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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 08.20.09] USA movie trailer news scifi action



quietearth: "I woke up for this? I'm going back to bed."

While I let our editor in chief sleep off what was no doubt a late night of movie watching and blog coding, I'll recount a short story for you. About 8 years ago there used to be this movie magazine called "Cinescape." I think they might be long out of business now, but there was an article in one of their issues about "the best scripts in development hell." One of the scripts they featured was Avatar, the long lost James Cameron film deemed too expensive to ever come to fruition. Like most film fans of the Star Wars generation I became absolutely obsessed with the idea of James Cameron making a full blown space opera like Avatar and I actually discovered sites like AICN based on Avatar news they had posted (I remind you this is a LONG time ago).

So here we are, almost ten years since I first read about Avatar and the wait is almost over. The first teaser trailer is finally before us and, while I reserve the right to be too critical of what we're seeing until I view it on a 70 foot screen in 3D, I'm certainly on the fence about some of what we're being shown here. Did Cameron, like Zemekis, get drunk on computer graphics and forget all the practical tricks he learned making FX look amazing in low budget films like Aliens?

So far, I'm definitely impressed with the future human world Cameron has created. The military tech is classic Cameron. Pandora, the alien world, looks vast and sweeping but too much of it looks like a PC game to me, with characters seeming to have no joints in their bodies, their movements flowing like water rather than like real creatures of flesh and bone. After viewing the trailer, some people are referring to Avatar as a "grown up Pixar movie." Well, I hate Pixar movies so this is not a good thing in my book. I also read a commenter say that it looks "Jar Jar Binks bad" but the weird thing is, if you go back and watch some of that Binks footage from Episode I, Jar Jar actually looks sort of better than a lot of what I'm seeing here. Seriously.

I've watched it three or four times now and I'm finding it improves once the initial shock of WTF wears off.

But anyway, watch the teaser after the break and let us know what you think.



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PhantomSpacecop (8 years ago) Reply

Well, the mystery is definitely significantly diminished now, but on account of that looking like the best damn video game EVAR...I still wanna see it.

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soma (8 years ago) Reply

Oh no. I don't know how I feel about this. It looked really good at the start. But then they turned into silly looking blue things. EH? Come again? I wouldn't want to make a film for 10 years and then produce this...

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thejamminjabber (8 years ago) Reply

Not sure what to think about this. Oh wait, yes I am:

http://thejamminjabber.com/2009/08/20/avatar-trailer-ridiculously-awesome-or-awesomely-ridiculous/

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Matt (8 years ago) Reply

I couldn't agree more with this early opinion. It looks too CGI for my taste. Let's hope it looks better on the big screen.

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Damob (8 years ago) Reply

Too. Much. CGI.

But because it's Cameron, I'm prepared to hope against hope.

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Jonas (8 years ago) Reply

This is a tough one to judge. My first reaction to the trailer was that I was extremely underwhelmed. But I started re-watching the trailer and I have to say it looks pretty good. If the movie wasn't by James Cameron and had been so ridiculously hyped the last couple of years I would probably think it was the coolest thing ever. As it is now I feel dissapointed at how human the aliens are and that everything looks so obviously CGI. But the thing is it's supposedly the new 3D-effect that will make it all go into the uncanny valley of looking like it's real. You can't really get the whole visual feel of the movie without watching it in 3D as it was intended. In the end I will have to ignore the hype and just realize this will be pocahontas as a super-epic space movie set on an entirely alien world. Seriously, if this wasn't so hyped this would be the coolest thing ever and it will probably look a 1000 times better in 3D. (I still wish the aliens wasn't so human though)

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Phoebe (8 years ago) Reply

I would think this was great if it came out 10 years ago. =P

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bad dog (8 years ago) Reply

I love movies, but I'm not a film junkie that follows them from scripts to completion, so I was able to look at the trailer hype-free and with no expectations. My impression is I think the whole concept looks cool. At first, I was thrown off a little by the graphic look--it didn't strike me so much as a video game as one of those films like 300 or Skymaster and the World of Tomorrow or whatever it was called. Once I got settled into it, though, I thought it looked great. Looking forward to seeing it.

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Anonymous (8 years ago) Reply

I was completely skeptical about this movie and I didn't understand the huge buzz at all, after all the man directed two movies in 18 years and one of them was Titanic! rue Lies wasn't that good either.
So maybe this is why I do like the trailer, and I think this is just a sad case of Postpartum depression with all the fans that were really expecting this. It is clearly not meant to be shown on small computer screen and the film will have its effect in theaters.
It's good that they have free screening in theaters tomorrow, I think people will change their opinions after seeing it on giant screen.

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sonaboy (8 years ago) Reply

once they started riding dragons I completely disconnected. not looking good to me. Cameron needs to get back into his deep sea sub and just immerse himself in advanced camera tech. He's much more useful there.

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Votre (8 years ago) Reply

I was fine with it until the inevitable Transformer-type Battle-Bots showed up. After that, the whole thing started looking just like an extended video game ‘cut scene.’

Interesting to note how quickly the realism declines once the non-humans show up. Doing a believable sentient alien is a lot harder than most people think. Noble effort- but no cigar.

The other qualm I have is the fact that the producers are loading in too many non-congruent elements. When you’re doing an imaginative story, most times the story universe can only hold one ‘miracle’ at a time if it’s going to allow the audience to be able to suspend disbelief. You can do tech OR magic. You can have aliens OR gods. You can have flying saucers OR dragons. But you can’t do both without looking like an amateur comic book knock-off.

Right now it looks like Halo meets Final Fantasy meets…well, you get the idea.

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Anonymous (8 years ago) Reply

Initially i was not impressed;

1. I thought the background music to the trailer was ok but other trailers released this years had better trailer music compared to Avatar.
2. You have to be careful how you use CGI especially in the forest. If too much CGI is used, you fall in the trap of turning the movie into a video game. What is wrong with using natural forest ?

3. The spaceship design looks simple. They could have made an effort to make the spaceship more sophisticated.

4. Since i was not very impressed with the trailer. I think its great he made a sci-fi movie instead of a drama/titanic movie. And yes the movie looks epic and grand, but i'm still not sold on the CGI.

5. Since this is only my first impression to be honest, please don't judge the final movie until you see it in the cinema in 3D. The final product might be great when you combine the storyline and 3D.

6. Please don't make the next Mad Max movie all CGI, keep it old school ;)

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Jonas (8 years ago) Reply

Ah crap, I just realized I used the term uncanny valley totally wrong in my last comment there. I feel a bit embarrassed.. :S

Anyway, I've re-watched the trailer now several times and my feelings are so damn mixed. The movie goes from being awesome to really cheesy from clip to clip. I think the main problem are the Na'vi. They look so damn cartoony.. Blue elves with tails? Is that really the best they could do?

I'm still looking forward to the movie like crazy though.

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Anonymous (8 years ago) Reply

He should have gone all out and created a more superior and technological advanced alien race, not the primative ? Na'vi.

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Rook (8 years ago) Reply

So...Tarzan meets Braveheart meets Aliens. Yeah...I'm already losing interest.

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Ellen (8 years ago) Reply

i'm suffering from long term eye-candy overload.

the only thing that is going to make this film work for me is if it has a good story line. i'm long past the stage where slick FX and CGI are enough to make me say "It's a good movie."

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Anonymous (8 years ago) Reply

wow, watching this for sure

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Anglebender (8 years ago) Reply

James Cameron has a penchant for revolutionary filmmaing. Let's just hope the story outshines the tech.

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Anonymous (8 years ago) Reply

I think this could be a good movie. I will watch this for sure. Yeah the cuts in the trailer could be done a little better but I think that the movie will be good. Plus that is the teaser trailer that he is commenting on. i saw that in the theatres and thought that it was okay, but watched the actuall theatrical on yahoo and I am going to see this! I mean hell in my book it is better than going to watch constant remakes of movies (A Christmas Carol, how long are they gonna milk that cow?) At least Cameron is trying to produce something a little different(don't be so nit picky about the robots!)


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