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Avatar Early Reviews: Geni is Out of the Bottle

by Anne Thompson
December 11, 2009 12:03 AM
11 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood

While Fox tried to cap the reviews on Avatar with an embargo, London's Guardian reviewed from the premiere (where MTV's Josh Horowitz tweeted the red carpet) and The Hollywood Reporter posted an early review, then Variety. (The rest will follow: the Avatar embargo has been lifted by Fox.) Tweets have been ongoing since the screenings began on the East Coast. On my Twitterfeed at least, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Holding the embargo on this one was a fantasy.

Slashfilm collects reactions. So does Film Junk. The new Carpetbagger weighs in. And John Anderson interviews Cameron for the NYT.

On Friday, check out my in-depth feature on James Cameron and Avatar's VFX, on Popularmechanics.com.

Meanwhile, it makes perfect sense that Cameron would want to remake Fantastic Voyage with a script by Shane Salerno. Water. Sci-fi. Jaw-dropping VFX. 3-D. Enough said.

11 Comments

  • animator_new | December 18, 2009 4:46 AMReply

    Current American cinema is not unusually a technological overkill.James cameron can at best be a visual effects director.His grasp of technology and visually mashing together repeated visual grandeur is well known.His skill to overdraft the main content with massive eye candy props does go well with a generation who is not entirely aware of the earlier works in Cinema.

    Although some of the earlier works of Cameron were pretty gripping,not so much with Avatar.The imagery of Avatar is not unlike a whole lot of illustration by numerous fantasy artists.it is not even close to that of -Miyazaki-although there has been a keen eye for execution in this case.

    It is the tragedy of present day film makers that filmmakers they cannot connect to, thematically,philosophically or intellectually.Which is what film was all about.It has become like a Gaming console-eye candy-but -peripheral exercise.

  • Craig | December 12, 2009 7:05 AMReply

    @Anne: Also saw it Thursday. It is by no means an Oscar slam-dunk. At all. At best, it was like dropping acid in a Rainforest Cafe... vivid, sure, but essentially bullshit. I mean, c'mon... didn't you get tired of getting slammed over the head with Cameron's grade-school moralizing? Did you really start rooting for the blue people? Not me. I was enthralled in the most mechanical way possible.

  • DavidC | December 11, 2009 5:16 AMReply

    Comment spam for piracy. Gotta love the Internet.

  • Jenn Mo | December 11, 2009 4:55 AMReply

    Been watching the Avatar movie online at http://watchavataronlinefree.com and following all the coverage they have. Saw two behind the scenes making of Avatar and a bunch of reviews up there already! The movie looks AMAZING!

  • Drew | December 11, 2009 4:40 AMReply

    I shudder to think that there are people out there who would actually prefer watching a grainy, blurry rip of this film on a tiny computer to paying $10 to see it in full 3D in a theater. Some people have no taste. And I say that as someone who has seen his share of pirated films, and who doesn't feel particularly bad about that.

    Visually speaking, this film is unreal, and totally justifies its budget and its many years in gestation. But the story is an ungodly mess, and there are lines of dialogue that literally made me cover my face with my hands out of embarrassment. And I say that as someone who can loving quote whole blocks of dialogue from both "Aliens" and "Titanic."

  • DavidC | December 11, 2009 3:55 AMReply

    "Fantastic Voyage" without Raquel? Dead on arrival.

  • John M | December 11, 2009 3:19 AMReply

    "How will JJ Abrams, Michael Bay and McG respond?"

    Aw, come now, don't put JJ with those two. He may not be Spielberg, but he's got a lot more imagination than Bay or McG.

  • Alex | December 11, 2009 1:54 AMReply

    @Mark

    I gotta ask have you seen the film because compelling characters and story the film doens't have

  • zyg | December 11, 2009 1:30 AMReply

    mark

    you're counting your chickens before they hatch. profit is the only measure. we have to wait and see if avatar makes any money. while fans like it, that doesn't necessarily equate to money in the bank. blockbuster = profit. avatar just got out of the gate. need to wait. a bit

  • Mark | December 11, 2009 1:10 AMReply

    Plenty of egg on face for the doubters and haters. Cameron doesn't embark on a project without at least 10 times the amount of passion, dedication and hard work of his would-be competitors. How will JJ Abrams, Michael Bay and McG respond? They can't, they know nothing of the power of mythic storytelling and everything about shallow effects and advertising.

    Avatar may be the best thing that happens to the blockbuster this decade, if only that it reminds Hollywood that if you provide audiences with compelling characters, story and emotion, then audiences will come.

  • zyg | December 11, 2009 1:01 AMReply

    would suggest no one seriously intended to hold an embargo.

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