Every so often there is a movie that comes out that changes everything about the industry. Star Wars, Toy Story, Titanic, Lord of the Rings; they all changed the way movies were financed and made. These movies stay in the memories of the viewers for the rest of their lives. When I talk to my Dad about movies, he tells me about how he remembers the first time he saw Star Wars. Nothing like that had ever been made before. No one had ever thought of something like that, and no one had ever seen anything like it on a screen. Toy Story was the first time a computer made an entire movie. Titanic was (at the time) the most expensive movie ever. Lord of the Rings changed the way CGI was used within a film. People remember seeing these things for the first time and remember that sense of awe walking out of the theater. I will always remember when I saw Avatar.
Without trying to explain anything else about the movie to someone asking for just a brief overview, I would explain it as “Fern Gully in Space.” But it goes so much further than that. The plot is fantastic, the story is amazing, and the script is very realistic. However those aspects are only the half of it. When I first saw the original trailer for Avatar, I was not very impressed. “It looks nice, but it’s nothing that I haven’t seen before. It looks just like every other CGI driven movie.” Saying I was wrong, is a major understatement. The Na’vi people featured in the movie (the blue people you see on the posters and everything) never seemed like CGI characters. The motion capture technology used in this movie are the beginning of a new type of CGI filmmaking.
IMDB says the following: “James Cameron originally attempted to get this film made in 1999 as his immediate follow-up to Titanic. However, at the time, the special effects he wanted for the movie ran the proposed budget up to $400 million. No studio would fund the film, and it was subsequently shelved for almost ten years.” $400 Million. Cameron wanted to make this movie so badly, he helped CREATE the technology. He says that once he saw the motion-capture in Lord Of The Rings: Two Towers, he knew that it was time to create this masterpiece. His magnum opus.
Avatar was not a movie. It was an epic. It was a TRUE experience. The only way for you to truly understand what I am saying is to see it. It’s long, yes (about 160 minutes). You do realize that it’s long while you are watching. However, you are never taken out of the movie. You are drawn in from the start and never want to stop paying attention. If you reach to see what time it is, it is to make sure that you still have more to watch rather than seeing when the movie will end.
Beethoven’s 5th. John Glenn. The Beatles. Star Wars. SNL. Aerosmith/Run DMC “Walk This Way.” Pixar’s Toy Story. Lord of the Rings. What do all these things have in common? They made their given medium change forever. Avatar has successfully added it’s name to that list. The motion picture industry has been changed forever…and for the better.