James Cameron's Avatar

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James Cameron's Avatar

Post by Vernadyn » August 21st, 2009, 5:19 pm

Well, as everyone knows, the teaser for James Cameron's Avatar is up.

www.apple.com/trailers/fox/avatar/

Honestly, I don't know quite what to think. I'm withholding judgment until we see more. I'm a big fan of James Cameron's pre-True Lies work (and I even enjoyed that, as well as select elements of Titanic.) Cameron can always be relied upon to do spectacular action; it remains to be seen if he's found a story and characters to match.

At any rate, the hype around the film has been disconcerting and a little frustrating. On one hand, there are those who, upon the seeing the teaser, will say, "What's all the fuss about?" and dismiss it out of hand based on the paltry minute they've been given. On the other hand are those who will have a geekasm and proclaim it as the most amazing thing since the invention of film.

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Post by robster » August 21st, 2009, 6:34 pm

Overall people who have seen the trailer and hated it and then went to see the 15 minute preview on Avatar day today around the globe in full digital 3D say that the trailer does not do the movie justice AT ALL and actually sucks. The actual movie footage generally leaves everyone STUNNED and flabbergasted over the fluid and detailed animation and photorealistic CGI. The new 3D process is said to be amazing and actually leaves people speechless!

I wish they had had an Avatar day screening closer to where I live, then I would have soooo gone to see it. Now I'll have to wait untill December! To see this in it's full glory and be dazzled and stunned by this movie!

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Post by Dacey » August 21st, 2009, 10:43 pm

Holy shoot, they made a live-action "Delgo"!

I'm kidding, of course. But it comes to my mind when I watch the trailer for some weird reason.

Looks wicked cool for the most part.
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Post by Ben » August 21st, 2009, 11:35 pm

Well, honestly, from that, I can't say it has anything in it that I haven't seen before. And though I wasn't watching out for it, the CG was really jumping out at me (and not just the obvious character effects).

I hope Cameron hasn't sunk everything into his effects and believes in them the way Zemeckis has sold his soul to mo-cap. Still looked all rubbery to me and lacked definition, even in HD.

I know there's a lot riding on this for Fox, Cameron and the 3D process in general, but if they're starting to tease it based on regular looking footage like this, it's just not going to pull in any major bucks.

It's, essentially, nothing new...the "Delgominator"? ;)

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Post by Bill1978 » August 22nd, 2009, 1:52 am

Now that I've seen the full trailer I can say that I am now interested in seeing the movie. I initially only saw bits and pieces of the trailer on one of the local TV news shows and it didn't leave me breathless, the CGI stuck out like a sore thumb and I was thinking that was it?? Especially after the movie magazines have been talking about how this is going to revolutionize film making. The movie definitely has potential, I still don't see the big deal about a movie being in 3D, a movie needs more than just a gimmick to be good and I often find 3D to be distracting.

My main concern about Avatar based on the trailer is the sequences where it is obviously all done on the computer. In fact it's a gripe about the majority of special effects sequences these days. I just can't fully enjoy them cause I know that it is all computer generated. I much prefer my special effects to be a combination of real footage, models and CGI it seems more realistic.

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Post by Dacey » August 22nd, 2009, 10:04 pm

Ben wrote:It's, essentially, nothing new...the "Delgominator"? ;)
Nice. ;)
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Post by Locall » August 23rd, 2009, 4:56 am

I'm interested in this project... the trailer looks good, but nog great, I just have a thing for blue girls :wink:

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Post by eddievalient » August 23rd, 2009, 9:54 am

I'm a sucker for sci-fi stories and this looks like it might be a good one. We shall see...
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Post by Ben » August 23rd, 2009, 10:54 am

Wendy's Jane wrote:Nice. ;)
Danka. :)

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Post by spaz » August 23rd, 2009, 2:06 pm

Cameron’s films always seem to advance the process of film making.
As an example, the technology developed for the Abyss, was the only reason the technology on T2 happened. The Trex for Jurassic was built the same way as the T1000 for T2. Cameron is an example of a director who gets it, in the sense that his movies utilize heavy tech, but they are the antagonist of the film. If he had not brought the Abyss and T2 to us, in the late 80’s , early 90’s then Jurassic would not have happened. There have been some fantastic advances in the last 10 years , but they are mini revolutions within a revolution. Avatar will most likely be great film. Cameron really hasn’t made a bad film. Ok I know “Pirhana’s 2”. The question of photo-realism is always under a magnifying glass once you “announce” a sci-fi film. A film about something stupid, like a sex comedy in New York with a few contemporary actors; and one actor who is synthetic, will be the one that fools everyone, not an fx film. This will be the true “photo-realistic” test.

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Post by Ben » August 23rd, 2009, 4:58 pm

Y'know, Piranha 2 wasn't <I>all</I> bad! ;)

Yep, I agree that when they come out with something where we don't even know its an effect, like a synthespian, that will be when we will all shut up and just stare with slack jaws.

Benjamin Button might have impressed with its work, but it was all obviously VFX because Pitt is so recognizable (and it was obviously not always him) and the studio kept publicizing it as such.

So here's a thought: I know the goal has been to bring back a James Dean or a Marilyn Monroe. For a full feature? Even if it's really good it will be obvious that it's not really Dean or Monroe, because they are dead. BUT...imagine a scene in a movie where the joke is that the characters meet Monroe, for instance.

Imagine something like Forrest Gump, or Death Becomes Her, where characters bump into several celebrities. How about, instead of old footage reworked or lookalikies, they go with a synthetic actor for that one scene, never announcing how it has been done.

This way, no-one would be looking for the effect and audiences wouldn't even acknowledge that there had been one, presuming that it was either old footage or a lookalike. When audiences all start asking "hey, who <I>was</I> that amazing Monroe actress in that scene?", the studio can announce..."no-one, it was all CG".

And that's when the impossible will have been achieved.

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Post by spaz » August 24th, 2009, 1:34 pm

Resurrecting deceased actors, for the reasons you mentioned Ben, will be met with more scrutiny both morally and visually, than creating “Indiana Jones” types data-puppets who only exist synthetically. Neither of which benefit the human race, incidentally . I remember about a 100 millions years ago, when Mark Dippe and I had to give a talk/presentation to the screen actors guild. We went on to say how “digital stunt doubles” , “digital creatures” and eventually, “digital or resurrected actors” will all happen, simply because of the human’s natural desire to re-create itself in manners other than screwing. We presented various “behind the scenes” stuff from Abyss, T2, and Jurassic, and Death Becomes Her. At one point Tom Cruise jumped up , partially confused, but mostly upset. He went on to say something like “when I give a performance , it is unique , and is recorded; it can’t be replicated”. We told him that this was true, however, first off, film is subjective, secondly , film was no longer like carving in granite, it was/is modifiable after the time of recording. Essentially never drying until we wanted it to. We continued that the human eye sees 13.3 million colors. At that time using older version SGI’s (340 VGX’s I believe) that we were calculating 17.6 million colors. This was partially significant. The point we were making was that images on a screen whether film or at that time CRT, were like a bathtub filled with colored ball bearings. They were modifiable and that it was only a matter of time until this already subjective medium would be capable of supporting anything imaginable. We said, “as a matter of fact , we could stick you head onto Goldi Hahn’s body today”. He kind of got quiet at this point. We weren’t sure if he actually may have enjoyed this prospect, but he did understand that film had changed. Although we were very interested in pushing every visual limit , at that time, we never really thought it was right, we only knew it was inevitable.

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Post by Vernadyn » August 24th, 2009, 2:14 pm

If the "resurrecting dead actors" thing is done at all, I agree that it would be best done as a cameo or joke. No doubt the technology will eventually progress so that such a "synthespian" will be able to carry a whole film on a technical level. But as John Lasseter said (in The Art of the Incredibles book, I believe), "Who's gonna make it act?" He then says something to the effect that these people were stars not because the way they looked (though that undoubtedly plays a part), but how they acted. It's a point that's been done to the death, but compare the characters in The Incredibles to the more realistic ones in the more-or-less simultaneuos Polar Express. Which ones were more effective (and by a wide margin?)

As far as Cameron is concerned, I think he is one of the select few who understands that groundbreaking visual effects involve more than the technology behind them but the way they are used and the artistry and talent of the people pulling it off behind the scenes.

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Post by spaz » August 24th, 2009, 2:47 pm

What Lasseter said is correct. However , I think there seems to be a large difference in the “acting” abilities of contemporary actors vs the Monroe era. Audiences are “told” who is a good actor these days. The reason there is an infatuation with older actors is because they had character that transcended the screen. It’s similar to kids with their ipods. Subgrade , over-compressed music is absolutely acceptable to them. Sub-grade acting shrouded is vfx as the protagonist is also acceptable. Younger audiences (which make up the majority these days) would accept a “sub-grade” resurrection of a deceased actor or actor that doesn’t exist . Studio’s don’t care either way , just so long as they get the return on their investment. Sadly , actors at a certain point, become public domain. I know for a fact that the families of some of the deceased stars , where attempting to capitalize on the potential use of their relative in a film, much the same as SAG payments. Not sure where this ended up though ?. What I was saying in the case of Cameron, and even Peter Jackson, is that they manage to get an emotional story on the screen using vfx. Not the other way around. They are rare. Anything in vfx is possible. I’m not saying it’s right , just possible.

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Post by spaz » August 24th, 2009, 2:48 pm

What Lasseter said is correct. However , I think there seems to be a large difference in the “acting” abilities of contemporary actors vs the Monroe era. Audiences are “told” who is a good actor these days. The reason there is an infatuation with older actors is because they had character that transcended the screen. It’s similar to kids with their ipods. Subgrade , over-compressed music is absolutely acceptable to them. Sub-grade acting shrouded is vfx as the protagonist is also acceptable. Younger audiences (which make up the majority these days) would accept a “sub-grade” resurrection of a deceased actor or actor that doesn’t exist . Studio’s don’t care either way , just so long as they get the return on their investment. Sadly , deceased actors at a certain point, become public domain. I know for a fact that the families of some of the deceased stars , where attempting to capitalize on the potential use of their relative in a film, much the same as SAG payments. Not sure where this ended up though ?. What I was saying in the case of Cameron, and even Peter Jackson, is that they manage to get an emotional story on the screen using vfx. Not the other way around. They are rare. Anything in vfx is possible. I’m not saying it’s right , just possible.

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