December 12, 2009

Movies Opening This Week: The Elephant in the Room

This week... well, I can't seem to put my finger on the huge, huge movie that's about to oversee release... I mean, it probably wouldn't be much of a big deal if I left out a movie, right?


So okay, perhaps ignoring Avatar would also be like ignoring an elephant in a room. I mean, who hasn't heard of this movie, even at least indirectly? It's pretty much hyped to the point of looking like James Cameron's magnum opus; it's a film that's been 10 years in the making. PR promises something along the lines of "3D like you've never seen it", and while Cameron's track record is very much proven (in case you haven't watched, uhh, I don't know, TITANIC or TERMINATOR?), it's hard not to get skeptical.
Underneath the visuals, there is, of course, a story. Basically, it's about a paralyzed war vet who goes under a certain MRI-scanner-esque machine to possess a new body, which is that of a "Na'vi's". No, they are not a race of fairies, but they are otherwise a race of blue-skinned aliens who are "hard to kill".

Frankly, that first part was pretty Matrix.

Anyway, the reason for this is that the humans want to negotiate with the Na'vi about their rare-on-Earth, abundant-in-Pandora natural resources in a diplomatic way, as the existing process of resource exploitation has led both sides into the brink of war. So yeah, I get it, there's gonna be an environmental message somewhere, but at some point, there's also a very human struggle between fighting for the underdog and giving in to greed and money. That, I think, should at least count for something.
So maybe I'm convinced that Avatar will be a movie of top quality. OK, but are audiences prepared to support the huge financial risk made by Cameron and company? It's gonna be relatively hard to market this to all audiences, especially since Titanic was a huge hit for its romantic aspect, and Terminator for its Arnold aspect. Here, the actors are a bit lesser known. I mean, they've established a name for themselves in the biz, (I mean Sam Rockwell!) but who's really ready for a bit of alien romance? Much less an unfamiliar franchise?

I might be.

If the reviews generally say that the 3D experience truly lives up to the hype, then that reason alone might be a compelling factor to Avatar's marketability. Somewhere down the road, an Avatar trailer will probably include reviewer quotes, really.

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