There’s a certain strand of geek culture that seems to almost pride itself on being unable to see the wood for the trees. In particular, it’s pretty funny to watch Aint It Cool News firing away at Avatar after having hailed the latest Star Trek movie as the second coming earlier this year.  Yet there’s not even a comparison.  The one was warmed-over triumphalist nostalgia, the other a totally original visionary freight-train.  Avatar’s storyline is being derided as thin in some quarters; for me, it was stripped down to its archetypal essentials, and all the more epic as a result. And let’s not lose sight of the fact that featuring a physically disabled lead character is in many ways as groundbreaking as the 3-D lushness that makes this movie something you could get so lost in.  As of this writing, 3-D tickets were outselling 2-D tickets two to one, though the movie itself did well under a hundred million in the States.  Which doesn’t really matter when it raked in more than $150 million overseas, and looks set to have strong legs, in part because the snowstorm that blanketed so much of the east coast acted as a considerable downer on box office performance.  Unless next week’s Sherlock Holmes becomes a ticket-stealing juggernaut, Avatar looks set to roll back and forth over the holiday box office like one of those killdozers from the first Terminator movie.

To be fair, I think what might have pissed off some at AICN is Cameron’s high-handed tone, which drifted perilously close to eco-preachiness.  This didn’t bother me, partially because I think that regardless of the specifics, he’s right on the fundamentals (we ARE going to be a planet bereft of green if we keep this up), but also because I really got into the idea that the moviemaker who took human-eating aliens to a whole new level back in the 1980s has now turned the whole equation on its head:  now humans are the invaders, and the notion of alien becomes relative.  “The aliens went back to their dying world”, concludes Sam Worthingon’s voiceover . . . but movies are never going back after this.

12 Responses to “Avatar”

  1. MikeCollins Says:

    I really liked it too. I thought the 3D was stunning and as someone who works with cameras for a living it blew me away to see what Cameron was able to do. I liked the story and didn’t find it preachy at all. The CG motion capture was amazing.

    When the science dude says to Sam Worthington as he gazes at his tank grown avatar “We have to decant it” I got a vibe of Richard Morgan. With this kind of technology now out there I really hope to see the works of guys like Morgan and Dave come to life. Anyone see the Iron Man trailer with the kick ass shot of War Machine and not think of Carson in his Marauder?

  2. Ms_fatalefemme Says:

    You said we are going to be a planet bereft of green if we keep this up? What is this referring tu? I’ve been debating global warming with my friend Tommy and I think it’s all because of alien warfare more than industry. What is alien made can be alien cured.

    I would argue that global warming and gun control are connected, if that gives you a further clue as to how I have interpreted what is going on. Once again, global warming should be curable.

  3. Al Billings Says:

    Ahoy, matey. There be trolls here!

    Take the “What climate change?” crap and go elsewhere, matey.

  4. na Says:

    Morgan, would be interesting but any of the Takeshi Kovacs series would be seriously NC-17. The Envoys are somewhat similar to avatars, the Quellist flashbacks would be really interesting Now this is the Colonial Marines in another guise,

  5. Ms_fatalefemme Says:

    I never said What Climate Change? Literacy issues? I just prefer problem solving to blood baths of smart and decent people.

    And I am exotic, not a troll.

    R U still looking for a reason to plot your revenge? go elsewhere..

  6. Joni Says:

    After seeing Iron Man it really reminded me of the mechs’ armor so at least that should be doable. I think Takeshi Kovacs books could also be adapted to film but would they do justice to these books? Somehow I would rather not see an adaptation of Mirrored Heavens or Burning Skies if they are not done properly.

  7. MikeCollins Says:

    Especially looking at War Machine in Iron Man 2 I think that Dave’s books could be brought to light.

    My understanding is that James McTeague who directed V for Vendetta and Ninja Assassin is attached to direct Altered Carbon with Joel Silver producing.

  8. Russell Drewes Says:

    I’m a big movie fan, always have been, I mean what Sci-fi geek isn’t? Anyways I’ve developed a 5th sense when it comes to movies, knowing if they are really worth my time or not. Whenever I see “Ain’t it Cool News” quotes a movie as “best movie of all time” or “greatest movie” it normally blows big time. Check it out and I promise you 9 out of 10 times if “Ain’t it Cool News” backs a movie, it’s normally a movie you shouldn’t waste time on. I haven’t seen Avatar yet, but I can’t wait to see it. It looks amazing, so see Aicn put Avatar down, maybe it means it will be a great movie. But again if you are questionings whether a movie is shitty, look at who says its great. Look on the poster or the dvd cover, sometime you’ll see great critics or at least those who people listen to like Ebert for example, any movie you might think is shitty, I’ll bet Aicn is the only comment on the front of the dvd praising the movie. Check it out!!!

  9. David Williams Says:

    I’m not sure the Altered Carbon screenplay is going anywhere right now. True, Silver bought the rights for a million bucks back in 2004 . . but currently, IMDB lists a release date of 2009 (with a broken link), and I suspect the project is languishing in turnaround.

    But if anyone has better data, I’d be curious. The other one to watch is Neuromancer; if that project continues to pick up momentum, Altered Carbon’s chances would be bolstered.

    I should also note that I read a draft of the AC screenplay in 2007, and it was problematic, to say the least. They gave Kovacs a daughter, for one thing, and a lot of Morgan’s original unrelenting vision had fallen by the wayside.

  10. Joni Says:

    Somehow it doesn’t surprise me the least that AC was butchered in the screenplay so I guess it is better that the movie is not going to happen. I suppose something would die inside me like when I saw Judge Dredd movie after waiting for it all those years.

    I’m afraid the same would happen to Mirrored Heavens. A big budget Hollywood film just can’t happen without tragic relationships etc.

  11. rid aware Says:

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