BAH! Ghastly continuity rears it’s spiteful many-horned head!
I wrote this comic intending to post it before Josh, Eli, Denise and I attended the Avatar preview screening event, but since it is only just now being posted (4 hours after the screening) I can go into more detail than I had originally planned.
Today was “Avatar Day” which basically means a lucky few geeks across America were shown 16 minutes of finished footage from James Cameron’s Avatar in eye-blistering IMAX 3-D. EyeBLAST IMAX 3-D is so special that you have to wear giant laser space goggles to view it without having your eyeballs turn to dust.
As the comic says, I think we were all a little more pumped for Avatar BEFORE seeing the full trailer. The geeks news sites and leaked teaser images painted the picture of a movie with exotic aliens, battle-mechs, and space marines on a hostile world. The trailer essentially gave us exactly that for about 30 seconds then quickly metamorphosed into a 14 year old girl’s deviant art fantasy comic brought to life.
I think @aric said it best:
Avatar is a dolphin away from a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper.
It even appears to closely resemble a recent children’s CG movie called Delgo. I’ve never heard of it and apparently it did horribly at the box office, but the resemblance is certainly noticeable.
Luckily the footage we saw renewed my interest.
SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
The plot seems to revolve around Space Marines from Earth who have set up a base on planet Pandora, a hostile alien world filled with crazy neon jungles and crazy neon people and even crazier neonier animals. This world is home to the Na’Vi, a race of humanoid 10 foot tall cat people with blue skin and very little money for clothing. A paraplegic soldier elects to take on the dangerous mission of having his consciousness transfered into a genetically engineered Na’Vi body in order to infiltrate the locals (I assume. This was not made expressly clear in the preview, nor was the reason they are on the planet in the first place). After getting his new blue body complete with working legs and prehensile tail, he takes off into the jungle with a couple of blue bodied buddies (one of which is Sigourney Weaver) and is greeted by the indigenous wildlife, all of which are huge and want to eat him. The ensuing sequences mirrored the “polar bear attacks” in season 1 of LOST. Lots of running through the jungle, chased by a beast and hiding in trees while a large creature swipes at you with nasty claws.
The footage we saw jumped between various points in the movie, all within the first half of the film. Next we see the marine, Jake, encounter a femail Na’Vi who saves him from being eaten by some local space puppies. It is immediately obvious that they are going to bone at some point.
They talk for a while about how stupid Jake is and how she wouldn’t have had to kill those innocent murderous space puppies if he weren’t such a bumbling fuck. She can speak English which probably means the humans have been on their world for some time. They must settle their differences because the final scene shows Jake all decked out in tribal Na’Vi gear going on some sort of right of passage with Na’Vi warriors. It seems he has joined their tribe and he is tasked with roping and breaking a wild flying beast. By far the oddest part of this scene is when Jake crams the tip of his 7 ft pony tail into the winged creatures ear canal which apparently triggers an unbreakable psychic bond between rider and ridee. Jake and his new pet take off into the sky after his pony tail mind meld, then we are shown a quick montage of human marines in battle mechs, hover copters and other means of wanton destruction. The end.
All in all, I was ready to see more. It does not appear to be the movie I expected before seeing the trailer, nor the one I expected after seeing the trailer (which is entirely a positive development). It was not JarJar and the Gungans: The Movie either as many seem to be fearing.
It seems like at some point Jake decides to stay with the Na’Vi and become one of them, forsaking his own kind. Sp essentially it’s Dances with Wolves in space. I don’t have a problem with that. I loves me some DWW (or D Double Dub as I call it).
At one point during the preview I realized that when no humans were on screen (which seems to be most of the film) it must be 100% CG. Speaking of the CG work, the Na’Vi looked the most believable when we see them at extreme close up or just standing still. As soon as they start moving the illusion is broken. They are too shiny and too blue for my brain to perceive them as real. By contrast, in District 9 I immediately accepted the Prawns as real biological creatures. I never thought about CG once during that movie. Maybe it was because they didn’t have skin or humanoid features like the Na’Vi do, but all of the CG scenes in Avatar just felt like an animated movie.
I’m interested to see who buys into this film when it comes out in December. Will the viewing public be the final decider as to whether or not it’s an adult Sci-Fi movie or a kids film? Can it be both, and cross that divide that Star Wars: Episode 1 failed so miserably to cross? My guess is that adults will enjoy taking their kids to see it, but kids will get the most out of it. It’s just too bright and shiny and (unfortunately) fake looking for me to take it too seriously. Plus the characters, animals and vehicles have MAKE A TOY OUT OF ME!!!! written all over them.