Monday Morning Quarterback
By BOP Staff
August 30, 2010
Bruce Hall: I agree with Josh. I respect James Cameron immensely but he reminds me more than a bit of George Lucas in that they both think they're better storytellers than they are. Lucas dotes over his creation as though he's crafted something artistically on par with Orson Welles or Stanley Kubrick. In reality, while the Star Wars franchise undeniably changed cinema in innumerable significant ways it wasn't by virtue of them being great movies. Let's face it, what we had was a kid with daddy issues, an old man, a pirate, an ape and a couple of robots rescuing a damsel in distress - all utilizing some of the worst dialogue ever recorded. Empire was the high point, and I still have difficulty sitting through that one now that I am no longer nine-years-old. I will be excoriated for saying that but I stand by my opinion wholeheartedly. Cameron's achievements are equally significant and I certainly don't begrudge him - or Lucas - his success. But let's keep this in perspective; Avatar is indeed the Star Wars of its time, a great looking and technically amazing movie that will likely change the way these kinds of films are made forever. But basically this is Dances With Wolves in space, along with the requisite cornball dialogue we've come to expect from the all time box-office leader, not to mention the ham-fisted social commentary we apparently can expect to see from James Cameron from here on out. Like Lucas, Cameron seems to be under the impression that by re-releasing his work he is exposing us to some sort of hidden creative gem we all missed out on the first time around, making this version of the movie "as it was meant to be seen." Avatar is without question a beautiful looking film, and I'd have to concede that as unimpressive as the story was to me, it clearly resonated with audiences on some level, because there's no way a movie earns $750 million just by being pretty.
But for me, this comes across as a money grab. The movie made a mint during its run in the theaters, it is killing on DVD and Blu-Ray, and no doubt this will be a hugely profitable franchise for years to come. But I have a hard time buying the argument that this re-release is artistically significant or necessary in light of the fact that the film is already available for purchase. This is just a powerful man doing something simply because he can. Without a doubt, Cameron's incredible sense of self-importance is the most amazing thing to me about the Avatar story.
Reagen Sulewski: I'm bit less cynical about this than the rest of you, apparently, since this does at least have the 3D factor, which presents something that can't be achieved at home.
The thing that really does impress me about Cameron is his ability to talk a big game and then follow up on that. It's one thing to sneak up on people with a blockbuster - it's another entirely to say you're going to change cinema forever ... and then do it. This is three in a row for Cameron when the entire world was rooting for him to fail.