Monday, July 27, 2009


In the wake of the recent bombardment of ComicCon reports across 60% of the blogs I follow, I've been enlightened as to a few things. I'm both more intrigued and less certain about the final season of Lost. I'm super amused at how the Twilight fans managed to so perturb, enrage, and inconvenience all the other nerds.

But the most crystal-clear impression I'm taking away from the ComicCon reports is this: I am so beyond tired of goddamn Avatar.

For those of you who've managed to stay out of the movie blogger loop thus far, Avatar is the movie James Cameron has been developing pretty much since Titanic. Something-something about a faraway planet and scientists and big blue aliens and the environment and Sigourney Weaver and Sam Worthington and blah blah blah. As we've been repeatedly reminded throughout the past week, the story is completely beside the point, because the effects in this movie are fixing to blind us, restore our sight Jesus-style, then knock our eyeballs clean out of our heads, before leading us onto a plane of existence where we won't even need eyeballs anymore because we'll have James Cameron to tell us what we're seeing and how amazing it is.

So, yeah, it's the second coming, not only of special effects and digital filmmaking, but of storytelling itself. And up until this week, my concern was that the film, its backers, and its director were setting a standard so high no film could possibly reach it. On one level, it's hard to imagine James Cameron NOT aggrandizing his own upcoming achievements. But even as far as the beginning of this year, Avatar was going to have to make $300 million and win fourteen Oscars in order to meet expectations.

Of course now, after a week's worth of hosanas coming out of ComicCon, I can officially say I'm good with hearing about Avatar until it opens. Which, by the way, isn't until DECEMBER 18th! How in the world is anybody not going to be sick of this movie by then?

And how much of the movie is going to be seen as old news by then, if we keep getting chunks of preview footage? Twenty-five minutes of the movie screened in San Diego last week, and fifteen more minutes (not sure how much of that is overlap) will screen in IMAX theaters on August 21st. (And if the footage they're leaking keeps betraying the kind of clunky scripting that Movieline's talking about, that can't help matters.)

Again, this would normally be the usual publicity cycle burnout (albeit one starting especially early in the year) , were it not for Cameron's extraordinary self-regard -- which has always been a problem for me -- and the extreme defensiveness of its backers at even the slightest hint that the movie won't be the actual greatest movie ever made. Like, you think I'm exaggerating, but read this open letter CHUD's Devin Faraci got for failing to sufficiently lick Cameron's bright-blue, photo-realistic balls.

I remember thinking the ramp-up for Watchmen was the next level of Dark Knight-style overkill and mass demand for unequivocal adulation. But the Watchmen response was far too mixed for that. Avatar, however, has all the makings of the next big showdown for the New Dork Order, where the fanboys make the rules and the rest of us are just haters.


pvt. awesome said...

Totally agree. I am trying not to get sick of it, but it's so hard!

John O'Neil said...

I think what annoys me is that we're expected to be excited when we haven't seen anything! I'm fine with wrapping a film around a web of mystery, but this is just getting ridiculous. You can't market a film on hype alone. I'll bet most of the general public has no clue what "Avatar" even is.

Anonymous said...

After that letter, I'm actually hoping its the new Battlefield Earth.

Lis said...

I have to say I fully agree with you on the whole Avatar thing. I'm not even sure I won't LOVE the movie, but I swear to god, the more I hear about it the less I want to see it, and not because of anything that's actually said about it plot wise, it's the whole wanking off that's being done about what a masterpiece it's going to be, or how excited people are about it. It's like when a song gets played out on the radio, it could be a GREAT song, but if I hear it one more time I may have to kill someone. Same feeling with Avatar, I just do not want to hear about it anymore. I feel like it has been talked to death for the past decade! Aggh! Enough already!

mathan said...

I'm pretty much out of the Avatar loop. But I do remember the horrible press Titanic was getting as it was being made. I remember that everyone expected it to be a colossal failure and said there was no way it could recoup the money invested in it.

I'm not saying that Avatar is going to do huge numbers, but I'm saying that Cameron has faced these odds before.


mathan has a point. There were MANY articles about how much of a disaster TITANIC was going to be.

it didn't turn out that way.

I love James Cameron and while his "i'm king of the world" selfworship IS annoying, at least he's worth worshipping ;) he should just let his fans do it, instead of doing it for himself.

Joe Reid said...

Cameron's facing the same money odds, sure, but the buzz for Titanic was that it was gonna be Cleopatra. The Avatar buzz is all AWESOME, AMAZING, GAME-CHANGER et cetera.

Titanic had a comparatively lower bar to clear, because it didn't need to be the greatest piece of cinema ever seen. Just an amazing spectacle that made back its money.