Thursday, January 21, 2010


On Tuesday I finally got around to seeing Avatar, which has now taken 1.6 BILLION Dollars and should overtake Titanic in a couple of weeks to become the most successful film of all time. It will do this as a film with little tangible plot, wafer-thin characters, poor dialogue, and not an awful lot actually happening.

All these facts are, however, incidental. The film will keep on taking money for a while yet as it is simply phenomenal to look at. I loved the film, purely for aesthetic reasons: this is a complete flip on my usual feelings on blockbusters where I hate the films that are all style and no substance. Transformers, I'm looking at you: Avatar could have easily fallen into the same trap, but didn't.

The film is basically a stream of astonishing visuals delivered with great style and even greater 3D. Avatar is the first of the new breed of 3D films that truly work: it's difficult to describe unless you have seen it, but the 3D actually draws you into the film so that you feel like you are in the scene. This is not people pointing towards the camera and drops of water flying out of the screen; the technology has allowed Cameron to create tremendous depth of field so that you feel like you are brushing through layers of overgrowth, you are in the cockpit of a battleship, you are looking over a huge drop into a real canyon. The technology was backed up by a hugely imaginative design for the ecosystem of humanoids, animals, and plants on Pandora, and there is a stunning amount of detail in every frame. If you didn't know that it was CGI you could swear that the aliens are humans in blue makeup, which is a testament to how far James Cameron has advanced things with this film. Any plot would have almost taken away from the visual feast, as I spent the majority of the film gawping at the screen with no regard for what was actually happening; we can wait until the sequel for story.

So, yes, the film has drawbacks (and I haven't even touched upon the creakingly-unsubtle anti-war and pro-environment themes), but they don't matter. This film is art. I was speechless when I left the cinema and could not get to sleep for ages that night: Avatar gave me the same buzz that I would get from a quadruple espresso.

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Blogger Nev 360 said...

Most successful film of all time, but only in skewed terms:

5:02 pm  
Blogger swishfish said...

Yup, attendance-wise it is miles off. There is nothing wrong with using the highest gross stat though: that is the one that we have used for years. Yes, films will get more expensive with time; yes, the 3D surcharge bumps it up. It has still taken about 2 BILLION dollars, though. That is a success by anyone's standards.

8:52 pm  

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