SciFi on the horizon: Avatar

I went looking for information on one of my favorite directors, James Cameron, recently; because a podcast I listen to mentioned some of his work. It's a shame that the director whom I have a great respect for, the director of The Abyss, Terminator, and Aliens...

[and no matter what anyone else says, there are only two films in the Alien saga. As far as I'm concerned Ripley, Newt and Hicks made it back home, where they set up shop in a small quiet corner of the planet and lived happily ever after. None of the sequel films after Aliens rates a viewing. I wish I'd never seen them]

...is now known for grandiose melodrama like Titanic (yes, it made tons of money. It's not a good film; or more correctly, not his best) Documentaries like Ghosts of the Abyss (and the related plundering of the Titanic shipwreck site that has followed in it's wake) or complete wastes of time like The Lost Tomb of Jesus, and a television series featuring an actress who was clearly discovered in a horizontal position (I say that because Jessica Alba can't act. In any of the films I've watched her in. At all. Wooden describes her performance, and the related parts of the men who enjoy watching her) The guy worked for John Carpenter on Escape From New York, another one of my all-time favorite films, for crying out loud. Where did he go so wrong?

[Want some fun? Contrast Prince of Darkness (later Carpenter film) with The Lost Tomb of Jesus. Is your head spinning yet?]

So here we are in 2008, and James Cameron wants to get back into cutting edge SciFi with his latest film Avatar. Sigourney Weaver is in it, along with several other recognizable names. It looks like it could be quite promising. The technology is cutting edge, just like his underwater filming techniques were cutting edge in The Abyss.
Using a new digital 3D format, Avatar and the technology behind it could revolutionise the industry, making 2D films seem as outdated as silent films. (From SFF media)
If you go to some of the sites talking about the film, you can find the usual gushing of fans giving away way more information than you really want to know this early in the game (the film is not due for release until 2009) When all I want to know is, should we get our hopes up? Can the man who co-hosts a two-hour special about a religious figure be trusted to produce gritty, cutting edge movies any more?

Sigourney Weaver seems to think so.
“I’m playing very much a leader in this [film] Someone who gets the job done. Someone very very driven and smart and yet funny. The only person I could think of that was like this at all was Jim Cameron,” Weaver said, echoing statements she made to MTV in February. “Jim Cameron is an amazing person. First of all he knows everything in an unobnoxious way. He just wants to get on with it so he has a great deal of leadership.”
She's come a long way from the actress who played Ripley back in the 70's and 80's. I've liked a lot of the work she's done, even the recent (wait, I don't think I've seen her in anything since Galaxy Quest. Can 8 years ago be recent?) work, but...

James Cameron is responsible for tripe like Piranha 2 as well as great cutting edge films like The Abyss. I've seen 99% of it, and I've watched a good part of it just because his name was on it. I'm not going to lose my head dreaming about how great this film just has to be. I'm approaching this film with the same cautious air that I've learned from experience yields the best outcome for me; whether it's a new group with a new idea, or someone I know producing a sequel to something I love (J.J. Abrams and ST XI for example) It's a SciFi film, so I'm going to see it at some point. Will it be good? Won't know that until I've sat through it. See you in December of 2009.

3 comments:

  1. Arlo J. Pignotti3:00 AM

    I just watched AVP Requiem. Halfway through the film the Ripley substitute jumps into a tank full of people evacuating from aliens, the exact same music from the exact same scene from the original Aliens starts playing and I'm thinking to myself, man, I wish I was watching the original Aliens right now. This should have been called AVFB (Aliens vs. Frat Boys). It was full of lines right out of 80s college flicks.

    But I knew the original Ripley had to disappear by now. In Alien she had long hair. In Aliens she had short hair. In Alien 3 she had no hair. In Alien 4 she had no brain. And if she were in any more of these films she'd have no head!

    A r l o

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  2. I'm not interested in watching AVP Requiem. The franchise
    [and I use that word as an insult, like Star Trek Franchise, which is just code for bending Star Trek fans in half and taking a walk up their strata chocolata while stealing their money. Why yes, I have seen all of John Carpenter's films, why do you ask?]
    hit a brick wall with AVP in my opinion. Modern day world with Aliens and Predators duking it out on a remote island. No survivors (a person in -100 degree weather isn't going to survive for long by themselves with or without specialized gear) so no continuity problems. I have that one on disk because it was cheap and at least it didn't resurrect Ripley ONE MORE TIME.

    ...But Requiem's plot line fits into the established series how? Just not interested.

    -RAnthony

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  3. Alien was awesome.

    Aliens was the awesomest.

    Alien 3 was horrible. The assembly cut made a tiny bit more sense but it still sucked predator balls compared to its predecessor.

    Alien 4 was horrible, even when compared to Fox's version of Alien 3. Sigourney Weaver's performance was the ONLY thing worth watching in the movie (kindly replace "the movie" with "this sad waste of time and space").

    AvP kept up the horrible tradition, with Paul "Wanky n Spanky" Anderson turning 2 hardcore all-time movie legends into probably the biggest disappointment ever.

    A slight correction. AvP-R was even horrible-r. Anderson started killing the franchise-r, but the Strauses managed to finish it off-r. I hope the skinflint bastards at Fox realise that they should stick to people who are actually good at their jobs instead of those who work cheap-r.


    To James Cameron and Sigourney Weaver:

    We, the fans would love to see something that atleast tries to come close to Alien and Aliens. Please do us the honour, make another Alien movie, make it right. We know you can. And if you don't,
    no one will hear you scream..

    This is Ax, last remaining survivor of the AvP franchise, signing off...

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