Stop Heeeem

So, Avatar will be getting re-released into theaters on August 27th. Now, I’m perfectly fine with this – I’ve actually thought that more films should do the same (don’t tell me you wouldn’t pay to go see The Dark Knight in theaters again). It’s a nice throwback to the era of road-show pictures that stayed in theaters for years, when the studios understood the importance (and profitability) of the cinematic experience. Of course, back then they were DEPENDENT on the cinematic experience, but the point still stands: certain movies (and Avatar is definitely one of them) are meant to be seen on the big screen. Those who were unlucky enough to be around me when I saw Avatar on its opening night know that I got swept up in the grandeur and wonder of Cameron’s blockbuster as much as anyone. That sense of awe was entirely a result of the big-screen experience. If I watched Avatar on a goddamn cell phone, all I would see is some tiny blue alien things spouting crap dialogue at each other (can you tell those ads claiming a phone can give you “cinema quality entertainment” are pissing me off?).

Anyway, James Cameron has promised nine extra minutes of footage for the re-release. Still no Na’vi sex scene, thank God; sounds like just a bunch more shots of the forest and some alien creatures that didn’t make it into the original cut. The really depressing news, though: Cameron apparently has a narrative arc thought out for not one, but TWO sequels:

I have an overall narrative arc for 2 and 3, and there are some modifications to that based on my experiences in the last few months from having gone down to the Amazon and actually hung out with various indigenous groups who are actually living this type of story for real…but it’s not changing the overall pattern. I haven’t gotten the script done yet; that’s going to be a ways out.

God help us all. James, Avatar wowed us with its sense of an original vision – like Inception, not a completely new genre or anything, but a familiar story wrapped up in a brand-new package – a sequel would lose half the magic by virtue of repetition.

3 thoughts on “Stop Heeeem

  1. Do you think the sequels will actually be successful, Master Critic Gates? Personally, I can’t help but feel most viewers will be sick and tired of hearing about Avatar by the time the SECOND movie comes out. I don’t see how it could survive extended storytelling, unlike the Batman franchise or Toy Story which both thrived from it.

  2. Would sequels be commercially successful? Of course. Florian, we’re talking about people who have demanded not one, not two, but three ‘Transformers’ movies. If ‘Avatar’ sequels tanked, it would be the most astounding drop in a franchise’s revenue ever seen. Whether or not the movies can survive extended storytelling has little to do with a studio’s decision to plug on (see: ‘The Matrix’ sequels).

    Would ‘Avatar’ sequels be critically successful? Who knows. I would suspect that Cameron will lose the support of those critics (like myself) who recognized the glaring weakness of his writing but were willing to look past that to appreciate the wonder of the world he created. Once that starts to get old, you stray into Star Wars prequel territory, and there will be no Roger Ebert to help you then.

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