Tag Archives: You Can’t Intimidate Me – I’ve Worked For James Cameron

When James Cameron met Disney…

…they didn’t agree to make that hard R-rated ‘Mech Minnie Mouse’ movie we’ve all been waiting for.  Shame.

I await the 'Big Mech vs Navi Knife Fight' simulator with barely surprised glee.

In principle, though, they have agreed to incorporate “Avatar” themed attractions into Disney’s suite of theme parks, per this story on Topless Robot.

As you might have guessed, James Cameron is hinting that flight will play a big part in the attraction – due in 2016, after “Avatar 2” and a third movie have appeared in cinemas (the first sequel is due in 2014).

I’m not part of the target demographic for this – unless Disney up and decide to build an attraction in South Yorkshire, there’s almost no chance in Hell that I will ever experience this thing – but I’m sure that spending all day queueing with sugared-up, blue face-painted kids for five minutes of 3D motion simulator ride goodness is not a recipe for madness but, instead, A Really Good Thing To Do.

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“Avatar” – An unbiased, measured review

The Blue Man Group's new member felt somehow different...

I’ve been remiss in updating this blog recently – life, things, the usual excuses all figure in any explanation of my tardiness.

Luckily, I have a reason to post anew – James Cameron’s film “Avatar” is finally here after years of speculation, hype and backlash. And it’s a corker.

Let’s get some caveats out of the way – Cameron’s writing is often clunky, betraying an over-reliance on archetypes in lieu of fully-realised characters. The story is nothing to get too excited about – it is, without doubt, an obvious riff on themes previously seen in “Dances with Wolves”, “Pocahontas”, “The New World”, not to mention a military presence whose reliance on technology and hardware screams ‘Colonial Marines’ during their appearances on screen.

If such things aggrieve you, the environmental meta-text and unsubtle references to Bush Jnr’s ‘War on Terror’ may prove a lecture too far and take you out of the carefully crafted world that Cameron and his technical personnel have wrought – because, let’s get this clear, my reservations and minor annoyances should not distract you from my conviction that “Avatar” is an extraordinary picture – a veritable master work from a director whose grasp of popular entertainment remains gloriously, thrillingly intact.  Whatever else this film may be described as, it is a command performance from Cameron – this is no “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”-style disappointment.

Refreshingly, the acting is top-notch – be it Sam Worthington’s wounded, fallen soldier seeking redemption and freedom on an alien world or Zoe Saldana’s awards calibre turn as a fearless, iconic warrior princess.  Sigourney Weaver’s scientist could have been a sketch in a different movie – her history with Cameron pays off and results in a multi-layered, at times not especially likeable study of a scientist whose ego forces her to make some very hard compromises.  Perhaps best of all is Stephen Lang, as villain Miles Quaritch, whose splendidly evil turn results in a cinematic bad guy to rival  Alan Rickman in “Die Hard”.

The urge to say "Get Away From Him, You Bitch!" was too hard to resist...

I should point out that this review is based on a viewing of the 2D print – this is, of course, the film which promises to be at the vanguard of a 3D revolution in cinema.  And it’s no hypebole to suggest that Cameron’s adventure is every bit as exciting a film in it’s standard configuration as it promises to be in three dimensions.  The scale, the visual splendour, the utterly breathtaking special effects are not short-changed by being viewed in a conventional cinema – far from it.  “Avatar” is Hollywood eye candy of the highest order, no matter what kind of cinema you see it in.

That said, I will be seeing the film’s 3D print at my local multiplex on Monday 22nd December and I hope that it delivers the extra layer of visual information and staging that the initial reviews have suggested it does.  I’ve enjoyed the likes of “Monsters Vs Aliens” and “Beowulf” in the Real D format and I hope that Cameron does something with the presentational possibilities of the medium beyond what we’ve seen to date – I’m looking for dimensionality and scale, perspective and the use of this technology in a storytelling capacity.

It’s hard to tell how this film will do at the box office – it’s not a sequel, a comic book adaptation or a riff on a video game, and has chiefly Cameron’s reputation and back catalogue to attract the floating voter to hand over their money.  There’s a lot of cynicism regarding the movie – not helped by early publicity which seemed to suggest that this film would raise the infirm from their beds, remove pollution from the atmosphere and turn my blue eyes brown.  But that cynicism should hopefully be met convincingly by the end result of Cameron’s labours – this is, at the core, a brilliant exercise in popular entertainment.  It’s an action adventure from a master of the genre – and one can only hope that we won’t have to wait another twelve years for a new Cameron salvo.

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Avatar – $300 million bucks and Fox can’t buy James Cameron musical taste

"Avatar" image (C) 20th Century Fox/Lightstorm EntertainmentThe mind boggles.

As reported by the BBC and the lovely Idolator music blog, James Cameron’s epic 3D Sci Fi adventure “Avatar” has found a theme song.

And it’s sung by Leona Lewis.

As much as I abhor cultural snobbery, is this really a good idea? I can understand that this power ballad gambit worked last time Cameron directed a film – you may well shudder to remember “My Heart Will Go On”, Celine Dion’s Oscar-snaffling uber-epic from “Titanic” – but I find myself wishing that all concerned would move past such safe aural wallpaper and find somebody a bit more interesting than the apparently nice but utterly unremarkable “X-Factor” grad and Simon Cowell SKU, Leona Lewis.

Seems very safe to me – somebody send James Cameron an Imogen Heap album, for the love of Pete!

Here’s the thing – I bow to nobody in my Cameron fandom:  I’ve booked my tickets for “Avatar” on the weekend of release, committed myself to seeing it multiple times over the Christmas holidays in 3D, 2D and maybe even Imax if I can get to Manchester (my nearest decent Imax theatre).  I’ll probably be picking up the game when it comes out and I have a real soft spot for James Horner’s movie scores – this development, though, doesn’t sit well with me, and smacks of overwhelming conservatism.

Conservatism which hopefully won’t intrude into the film itself…

 

 

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