After giving us classic such as Terminator and Titanic, the king of the “movie” world, James Cameron took an extended break from directing feature films. years later, he is back with a new movie called Avatar and understandably, it caused massive hype and anticipation for those who had been clamoring his return to directorial duties.
One of the unprecedented marketing techniques used to create more buzz for this movie would be having Avatar Day on 21st Aug 2009. On this day, 15 mins of Avatar footage would be shown worldwide for free in Imax and 3D theatres. In Singapore, 20th Century Fox presented this event as a series of preview at Golden Village VivoCity's 3D theater to a group of lucky winners.
However this innovative marketing and the unrealistic high expectation for this movie could become a double-edged sword.
Let’s get started with the D special effects that were shown during the minutes exclusive footage. Beside the gradient effects that differentiate the depth of field, there very little to be impressed. The photorealistic D rendered world and characters had been done before and in my humble opinion, it’s just a slight notch above the likes of Beowulf, Final Fantasy: The Spirit within and etc. It even pale in comparison to the creation of CGI Gollum in The Lord of the Rings which had reportedly convinced James Cameron that it’s time to proceed with this dream project of his since .
If (as what the producer had stated that) Avatar is not about the special effects and the focus should be story or world that James Cameron had created, then there’s a cause for panic as from what we seen during the minutes of screening, it’s nothing new and it was quite poorly executed. It just seems like a far cry from what James Cameron had been feeding us with his past feature movies.
The story as we could gathered, felt awfully familiar to “Dances with Wolves” (as pointed out by moviexclusive columnist Stefan Shih) and there are people online that are pointing out that it’s very much like the Delgo movie (couldn’t remember this movie? Well it’s was that ugly alien movie that broke the record for the lowest box office collection for a movie that released wide in USA). The point is that the story lacks the novelty factors or contains something amazing stuff that would astonish.
The dialogues spoken in this preview were cringe worthy at times and personally, I find it hard to relate to character that uses juvenile taunting such as “bitch” and challenging an alien creature that’s backing off. The design for the alien race looks like an uninspired mix of blue cats with humanoid figure which personally, looked rather unappealing.
To sum it up, it’s not bad but coming from a legend, it’s downright unimpressive and nowhere as “groundbreaking” as it’s being hyped up to be. Whatever enthusiasm I had for this “long awaited James Cameron” movie was watered down to a lukewarm reception. As I mention earlier, this move proved to be a double-edged sword and this might be turning folks away instead of drawing them into cinemas in December.
However James Cameron’s movie records had always been solid and he never failed to entertain with his movies. I will be waiting for the movie reviews to indicate a different viewpoint from what had been noted in this minutes exclusive preview.