Jan. 5th, 2016

astri13: (Default)
Since Star Wars: The Force Awakens is poised to overtake Avatar`s domestic box office record today or tomorrow, I stumbled upon an interesting question earlier. Why does Avatar, as the highest-grossing movie of all time (at this point and I think it will keep the global record) have little to no pop-cultural impact?

Personally, I saw it pretty late in theaters and was pretty disappointed the first time around. I knew it was an "event movie" because of the visuals basically but because it was so hyped during that time, I expected it to be like other "event movie" where beyond the technical gimmick there would be a story/character(s)/mythos to really move and grab me. This didn`t. Like, at all. In a subsequent viewing, where I didn`t expected to be woo-ed, I liked the movie much, much better. Basically, like a fun popcorn flick.

It`s not a problem of simplistic stories and/or somewhat clich├ęd characters can never work because some of the most iconic movies/stories of all time basically have just that, if you get down to it. The storyteller just has to find a way to make them connect with people in a lasting way. This is an area where I think Avatar fell down. It works okay when I watch the movie but afterwards it`s done and gone. I had to actually look up the lead character`s name just now. Gone with the Wind is decades old and I know the lead is named "Scarlett O`Hara". My genre-hating Mom will happily hum the Imperial march from Star Wars. If I lower my voice and attempt a bad Italian accent, most people get the Godfather reference.

As such, I can totally understand why Avatar didn`t really seep into pop-culture. Beyond remembering the visuals that is. They were stunning for their time.

I only just learned there is a trilogy (seriously?) of sequels planned. Which, I will certainly see those movies and am open to them being good but this ain`t 2009. If Avatar did have an impact it was studios forcing 3D onto everything under the sun, to the point where people now go "I`m sick of 3D". So, that gimmick will no longer fly. And technology hasn`t advanced to the point where something is really new and groundbreaking. If a movie comes out in 4D or in interactive holodeck form or something, I believe then we`re talking again. That day has not yet come. So, Cameron has his work cut out for him.

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November 2016

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