Even by writing this article I feel a great sense of apprehension in giving James Cameron’s latest film Avatar any attention at all. Much like you would treat a naughty little child, I feel Avatar should have been told to go sit in the corner for while and think about what it has done.
While I am not among the many that loathe and detest the film, I am hardly going to say that this movie is a modern day masterpiece either. My fears are that it may have altered the movie landscape and perhaps not for the better.
James Cameron’s 3D visuals have been the hot topic of conversation, leaving the public craving more of the same. With upcoming productions such as Tim Burton’s adaptation of Alice in Wonderland and a remake of Clash of The Titans (starring Avatar’s Sam Worthington) set to be in 3D, it’s clear it won’t be going anywhere soon.
This is of course problematic if you find 3D films uncomfortable or difficult to watch. It is clear from watching Avatar that the visual capabilities of the technique are still in need of development as the image sometimes blurs around the edges and is less impressive when action scenes commence. I’m not saying that Avatar or 3D films in general are not visually impressive, but there does seems to be a pattern within Hollywood at the moment that emphasizes the visual over any form of emotive narrative.
Hollywood studios are now obsessing about spectacle more than ever. In a time where we persistently suffer through the likes of Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen, Terminator Salvation and Knowing to name a few, has the idea of an emotionally capturing story been forgotten?
Of course a film that focuses on narrative instead of the visual will always grab less at the box office, so should we just accept this and carry on with cinemas current mind numbing existence? I’d rather not.
I don’t wish to totally condemn Avatar, however, as it’s not completely contrived and infuriating like many other recent productions. It just didn’t fulfill beyond visual novelty.
It’s not beyond the realms of possibility to marry the technological advancements Cameron has made with concise and encapsulating storytelling. After all Cameron has shown he can do both when he wrote and directed the groundbreaking The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. There are even recent examples such as J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, and yet Avatar has 9 Oscar nominations and Star Trek only 4 with no Best Film nomination?
Maybe we will wake from our digitally induced coma and ask for something more than the current crop are providing. However, I won’t be holding my breath.