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Cameron talks Avatar rerelease, wants to compete with Tolkien, Lucas and Rodenberry

08.26.2010

James Cameron has a rather lengthy interview with the LA Times concerning the re-release of AVATAR in theaters. He claims that since ALICE IN WONDERLAND and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON stole half his 3D screens when they were released, many people didn't get the chance to see it in its "true form."

I'm not here to debate the merits of the re-release, as I've already stated that yes, of course it's a cash grab, but it's a cash grab that the studio has every right to make. No one's forcing you to see it. But rather I wanted to focus on one quote near the end of the piece.

Cameron admires the universes created by George Lucas and Gene Roddenberry and the man who now has the two highest-grossing films of all-time (Cameron's "Titanic" from 1997 still floats there at No. 2 worldwide with $1.8 billion) openly admits that he aspires to compete with his own cosmic aspirations.

"You've got to compete head on with these other epic works of fantasy and fiction, the Tolkiens and the ‘Star Wars' and the ‘Star Treks,'" Cameron said. "People want a persistent alternate reality to invest themselves in and they want the detail that makes it rich and worth their time. They want to live somewhere else. Like Pandora."

Despite all its monetary and even critical accomplishments, I think that one thing the soon-to-be AVATAR series will NOT have is eternally lasting appeal like LOTR, STAR WARS or STAR TREK. Those franchises have been around for dozens and dozens of years, and you can "oh time will tell with AVATAR," but I just don't think the magic is there.

Why? Well if you ask me, it's the completely lack of a cast of memorable characters, something all the other series have, and the core reason as to why they work. Yes, they all have crazy action and great visuals, but it's the characters that are the most memorable pieces. The Fellowship of the Ring from LOTR, the crew from any STAR TREK ship, Vader, Luke, Han, Leia, Chewie, etc. from STAR WARS. These are characters who have stayed with us most of our lives most likely.

Who does AVATAR have at this point? Jake Sully and Neytiri, as nearly all the extraneous characters, both heroes and villains alike, were killed off in the first film. And the fact is, giant blue people and a landsacpe of rainbow colored animals and plants is fundamentally not as cool of a universe as any of those other franchises. It may be well designed, and I may think AVATAR was a solid film, but one with lasting impact outside of its visuals? I think not.

What say you?

Extra Tidbit: Sam Worthington isn't even that convincing as a human, and it's even harder to empathize with him in a CGI body.
Source: LA Times

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