Posts Tagged ‘Avatar’

Active 3-D’s Award Ceremony for 2010

January 3, 2011

Whilst donning my tuxedo, I must apologise for my absence of the last few months, sadly necessitated by the restructuring of my company. Let us, however, consider last year’s 3-D releases, blow some raspberries, and dish out out some trophies, shall we? Shhh… the lights are dimming…
[Some random dancing is followed by a respectful hush as the announcer is tracked to centre stage by a follow-spot. He isn’t famous, but that’s a budgetary issue… He begins with the evening’s announcements:]

First up, is the…

Active 3-D 2010 Award for the 3-D film that was:


Tron: Legacy – it was heartening to see original stars Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner return for the sequel, and the film contained some eye-ticklingly fanciful virtual environments – and a strong, driving soundtrack by Daft Punk. Its storyline wasn’t up to much, however, and its premise – that software should be available to all at no cost – flies brutally in the face of the film studios’ fight against piracy. Uncle Walt would’ve been horrified.

"And this pedal here accelerates box office receipts..."


That wasn’t as classy as one had expected.

Here, then, the…

Active 3-D 2010 Award for the 3-D film that was:


A tie, ladies and gentlemen:

Piranha 3-D – sadly, it wasn’t the tongue-in-cheek tribute to animal horror flicks that I had expected, but its crass attempts to please the older teen market at all costs were frequently laugh-out-loud ridiculous. Unintentionally so, of course. Richard Dreyfuss makes a funny cameo upfront which has all the movie buffs commenting that “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”, and its gasp-inducing, outrageous and counter-intuitive last few seconds were worth the price of admission alone!

Shrek Forever After was an entertaining-enough romp. I really believed that it didn’t deserve the vilification it received from so many loyal Shrek fans, despite the fact that its plot premise – of Shrek’s midlife crisis – was a bit heavy for junior audiences, and probably a bit depressing for the parents that took their kids to see the film.



With some trepidation, we approach the

Active 3-D 2010 Award for THE CURSE OF 2010

Without a shadow of doubt, this goes to Post-production 2-D to 3-D conversion, which plagued titles such as Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender. These were veritable crimes against humanity, whose stereoscopic cruelty was matched only by their godawful scripts and woeful performances.


Moving on to the …

Active 3-D 2010 Award for THE WORST 3-D MOVIE OF THE YEAR

Where do I begin? Jackass 3-D for its relentlessly juvenile celebration of bodily functions? It’s tempting, but then I’d be overlooking some other, even more depressing, screen-time wasters…

I’d love to choose the re-release (with additional yawn-inducing footage!) of Avatar, but I’ve already roundly slagged off that release (at length) in this blog.

Could it be that disappointing animated effort, Alpha and Omega? Close… but no cigar. Nope; the winner is a tie between… the envelope, please… The Last Airbender and The Clash of the Titans. Finding the biggest offender between them is akin to having to choose between Tuberculosis and Hepatitus…

Please insert brain here. (The Last Airbender)


And now… the big one; the…

Active 3-D 2010 Award for  THE BEST 3-D MOVIE OF THE YEAR

Without a doubt, Toy Story 3-D. This funny, moving and highly engaging franchise-closer was not only the best 3-D movie of the year, in this reviewer’s opinion, but it was one of the finest movies of the year, in whatever dimensional package!

To add to the thrill of it all, its release was preceded by reworked, now-3-D versions of Toy Story 1 and 2. Unlike post-production 3-D conversions of live-action 2-D movies, computer-generated animated movies are easy to convert into comfortably-viewed 3-D releases, as they are originated within a 3-D environment.

Toy Story 3-D beat out other strong contenders, such as the charming How to Train Your Dragon, the moving, very funny and stereoscopically exciting Despicable Me, and the dramatically sound Megamind 3-D.


NO!!! Say it ISN’T TRUE!!!

March 12, 2010

It can’t be true… it shouldn’t be true... but it is: James Cameron and 20th Century Fox are talking about re-releasing ‘Avatar’ later this year.

As if the whole tiresome affair wasn’t too bum-numbingly long to start with, they’re tipping in another 40 minutes of Cameron’s self-importance. That’s THREE HOURS AND TWENTY MINUTES of clichéd American Baddies Vs The Cool Spiritual Blue Dudes!

There is only one thing scarier than James Cameron’s ego, and that is the fact that there are lots of people out there who are happy to feed it!

AVATAR : “How do you feel about betraying your own people?”

December 17, 2009

The civilised West, according to James Cameron, is all guns and no roses...

There’s a point in ‘Avatar’ when the Bad Grizzly American Military Dude hisses at the Ex-Marine-Now-Newly-Spiritual-Avatar-Dude, “How do you feel about betraying your own people?” (Or words to that effect.) This is the very question I’d like to direct at the film’s creator, James Cameron. But before we get there, let me rewind a little…

Had I ever suspected Cameron to be a filmmaker of any gravity (and I hadn’t), I would certainly have been disabused of this notion upon witnessing that over-hyped yet empty vessel, ‘Titanic’. This high-budget melodrama may well have risen at the box office, but it sank in my estimation. The whole, effects-laden mish-mash served merely to support Cameron’s political agenda. If the actual ship itself had listed so far to the left, it would never have left harbour!

Think about it: Kate Winslett plays Rose, who betrays the “evil people” (i.e. the wealthy and educated classes) by getting involved in a forbidden romance with Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio), who is one of the “noble, decent folk” (i.e. the poor). The gun-slinging villain (played by Billy Zane) is one of the wealthy folk, of course, reinforcing the film’s message: i.e. Tuxedo = Bad Guys, Tattered Rags = Good Guys.

Mr Cameron is, in my eyes, a great technician, which is why, when he dredges up this barnacled epic for a 3-D release in the near future, I’ll be there – just for the thrill of stepping aboard that fated ocean liner in living 3-D. I’m quite aware of the lengths the man went to in the interests of historical authenticity. (By “historical accuracy”, I refer to the attention paid to details of the ship’s interiors and such, and not to the alleged mistreatment of the “lower classes” on board.)

We also know that Cameron spent years developing 3-D systems that would help him put the ‘Avatar’ that he has visualised on the screen. Which is why was I excitedly waiting for the lights to dim at last week’s press preview of ‘Avatar’. As a lover of the 3-D format, I came to the conclusion that this film would be the technical yardstick against which all 3-D films would be measured for some years to come.

I didn’t, however, walk away from the film on a high. Why? Because we can’t watch films in a philosophical vacuum, and the political philosophy behind ‘Avatar’ didn’t sit well with me, just as it hadn’t done in ‘Titanic’. I’m afraid, therefore, that I shall be drifting somewhat off-topic for this particular film review, and ask that you kindly indulge me – or else switch to my equally engaging articles below, which adhere to the 3-D agenda of this blog! 😉

James Cameron: a great technician, but when will they find him a decent scriptwriter?

James Cameron - a great technician, but won't somebody please connect him to a decent scriptwriter?

It’s the clichéd drone of the Hollywood scriptwriter, and it generally goes like this: Educated and/or wealthy people are evil and ‘exploitative’, whilst unsophisticated and/or poor people are virtuous. The annals of movie Bad Guy history are littered with Evil Businessmen and Exploitative Developers, and if you should happen upon a bum or tramp in a Hollywood movie, it’s a safe bet that he’ll be the very font of kindness and old-world sagacity. The extension of this philosophy (which is plainly evident in ‘Avatar’) is that all of civilised western society is evil, exploitative and violent, and that all primitive societies are ones in which the people live in peaceful coexistence with one another and nature.

‘Avatar’ presents us with avaricious and exploitative Americans who are after a ridiculously-named metal which exists on a planet populated by peace-loving blue people who live in harmony with one another and the animal kingdom – but just happen to have treacherously poisonous arrows handy for the day that they decide to get nasty… In order to extract the metal, the Americans have to uproot a holy tree belonging to said tribe. I told you to stand by for clichés, didn’t I? The Evil Materialist Exploiters vs The Peace-Loving Spiritual Earth People.

Cameron, in his typically unsubtle fashion, is presenting us with An Analogy! Is he talking about how early American settlers fought Native Americans, or is he alluding to the war in Iraq? Going by the adornments worn by the tribal folk, I’m guessing that Cameron is alluding to the Native American issue – with potential Iraq points as a spin-off.

Let’s just get a few things straight, however. A culture of war and violent conflict had existed amongst Native American tribes before the arrival of the settlers – just as it appears to have done in every known human culture. Territorial battles seem, regrettably, to be hard-wired into our DNA. The only “crime” of the North American settlers lay in their weapons being more powerful. I’m not suggesting for a second that there aren’t noble and beautiful elements to Native American, or other, tribally-oriented cultures. But then, those uplifting elements also exist in western culture, and I’m weary of Hollywood magnifying only the brutality of the west, and only the nobility of older cultures – especially when their brutality was merely limited by their technology, and not by their inclinations.

What we have here, folks, is a cheesy sci-fi rehash of Pocahontas, with all those cold-hearted western villains who haven’t learnt how to “paint with all the colours of the wind”.

Primitive, less westernised cultures, are, according to Mr Cameron, a peace-loving, tree-hugging lot. Baloney, I say!

This is a construct of such fairytale simplicity that it’s risible. Learned anthropologists will tell you that primitive tribes would migrate from one area to another once they had stripped the earth of its nutrients and killed all the edible animals. And, if two tribes coveted the same fertile stretch of land, the weapons would be out for the bloodiest conflict.

In Native American culture, some tribes burned down entire forests in their quest to make hunting easier. Entire herds of buffalo were stampeded over cliffs, with most of the buffalo being left there to rot. Tribal cultures have hunted species to extinction without any western help. So, these earlier human settlements weren’t quite as touchy-feely or “green” as popular culture would suggest!

Civilisations in the western world have extended the boundaries of science, however, and this has allowed us to live longer, more comfortable lives, and gain a greater understanding of the world around us. And the civilised west has provided great humanitarian aid to the developing or underdeveloped world, both in terms of funding (which is invariably rerouted by corrupt Third World leaders) and material assistance. Yet the civilised west continues to be characterised in Hollywood scripts as a shameless and violent exploiter of weaker cultures.

This “spiritualism” of the blue tribe that the film glorifies is nothing more than the superstition of primitive tribes. Of course, western societies also have their superstitions. They’re simply called “religion”, but religion has, for the large part, taken a back seat to rationalism in western society, so, when the sun appears in the morning, most of us understand this to be a result of the alignment of planets and stars, rather than some mighty sun-god bestowing favor upon his minions by shifting the ‘sun piece’ on his enormous chess board.

Contemporary Hollywood scriptwriters extract a terrible revenge on those who achieve. Scientists, successful businessmen – in short, anyone who’s made something of his or her life – is reviled. The bums, the dropouts, and the underachievers of the world, are funny and endearing “noble savages” in the world of the average Hollywood scriptwriter.

Most contemporary Hollywood scriptwriters scorn the very qualities that made America great.

All the qualities that made America great are now being positioned as vices...

And all those qualities that made the US great – such as an enterprising spirit, and the will to educate oneself – are now being positioned as vices by the vendors of popular culture.

So, yes, Mr Cameron, you are indeed betraying your people with your politically correct stereotyping. You betray the pioneering spirit that made your country great and you betray the institutions in the west which have not only taken education, technology and health services to inconceivable heights, but have used this knowledge to assist and uplift needy communities around the world. Your spectacular, visually rich movie, with all its breathtaking stereoscopic effects, is unable to conceal its cheesy, lefty roots…

‘Avatar’ Hype Continues Unabated

September 1, 2009

avatar_promo_artworkThe USA’s AMC cinema chain has decided to start accepting bookings for their December 8th midnight premieres of James Cameron’s sci-fi spectacular Avatar – on the basis of the excitement that accompanied the recent public screenings of snippets from the film.

In the meantime, some mischievous YouTube wit has taken footage from the German drama Downfall (in which Adolf Hitler berates his men), and added new, ‘improved’ subtitles, which have the dictator rant on about James Cameron’s lack of judgement in making Avatar. (This same film clip has already been used numerous times, for various wags’ satirical purposes.)

Some journalists have asked whether such ridicule will bring the film into disrepute, thereby damaging its chances at the box office. I seriously doubt that, however. All it willl do, in my opinion, is add to the dense cloud of hype that’s already gathering around the movie.

As Oscar Wilde was apparently alleged to have said (though apparently didn’t), “The only thing worse than being spoken about is *not* being spoken about…”

The ‘Avatar’ teaser, revealed

August 21, 2009
Eyeing December's box office...

Eyeing December’s box office…

Finally, James Cameron’s much-vaunted teaser for his upcoming sci-fi spectacular, Avatar, has been unleashed! I can’t say that I’ve ever been a huge fan of this director’s work, but – quite obviously – I am a 3-D fan.  I’m also aware of the time, money, effort, and cutting-edge 3-D technology that’s been poured into this epic affair. The movie’s being shrewdly marketed – as witness the Mxit cellphone campaign that has attracted hordes of young ‘uns to the teaser screenings held throughout the country this evening.

The show begins with a mercifully brief intro by Cameron, who introduces himself as “Jim Cameron” (so we’re on casual terms, now!). Wisely, he allows the snippets that follow to do most of the ‘talking’.

What’s the movie about, you ask? Who cares? We caught snippets of the storyline, though I suspect that this film will offer little to engage our minds. You can be sure, however, that every technical detail will be beautifully seen to. Cameron, we must not forget, is a kindred spirit (i.e. 3-D geek of note), so there’ll be much on the screen (and off it and behind it!) to keep us enthralled.

Think Jurassic Park and Journey to the Centre of the Earth (the recent 3-D version), and you’ll have a fair idea of what to expect; just that there are heaps more dinosaurs and other prehistoric gnashers stomping about these steamy jungles in full stereoscopic glory. Throw in some cliffhangers (quite literally) and the scene is set for a grand-scale sci-fi romp that I’m almost certain I’ll enjoy – even if I pay no attention to the storyline whatsoever. And if you think that you’ll ever be able to replicate this mammoth adventure in your home theatre, I have bad news indeed for you.