

    by YackBacker

    Add another $300 million to its gross. Booyah!

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:10 p.m. CST

    Scary Waitress...above Cameron describes his Titanic pitch

    by Wordage

    And he says he sold it to the studio as Romeo and Juliet on the Titanic, and he got the job. That's pretty simplistic. He makes no bones about it. And while I tend to loathe Titanic now, largely because of the Celine Dion tune, it was still great the first few times watching it, masterful storytelling, and appealed to the masses...and was essentially a simplistic story...and Cameron knew it. What wasn't simple, however...were the logistics involved in telling the story he wanted to tell...and the same applies with Avatar...yet he pulled it off. It's deserving of praise, IMO.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:11 p.m. CST

    That's all ad hominem attacks Cobbio

    by IndustryKiller!

    You can call me out on anything you please Cobbio, the fact of the matter is you didn't put forth any sort of argument for your case other than attacking me personally. I'll continue to await that.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:12 p.m. CST

    The ultimate list of why Avatar was crap

    by SlimButNotreally

    1. "we're after the UNOBTANIUM" LOL...unobtainium. why not just call it the "weneedsomemoreofitium"<BR><BR>2. Sassy Latino military chick - Aliens again?<BR><BR>3. Scarred military general who you know is going to be corrupt the second you see him - yeah there's a new plot device<BR><BR>4. Dances with Wolves plot<BR><BR>5. Guns and big robots straight out of the Aliens props department<BR><BR>6. Whataver wasnt ripped from Aliens or Dances with Wolves was ripped from Pocahontas.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:16 p.m. CST

    Titanic and Avatar are night and day Wordage

    by IndustryKiller!

    You can boil ANY film down to an elevator pitch, Wordage, it's if the film itself were simplistic. While Titanics script might be a touch cheesy, he hired the two best actors of their generation to sell it, and sell it they did. Sam Worthington is no Leo Dicaprio. Also Titanic had the advantage on being based on a true story, and he accurately depicted the human panic and circumstances of the Titanic sinking. The events surrounding Jack and Rose are all true, and they read as such, with real people make very real decisions under very real circumstances. Avatar doesn't have that benefit and as a result is just a hodgepodge of scenes crudely mashed together with ridiculous events (he conquers a dragon and is forgiven for causing the destruction of their ancestral homeland? My God) as the glue.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:19 p.m. CST

    So cartoon explosions = masterful direction?

    by Toilet_Terror

    Give me a break...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:20 p.m. CST

    Re: Yackbacker

    by Cobbio

    You wrote, "Cobbio, the fact that one side is all good and the other evil is not appealing from an audience perspective, at least not to me. That's actually insulting to my intelligence."<p> Really? So which side was all evil, in your opinion? The human side? Every single one of them was evil?<p> Because it sounds like you missed a huge point of dramatic interest that Cameron put forward. Was Trudy's character evil? Was Jake Sully evil? Was Grace Augustine evil?<p> The answer you missed: no, they weren't. They each had their own reasons for wanting to stop the military-corporate machine, however. Each story was given weight and interest in the movie. It wasn't a black and white scenario, the way you're trying to paint it.<p> As for the Na'vi, they were mostly painted with a sympathetic brush, it's true. But they're also the civilization being invaded and pushed aside. Cameron presents them making bad decisions, thus they're not perfect. He presents them killing and arguing and doing things an under-siege society might do.<p> Their back is against the wall and they're desperate for comeuppance. If that's insulting to your intelligence, then I suggest you find a new brain.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:20 p.m. CST

    The orange dragon is a symbol of Neytiri's virginity

    by YackBacker

    That is one, bug, flying hymen right there.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:22 p.m. CST

    Cobbio, go fuck yourself

    by YackBacker

    I didn't insult you personally, so do me a favor and keep your schoolyard barbs to yourself. We're done... professionally. :)

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:22 p.m. CST


    by Cobbio

    You keep thinking you're right, IndustryKiller!. That's fine. Because you've been right about... soooo many things on this site.<p> Hehe.<p> Have a good day, man.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:23 p.m. CST

    Jake didn't cause the destruction of their homeland

    by Wordage

    And much of their forgiveness was born out of desperation, when the female elder cuts them out of their ropes when the Na'vi tie up him and Sigourney Weaver after they felt betrayed. <p> I didn't say Titanic and Avatar were similar movies...they aren't...but the stories both appeal to the masses and at their core are simplistic...nothing wrong with that. But those movies have so many other merits that it's far too convenient (and negative) for some people to focus wholly on the film's simplicity without recognizing the merits.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:24 p.m. CST

    ...Yack, unlike most poeple who disliked the movie...

    by FlickaPoo're talking nothing but good sense.<P>For me AVATAR worked the same way (at the risk of sounding like Harry) a decent Edgar Rice Burroughs paperback works. The plot elements are mostly classic mix and match components...when I was a kid I could live on that type of storytelling exclusively...but now it's a sometimes food. Still, when the craving strikes, you pick up an old pulp classic and know pretty much what you're going to get...the delight lies in feeling like a kid again, how the pieces fit together, and if you get one or two surprises along the way all the better.<P>Don't take that to mean that AVATAR gets a pass because it's kid stuff...I'm hard to please, and I can't remember the last time I got that feeling from a movie. Both TRANSFORMERS sucked...G.I. JOE sucked even harder...I was hoping 300 would make me feel like an angry fifteen year old again. It succeeded for a few seconds here and there, but for the most part left me lukewarm at best.<P>Where's the character subtlety in TARZAN AT THE EARTH'S CORE?...or Robert E. Howard's QUEEN OF THE BLACK COAST? Again, I'm not saying AVATAR gets a pass because it's just pulp...I'm saying it works because I think it's up there with some of the greats of classic pulp adventure stories.<P>I would never try to argue that someone like Burroughs is a great writer. He's not. You either get the craving for that particular brand of junk food from time to time or you don't.<P>WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE was the best movie I saw last year. If AVATAR is like a classic old pulp adventure story, then WTWTA is like a poem. Ten years from now I'll still be enjoying the poem...and will most likely have forgotten about AVATAR. What I won't have forgotten is that AVATAR gave me the best big screen experience since I don't know when.<P>Apples and oranges.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:24 p.m. CST

    Struck a Nerve

    by Cobbio

    I'm sorry, Yackbacker. I didn't know it would be so easy to get your goat.<p> You and IndustryKiller! have a nice day.<p> James Cameron is laughing at you both.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:27 p.m. CST

    Wish he'd done Battle Angel first

    by NippleEffect

    now it's looking like it'll be a long time coming, if at all

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:28 p.m. CST

    Well that's what Im saying Wordage

    by IndustryKiller!

    I DON'T recognize Avatars merits the way I do Titanic's, because it doesnt have any. <P>And the film doesn't portray that moment of acceptance as being born out of desperation. The Na'Vi are desperate, but it doesnt show in that moment. They are too in awe of him riding that insanely easily conquered animal (so easy Cameron doesn't even bother showing it) to have any sort of debate about it. He then gives a ridiculously cliched locker room speech and the deal is sealed. It's just piss poor screenwriting. Cameron didn't even bother to find an organic way to make that happen.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:31 p.m. CST

    Nah, Cobbio

    by YackBacker

    I hope for Cameron's sake that he isn't laughing at me. I mean why the fuck would a billionaire like him care about little old me? That would be pathetic on his part. <p> As for your demeanor, I'm just calling you out for your rhetorical laziness. You made a half-decent retort to my simplistic post but then you had to throw in name-calling. That's amateur, boss. Do better.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:31 p.m. CST

    Thank you Flickapoo

    by IndustryKiller!

    Thank God SOMEONE is able to contextualize where Avatar falls on the cinematic spectrum. One's enjoyment of it does not having any bearing on whether the film is any good.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:34 p.m. CST

    I on the other hand Cobbio...

    by IndustryKiller!

    Don't give a fuck what names you call me. I just want to to respond to be with something substantive afterwards. All the snark in the world doesn't make up for a lack of intellect. You seem to be at something of a stalemate.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:35 p.m. CST

    Thanks, Flick

    by YackBacker

    You're not an amateur, and that's why we get along so well.<p> I wasn't expecting a P.T. Anderson movie when I went to see AVATAR, but there is stuff in this movie that should have been developed that would only have added to the overall experience. But we've been over that territory. I'm glad you got that experience out of the movie, that's what this is all about, right?<p> The last time I felt like a kid again in the theaters was seeing STAR TREK. I'm a die-hard Trekkie, and after the last 2 TNG movies, I thought the series was all but dead. To see the Enterprise (albeit weird-looking) back on screen, with Kirk and Spock strutting their stuff was a fucking thrill. Months later, I can barely sit through the movie without skipping scenes. Go figure.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:36 p.m. CST

    Re: Yackbacker

    by Cobbio

    Your wrote, "You made a half-decent retort to my simplistic post but then you had to throw in name-calling."<p> Really? What exactly did I call you?<p> Actually, I don't even care. I pretty much know what you'll write. You and Industrykiller! have good day.<p> I'll leave it at that.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:38 p.m. CST

    Christ Cobbio

    by YackBacker

    You're worse than Jay Leno. LEAVE!!!

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:39 p.m. CST

    What will I write Cobbio?

    by IndustryKiller!

    Let's take a look into that crystal ball of yours. Go ahead, put your money where your mouth is.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:40 p.m. CST

    By the way, ScaryWaitress....

    by Wordage

    JerseyShore is great TV.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:44 p.m. CST

    I'm more excited about Tommy Wiseau as a filmmaker

    by Toilet_Terror

    than James Cameron at this point.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:47 p.m. CST

    Schwarzenegger's jokes = Extraordinarily Lame

    by Proman1984

    As well as old and completely predictable.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:48 p.m. CST

    Proman, right on

    by YackBacker

    The guy is the chief executive of the largest state in the country and he's all "I'm an Austrian, I have a hard time pronouncing words!" Fucking bullshit, dude! Stop being the immigrant, that shit is ovah!

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:51 p.m. CST


    by Cobbio

    Wow, I'm worse than Jay Leno. Ok. Says you, Yackbacker? You, who can't bear to have any one of your self-important arguments tested by someone with a different opinion? How very self-serving of you.<p> And the thing is, I was just about to leave until you ordered me to. In CAPITAL LETTERS.<p> Now I'm going to sit here and keep writing all day. Hehe.<p> I can't wait...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:51 p.m. CST

    ...I know exactly what you mean Yack...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...I felt the same way about the LOTR movies.<P>And the second viewing of AVATAR was significantly less exhilarating. I was in a bad mood that day, but I suspect that all the things you found lacking had a lot to do with it too.<P>I think that a lot of the craft in AVATAR went into introducing you to the world, and specifically the the 3Dness of the world. Visually the movie opens up gradually, giving your eyes and brain time to adjust. If the whole experience is working for you, then the euphoria seems to peak right around that flying I Was Born To Do This scene. In that sense, it IS a theme park ride as much as it's a movie. I bet Cameron did a lot of testing on people...bringing new people in to test the experience...see how long it takes them to adjust to the visuals...hold the viewer's hand while you get your bearings.<P>For me it all added up to a mind-blowing first time experience...but I'd be surprised it I ever see it again.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:52 p.m. CST

    The "Haters" were right about Avatar

    by Trannyformers_Apologist

    James Cameron's movies are getting worse. True Lies, Titanic, and now Avatar. He shouldn't have stop beating his wives, he got soft.<P> ...a big, dumb movie built to make money but hardly worthy of serious examination. Avatar isn't only critic-proof, it resists serious criticism. You might as well analyze a beach ball. But everything about the story, the setting, the dialog, and the parts that aren't purely visual is awful. There is nothing new in the story department, <P> the most elaborate Thundercats episode ever made When all the hype and hullabaloo about Avatar calms down, we will be left with a film that’s no masterpiece, Avatar is overlong, dramatically two-dimensional, smug and simplistic. Avatar is a phenomenon you can't ignore, monumentally imposing and done with extraordinary expertise – but the same could be said of the Dubai skyline, and I'm not sure that represents any future worth investing in. <P> A wonder to behold, a story to forget. The year's most ambitious film is so breathtaking, it detracts you from the fact that Cameron's characters are caricatures, and too much of the dialogue is stock. ... a largely humorless movie that plays like the sensitive white man-goes-native saga, Dances with Wolves in Outer Space. <P> Cameron's eye-popping visuals are the story, particularly because the actual narrative is too simple to sustain the 150-minute run time. Breaks technological ground with stunning visuals, but disappoints on story and characters - which still do matter. There is plenty of gee-whiz technology to keep the audience marveling over how they did this and that, so that, with any luck,viewers won't dwell too long on the derivative, unimaginative story and the shallow characters. <P> Adjectives such as "beautiful" and "breathtaking" have been thrown at Avatar, and they're apt. But I'll throw in a third B: Boring. Cameron is flexing his creative muscles, but the film never overcomes the nagging feeling that he's also simply going through the motions. By the time the big battle rolls around in the last quarter we've had enough of Pandora and the Na'Vi and Avatar, and are ready to take another five-year vacation from James Cameron. <P> This movie feels exactly like watching your friend play the greatest video game ever. It looks pretty, but eventually gets boring. Avatar is great to look at, often astonishing and sometimes beautiful. But, oh, is the story pedestrian. The stunning visuals are slightly better than the unoriginal plot and horrendous dialogue. This movie takes itself way too seriously; there are no cute or funny moments, no rah, rah, nothing. I didn't love this movie or hate it. It''s one big blurry pile of meh. It's a remote-control movie experience, a high-tech "wish you were here" scribbled on a very expensive postcard. The technical wizardry is at the service of a recycled plot and a script rife with cardboard characters... and dialogue that sounds as though it had been lifted from the pages of a third-rate comic book. <P> Everyone recites their lines, awkwardly laying out exposition, speaking their clunky dialogue. None of this is supposed to matter, because we're presumably busy marveling at all the money on display. While Cameron is justifiably proud of the groundbreaking special effects, the actual contents of the film -- the story, the characters, the dialogue -- are disappointingly mediocre. It's rare to recommend seeing a movie for its effects alone, but that's exactly the case here. But for all the visual depth, there is little depth to the characters or the conflicts. His characters are one-dimensional, rarely saying anything unexpected. <P> Avatar falls short with its story. Predictable story, clichéd dialogue and logical lapses aside. Most expensive ad for a video game ever made. There's also a lot of eye-rollingly silly stuff. If only Cameron, who also wrote the script, had spent as much time on the story as he did the effects he uses to tell it. Nothing more than just another movie with lots of stuff going boom. Avatar may be a technical masterpiece, but there are deep storytelling flaws that keep the film from working as the complete experience promised by the visual expertise. <P> We're not here for the plot. Cameron only cares that his characters are three dimensional visually. And he certainly doesn't care that his story is hackneyed, corny and trite. The demand for awe starts to grind the film down after the introductory, new-car-smell period, soon left with only one-dimensional characters making predictable choices while the backgrounds flashdance to stave off dramatic inertia. Cameron plainly has higher priorities than detailed characterizations. <P> The muscular, coming-atcha visuals trump the movie's camp dialogue and corny conception, but only up to a point. The corniest movie ever made about the white man's need to lose his identity and assuage racial, political, sexual and historical guilt. While its cinematic impact may not quite rise to the hubristic heights some have speculated. While visually perfect, Avatar suffers from a story that is unoriginal and a script that lacks emotional connection. With Avatar, a cinematic revolution doesn't begin so much as proceed into its next phase.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:56 p.m. CST


    by Cobbio

    Here's basically what you'll write, IndustryKiller!:<p> Cobbio, you're not responding with anything of substance, therefore I'm not going to respond to you.<p> Does that about cover it?

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 2:59 p.m. CST

    Nice Tranny, but even the visuals are lacking

    by IndustryKiller!

    Like I said the visuals are every bit as derivative as the story. It fails utterly from a production design standpoint. Just like everything else about the film, no one can seem to defend even the visual aspect in anything but a purely emotional context.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3 p.m. CST

    Hmmm, I guess that would cover it Cobbio

    by IndustryKiller!

    Unless you were planning on responding with anything but cheap personal attacks, then I would be more than happy to respond in kind. But I haven't see anything that shows me you got the stones for that sort of thing.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:08 p.m. CST


    by Cobbio

    I put my money where my mouth was, IndustryKiller!. And I predicted what you'd write.<p> This is the problem, as I see it: you're utterly predictable with your opinions. I'll even put my money where my mouth is again and say you'll write:<p> Cobbio, I'm not predictable! I've got a wealth of substance behind my opinions and everyone should listen to me.<p>

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:11 p.m. CST

    What amazes me about this whole thing...

    by ThaIllestEver_92

    is that all of y'all, including the ones defending the movie, are arguing based on expectations that the movie made no attempt or promises of trying to be. All of you are projecting your own wants on to the film when, in actuality, it never promised to be 'deep'. As to whether I like the film or not, I'm tempted not to even say due to risk of y'all jumping on me.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:13 p.m. CST


    by KHjLL

    I was disappointed when EW did an article about ROGER CORMAN and they left out the KING in CORMAN entourage...My first screenplay a HORROR has a TRUCK DRIVER in it and THE WIZARD OF OZ.... I have 2 WESTERN sceenplays at 300 pages that CAMERON, SCORSESE, TARANTINO, JACKSON, RAIMI, RIPLEY, COEN, etc...that would be perfect for...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:14 p.m. CST

    ThaIllestEver_92, don't misunderstand me

    by YackBacker

    I'm not asking for a deep study on character or motivation. I was just not expecting something as superficial as what Cameron offered. It was so superficial to me that there was no emotional authenticity to the story. I've seen Muppet movies that have more complexity than AVATAR. I'm not kidding.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:15 p.m. CST


    by KHjLL

    I never got why so many people would even question him...I loved AVATAR and cried through the whole thing I even went home and cried...I think it's because when I saw THE FELLOWSHIP I thought I would have been in the industry by now...10 years later...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:18 p.m. CST

    His films aren't getting worse

    by Six Demon Bag

    Just different...,<p>true lies is his goof--his stab at making a big ireverent action comedy-- he succeeded big time. At the very least, he made Tom Arnold funny.<p>titanic--well what else did you want? It's an epic in every sense of the word and it shows that there won't be a film of it's size like it ever again. <p>avatar-- he did it said before he knows how to tell a story and makes it seem fresh. <p>he has yet to make a bad film and it's good to finally set the whole pirahna 2 shit straight.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:20 p.m. CST


    by YackBacker

    Funny you should mention the LOTR movies. I never got into those movies either, for somewhat similar reasons as AVATAR. While Jackson tried to get into the psychology of his characters a lot more than Cameron's effort, I think there was some emotional disconnect for me. Just like with LOVELY BONES, I think Jackson doesn't convey essential human emotions with great ease.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:22 p.m. CST

    Yackbacker, I can't even diss you for that assessment.

    by ThaIllestEver_92

    the way I see it, opinions are like butts... everyone has one, and they all stink. As for what I thought of it, I really had a great time with it, while I acknowledge the flaws head on, and know full well that they are there... But, I don't know... it didn't bother me as much really... maybe because my expectations were middling.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:23 p.m. CST


    by KHjLL

    I have two more at about 30 - 40 pages I have in NOTEBOOKS with 20 page outlintes

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:24 p.m. CST


    by Cobbio

    I agree, KHjLL. It was pretty emotional for me too. And, I think, for most people who saw it.<p> Sorry to read you're not in the industry by now, despite the screenplays you've written. I hope you get a break at some point.<p> A Western directed by any of those directors would be pretty badass.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:24 p.m. CST


    by KHjLL

    mOrE like A$$HOLES everyone has one...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:25 p.m. CST

    So back to Avatar Cobbio

    by IndustryKiller!

    and get this back from the track of idiocy, Avatar is not literally a myth. it simply uses, like THOUSANDS of other films, some of Joseph Cambells rules on character and story, passed down from the days of yore. There is a reason why over the centuries stories came to life with more subtlety, made more sense, and became more honest in their human portrayals as knowledge became a virtue. You say that being even an ounce less simplistic and childish would make Avatar lose it's impact further removing it from the myths of olde. It doesn't make a lick of sense given other than basic character archetypes, and the concept of having protagonists and antagonists (a pretty natural construct of even non myth storytelling), Cameron doesn't use much of anything mythical. It's not more a myth than any Michael Bay film. There is a reason why genre pictures moved beyond old timey serial storytelling.<P>As for Cameron keeping the story clean, he does no such thing. The story doesn't go on tangents, but that alone does not a clean story make. A sense of organic ease would be a good indicator of any clean story. But the characters in Avatar constantly make random or nonsensical decisions to keep the story moving forward. From Neytiri's random and forced first meeting with Jake, to the aformentioned dragon conquering/all is forgiven incident, to the absurdly one dimensional and out of left field cruelty of the eeeeeevil corporate guys nothing seems to unfold with a sense of honesty, and no character has any dimension that doesn't immediately fulfill their superobjective.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:27 p.m. CST


    by KHjLL

    most people like what they like I read both books LOVELY BONES and LORD OF THE RINGS at camp in 2000 before THE FELLOWSHIP... LOVELY BONES....If you don't have kids it wouldn't impact you the same way... THE FELLOWSHIP...If you don't like fanasty you night not like it....I personally feel every FILM that is made and VIEWED by others has something you can get from it...AND 100% of all FILMS that are made are better then any FILM you haven't made...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:29 p.m. CST


    by YackBacker

    How much more interesting would it have been had the story stated "unobtanium" was essential for keeping life going on Earth? Or that the humans on Pandora had to flee Earth from persecution and the mineral is needed for them to protect themselves from annihilation from a new Hitler coming after them? That isn't complicated storytelling, that's reality- nothing is black and white, but Cameron hasn't gotten that memo.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:29 p.m. CST

    The Hater Manifesto: see Trannyformers_Apologist.

    by ScaryWaitress

    Wow. Talk about some tired, replayed themes. It's like you cut-and-pasted from every past Avatar TB.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:32 p.m. CST

    Replayed themes you apparently can't argue Scarywaitress

    by IndustryKiller!

    All you can do is snipe from the sidelines with impotent personal attacks. You don't agree with Trannyformers? Then take him to task.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:34 p.m. CST


    by KHjLL

    Why can't it be REAL...All SCIENCE FICTION since the creation of man and KNOWLEDGE has in one form or another come in to exist...maybe PANRORA is out there...BALCK holes were a HYPOTHESIS until we came up with the TECHNOLOGY to PHOTOGRAPH them...THE developement of TECHNOLOGY in SPEED will maybe make the HYPOTHESIS of other being on planets come into EXISTENCE...Even the developement of the AVATAR for that reason...think if we did do that with TIGERS...and someone could go and LIVE with them in the EASTERN jungles or up in the SIBERIAN moutain range...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:35 p.m. CST


    by YackBacker

    You're crazy, dude. I like you.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:37 p.m. CST

    How is neytiri's first meetin with Jake forced?

    by Six Demon Bag

    Are you serious?

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:38 p.m. CST


    by IndustryKiller!

    Dude I want to do a lot of drugs and read that last post again because my mind would. be. BLOWN.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:40 p.m. CST

    AVATAR 2

    by KHjLL

    RAIMI just gave a guy 1 MILLION to write an EARTH invasion STORY not a SCREENPLAY... I have one...I have a WAR, 4- 6 WESTERENS, 2 SPORTS films, a JACKIE BROWN HUSTLE and FLOW STRIPPER FILM, 2 KIDS films, LIKE 10 -15 HORROR films, 2 SCIENCE FICTION films all bouncing around most of them all have 10 - 40 page outlines....and 2 HORROR SCREENPLAYS finished and 2 WESTERN screenplays at 300 pages total...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:41 p.m. CST

    Six Demon

    by IndustryKiller!

    She stumbles upon him in the forest as he is about to die. Doesn't like him. But apparently because he didn't lay down and nonsensically get eaten by space wolves, sees a strength in him. And he is then, at that moment, chosen by the tree? Come on man, that's sub Disney level shit.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:44 p.m. CST

    Industry... try scrolling up, friend.

    by ScaryWaitress

    I actually agree with some of these points, and have said so in this and multiple other talkbacks. I do NOT agree with the spirit of Tranny's post... because I'm not a Hater. I actually DO think there are some redeeming qualities, and that Avatar deserves more than outright scorn. But y'all are Haters... and that's A-OK. <P> All I'm saying is, these arguments were more powerful two months ago. It was a nice summary, though.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:48 p.m. CST

    AVATARS and the AMAZON

    by KHjLL

    Think of all the shit thats in the AMAZON jungle that man hasn't seen yet...go be and APE or MONKEY and BURN through the RAINFOREST...maybe like SURROGATES and AVATAR people won't leave there houses and become shape shifting animals because our AIRPLANES have been burning HOLES in our OZONE layer not to mention cars...EVERYONE running around like BIG CATS and HORSES then back into their suit and tie for work... Instead of flying to CONTINENTS we become WHAlES and SHARKS...Go explore the SAN ANDREAS trench...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:50 p.m. CST


    by Six Demon Bag

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:52 p.m. CST


    by Six Demon Bag

    If the entire planet wad interconnected then perhaps the plants told her about a weird navi looking dude who smelled different was walking around and she started tracking him

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:53 p.m. CST

    Re: Neytiri finding Jake

    by YackBacker

    I thought it was implied/established that she was tracking them. I recall Sigourney saying "They're watching us right now."

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:54 p.m. CST


    by YackBacker

    I might actually pay money to read what you've written. You're awesome. "Go explore the SAN ANDREAS trench..."

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:57 p.m. CST

    80 to a 100 %

    by KHjLL

    80 percent of my favorite films have two writers...100 % of my favorite FILMS have a WRITER, DIRECTOR, and PRODUCER with a CREW to back them a CONSTRUCTION crew...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 3:59 p.m. CST

    Well-stated, Industry

    by Cobbio

    Thanks for your view on things. You make a good point about "Avatar" not literally being a myth. It's true, and therefore the rules of classic myths don't apply.<p> It does borrow from the hero's journey, however, one of the most time-tested themes in human existence. Man enters fray with a set of goals, finds conflict, keeps pushing, finds greater conflict, reconsiders goals, pushes heroically for reconsidered goals.<p> I'm not a huge Joseph Campbell guy, though I did read one of his books. But he wasn't the only player in the "understanding myth" game.<p> I think what people most connect to in "Avatar" is not the visuals, it's the story. You call it too simplistic, ok. That's fine. You say it's not cleanly written. Ok, I can understand your perspective, in relation to other factors.<p> But the meat of the story, the bones and heart of it, are undeniable. People identify with Jake Sully. They understand his plight, even if Cameron didn't reveal as many details of his life as you might've hoped.<p> What I'm saying is: Cameron kept it simple on purpose. He made choices to draw people in and let the meat of the story move and entertain them.<p> You feel "Avatar" was anything but cleanly written. That's fine and you made some good points.<p> I just disagree. I think the story moved and entertained people because it was so cleanly written.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4 p.m. CST

    You want forced--here's a doozy

    by Six Demon Bag

    A space battle happens above a desert planet that just so happens to have the dark lords son and the two droids they're looking for ends up finding him and an old dude that used to fight with him back on the day... They end up leaving the planet and running into this spacestation that has this laddy who asked them to rescue her... All in all at the end of this seemingly long fukken day the farm boy from the beginning blows up said space staton.<p> next.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:01 p.m. CST

    Six Demon and yack

    by IndustryKiller!

    Thank you for that Six Demon, I believe my point is made.<P>Yack it's less Neytiri stumbling upon him than that at the most PERFECTLY opportune moment and despite him being a douche bag without an ounce of intelligence, passion, or charm (apparently not virtues in Na'Vi culture) he is chosen for no discernible reason, in a display of which the significance is never fully explained, by the fuckin' tree. This will effectively be the catalyst for every event in the film thereafter. The fact that he is later partly responsible for the destruction of said tree is a wonderful bit of unintentional irony that I had to laugh at.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:04 p.m. CST


    by KHjLL

    I was suprised CAMERON hasn't did a SCIENCE FICTION film like it or REMADE it...when the ICE CAPS melt the SEA is going to rise 20 ft wiping out 60 - 70 percent of the WORLD grandest CITIES...I came up with an intro to the GREAT the opening of TOMSTONE...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:09 p.m. CST

    those events are random in Star Wars Six Demon

    by IndustryKiller!

    Leia is heading to Tatooine specifically to find Obi Wan. Obi Wan is on Tatooine specifically so he can watch over Luke's development into manhood. It's coincidence that Luke ends up with the droids but at least the film has to good sense to establish that Lukes family regularly trafficks with Droid traders who wander the desert looking for wayward droids.<P>And they dont END UP running into the death star they are going to Alderaan specifically looking for Leias father. It's not like they are just taking a fucking space joy ride. That tangle of events plays almost completely organically. <P>Don't get me wrong there is some shit you could point out about Star Wars, but it's FAAAAR better covered than Avatar was and established a truly unique functioning galaxy and characters of incredible depth. Don't even dream of comparing the two, they have NOTHING in common other than box office take. You wanna compare Star Wars to Avatar you better be looking at the Prequels.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:09 p.m. CST

    by KHjLL

    khjll 1098 @

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:09 p.m. CST

    *aren't random

    by IndustryKiller!

    Yeha Yeah I fucked up the headline, sue me

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:11 p.m. CST


    by KHjLL

    you could argue that SEVEN SAMURI was better then STAR WARS because it came out first to but they are two different storys about the SAME...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:13 p.m. CST

    ...complaining about Jake and Neytiri meeting in...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...the jungle is like complaining that Jane is shipwrecked on the exact stretch of deserted African coast that Tarzan calls home...or complaining that the male and female lead bump into each other in a romantic comedy...or that the good guy and the bad guy shoot it out in a Western...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:14 p.m. CST

    But she didn't stumble upon him when he was

    by Six Demon Bag

    About to get eaten...she found him earlier and decided not to kill him.. Hence why she saved his life LATER.<p>she took him back to the tribe and they let him live cause he was a soldier--something they hadn't seen.--- I'm not crazy right. This was in the film.<p>and I promise you that anyone of us would look douchey to an alien culture... Especially if we knew nuthin of their customs.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:16 p.m. CST

    Industry, not to beat a dead horse, but...

    by YackBacker

    Neytiri had Jake dead to rights, pulled back the arrow and some tree pollen landed in front of her, telling her "Bitch, be cool." After that, she continued to track him until he was pretty much a dead cat, at which point she came in to rescue him. That makes sense within the context of the story. It makes sense that Neytiri would key into symbolism from nature, as she lives in a pre-industrial society where shit like that happens all of the time. Some prehistoric cultures looked at weather as signs from Earth/God/Gods. So, some opportune pollen gets in the middle of her and her target and she eases back. If anything, I would contest the pollen! But JC tells us that the pollen really is smart (not smart enough to protect the trees from bad guys, not like the trees in LOTR- those were smart fuckers). There are many flaws with AVATAR, but I don't think Neytiri's introduction to Jake is one of them. Everything that happens after that point is opportune/convenient.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:17 p.m. CST


    by ominus

    and James Cameron is the fucking KING OF THE UNIVERSE

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:20 p.m. CST


    by ominus

    ''-Cameron joked that he wanted all the “hater bloggers” who kind of disappeared after Avatar became the highest grossing film of all time to come out and admit they were wrong.'' haha yeah where are the haters now? the Avatar haters at this point,must be the most pawned movie haters of all time.poor creatures,i feel pity for them.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:22 p.m. CST

    ominus, my man

    by YackBacker

    Good to see you around these parts again. Don't hate the "haters" though- people can have honest intellectual disagreements over this movie. To be honest, Cameron calling out the "hater bloggers" is actually kind of petty. Why would Big JC care about people on the internet? But anyway, good to see you back in action.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:23 p.m. CST

    Yack, it's weak because

    by IndustryKiller!

    Cameron effectively takes any decisions out of the hands of the characters and writes the story for them. That's just incredibly uninteresting dramatically and moreover a lazy screenwriting device. If there seemed to be any rhyme or reason to the, ahem, tree's choice then it might make more sense. but it only seems to occur so Jake can continue to be the protagonist of the story and get an easy in to the Na'Vi homestead. Point A get shoved right the fuck into point B. It just sort of happens, randomly, and without the slightest bit of effort. I'm not saying it makes ZERO sense, but I am saying it's forced. And we DON'T know it happens all the time, or why it even happens. The fact that Jake not only gets that tree killed but then later leads the Na'Vi into a firefight without the least bit of military strategy only to get crushed, but then miraculously saved by the planet itself only seems to belie the randomness of it all. I mean what was the tree fucking with the Na'Vi via Jake or something?

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:31 p.m. CST

    Well, now you'e getting into the good stuff, Industry

    by YackBacker

    The planet is really the bitch of the whole movie. The planet sits around letting itself and its creatures get pushed around, man-handled, killed. And then it lets one of its nicest trees go to shit. But somehow, Jake Sully is the only being with the capacity to tell the planet that the humans with guns are evil? That's idiotic. For all the souls that exist with the planet, for all the creatures that have been killed up until that point, not one of them conveyed this simple message to mother Pandora? Okay...<p> Let's take the Mother Pandora out of the story and put God into it. So, let's have Luke fighting the Empire, taking on Vader and the Emperor and everything goes tits up for the Rebels and then God comes in and plugs the shit out of the bad guys. What? That is a terrible story. Well, that's what AVATAR is. God/Mother Pandora bails out the characters in their moment of "peril." That's like having Will Smith in THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS try his best to get a job, etc. and fail but then he hits the lotto at some point in the third act. We can put this randomness in any story and the worthlessness of this type of storytelling is obvious.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:33 p.m. CST

    Yack imagine if...

    by IndustryKiller!

    the planet choosing Jake had happened later in the story. After Jake had had time to actually prove himself, after he had made a tangible contribution to the Na'Vi people, after maybe initially the planet seemed indifferent to his presence. The combination of his becoming more comfortable with Na'Vi life and the enormity of something like a giant ecosystem tangibly giving you a seal of approval would have made the conflict within him to betray the humans much more interesting and organic. Cameron takes the easy way out by immediately cementing Jakes place on the food chain so he doesn't have to get messy with logistic early on.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:34 p.m. CST

    Hahaha, great point Yack

    by IndustryKiller!

    About Star Wars AND especially the Pursuit of Happiness parallel made me laugh out loud.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:37 p.m. CST

    Be good, Industry

    by YackBacker

    You're a damn fine professional. I'm off to a Super Bowl shindig now...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:46 p.m. CST

    No has mentioned True Lies

    by cgih8r

    That movie kicked all kinds of ass. I think Cameron came close to making his first sequel with that one.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:48 p.m. CST

    ...Yack, you almost had me there...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...but your PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS example suggested a counter argument.<P>The difference is that the interconnectedness (the God/Mother) is one of the major themes of the movie. The last minute salvation of our heroes doesn't come out of nowhere the way it does in your examples.<P>I'm not going to try to argue that it's the deepest thing in the world, but Neytiri clearly says that Enya (ha!) doesn't take sides...she's not a deity in the Judeo/Christian sense. Just this once though...maybe sensing a unique existential threat from the outside, she decides to tip the balance. <P>I agree with Industry that it would be better if She could have chosen Jake later on in the narrative...her choosing him so early on seems a bit arbitrary. But then, If there were such a thing as a giant female brain made from a gabillion tons of roots, leaves, and mold spores...I wouldn't expect to be able to predict what the fuck she's thinking...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:51 p.m. CST

    Flick! Awesome! I'm going to use "cradling the Jake"

    by white_vader

    as my new euphemism!

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:51 p.m. CST

    Aboot HATERS i think....

    by KHjLL

    CAMERON ment all te people who said something would suck before anyone saw it...Most of the greatest things happen because of HATERS in film...Someone told ELI ROTH he had no TALENT...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:52 p.m. CST

    PEOPLE opinions...

    by KHjLL

    everyone has one.....

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 4:54 p.m. CST

    Not Random

    by Cobbio

    Yack, you wrote "We can put this randomness in any story and the worthlessness of this type of storytelling is obvious."<p> Obvious to who, exactly? You're convinced you know exactly what the correct interpretation is, which is why it's obvious to YOU.<p> I and many others disagree.<p> Cameron set up the planet as a biological database, a huge neural network capable of promoting interconnected biological impulses. It's a pure science fiction element, yes, but one we've never seen before. The Na'vi interact with it on a fairly primitive level, joining with horses and flying creatures when necessary.<p> The planet sits around letting itself and its creatures get bullied, man-handled, killed, yes. It does.<p> Why do you think this is?<p> My take on it is: the planet had only ever dealt with creatures who weren't bullying it. Humans arrive twenty something years ago, they do what they're doing, and the planet physically doesn't connect with them. It might not even know they exist. Peripherally, maybe, but they're not part of Pandora's grid.<p> Jake Sully arrives, the first human-Na'vi warrior that the planet can interact with, events unfold, conflict rises, and a dying Grace Augustine is soon pulled into the network.<p> The tree now has her memories, her instincts, her knowledge. It begins to know what humans are. Thus later when Jake Sully asks for the planet's help, it finally KNOWS what's at stake.<p> And it takes a fight or flight stand against its own future destruction. Jake asking for its help is the catalyst.<p> To me, it's not random. It's calculated.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:01 p.m. CST

    ...↑Cobbio, good one. Eywa is a very Miyazaki...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...type creation. A giant non-human botanical type intelligence...maybe self aware, maybe not. Slow to anger, but unstoppable once aroused.<P>It's been done before in SF, but not in such a mainstream flick.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:03 p.m. CST

    ...white_vader, please would be my honor...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...I'm proud to know you'll be thinking of me next time you Cradle The Jake.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:04 p.m. CST


    by white_vader

    I know you weren't dissing storyboards straight out before, but the retort to the Lucas/Cameron thing is the king of storyboards (no not Ridley Scott), Alfred Hitchcock. His films were never dead and the actors weren't horrible, but he is the best example of why boards contribute and don't have to detract from the process. He even said that sometimes he felt that after boarding the film he considered it already made, but that sorta defeats my point a bit I guess, heh. <p> He used to scare the shit out of the studios in the early days though because he never shot coverage (he'd already boarded it and knew what shots he needed). Cheeky bugger. Oh and I'm not saying he drew them himself, just talking about his use of the process. When still we have neurotic directors who think if they don't hush it up by deleting the credit or pooh-poohing the technique it diminishes them as a director. Having said that though I HAVE been handed scripts and been told "go to it!"...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:07 p.m. CST

    ...white_vader, you're a storyboard artist?

    by FlickaPoo

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:08 p.m. CST

    Sorry, P.S. Whodis

    by white_vader

    I meant to say that Cameron's the same as Spielberg in that respect of prepare, to get everything you need, but take advantage of happy accidents way. Pre-vis is sorta similar except that there are still too many pre-vis artists who don't understand cinematic technique and storytelling, and the director ends up having to be much more hands-on, sorta defeating the point a bit.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:10 p.m. CST


    by white_vader

    Erm, yeah, and concept guy, character designer etc. Live action, animation, whatever pays the bills! <p> But what I was gonna say was that I already think of YOU every time I flick a poo, monkey-style!

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:11 p.m. CST


    by Cobbio

    Good point, Flicka. The "giant non-human botanical type intelligence" has probably been used before in Miyazaki-type anime. I'm not an expert in the genre, but I can definitely see a director like Miyazaki creating a character like Eywa.<p> The giant botanical intelligence has also been used in science fiction novels and short stories. The Star Tree, from Dan Simmons' "The Rise of Endymion" comes to mind as a mind-bendingly huge version of this. Same idea, though. Don't piss it off.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:14 p.m. CST


    by FlickaPoo

    ...that's cool. I'm an illustrator, mostly picture books.<P>In my field you work your ass off to come up with between fourteen and twenty two perfect spreads. I've always been amazed at how you guys come up with shot after shot after shot. Very cool.<P>The book I'm working on right now is mostly wordless, so the images carry the bulk of the narrative...I'm trying to catch up on some of the more cinematic skills that you deal with every day.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:18 p.m. CST


    by Six Demon Bag

    As a stand alone film SW looks don't know obi wan is watching Luke until ep 3. And they never really explain who leia is looking for, just she's trying to evade capture.... In fact she's trying to get to alderaan not tatooine.. <p> my point is a little suspension is needed in sci fi and fantasy films...And if you can't get past the main conceit then I can't helps ya

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:18 p.m. CST

    ...I'm taking SAMURAI JACK as my road-map...

    by FlickaPoo silent storytelling. So far so good.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:27 p.m. CST

    HATing a LINE...

    by KHjLL

    my biggest pet peeve in HOLLYWOOD is when a CRITIC reviews a HORROR film and starts out by saying they HATE the HORROR genre....why say anything more...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:32 p.m. CST

    Not true at all Six Demon

    by IndustryKiller!

    Obi Wan says straight up that he was the best friend of Luke's father, and that he sees it as Luke's destiny to fight the empire. And I think it's pretty Obvious that when Leia makes a last minute effort to send the droids Obi Wans way that it was clear where she is going. There's no moment there where Leia is frantically trying to figure out what to do or asks what the nearby planets that can help are. Im not inferring the ridiculous or making up back story here, it's right there, everything but explicit. I think you're trying to cover an erroneous analogy. But I know what you were getting at and I just think Star Wars is a bad example, it has precious little as far as storytelling in common with Avatar. I agree that there are some things that can be overlooked, but Avatar is a film full of these "things". It's not that you cant enjoy it anyway, but it's not a work of anything nearing genius, quite the opposite, it's a guilty pleasure.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:33 p.m. CST

    Cool Flick

    by white_vader

    I've also done comics and love picture books to bits, especially stuff like Lane Smith's. It erks me that especially in the west it's so looked down upon, whether for kids or not. Why NOT tell stories with pictures? Why NOT use the best prose AND art together to tell stories as in comics/illustrated books? I used to be a full-time freelance illustrator (after moronic clients drove me away from graphic design) too, so I know where you're coming from brother. <p> It's why I like artist-written stuff like classic Looney Tunes. And yep, Genndy and Samurai Jack kick fucking arse. Taking the advice of Chuck Jones who said too much TV stuff is just animated radio - you should be able to tell what's going on with the sound DOWN. SHOW it, not just have the animated characters talk about it. Which is why Genndy & Jack rock (can't wait for the new show with the giant dinosurs fighting giant robots). They make me want to cradle the Jake!

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:34 p.m. CST

    Flicka - professional question

    by blackwood

    Do you use a tablet? I have an opportunity to get one, and I have been debating between an Intuos4 and the little Cintiq. The smart move would probably be the Cintiq, but I'm a bit cautious.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:37 p.m. CST

    Yack, I so WISH the jellyfish thing had said 'Bitch, be cool"!

    by white_vader

    I'm gonna narrate that bit in from here on in. Kinda like when I used to do "Fuck you!" voiceovers for whenever R2D2 would 'say' something. It works!

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:42 p.m. CST

    ...white_V, I'm 100% traditional...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...drawing, paint, and collage. My first love is making something with my hands, so I found a niche that allows me to do that.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:47 p.m. CST big strategy is to run in the opposite direction...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...a lot of my last book was made from crap I found in my backyard.<P>Of course reviewers all assumed I just scanned textures and put it all together digitally...but at least I have something you can frame and hang on a wall.<P> Oh, and Lane Smith is great.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:50 p.m. CST


    by TheMandrakeRoot

    Don't be such a douche. You clearly read what you want to read, because I personally have defended Avatar on it's content time and time again, and I've seen plenty of others do it too. Frankly I don't really care to explain it for the 1000th time, mainly because I'm tired of all these Avatar talkbacks and it's constantly the same shit over and over. It's like there's no middle ground with Avatar, it's either the greatest movie or the worst movie. But the worst part is smug assholes like you who would throw the same criticism on Star Wars if it came out today, and really can't see what an amazing piece of filmmaking Avatar is, despite it not being "flawless" on all levels which appear to be your requirements. Get a fucking grip, will you?

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:51 p.m. CST

    ...I shouldn't have said "just scanned textures etc..."...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...that sounded like I think gluing something from your backyard into a painting is somehow superior to scanning it and achieving the same result. That would be's the end result that counts.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:56 p.m. CST


    by The Goon

    Intuos 4. the small cintiq is shit... I have an intuos 3 and bought a cintiq to replace it... I sold the cintiq after a few weeks. Main problems... screen resolution is way too small in this HD age. Screen Refresh rate is 66hz or so... and the screen depth causes a 'gap' between image and pen tip. They aint good enough yet... give it a few years

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 5:56 p.m. CST


    by blackwood

    I would be interested in seeing some of your stuff. Of course, I also sympathize with not wanting to out yourself in Talkbackland. So. Yeah.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6 p.m. CST

    The Goon

    by blackwood

    I've heard mixed reports about the 'gap', with some people asserting you can adjust the screen to account for your typical drawing angle. I've also never used a tablet, so I thought making the jump right to drawing on screen would be the right way to go... easier, less of a transitional headache. But it's almost $800 more for the Cintiq. I have a benefactor who said they would get me whatever I wanted, which is terrible power to have.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:03 p.m. CST


    by IndustryKiller!

    If you've defended it on it's merits it hasn't been to me, so excuse me if I can't read your mind. And saying I would say the same shit about Star Wars as I would about Avatar is the same unsubstantiated ad hominem bullshit i keep talking about. And again, Comparing a film to a superior classic film is not a suitable defense. In fact it reads as desperate. It's like comparing any drama I watch to Citizen Kane, it just doesn't ring as a well thought out argument, particularly with Avatar, which has nothing in common with Star Wars other than a genre. And it didn't need to be perfect, but at least better than competent.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:05 p.m. CST


    by FlickaPoo

    ...I answered your question just assuming it was from white_vader. Sorry about that.<P>Yeah...maybe I should set up some sort of page with just titles or anything that would give too much information. Mostly I just want to protect my freedom to talk crazy in talkback...know what I mean?

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:12 p.m. CST


    by blackwood

    For sure. It's tricky, though - if you're successful, someone is going to recognize something and out you. Not me though. Because I'm rad. But someone will.<p>Right now I'm trying to transition from graphic design (which I am way fucking tired of) to illustration. I'm having a hard time figuring it out though. Good on you for keeping it traditional - Allah loves wonderous variety (Morgan Freeman, Prince of Theives).<p>Sorry for art talk, Talkback. JAMES CAMERON HAS THE SAME INITIALS AS JESUS CHRIST ERGO AVATAR IS AWESOME THE END.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:16 p.m. CST

    Intuos 4...

    by The Goon

    awesome product... small cintiq... great concept.... both amazingly well built... drawing straight on screen is obviously more desirable... but the sm cintiq does not live up to promise.... I'm sure many would disagree... try and test 'em before shelling out.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:19 p.m. CST

    Cheers Goon

    by blackwood

    I have a month so I'm looking into just that.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:20 p.m. CST

    ...blackwood, as a freelancer, I don't get to talk...

    by FlickaPoo very often, so any time.<P>I'm not famous or anything, but my latest book got some decent attention. <P>It's either the worst time or the best time to get into illustration right now...I'm not sure. Everything is in transition and work is sloooooow.<P>I hope the current discombobulation of the field will work to your advantage...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:25 p.m. CST

    Main complaint...

    by The Goon

    screen resolution is the big let down... max: 1280 x 800 I'd even say it looks slightly blurred - especially if you are used to 1900+ desktop resolution. Good luck with career transition.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:34 p.m. CST

    Flika, funnily enough

    by blackwood

    one of the reasons I've decided now is the time to transition is because graphic design is in the shitter, first thing to go in an economic crisis. I guess if I'm going to be struggling I'd rather also enjoy what I'm doing, instead of grinding away for dumbshit clients who think they only need to pay you for the two hours it took to create their fucking report, and not the fifteen years it took to learn how to make it beautiful.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:37 p.m. CST


    by TheMandrakeRoot

    Have your balls finally started to regrow? After making a hobby out of putting down Avatar - WELL before it was released (he could have loved the movie and he still would have "hated it")- and predicting it to be cinemas biggest flop, you sure disappeared for a while. Your little smug/ironic comments regarding all of the ways Avatar was hyped DID actually turn out to be ironic. Ironic of course in the way that they all LITERALLY came to fruition. Avatar DID fulfill it's prophecy of being a cinematic game-changer, and eye-ball fucking good time, revolutionary in many ways, one of cinemas great adventures, and last but certainly not least, the most successfull movie of ALL. TIME. Inflation, 3D, and attendance is pointless. This is CINEMA were talking about...studios care about ONE thing...RAW DOLLARS. And 3D or no 3D, if a movie doesn't resonate with audiences, IT AINT BREAKING RECORDS! Star Trek was a pretty movie, and had an IMAX also a property with a huge built in fanbase. No record. Transformers is the same example...but it's no surprise that the film made 2/3s of it's money in the first week. Because the movie sucked, it dropped like a rock, just like 2012. All the pretty FX in the world couldn't save it. Avatar is clearly much more then pretty visuals, and if you don't think so you've clearly msised the copious amounts of articles written about how cultures all over the world see Avatar as a statement about their own history. The movie has resonate with people all over the world like few do. Visuals tire after 1-2 viewings, emotional connections last much longer. And I'd also like to point out that in visuals alone Avatar commanded more emotional and artistic depth then pretty much every other blockbuster film of the decade. People fail to see that this was not an FX driven actino fiml. The FX were used to lure viewers unto a world and a heroes journey. Another rare feat in modern cinema. <p> I will say there has actually been some decent arguing this time around that hasn't been so black and white, so kudos to those who aren't acting like morons by proclaiming Avatar the best or worst movie of all time. But that's exactly the reason why no one will ever take someone like TrannyformersApologist serious. Here we have a talkbacker with NO spine, who was afraid to show is face for weeks and weeks after Avatar premiered to critical and commercial success after MONTHS of shit talking. Now that the noise is dying down he's trying to sneak his way back on hoping people will forget how much he embarassed himself. Well guess what buddy, people don't forget. You have forever cemented yourself as the AICN resident douche. Cheers.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:38 p.m. CST


    by Six Demon Bag

    The point is people are complaining unjustly that the film is too simple yet can't follow the basic extrapolate details from what you see onscreen in SW and it doesn't really need to be spoonfed to ya. Same goes with avatar. It doesn't spell everything out, but let's you make your own assessment. Why does this character do this? You say to advance the story...which I have no problem with. All films do that. Yet people will complain about QTs roundtable in DeathProof...which moved the plot zilch. You say the dialogue mediocre. I say that's probably realistic as it's getting...I'm not expecting Jake to quote Shakespeare or talk about royales with cheese

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:39 p.m. CST

    **FX driven action film

    by TheMandrakeRoot

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:40 p.m. CST

    Alot of hardcore Cameron fans HATE Avatar

    by sansara07

    It's true, I know a lot of them. These are guys who idolized Cameron after Aliens and T2. They secretly loathe Avatar. In fact, one of them told me that he secretly wished the film had BOMBED so Cameron would go back to making R rated films with a great story, instead of "popularist pieces of crap" (his words) like Titanic and Avatar. And they hate the fact that Avatar 2 and possibly 3 is on the way. By the time Avatar 3 hits theaters, Cameron will probably be too old and creatively exhausted to make something truly good again.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:41 p.m. CST

    Six Demon Bag

    by TheMandrakeRoot

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:44 p.m. CST

    ...blackwood, my younger brother is in a similar...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...situation. He was just telling me that "the one good thing about the current state of things is that everything is falling anything goes."<P>I think he's probably right. I used to make most of my income from magazine, advertising, and textbook work...all those jobs seems to be mostly gone for now. Fortunately the picture book side took off for me just at all the rest was dying off.<P>I think things will probably grow back after the current drought, but I don't think it will be the same playing field it was's going to be something new. Hard times, but maybe exciting times to get started...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:47 p.m. CST

    Six Demon what I'm saying is

    by IndustryKiller!

    You have to make up insane amounts of backstory, for instance what Corrido had to do above. he had to basically invent an entire motivation for Pandoras actions, 3 paragraphs long, that is in no way in the actual film in ANY kind of specific terms. His guess is as good as anyones because Cameron just simply didn't expound on any of his ideas. It's one thing to assume the obvious, it's another to write the film for the director. It doesn't have to be Quentin Tarantino brilliant, Cameron never was before but I absolutely loved the guy anyway, but it's got to have some sort of organic flow and the characters have to drive the action, not the other way around. I'm not asking for the world here, this stuff is just basic screenwriting 101.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 6:57 p.m. CST

    Cobbio you are right.And the same thing

    by ominus

    is said in the original script.JC has done a wonderful job creating this universe,his description is very detailed and everything is explained. <p>When the humans arrived and settled themselves on Pandora 25 years,since they were not part of the ecosystem,Ewya considered this new,foreign element as a virus and tried to cleanse it,by turning the wildlife against the human colony. <p>The humans thought that the whole planet was dangerous,but the truth was that only their base was the target of frequent attacks from the animals.Grace explains this thing in the original script. <p>Later when Jake transfers his memories of what humans really are and what they did to their planet,its then that Ewya realizes the true threat that the humans pose to the existence of the whole planet,and decides to take extreme measures against them,thus the final attack of the wildlife against the colony.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 7:04 p.m. CST

    Sorry ominus, its not in the film

    by IndustryKiller!

    The script treatment is very different (and much better) than the film. The creatures, characters, and story all changed in the movie itself. It cannot be taken as backstory. And even if it could it doesn't make the film an ounce better or more detailed, he simply didn't include any of it in the actual picture, which is the ONLY thing that counts. It's like when people tell me the star wars prequels novels are much more detailed, that's fine, but that's not teh film George Lucas, or in this instance James Cameron, made. You don't get to write a bad film and then say "Oh but I really thought of all this stuff, read the book!" That dog won't hunt. I agree Cameron thought it all out and it sounded like he almost made a really awesome movie, but then he didn't. So oh well.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 7:10 p.m. CST


    by TheMandrakeRoot

    I believe Avatars narrative is no simpler then most films that get released that people eat up. Perhaps it's familiarity is what forces people to think there's not much to it, but like any film, if you actually break down the movie you see there's a lot going on. The notion of a physical avatar itself is an intriguing and original idea not explored very often in sci-fi cinema. The physical link between all things on Pandora is another concept that is extremely original and intelligent, and it plays a HUGE part in the climax of the film, which is pretty genius if you ask me. Most interesting though is the juxtaposition of Pandora and Hells Gate. As Jake points out in the's almost as if Pandora is the real-world, and his human existence is a dream. The effect this has on Jake is palpable. The way he slowly becomes more and more withered as the film goes on, the way he would sacrifice eating food just to get back to his life on Pandora. This is also shown through Sigourneys treatment of her avatar. She has no problem chain-smoking as a human and destroying her real body, but when it comes to her avatar body that inhabits the dream land, she seems to be much more cautious. Ideas like this are present throughout the whole movie, and there IS a lot more then just black and white characterizations. Sure Quaritch could have used more dimension, but other things make up for it. People claim the Na'vi are all portrayed as righteous do-good people with no flaws...what movie were you watching? The na'vi were portrayed accurately from what I saw...they lived very harmoniously with nature, and were extremely hostile towards outsiders, aka the "sky people". In fact if it wasn't for Pandoras massive connection, Neytiri would have offed Jake, and if not here, the warriors who surrounded him soon after their first encounter would have killed him. Even throughout most of the film Tsu Tsey was ready to kill Jake, and never really trusted him. Despite Jakes efforts to get along with him, how would you react if some outsider appeared out of nowhere in your home and took your future wife away from you? Jake had a long greuling process of proving himself, and that's exactly what he did. And as he slowly became inotoxicated with Pandora, his POV on what was right slowly changed. It obviously didn't happen over night, as he was giving Quaritch intel for quite some time. <p> You could really dissect character motivations and actions and development for quite some time. Despite people refusing to see it, there is A LOT going on in this film. Jake and Neytiris relationship alone developed in a subtle and natural manner. They shared many profound experiences together that were necessary in forging Jakes bond with Pandora and making his decision to switch sides believable. I beleive most people would have sided with the natives in Jakes shoes. At the same time Quaritchs motives made sense...he'd almost been killed by Pandora his first day out, and certainly held a grudge. To him, Jake was the ultimate trader. Someone who was once the key to the humans success became the main reason for their downfall. As far as Quaritch was concerned he was stabbing his race in the back. It was clear that emotions ran deep and this was the reason the final battle was so intense and involving. Trust me when I say that people have connected to this film WAY beyond the FX. It's just a wonderful sci-fi film, extremely well-made, intelligent, and beautiful. It deserves all of the praise it gets. Any film that has the balls to make two CGI cat-aliens and their budding romance the focus of a LIVE ACTION film deserves to be commended. In many ways that alone makes the story revolutionary.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 7:20 p.m. CST


    by IndustryKiller!

    Repeating really obvious shit from the movie is not a foundation for your argument. "Jake was a great character, you know because he liked pandora and loved Neytiri. And Quarritch, you know, he was just being the army guy, cause that was the only thing he knew. And the humans were in trouble so of course that's what they would do. And the Na'Vi, they were natives and that's what natives are like." That's what you sound like, dude. We get what Cameron was trying to get across, you don't need to relay it. WHat the rest of us are saying is that the film lacks nuance, kind of like this post.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 7:51 p.m. CST

    But not everything NEEDS to be explained

    by Six Demon Bag

    But the things you are griping about are minor... Why did she save him? Why at that time? She doesn't need to explain every decision she makes just like you don't either. You're the kinda movie goer who watches blade runner with fords narration aren't ya?

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 7:56 p.m. CST


    by Six Demon Bag

    Industry-- he's repeating it for people in the cheaP seats who didn't get it the first time round

  • Not that avatar is "hard sf", it simply has some hard sf elements. To this day, I still mourn the failure of the Morgan Freeman/Rendezvous With Rama project to come to fruition.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:05 p.m. CST

    History Aint Written By HATERS

    by quantize


  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:15 p.m. CST

    Who's talking shit about Jersey Shore??

    by Sicuv Uyall

    Give me a half hour of the shore over Clone Wars any day... as a matter of fact I'll watch the whole season over any movie whose title includes Episode III and under! Nitpick Avatar all you want, haters... it matters!!

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 8:20 p.m. CST

    Haters got it easy

    by Six Demon Bag

    If the film fAils--they win<p>if the film clobbers at the BO--the cry that it's too simplistic and plays to the masses<p>if it's critically acclaimed and BO lauded--they disappear and pop up later to deny

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 9:13 p.m. CST

    Actually, it sort of is quantize

    by IndustryKiller!

    BTW I love all these nerdy white guys throwing around "Haters". Classic. But anyway typically history is written by reasonable detractors. You guys may be shocked to hear this but you're nothing special. I had these same arguments and had the same ad hominem attacks thrown at me when X3, Transformers, Indiana Jones 4, etc. came out. All films that did incredible box office and all of them every bit as bad as they are successful. For the first months it was all sunshine and roses and apologizing, and then time passed, cooler heads prevailed, the DVD came out, and people got the picture, and now those are all universally known as awful movies. Maybe not among the lowest denominator of filmgoer, but they'll never learn anyway. Among people who know movies though saying you love Transformers goes over like a lead balloon. Avatar will be no different. The arguments against it are too strong, it's not a good film. Only true quality holds up over time, not one's subjective enjoyment.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 9:17 p.m. CST

    Haters come out and admit they were wrong?

    by Turd_Has_Risen_From_The_Grave

    Even the King of the World couldn't pull that one off. Let those lame ducks stew in their own negative juices. The film and its monstrous success speaks louder than any gaggle.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 9:26 p.m. CST


    by KHjLL

    I don't want money...I just want to see my name on the SCREEN...and my father to...And my daughter to be able to carry around a DVD with my name on AGENT...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 9:32 p.m. CST


    by Turd_Has_Risen_From_The_Grave

    As I told you before, you don't speak for any 'hardcore Cameron fans' or 'hardcore sci-fi fans' , and its funny how these phantom audiences always mirror your own opinions, isn't it? I call bullshit. I've been a hardcore JC fan since the mid-80's - let me tell you, after multiple viewings, Avatar is up there in Cameron's top three. In some ways it's better than anything he's done so far. And it will weather extremely well, for a multitude of reasons too extraneous to go into here.<p>As for the comments about 'R rated films', that alone speaks volumes. Slap an R on something and it automatically begins dark and credible, such is the simplistic juvenilia afoot in fanboy land. I never appreciated Cameron (or any other directors) films because they were R, PG 13 or whatever. The rating should serve the content of the film - Avatar is 21st century space opera, a modern SW. It never needed or was intended to be R. Now Battle Angel on the other hand - Cameron certainly has the clout to make a $200 million R-rated film now, if anyone does.<p>Let these plebs have their fun with say, D9 - a good film, but a good deal less visionary and more faddy than Avatar. But of course, it had exploding people and splatter in it, and of course low budget, so it must be credible, eh? And let's be honest, that is the main reason for its popularity amongst these supposed phantom 'hard core sci fi fans', unlike the very real merits the film has and what actually made it good. But that's a whole 'nother discussion.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 9:33 p.m. CST


    by KHjLL

    Iv'e had three or four people tell me I have no TALENT and they didn't even read my HORROR SCREENPLAY... I even offered the to read it...It looks similar to TOMBSTONE no shots or SCARFACE...Most of the people that like HORROR LOVED it...

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 9:37 p.m. CST


    by Turd_Has_Risen_From_The_Grave

    Don't bother with our special friend up there. He deserves no attention. At least some of the other haters bring a little discussion to the table. He brings nothing. I'm just amazed that such a special needs person can even operate a computer, let alone type. Don't waste your time with that pitiable, sackless fool. He knows the truth, and there's not a damn thing his limp dick rants can do to change the reality of the situation.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 9:57 p.m. CST


    by Cobbio

    Is IndustryKiller! still going on about stuff here? About screenwriting 101 basics, even though he doesn't know shit about them?<p> Wake me up when he's done.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 10:01 p.m. CST

    Of course those reasons are "too extraneous" Turd

    by IndustryKiller!

    Wouldn't wanna have to actually back up those ridiculous hyperbolic comments of yours. Providing substance to a conversation is just a little more work than you're willing to do I guess. Better to get snippy from the peanut gallery and keep a good safe distance lest you get shut down.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 10:05 p.m. CST

    Cobbio one of your last posts was titled

    by IndustryKiller!

    "Well-stated, Industry" <P>Don't drag yourself back into the personal attack muck now. You know that's bullshit.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 10:18 p.m. CST

    Really, 'Industry Killer', you're going to shut me down?

    by Turd_Has_Risen_From_The_Grave

    Fat chance of that, since all I see from you is contrarian and arrogant nonsense and mealy-mouthed leaps of logic, particularly in response to many eloquent responses from several posters above. There's not a snowball's chance in hell that you'll be outclassing me even if you laid down a thousand posts, bucko, so for the moment you'll have to accept my 'sniping from the peanut gallery'.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 10:50 p.m. CST

    That's what I thought, Turd

    by IndustryKiller!

    Anytime you wanna stop trolling dude you feel free to take me to task and I'll be more than happy. I've always responded to every single thing I possibly could have in this talkback with a clear and concise argument using examples directly from the film. That's just a fact. If you can provide an example of my leaps of logic or contrarianism that is not backed up then by all means do so if you're going to level yet more personal attacks. Until then it's more red herrings to steer the argument away from Avatar so you don't have to do any heavy lifting, and that just further empowers my argument.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 11:16 p.m. CST


    by Cobbio

    I wasn't trying to insult you, Industry, merely calling into question your merits. You've been on this thread all day trying to convince us that "Avatar" is a poorly made, poorly written film. You're welcome to your opinion, but I'm tired of reading your posts.<p> Because, if anything, you've showed me the type of person who doesn't like "Avatar." I used the term small-minded earlier and I think it still applies. I find you to be very small-minded. You can consider this an insult if you want, I consider it more of a description.<p> You enjoy thinking you have all the answers as they relate to screenwriting. What I'm saying is that you don't seem to have a clue. I think you've got it backwards, and that if we listened to you, we'd write terribly unsuccessful screenplays.<p> If "Avatar" isn't the pinnacle of a solid, successful screenplay, then what is?

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 11:28 p.m. CST


    by Cobbio

    You don't need to answer that, Industry. I already know what you're going to write. I'm 2 for 2 putting my money where my mouth is today, so I'll let it lie.<p> You probably won't, however. You'll try to convince us of your righteousness and merits, even though many excellent arguments have already been made against yours.<p> Most of us just disagree with you and find the wall of contempt you've erected around yourself to be... tedious.

  • Feb. 7, 2010, 11:50 p.m. CST

    Great Article!

    by Count3D

    Great summary Quint and great photos Kraken!

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 12:09 a.m. CST

    Cobbio has written the funniest thing I've read all year:

    by YackBacker

    "If "Avatar" isn't the pinnacle of a solid, successful screenplay, then what is?"<p> Congratulations, dude. That was funny.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 12:20 a.m. CST

    Cameron is my Hero

    by Autodidact

    Going back to about 1994 when I finally realized the same guy had made all of Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, and T2. He coulda stopped right there and he'd STILL be my favourite filmmaker and someone I consider a role model.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 1:10 a.m. CST

    After reading that,..

    by magnetoelectric

    I sure hope he doesn't go off for the next ten years making environmental documentaries

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 1:12 a.m. CST

    People are still arguing over AVATAR?!

    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    Geezus! You either liked it...or you didn't. Get a life, will you people?!?

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 1:22 a.m. CST

    I take you back on a journey through time . .

    by ol' painless

    To read some TB's the day after AVATAR was released: "LOL Avatard made less than TWILIGHT at the midnight showings. FAIL!!" All the dorks predicting its failure. Suck it, morons.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 1:26 a.m. CST

    Thanks a lot, Quint. That was interesting!

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    Now, where's the footage?<p>:-D

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 1:52 a.m. CST

    To Industry Killer...

    by kisskissbangbang

    ...twice you said (@ 4:01 & 4:23) that Jake is responsible for the destruction of the same tree that killed him, and stressed the irony of it. Aren't the flying seeds that cluster around him from the Tree of Souls, which Jake later pleads with, and not the Hometree, which is the one destoyed? Not much irony there.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 1:59 a.m. CST


    by kisskissbangbang

    weren't you the guy who was always talking about eye-fucking and writing Avatar as A V A T A R in the subject line? Sorry if I've got you confused with someone else, but if I don't...what you'd think of the movie? Man, I've been waiting for your review for months (like I should talk). Maybe I just missed it, or forgotten it in my weariness (it's 2AM CST)...but if I didn't, please spill.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 2:13 a.m. CST


    by white_vader

    All you have to tell Cob is "Bitch, be cool"!

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 2:13 a.m. CST


    by kisskissbangbang

    ...fascinating to learn something about your day job in picture book illustration. Understand why you don't want to blow your cover here, but if you're really Chris van Allsburg or William Joyce, can't you find some sneaky way of letting us know? (Well, me anyway...)<p> And by the way, I finally saw Avatar tonight while everyone else was watching the Super Bowl. (I know, like Albert Brooks in Broadcast News, I'm burying the lead.)It's just too late to say all I want to say tonight, but I'll be back around tomorrow at some point (and hopefully Morbius will show up, too). For now, I'll just say one word which i know you'll understand: sehnsucht.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 2:39 a.m. CST

    Blackwood, Flick

    by white_vader

    I too was a graphic designer that gave it up after one too many clients literally over my shoulder acting like they had the same decade of typographical experience I did. The client may always get what they want, but they are most definitely NOT always right. <p> I have an Intuos 3 and aside from having to disable the trackpads in certain apps, it's great. The whole thing of it being separate from the screen is only an issue for the first couple of proper days' use. Then you don't even notice it. My 4 year-old could handle it (though my Mum couldn't). A lot of my friends have the big Cintique, but after a 2560 x 1600 30" monitor, I'd rather have the real estate and the Intuos. I do need more time with Cintiques though, to be fair. I use the tablet so much I forget about the mouse completely (it's still better for bezier stuff though)! Strip down that fat-arse stylus though. It's like using an enormous marker. Pfft. <p> Flick, I know what you mean about outing yourself. I've worked on a couple of the all-time most hated TB fanboy films EVER! In my defence they LOOKED nice, and the crew rarely gets to pick or read a script first, especially with things like they are at the moment. And I may be working on something (if it doesn't fall over) equally ridiculous very soon... As for practical vs digital, whatever floats your boat. Most of the time people don't realise what I do is digital, but I do it that way because I can get the same result while spending more time on the work and less time on the prep, no drying paint, etc. Too many people jump into digital without learning the basics though. Same goes for design. I never want to touch a wax strip or rubber cement again and do cut'n'paste as long as I live, but it forces you to think about optical spacing (as opposed to mechanical) which you don't get unless you buy the most expensive typographer designed fonts with properly spaced pairs and so on. And my bosses were always too cheap for that! Generally I always scan a drawing or layout in and go from there. Pencil's still my favourite... As for collage, digital is fine if you're disciplined enough to build it up the same way you would traditionally. Just sticking textures in usually sucks because there's no buildup, relative scale you'd get from found elements and so on. Ya just gotta work out whether it's more efficient or a better end product to go in a particular way BEFORE you start (many people never learn this)!

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 2:42 a.m. CST

    Joyce is amazing KissKiss

    by white_vader

    too bad Robots sucked so bad. Roly Poly Olie was better!

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 2:59 a.m. CST


    by kisskissbangbang

    I really gotta go to bed, but I wanted to say a) your day job sounds mighty interesting, too; and b) I didn't see either Roly Poly or Robots, which I hated at the time, 'cause I'd seen some of the designs. Now, after your comments, I'm starting to think I was lucky. <p>Mean it this time, I'm heading for bed. Subsequently, y'all.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 3:04 a.m. CST

    This talkback is pure comedy

    by BendersShinyAss

    Idustry killer... did you just call someone else a troll? all im seeing as i flick thru this talkaback is posts from you- post after post- saying NOTHING but how much avatar is a piece of shit. I've seen it 3 times now - taking kids, friends and a date, equating to $93. i do not regret spending this sort of money on this sort of film. the fact is, people LOVE this film. it's still got sold out sessions from people re-seeing it, and new audiances who have gone because the word of mouth is so strong on it. and I've yet to meet ANYONE who hasn't enjoyed it. It's massive and the sheer amount of times it's come up in conversations, be conversations im apart of or conversations I've heard while walking past people, is staggering. <p>and here on AICN you're the ring leader for trying to convince us that this film is;<p>A) not a well made film <p>B)poorly rendered visually with lacking CGI<p>C)simple story that automatically voids it from being classed as a good story <p>D) not to be compared with star wars because star wars, as we all know, is unchallengable as the greatest film ever made <p>and E) all the events taking place are random and nothing actually happens. <p>dude, when did you start hating films so much? and why are you even bothered talking about it for hours and days at a computer with people who don't agree and loved the film??

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 3:30 a.m. CST


    by fatjesuschrysler

    I wonder if JC was thinking specifically of AICN talkbackers when he said that.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 3:58 a.m. CST

    KissKissBangBang and BendersShinyass

    by IndustryKiller!

    Kisskissbangbang, i could be wrong about which tree exactly saved Jake. You would know if you saw it tonight. If so then the irony of it being the same tree is gone, but the irony of him basically fucking up Pandora at every turn after being chosen by it, remains.<P>Bendersshinyass, Again my friend, if I have yet made any argument I havent backed up with a point of view and examples from the film then call me a troll, but that is patently untrue, in EVERY respect. Again I've made my points concisely and clearly, you not liking them has nothing to do with the argument. Disliking a film with good reason and backing up that reason without resorting toa d hominem, unlike my detractors, does not a troll make. <P>And I would answer yes to A, B, and mostly D (although Star Wars is not necessarily the greatest film ever made, it is inarguably superior to Avatar, and saying otherwise is reactionary in the most patently insane of terms.) But C and E you are oversimplifying the argument. The story isn't bad because it is simple. It is bad because it's idiotic at every turn. You can tell a simple story with characters that are more than one dimension plot ciphers, but Cameron made the characters one dimensional plot ciphers, and as a result the story comes off as grade school storytelling time. And I didn't say ALL the events are random, just some of the major ones. And I guess I should articulate more clearly, random is probably not as good a word as dishonest or inorganic. Events occur inorganically so the plot can move forward with very little rhyme, reason, or motivation from the characters. Or they come from characters written like mustache twirling cartoons.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 4:04 a.m. CST

    Or specific AICN talkbackers?

    by fatjesuschrysler

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 4:09 a.m. CST

    And benders, the amount of money it's made is meaningless

    by IndustryKiller!

    And does not speak to it's quality in even the most remote of terms. Lots of terrible movies make tons of money. in fact the biggest money makers every year are almost exclusively awful (Dark Knight and Iron Man being an exception). And you might not know anyone who doesn't like it, but I know plenty of people who don't. And not just my friends. I've talked to total strangers who it left utterly cold. That means nothing as well, as far as this argument is concerned. All that matters is can you defend the film on it's merits. And so far you have not. In fact no one has done anything in quite some time except attack me, a guy on the internet whom none of you know in real life, personally. That's fine by me, it's just more fuel for my argument that you guys cannot defend Avatar on the content of the film itself. And that's ultimately what I'm looking to prove. So thanks I guess, and keep the personal insults coming internet guys whom I've never met, My self esteem is far too high to take that shit seriously.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 4:21 a.m. CST

    So Cobbio, enlighten me as to anything I've missed

    by IndustryKiller!

    As to what these arguments are that I have not refuted or responded to. By all means you brought it up so give me a chance. I've covered my bases pretty well here, but if there is anything I've missed that you don't think I could successfully address then by all means take me to task on it. I believe I got you to the point where all you could say in response was "I disagree" and then you admitted I made solid points. I think that counts for something, but I guess it's a sore subject.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 4:28 a.m. CST

    Well i loved it

    by BendersShinyAss

    Thought it was amazing. maybe ill change my mind in a couple years. but for right now... hard film to fault

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 4:53 a.m. CST

    The Only Valid Criticism of Avatar That I've Heard...

    by LaserPants

    is that it's heavy handed, obvious, and has some cheesy dialogue. I'll grant that. But aside from that, it's a stunningly gorgeous, exciting movie that really took me where I needed to go. I have a hard time understanding how anyone could not at least be entertained by it. Me? I loved it. Made me believe in Cameron again. A man who hasn't made a great film since Aliens. Now, the guy who made Aliens is back. Bring on the sequel!

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 4:54 a.m. CST

    Re: Industry Killer!!!!

    by The Ringwraith

    I made this response a long time ago. Its pretty basic but it IS a defence of Avatar based on its merits, assuming you don't ry to redefine what "merit" means to fit your own arguments. Don't go claiming no-one has failed to defend the film until you respond to me. I wasn't impressed with Tao of Joe's defense of the film on its artistic merits, so I thought I would have a quick go. For me, Avatar was about the return of one of the masters of cinema, a director who walks the line of the commercial and the innovative like almost no other. I love his movies because they, like the early works of Spielberg, prove unquestionably that populist, commercial entertainment need not be the artless noise and pretty pictures of Transformers and 2012. They are almost always devoid of bullshit and "idiot plots", populated by smart characters who change and grow within the story, and they are built like unstoppable freight trains. In that respect, its useful to remember that Avatar is an action-adventure film, and its perhaps unrealistic to expect it to hold up to Michael Clayton as a character study. That said, I maintain that, dotted in and around the simple, old-fashioned story are some important, sophisticated and hardcore sci-fi concepts that should not go unnoticed. The obvious references to "fighting terror with terror" and the diatribe on western greed and the suppression of native cultures is only the face of a much more sophisticated story about the nature of self, the use and abuse of technology (a Cameron staple), and the mystery of the supernatural. The conception of Eywa, not just a supernatural deity but as something absolutely NATURAL is about as profound a melding of biological and theological concepts as I've ever seen. Its the single most original and "hardcore sci-fi" idea in the movie and, to me, its a damn good one. It could have been hoaky, but it struck me as fascinating as speculative science, which is exactly what science fiction is meant to be about. All this in addition to the "pretty pictures", the narrative drive, the flawless technique Cameron employs...well, its a pretty good movie, dude! Its not without its flaws, but they don't derail the film for me. Don't act like I'm some uneducated "pleb" because I like the film. And while I'm here, I just want to say I don't get the whole problem with Cameron's "I'm the king of the world" moment. He'd already made 2 speeches and he was just trying to convey his elation at having won. He wasn't actually laying claim to any title...he was being funny. I just don't get why people are so bothered by it.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 4:57 a.m. CST

    The Only Valid Criticism of Avatar That I've Heard...

    by LaserPants

    Another is that it's derivative. But who cares? Space John Smith Hearts Space Pocahontas was great! <br><br>I think the "Avatar is racist!" meme is the product of desperately silly people with WAY too much time on their hands.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 5 a.m. CST

    The Conception Of EYWA Is Great

    by LaserPants

    But it's not original. The Gaia concept? Also: Miyazaki already did the same thing in Princess Mononoke over ten years ago. I don't think this takes away from Avatar, but it does point to the fact that it's not the most original film ever made, though it certainly is one of the most visually stunning.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 5:23 a.m. CST


    by IndustryKiller!

    You just sort of seem to regurgitate the films themes. I'm not really sure how to respond given I'm not really sure what exactly the defense is. Yes I agree those are some of the films themes, but I think they are about as subtle as a two by four to the face and are so hammy and dishonest in their execution given the characters Cameron has written that he undercuts any impact he may have had with his brutal heavy handedness and overly simplistic portrayals. You speak a lot of Camerons eloquence and technique, but I don;t see it evident in this film. As for the living planet being a great idea...yeah I guess....but an idea is only great if it's executed well, otherwise it's just a gimmick, as I stated earlier. That execution is clumsy, frustratingly unexplored, and again, heavy handed, in Avatar. I'm not trying to brush your argument off so please don't think that's what's happening, but maybe we could get a little more specific? I'm going to bed but I'll respond with whatever time I've got tomorrow.<P>P.S. I also have been mystified as to the angry response to Camerons "King of the world" line at the Oscars. The guy was just expressing elation, you know, like the fucking character he wrote. he meant it in the identical context of Jack Dawson, he didn't mean it in any sort of literal terms. Why did people get so pissed about that?

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 6:31 a.m. CST

    Jesus, IndustryKiller

    by Norm Cascade

    I read the first 20-30 posts in this talkback and realized it was the same old argument. Scrolled to the bottom and it's the same asshole saying the same bullshit. Isn't your ax sharp enough? Go to sleep man.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 6:34 a.m. CST

    AVATAR's story SUCKS

    by DioxholsterReturns

    and you cant cover that fact people. so for those comparing AVATAR to STAR WARS, i got one word for you, suck my big fat intelligent dick. STARGATE RULEZ!!!!!!!!

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 6:51 a.m. CST

    Yo JC --- STARGATE UNIVERSE is better than AVATAR!!!!

    by DioxholsterReturns

    you might be big in town right now, but you cant beat the STARGATE!

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 7:02 a.m. CST

    STAR WARS Means More To Me, But...

    by LaserPants

    AVATAR looks to have replaced it for the current zeitgeist. If the sequel comes out and it's an Empire Strikes Back / Aliens / The Road Warrior styled grandslam homerun, that'll clinch the deal on the pronouncement that it's the "new Star Wars."

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 7:05 a.m. CST

    IndustryKiller talked nothing but sense all day.

    by Toilet_Terror

    pointing out obvious flaws in a big goofy film doesn't merit the responses he's been treated to so far. <p>"Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away?" as James Cameron's inner woman might put it.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 7:06 a.m. CST

    Why Avatar is GREAT!!

    by BendersShinyAss

    Jake is a cripple. this allows us to experiance an added depth to his journey into the Avatar world, with the ability to walk and run. a simple concept which would have been ignored by someone else merely taking on a remote body <p>the visuals of the approach to pandora. a ship grounded in reality of transporting to the earths next closest star, taking 5 years journey time. this brings us back to the tech of the original alien films and not the fantasy sci-fi elements of star wars and star trek. <p>the entire world of Pandora, at no point did i feel this was simply earth re-dressed, this was a living natural world with a gas giant in the sky. it wasnt in our faces, there were only really 3 moments where we got to see it, when jake first ventures out in his avatar, at night when jake is alone in the forest trying to survive, and when the group are running along the vines to round up the dragons. it was breathtaking<p>The james horner theme. the emotion impact of his score brought back one of the greatest composers of our generation to top form. on one hand the them was orchestrated to sound fun and adventureous, then twisted to bring a heartbreaking truth to the reality of jakes plight as he became torn between his human world and his Avatar world. the commentary on people becoming obsessed by computer technology seems to be lost by all you net surfers. <p>the battles. they weren't merely action scenes for actions sake. there was every attempt by jake to prevent any sort of conflict. but when it became apparent that there was a real struggle against the invading humans, jake rose to the occasion, nabbing the 'last shadow' dragon and using it to win the respect of the navi people. remember that only 5 times in their history had anyone ever ridden one. <p>the sheer indulgence of flight and freedom. what other film can take a full 20 minute time out just to have scenes of flight (and vertigo) <p>the genius story telling of making us as an audiance believe in events taking place. When ripleys character is attempted to merge her with her body, it fails. if it had of worked, then we as an audiance can take issue. but it didn't work. and we accepot it didnt work. how could it? so when it does work the second time - it's stronger, more impactful and we feel compelled to accept it because thats the magic of film! Other filmmakers take note, please!<p>on the technical;<p>this film wasn't merely cgi - it was motion captured. that means all the performances we saw were really performed. this wasn't all handed over to visual effects guys to make a seperate film 'ala star wars prequals' this film was fully realised thru actors under direction. the implications of this technology for future films is almost incomprehensible at this stage. think back to when jurrassic park came out, we all knew one thing from that film - the future of films was going to be amazing - me personally, all i could think was "imagine the monster movies we're going to be seeing!" now, with james camerons technological achievements, i just can not begin to imagine how good the future of films- visionary filmmakers will take us on! <p>3D technology. We all know 3D has been around longer than any of us. but it was always somewhat blurred, gimmicky with things jumping out at us, or just downright strange looking (freddy goes to hell comes to mind) but Avatar gave us a new breed of 3D. immersive 3D!! now 3D exists to capture the setting and 'sell' visual effects better than anything we've yet seen. Someone said above that the navi in the same shots with the humans was jarring. this is BULLSHIT!! the navi and the humans in the same room gave a visual reference that totally sold the scope of these aliens and even the strangeness of what humans are in comparison to the navi. my point is, the visual effects were outstanding! <p> The action. there was genuine stant work that i havent seen since... well, the last great james cameron film. you know, stunt men actually hauling themselves and looking like they may have actually been hurt? <p>the comedy. while i think most of you may have missed it, there were some truely laugh out loud moments that only the truely appreciative of film could see. example; when the bad ass military dude gets a shuttle and goes and opens jakes avatar bed, jake sits up and screams abuse. we then see the bad ass military dude say "you crossed a line" the funny thing about this shot is that james cameron actually uses an edit which does in fact 'cross the line' in filmmaker lingo. it was GOLD! <p> I could go on about the subtle nuances that any other filmmkaer would have neglected. the thicker atmosphere mixing with the oxygenated rooms, the navi falling thru the air and the wind resistence on them as they fluttered to the ground, the actual use of natural light in the day time to make it look REAL as opposed to painted simulated colours. the sex legged creatures as opposed to 4 legged and actually having a dynamic move wich used each of these legs - that and the blow holes of the lungs. there was REAL THOUGHT put into the evolution of the creatures of this alien world! <p>you know what, i could talk about this film for another thousand words, but this is not the right crowd. you guys for the most part couldnt give a shit about film or filmmaking. you just care about complaining that gormet pizza isnt as good as pizza huts. <p>just once it'd be nice to have some real thoughtful discussion on these boards. some praise for the rare quality gems that we all love film for at our base levels. i mean seriously, this aint twilight, nor is it episode 2. this film is a champion work of art. a masterpiece! you don't like it? actually explain why! dont just rattle off with bullshit moaning and groaning. <p>here's an example of a real complaint for you to use as a guide. when jake takes over his brothers avatar and nitiri is about to shoot him on first sight - it should have been explained that his brother had pissed her off and she had vowed to kill him. (silly? i know) after all, it's explained that the navi know these avatars arent real. but you know what, i only jsut made this gripe up, never even thought about it first, second or third viewing. <p>lets see some class come back to aint it cool, huh?

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 7:13 a.m. CST

    The simplistic notion of "haters..."

    by kells

    Huh...even Cameron seems unable to comprehend that it is possible to just be "meh" about Avatar: as in, looks really cool, glad I paid to see it in the theater, story still among the weakest of any of his films. Why does it not surprise me that Cameron has become someone who thinks that box office take = narrative success. Actually, it's simply a measure of what Americans will pay to see in the theater. So, I'm proposing a brand new category - instead of "haters" or "worshippers" I hereby announce myself as passionately indifferent.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 7:17 a.m. CST

    couple of freudian slips in my post

    by BendersShinyAss

    so i like sex and pot. sue me

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 7:23 a.m. CST

    ...don't worry Bender. I love sex legged creatures too...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...I'm going to steal that phrase if you don't mind.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 7:32 a.m. CST

    Kisskiss, now I'm confused!

    by white_vader

    You say you like William Joyce but didn't like his character and production design in Robots? That thing's a piece of crap but it looks gorgeous and the eye design is quite daring. Or did you mean if Flick was Joyce you'd give him a piece of your mind because you don't like him, heh heh. Roly Poly Olie was a kids' show he did which was pretty cute and also based around retro-looking robots. <p> If you wanna see some bizarre Joyce stuff, he did some concept art for the original Toy Story that's cool and some that makes no sense. Stuff for when Pizza Planet was going to be a mini-golf joint, and strange retro robot buzz - which makes no sense because even though Pixar play with many different ideas at that stage and though Woody did change from a ventriloquist's doll, Buzz was ALWAYS a modern plastic mass-produced toy as far as I know. Maybe the guys just wanted to see a cool retro Joyce robot? Weird.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 7:38 a.m. CST

    ...KKBB! We've been worried about you...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...thought maybe your car exploded or something (mine did).<P>You and AVATAR have been stalking each other for over six weeks now...that empty theater must have been crackling with anticipation...

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 7:40 a.m. CST

    Sex legged creatures make me want to

    by white_vader

    ... cradle the Jake! Morning Flick!

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 7:50 a.m. CST

    ...hehe...morning white_V.

    by FlickaPoo

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 8:18 a.m. CST

    Re: Industry killer

    by The Ringwraith

    I disagree all I did was regurgitate the film's themes. I was trying to articulate that, despite being a simplistic action film (which Cameron himself has admitted), it does contain evidence of considerable thought and substance, which puts it above your average popcorn film in delivering thematic content. You've indicated a liking of TDK and Iron Man. TDK is a modern masterpiece, and if you expect every film to deliver the same level of artistry as that I can only imagine a disappointing future for you. Avatar is more comparable to Iron Man. Is there more of substance, subtledy, and complexity in Iron Man than Avatar? Almost unquestionably, no. Yes, Iron Man is shorter, but Avatar's story is packed just as tight and in my opinion deliver's more bang for buck. At the end of the day, I don't understand your hatred of the film in context of everything else around it. You speak of Cameron's lack of technique, but could you point to a director who dedicates himself so staunchly to "geek" cinema who has a more sophisticated grasp of cinema than Cameron? Cameron's shots are at once stylish and motivated by the drama. His does not over-edit. The performances, with some exception, feel natural and tight. In every imaginable way, Cameron convey's his story with as much assurance as any diector you could name. Name the director's who get all these basic things right, and I guarantee you come up with a short list. And for the record, Christopher Nolan and Jon Favreau are not on it. Imagine, if you will, that Cameron had only directed Avatar, and not written it also. Would you still have a problem with his execution? I really can't believe I have to spend this much time defending the skills of one of cinema's modern masters, but there you go. That brings us to the script, which is by all accounts less defensible. There are some stupid moments, but they are no more glaring than any number of things you'll find in any mainstream film. Cameron's writing gets the job done, and I for one give him credit for keeping any verbose, lofty intentions in check. He manages to weave interesting concepts around a simple without stopping it cold and losing joe 6-pack, and thats a decent achievement. I've already said very clearly that Avatar is not, and was never intended to be, a overly sophisticated film. It is a popcorn adventure epic, and THAT is the content which should be defended. Your original post seemed to suggest that anyone who likes Avatar is clearly an illiterate fool, and all I hope to suggest is that my liking of the film is based on a pretty sophisticated understanding of cinema, and not my being "easily amused". Empirically speaking, its a good movie. Not just because it made a lot of money, but because it the majority of people, from critics to teenagers to the 18-49ers, have enjoyed it. They enjoyed it because its made with skill and thought and creativity, especially when compared to its competition. Thats my defense of Avatar's content.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 8:24 a.m. CST

    And can someone please explain...

    by The Ringwraith

    how the hell I can edit my posts so that paragraphs appear? I've been using the "short talback" form and it doesn't recognise paragraph breaks when I post, but I can't see any alternative. Makes me look like an idiot! My writing is very paragraph-dependent!

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 8:28 a.m. CST

    Add </p/> minus the slashes

    by Toilet_Terror

    See<p> How<p> That<p> Works?

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Well shit. Let me try that again.

    by Toilet_Terror

    < <p> p <p> > except like <6>

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 8:31 a.m. CST

    Holy fuck.

    by Toilet_Terror

    Anyhow, my inability to demonstrate the form aside, if you type those characters in sequence you arrive at the tag needed to make a paragraph break. <p><Cocks>

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 8:37 a.m. CST

    ... Ringwraith. < P > but no spaces around the P.

    by FlickaPoo

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 9:43 a.m. CST


    by The Ringwraith

    Paragraph One <P> Paragraph Two

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Thanks Flicka!

    by The Ringwraith

    And thanks for trying Toilet haha

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 9:49 a.m. CST

    white vader

    by YackBacker

    I'm glad you liked that line. I was watching the movie and it popped into my head and I wanted to laugh my ass off in the theater. I could see the YouTube version of it in my head where the pollen is Sam Jackson just freaking his shit out on the Na'vi while they're all "These are magical beings" and Sully is swatting at them violently (because they're cursing him out as Jackson). Eh, I have no time to make the vid, but anyone reading is with the inclination, you have my blessing (and my demand for 1/3 of your profits).

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 9:52 a.m. CST

    white_vader, what I meant...

    by kisskissbangbang say was I hated _missing_ the movie and show because I love just about everything I've ever seen Joyce do. Then, after you said Robots sucked, and that Roly was better, as if it was the previous nadir of his career, I got the impression that missing them may not have all that great a catastrophe. Sorry to have garbled all that, because I did see the designs for both & loved them. (And if Flicka is Joyce (which he'd never admit, even if he was), then I _really_ don't want him to get the wrong idea.)Clearer now?

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 10:03 a.m. CST

    Oh there goes IndustryKiller....

    by D.Vader

    Making friends by insulting everyone who likes Avatar in his very first post...

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 10:13 a.m. CST

    And as for Flicka...

    by kisskissbangbang

    ...there's nothing I would like better than to talk about Avatar at some length, but last night I was too wiped, as evidenced by saying to IndustryKiller that Jake didn't destroy the tree that killed him, when what I meant was the tree that didn't let Neytiri kill him. And I'm not much better this morning, so I'll give it a shot tonight, unless I decide a full 8 hours of sleep might be in order; in which case, I'll post the review Tuesday. But here's a spoiler: as with you, the experience was so transporting, it's hard to be objective about the film. Maybe waiting till tomorrow will help with that, too. <p>In the meantime, it's dealing with work & the chaos Mardi Gras makes of this town. Just hope I get back in time for Chuck, HowIMYM & 24. (Oh, and thanks for the kind words of concern, Flicka. As Heinlein once said, it's great to be back.)

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 11:11 a.m. CST

    ...holding our breath BangBang...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...and don't worry, I'm not any of those famous guys. Most likely you would only have seen my work if you have a particular interest in picture books...about six thousand books come out each year...that's a lot of static to cut through.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 12:50 p.m. CST

    Heh, you know me D. Vader :), Ringraith....

    by IndustryKiller!

    that point of view I can understand. You're absolutely right, Avatar IS a joe six pack popcorn film and no I don't think there is anything wrong at all with enjoying it on that level. I just wish more people were like you and could admit that. Just enjoy it on the level you enjoy Transformers. And for the record I never meant to imply Nolan or Favreau are the best directors working (we'll see how Inception turns out though) just that they happened to make two excellent genre films that also did very very well at the B.O.<P>As for the performances, I totally disagree, particularly with one Mr. Sam Worthington. First of all can someone hire this fuckin guy an accent coach. I'm not usually a stickler about this, but his accent was CONSTANTLY teetering between Australian and English, it was incredibly frustrating. Secondly the guy has no sense of passion, delivering a flat one note performance that reminded me a lot of Adrien Greniers character on Entourage. The man is a charisma void. It mystifies me this guy beat out hundreds of other actors. The rest of the actors get stuck with one dimensional computer geeks or army guys (with one unreasonable corporate hack for good measure!), it makes it tough to judge the acting because there's nothing to actually act. The only one who comes away clean is Zoe Saldana, she gets the cliche warrior native chick but at least her performance feels alive, like she actually has something at stake.<P>Ringraith I'm not criticizing Camerons technique as a filmmaker throughout his career, just this one film. Over his career he's been an absolute titan of craft, truly one of the best of all time, which is what makes Avatar so bizarre. Someone said above that the action comes out of the story, really? Because when Jake gets chased byt eh space panther it not only comes out of nowhere, but is incredibly reminiscent of both Star Trek and Episode 1. Same goes for giant random flying dragon that chases them later int eh film. And neither of those scenes are terribly exciting or have anything at stake. We kn ow no one is going to die, so the excitment has to come from whatever quick thinking they use to get away, and that quick thinking just ends up being....they get away. They don't do anything particularly brilliant, they just run to the edge of wherever monster x, y, or z can go. And the space battle at the end, which I was expecting to be amazing and alive with all kinds of things I would never expect, turns out to be a pretty tepid head to head fight, hitting all the necessary tropes and never really going any extra mile in it's shot composition or it's choreography. It kind of surprised me that Jakes plan was to more or less just attack them head on, I thought for sure Cameron would go with some kind of "occupying force" allegory where the natives make full use of their surroundings and use unconventional techniques, but nope, not really. And the last fight with Quarritch was standard "fist fight with the bad guy" sort of stuff. Actually it reminded me a lot of the end of Iron Man (the worst part of that film) in that respect.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 12:57 p.m. CST


    by theplant


  • Feb. 8, 2010, 1:32 p.m. CST

    good grief

    by lopan

    i read about half of this thread. i'm not about to read all of it. not sure why people insist on calling out JC for this movie. obviously he made the story overly simplistic not to appeal to the great unwashed masses, but because the technological achievements were the focus of the movie. write a quick treatment, good vs evil, a few stock character types, a big battle at the end. done... now i'm going to go build a new camera and concentrate on making it a sweet visual experience. i don't really see any problem with that. anyone expecting to go into avatar to get enlightened has the wrong idea. i saw it, thought it was decent, had a great time with the EXPERIENCE, and now i'm going to move on with my life. i didn't need it to be TDK or LOTR or star wars or (insert universally beloved action picture) to get a kick out of it for 160 minutes and then carry on with life. furthermore JC has never been big on subtlety and nuance; even in something like the abyss or aliens, which i think are two great fucking movies, shit is pretty black and white. and who cares? they are 100% entertaining nonetheless. i don't understand why someone can't enjoy all types of cinema including a movie like avatar which is clearly not intended to be a hell of a lot more than eye candy. i like fucking orson welles pictures, and truffaut and kung fu and shitty horror movies and popcorn action flicks and ingmar bergman and jacques teti and james cameron. and why shouldn't i? most rational movie buffs can or SHOULD be able to watch something like avatar and say "well sweet, that was a good time," without getting their panties twisted that it wasn't the type of flick that could be taken apart in fucking cahiers du cinema or discussed at length by peter bogdanovich on the god damned IFC. get a grip. it was a decent (and to all but the most picky, a visually spectacular) action flick. time to move on kids.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 1:37 p.m. CST

    This is a joke right

    by theplant

    You're kidding us Lopan ? DK and LOtherings are piece of craps movies, without only the CGI being their saving grace. In comparison, Avatar is like Hamlet. DK and Otherings cater to all the talkbacks idiots by explaining it all via the characters. As Kevin Smith said, LOTR are 8 hours of people walking.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 2:40 p.m. CST


    by The Ringwraith

    YOU'RE kidding us right? I'm pretty certain you're odd fucking one out here, mate.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 2:42 p.m. CST


    by xalener

    It’s like a woman thinking about having another child. If she really had a clear memory of exactly what happened last time she wouldn’t do it.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 3:21 p.m. CST


    by lopan

    way to miss the point of my post champ. my intention was not to argue the greatness of lord of the rings - you could sub in any other action/adventure pic that meets your lofty, lofty standards for what i was trying to get at there. now as for you ending your highly intelligent post with a piece of craps kevin smith quote to REALLY put the screws to me, that's a joke right?

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 5:01 p.m. CST

    Industry Killer, why would I even waste my time

    by Turd_Has_Risen_From_The_Grave

    addressing your comments directly? I have already laid down many lengthy, detailed and evidential arguments in favor of Avatar in dozens of past talkbacks. Why bother rehashing them for the blind, deaf and dumb? I'm sure they can still be found in the archives if anyone cares to look them up; if not, don't have the gall to accuse to me of trolling or sniping. <p>As someone else said above, why bother repeating these arguments ad nauseam for people like yourself who are clearly unmoored from reality or who challenge even the most self-evident and common sense assertions made here? Its downright tiresome, not to mention repetitive, since, as I said before, many have already given excellent 'defenses' of Avatar, some of which contain convincing and demonstrable arguments that correlate with my own. <p>On the other hand, I have yet to see much that convinces from your end, and I say that with as much impartiality as I can muster. If anyone is an arrogant instigator here, it is you, and the rest of your wretched hating brethren. If I'm curt with or dismissive of you, then I'm simply giving you a taste of your own medicine, and it cannot be claimed that it isn't well deserved.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 5:30 p.m. CST

    Yeah Yack I've got no time

    by white_vader

    for no motherfuckin' Jellies on my motherfuckin' arms, to grossly Paraphrase "the man"!

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 5:34 p.m. CST

    Kisskiss I gotcha now.

    by white_vader

    That makes plenty of sense. <p> I like Dave McKean's picture book (as opposed to comic book) stuff too. But then hell, I love everything he's ever done...

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 6:52 p.m. CST

    No offense taken Turd

    by IndustryKiller!

    Look man you don't want to post an argument that's fine by me. I don't know what these phantom previous arguments you've made in the past are but I'm offering you an opportunity and you're straight up slinking away from it. You're laziness notwithstanding I don't believe you for a second and I've got no reason to start. And I haven't taken anything you've said as dismissive so no need to apologize, you're the one backing down after all. So don't sweat it man, my confidence is rock solid. It seems to me with all you've posted so far you could have used you're time more wisely by actually talking about the film Avatar, I'd be much more interested in hearing that.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 7:28 p.m. CST

    Wow, does that paragraph trick really work?

    by CountryBoy

    Does it work?<P>Does it work?

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 7:33 p.m. CST


    by CountryBoy

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 10:03 p.m. CST

    Industry killer:

    by BendersShinyAss

    I think i see what you'r doing - you want to encourage praise of the film via bagging out the best bits in the hope someone will re-interate exactly why those scenes aren't bad but are in fact grand! <p>well here I am<p>Sam Worthingtons performance - you seem to have a problem with him and his accent. well dude, the guys australian. his australian accent will show thru, it's not a fault, it's a common fact. even robert downy jr - the best australian accented copyer i've seen from an american faulters. Even nero in star trek let slip the aussie. it's because we have a different use of vowels. in some respects, a better use. it can be tricky and awkward to try and convince ourselves that the 'other way' is better. deal with it. and welcome to the world of multi-culturalism. on top of that, he was a terrific contrast to the navi who were more slender and tribal looking. the point of the avatars were to look alien and different from the real natives. kudos to cameron for this! <p>Of the chase scenes, the six legged pantha and the giant last shadow dragon - these serve crucially to the story... how could you miss it? our first view of the rhino creature gave us an indication that jake was in danger, but it turned out to be a big giant pussy when jake stood his ground. but when that pantha crept out of the bushes, it was pretty clear THIS was the real danger. and lets not ignor when that thing stood up on it's hind 4 legs. i heard audible gasps and i was right there with those appreciative folks - that pantha looked fucking wicked!! <p> now i can agree with you on the chase it gave jake. it was all a bit too close and shakey and i did expect a little better from cameron in that respect. but it was only for a minute and i guess he wanted it to feel dangerous. but as for it being a pointless chase? hell no. that pantha, for all artistic purposes HAD jake, were it not for his back pack which he lost and then his non second guessing jump into a rocky waterfall. THAT was how jake got seperated from the science team! something commonly refered to as a plot thickener. <p>as for the 'last shadow' dragon chase, while i was watching, i didnt once think 'what is the point of this chase?' i was thinking 'look how fucking real this looks!!" and it served as what is commonly known as a 'plot seed' giving us an introduction to this new creature which would become jake's saving grace at the end of the film when all hope seemed lost and he himself was outcasted with seemingly no chance of redemption. <p> and the last fight with Quarritch was NOT stardard fist fight stuff. in fact, there wasn't much fight at all. it was struggle against a tougher enemy. there was only a small fight, but quarritch didn't simply go punch up, he tried to explain to jake that he was not a native, and then he turned his back on him, instead focusing on jake himself in the avatar bed. the look on jakes face was priceless, and when he picked him up by the hair and was about to stick him with the blade, it was natyri who was able to then get a clean shot at him. it wasnt drawn out, but it was definately exciting and it was the several brief moments of "shit, hows he going to get out of this one" which made that fight so much more enthralling than anything michael bay could have come up with. i guess thats why people say cameron came back to school other filmmakers on how it's done.<p>what else you got buddy? I'm enjoying the 'deconstruction' of this brilliant film!

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 10:54 p.m. CST

    Australian accent will show through?!

    by white_vader

    Well yeah he's pretty shit at covering it up, but I wouldn't even bring that up as a point, especially not to defend yourself. Do ex-marines have to be born in the States like the President? I don't recall them saying he was from anywhere in particular in that film. Worthington was strangling a sort of faux-bronx accent from what I could gather (when he wasn't forgetting it completely), but hey, even the chick slipped a few times. <p> I think Worthington is the exception that proves the rule that generally Aussie actors are pretty great at accents. Most of the ones big in Hollywood make their living doing American and English ones to the point that most people don't realise where they're from. And we've all heard the stories about these actors going into auditions with accent in place from the moment they walk in the door so they'll be considered the same way as everyone else and it not be a "well can they do the accent" issue. "Well dude the guy's Australian" is a strange defence, no offence. "Well dude, the guy's not the greatest actor" might be more appropriate. Hell. my kids carry on whole conversations in fairly faultless American accents because our TV is so saturated with it. They actually think when you play you're SUPPOSED to have an American accent! But then, they're crazy. <p> So with Worthington, it's not that simple. On the one hand, it's not a fault as I don't remember anything in the finished film saying he was out-and-out all-American. On the other hand it is a fault, because like Tom Cruise, he can't do a decent fucking accent. In T4 it didn't bother me so much either, but seeing as John Connor was absolutely American in the roles before him, I can see why it's piss some off. No-one came before him in Avatar though. <p> That's as far as I'm going to enter into this ongoing saga. Personally I felt that both sides had valid points when it comes to the film's story strengths and weaknesses, but I'm going back to my arty mates and the 'b' plot of this tb. Cheers. <p> P.S. "non second guessing"?! WTF dude?!

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 6:15 a.m. CST

    Oh fuck me!

    by white_vader

    You're so right Ace! I'm a fucking amateur - but it was the lights! The lights! Goes to show how much I care about that shitty sequel I guess. But it was the lights! Fuck! Fuuuuuck!!

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 7:15 a.m. CST

    Like the majority of people, I love Avatar!

    by arjaybee

    I've got no problem with people who don't like Avatar because I know you can't please everybody and people go to the movies for different reasons. I love to escape the everyday world when I go to the movies, but I like an occasional documentary or 'real-world' drama like Precious or The Hurt Locker. I think most people love to escape though...just look at the top ten all-time list and its all fantasy/sci fi (actually most of the top 50). So most of the top 50 films that people see in droves aren't Martin Scorsese dramas or Shakespeare and there are people who prefer that type of entertainment and will never see the merits of Star Wars or Star Trek or Aliens or ET or Avatar. I like all kinds of movies, but I, like most moviegoers, prefer fantasy/sci fi. I said that because I don't have a problem with people that don't like Avatar because it's just not their kind of movie (my wife has no interest in seeing Avatar and I don't attempt to get her to go even though I've seen it 4 times) I just think that a minority of fantasy/sci fi fans (some of who who frequent Ain't It Cool News) are critical of Avatar on points that they give movies that they claim to like a pass on. I also think that many of the "haters" are critical because for some reason they're bothered if one movie makes more money or is more popular or is more critically acclaimed than some other movie that they's insane, but I think it is at the root of some of the "hate". Case in point, many people who couldn't stand the fact that Titanic was far and away the top box-office movie made it a point to trash James Cameron and Avatar before its release...they were chomping at the bit to knock Cameron off his "high horse" from the time the first teaser trailer for Avatar hit. They were pulling for the movie to flop...couldn't wait to tear Cameron a new one. So much for that. How can you criticize Sam Worthington's accent in Avatar but give Bale a pass on his gravel voiced Dark Knight? That's either Bale's fault or the director's for letting him do it.<p> I like Avatar as much, if not more than, most of the top 20 blockbusters of all-time! Look at the list...I like it better than Titanic, Spiderman, Phantom Menace, Shrek 2, Transformers, etc.<p> I like Jake Sulley...he's a likable guy on his own made sympathtic due to his war injury and his "fish out of water" relationship with the "science geeks" who trained with his twin and his military background which relates him to the RNA "grunts". I love the scene where he wiggles his toes in his avatar, goes out for a run an wiggles his toes in the Pandoran soil). His first conversations with Quarritch and Grace. The Thanator chase, his first encounter with Neytiri and his visit to Hometree. My favorite sequence is the "first flight" section followed closely by the dramatic attack on Hometree...amazing and epic! In fact, most of Avatar is amazing and epic in story, visuals, sound, direction. The last time I saw Avatar was in IMAX 3D which was without a doubt the best moviegoing experience and presentation I have ever seen and heard...almost like seeing it for the first time again.<p> A ton of people like the Twilight movies or the Transformer movies and I don't so being hugely popular doesn't equate to greatness, but I believe the majority of moviegoers got it right with is an epic flim and belongs with The Dark Knight and The LOTR films and the Star Wars films as a movie that is not only very popular but also very good.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 9:42 a.m. CST

    Best scene in the film...

    by REVENGE_of_FETT

    For me it was hands down "Eowa heard you! EOWA HEARD YOU!" And seeing the rhino things run over the up-to-then-seemingly-indestructible power suits.</p><p>Fucking GOOSEBUMPS!

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:04 a.m. CST

    I really enjoyed that part too Fett

    by D.Vader

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 4:35 p.m. CST

    My last apology was for the "professionals" out there

    by white_vader

    Same as my handle honours that fabled thread.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 1:09 a.m. CST

    Flicka, if you're around...

    by kisskissbangbang won't be seeing that Avatar review I promised tonight. I've been working on it, but I got sidetracked by Lost and its associated talkback (I'd almost forgotten they switched it to Tuesday night), and now I'm tired enough that I'm making stupid mistakes (I made 2 in the Lost tb). I beg your kind indulgence, and swear it'll show here, or in the Copernicus one, Wednesday night. As Bullwinkle J. Moose used to say, This time for sure.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 11:58 a.m. CST


    by tradeskilz

    I'd bet you'd score a perfect ten as an 'economist' type person on one of those personality type tests. Its nothing wrong being of that mindset, its just very uncommon. In a room of 30 poeple, maybe one or two will score high in that section. So you see, you are a minority. Cant please everyone. One question on the test is that a bridge has burned down and the only way to get over the river is using this one guys boat. The boat guy offers to taxi the girls over so she can see her husband in exchange for sexual favors. Most people will rate the boat guy as a total douche but there is always someone who thinks the boat guy is justified in his actions. He is after all offering a solution and is in his right to try and negotioate a 'fair trade'. Sometimes its just logical to try and appeal to the broad masses. It doesnt mean one type or another is smarter for liking/not liking something.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 6:19 a.m. CST

    arjaybee speaks the truth.listen to him.

    by ominus

    well said sir,really well said. <p>arjaybee about your wife: <p>i think you should persuade her to go and watch the film.a friend of mine was trying to persuade his wife for weeks to come and see the film (he already had seen it twice).eventully she watched the film,she didnt get nuts with it like her husband,but she really enjoyed it,because of the love story in i propose to try and get her to watch the film,i am completely sure she will like it.if not,tell her that it was my stupid idea to persuade her to see it. ;)

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 6:30 a.m. CST

    for me my favourite scene,for some strange reason,

    by ominus

    was the scene when the Navi tried to save Grace.i dont know why maybe because of the tribal,psychedelic atmosphere of this scene,the way it was directed,the chanting,the music,the colors,i dont know why but i really liked the scene.i mean i really was feeling in that scene, inside the dark room of the cinema,like i was in some other different level of experience.i wonder how it would be if i had used lsd during that scene. <p>the only thing i am furious about,is that they didnt include the music piece of that scene in the released official soundtrack of the movie.WHAT THE FUCK???

  • March 25, 2010, 12:44 p.m. CST


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  • March 25, 2010, 12:45 p.m. CST


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  • March 26, 2010, 9:43 a.m. CST

    Jeez, more with the fake accounts?

    by orcus