Posts Tagged ‘Avatar’

Oscar Predictions and Preferences – 2010 Edition

Samstag, März 6th, 2010

Award Season is Crazy Season. If you follow these things at all, you have been bombarded by information about the superiority of one film above another for months now. If you blissfully ignore all that stuff, you might even not have heard that a producer on The Hurt Locker is in trouble for trying to convince Academy voters to vote for his film instead of Avatar. His crime: sending an e-mail to his friends. Yes, things are crazy. So it is a good thing that with the Oscar telecast on Sunday, Award Season will be over. Until May or so, when the first discussions for next year’s favourites and winners will begin once more.

But before the Oscars, the most important of all the meaningless awards, are handed out on Sunday, it is time for my annual Oscar predictions. Last year, I picked 19 of the 24 winners. This year, let’s try to improve on that. But unlike last year, this year I actually feel like I am entitled to my own opinion, having seen 20 of the 58 animated films, 18 of the 38 feature films, and actually having seen all nominated films in three categories. So not only will I now predict the Oscar winners as promised, I will also tell you who should win. (Yes, my opinion constitutes objective truth in these matters.) The following list is ordered rather randomly and incomplete, an alphabetical and complete breakdown of all categories and predictions follows at the end.

(weiterlesen …)

My Thoughts on the 2009 Oscar Nominations

Freitag, Februar 5th, 2010

By now, it has been three days since the Nominations for the 2009 Academy Awards, more commonly known as Oscars, have been announced, and everybody has had plenty of time to comment on them, despair over the obvious oversights and dreadful inclusions, and ultimately come to accept them as the meaningless bullshit they are. So now I thought it would be a good idea to voice my opinions on (some of) the nominations, a complete list of which can be found here. My predictions as to who will win will be up in this very space in early March, in time for the, glorious, gloriously ridiculous and ridiculously overlong ceremony on March 7th.

(weiterlesen …)

Avatar – Minute Movie Review

Donnerstag, Januar 21st, 2010


How do you judge a movie like Avatar? The answer to that question says probably more about you than about the film. After finally having seen it, there is no doubt in my mind that anyone will (seriously) debate that it is a technological breakthrough. The CGI, the motion capture, the 3D – it’s all very impressive. In the right theatre (i.e. a big screen with digital 3D technology), the film is a joy to watch. But is that really what a film should be judged for? What about story, originality, acting or just a unique world filled with awesome ideas? If those things matter, then Avatar is a horrible film. The story is about as new as a love story between two members of feuding families. The acting in this film would embarrass amateurs. The film is filled with many pretty pictures, but none of them is new, there is nothing that hasn’t been seen before. And that is why I hate myself for actually enjoying the film. Because I care about story and about ideas – and the film had none of that. But it was just so gorram pretty, so much fun to look at. So in a way, this film is a spectacular success. Just don’t ask me to join in with the idiots who call it a great film. Visually, it’s breathtaking, but film is a storytelling medium and there the film, as per usual with Cameron, fails.

Random Observations:

Avatar at the IMDb

James Cameron is a great technical director. He would be great as the SFX director on almost every film. But he is horrible at directing people. Just look at Titanic – there he managed to extract horrible performances from two of the greatest thespians working today – Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. Here, he works with far less talented people – and the results are disastrous to behold.

The film may be unique in the history of cinema in that it manages to include every single cliché possible. In fact, the whole film is one big cliché.

I just realized that I haven’t mentioned anything about the plot of the film in my “review”. But seriously, people, you aren’t going to watch it for the plot. Nevertheless, here a one word summary: Pocahontas.

I know, my slights about the film are about as original as the film itself. I’m influenced by my betters, what can I say.

3D is NOT the Future

Sonntag, November 1st, 2009

Listening to Hollywood bigwigs (Jeffrey Katzenberg, the head of Dreamworks Animantion, for example) and hot-shot directors like James Cameron, even some critics are falling all over themselves to proclaim that the future of film-making is three dimensional. More and more studios are making more and more films in the “revolutionary new format”, that is going to be as much of a game-changer as sound film and colour film were once. I’m here to tell you that this is all lies.

Let’s face it: 3D is a gimmick. Nothing more, nothing less. It is hardly original. The first major movement for 3D was back in the 1950s and contrary to popular opinion they were neither viewed through those horrible red-green-glasses we all know from amusement parks, nor were only B-movies made that way, but also such classics as Dial M for Murder or Kiss Me Kate.* The technology used was almost identical to the one used today, so all those claims of 3D in the current incarnation being anything new are the first big lie.

The second big lie is that 3D is actually in any way superior to normal, 2D images. All those claims that the world around us is three dimensional and that it would only be natural to have them in film as well are just, to put it bluntly, bullshit. Transferring a three dimensional image onto a two dimensional plane (commonly called a screen) is not natural and actually presents our eyes with problems, because they can’t focus properly. Some people can deal with that, others can’t – through no fault of their own, of course, simply because their eyes refuse to see things that aren’t there.

And to top it all off, they tell us that the days of headache inducing images are over. I wish it were so, I really do. The idea of 3D is fascinating. But even with modern technology, headaches, nausea and all the other side-effects are still prevalent, as this article points out far more eloquently than I ever could. Please read it. Seriously. Right now. Don’t continue reading this until you have finished it.

Now that you have read the Slate article, let me just point out the reason for this stream of consciousness rant. Last night, I saw Journey to the Center of the Earth, one of the few non-animated 3D films released so far. I saw it at home with those silly red-green glasses, so that might impact my opinion somewhat. But in all honesty, it was a surprisingly solid, enjoyable flick that was (almost) completely ruined by 3D.

In December, James Cameron is releasing his newest film, Avatar, the first film he has made since Titanic in 1997, in 3D. Since Cameron films are usually completely devoid of plot, interesting characters or anything resembling good entertainment besides special effects – what is often called the Michael Bay school of film-making – we can expect it to be rather bad, because there is no way the effects are as great, unique and new as Cameron promises. Still, people are going to flock to theatres and there is even a chance I might be among them. But in January, can we please forget about the future and go back to making good films? Because sooner or later, even Hollywood will realize that 3D is not the future.

And if they don’t, I have a problem, because I just can’t see the damn effect. Me and between 10% and 30% of people.

*There is even a non-profit organization working today to find and restore as many of these early 3D movies as possible, dating back to the 1920s. Find out more here.