Micheal Cobley

Interstellar Tactics




AVATAR 3D at the Glasgow IMAX

Okay, I tried to avoid the hooplah and gobbets of studio PR that sloshed its way around the Meeja, puffing AVATAR as a B*I*G  D*E*A*L, before heading off with SuperSusan to see the movie itself a few days ago (and thereby encountering a few of the chaps from the Glasgow Writers Circle, including the mightyJim Campbell and the equally mighty Barry Condon. Horns high, guys!)(whatever that means).

So yeah, once I got used to the big, 70s-Elton-John stylee 3d goggles, it was quite an interesting experience and after a while I forgot that I was, goshwow, watching a 3D movie. The scale and lush detail of the forest moon, Pandora, was vividly done and the implied ecology was tantalisingly involved (such that I sometimes felt as if I was seeing the sentient forest Segrana from my own book, Seeds Of Earth, made real, right up there on the screen, godammit!)

But ultimately it is the story which makes the difference between a very good movie and a great movie, and the AVATAR story was, shall we say, cut from some very familiar cloth. Its 2154 and we’re still seeing those same damn hoo-rah Yankee space marines – yawn. From a strictly story-telling point of view, its entirely possible that Amurrica would not still be in the ascendancy, were this kind of future to arrive, complete with interstellar travel. But anyway, clearly James Cameron knows the Hollywood templates back to front and chose the Evil corpo-fascists versus the Good humanoid sylvan aliens, while dropping in Resource War and Polluted Earth side narratives to gin it up a bit.

For me, however, the most important aspect of AVATAR is that, like Lucas’s prequel SWars trilogy, it dramatically widens the pallet of options available to film-makers of all kinds. There is talk of sequels to AVATAR, depending on its box office success, but I`m more interested in the films that will come after it.

How about a movie version of HYPERION, or Vinge’s FIRE UPON THE DEEP? Man, those would be astounding.

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2 Comments already, do join in...

  1. Greg Peterson Says:

    January 17th, 2010 at 1:08 am

    Great article on Avatar.. I just read the Avatar Movie Review over at MVP and they seemed to love it, so ill be seeing it this weekend.

  2. rockitboy Says:

    January 17th, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Interesting. MVP gave AVATAR a 4/5 star rating, while noting that the story was nothing special. The SHERLOCK HOLMES movie got 3.5/5 and included the boggling claim that – “The movie has got quite a lot of repetition; once you have crossed the first 30 minutes of the movie you have pretty much seen it all. There seems (to be) nothing new happening after the initial minutes, the rest of the movie is just recycling of the first few scenes.” – which left me going ‘Whuh?’ Was this reviewer watching the same movie that I saw?

    Oh, and the review began with the immortal lines – “Sherlock Holmes is a popular novel turned into a block buster movie.” As Jon Stewart might say, ‘Oh REALLY?’ Conan Doyle did indeed right a couple of novels featuring Holmes but none of them, or the short stories, were simply entitled ‘Sherlock Holmes’. That was the first clue that the reviewer didn’t have one – a clue, that is.

    As stated elsewhere, I thought that SH was a delight, utterly pleasing on various levels. I can’t wait for the next one. As for the next AVATAR movie – yeah, I guess I’ll probably go along.

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