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Avatar, Has Sci-fi Found Its Heaven's Gate? 443

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the wilburies-playing-end-of-the-line dept.
brumgrunt writes "Den Of Geek wonders if James Cameron's Avatar is heading for a fall, and if it will even be a science fiction film, off the back of the previews shown last week. It writes: 'It seems in Avatar that all this gee-whiz science is merely there to draw the "old crowd" in and provide some kind of rationale for a brightly-coloured fantasy-world which reflects the most emetic of the artwork plastered over teenage girls' MySpace pages.'"
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Avatar, Has Sci-fi Found Its Heaven's Gate?

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  • Story? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brian Gordon (987471) on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:31AM (#29173645)

    Wait, what is this story? Looks like some editorial about how Avatar won't be good.

    • Re:Story? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Cowar (1608865) on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:40AM (#29173769)
      "I complain on forums about video games that I haven't even played!"

      In other news, the internet, James Cameron, and the world at large carries on despite the ramblings of some poor little guy who got beaten in middle school by a crowd of little girls wielding Lisa Frank binders.
    • Re:Story? (Score:5, Funny)

      by the_humeister (922869) on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:59AM (#29174001)

      Yeah, I don't understand the Heaven's Gate reference. Are the developers going to commit mass suicide?

      • Re:Story? (Score:5, Informative)

        by BillCable (1464383) on Monday August 24, 2009 @12:04PM (#29174071)
        Heaven's Gate the 1980 box office bomb, not the religious cult.
      • Re:Story? (Score:5, Informative)

        by iluvcapra (782887) on Monday August 24, 2009 @12:49PM (#29174657)

        Heaven's Gate [imdb.com], 1980, Michael Cimino, starring Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, Sam Waterston et al. Important not just because it was bad, but because it was the third most expensive film of 1980, at $35 million (in that year, Empire Strikes Back was made for $18 million), and failed so stupendously that it is now remembered as one of those few rare bombs that are so terrible that they actually bankrupt the studio that made them; see also Battlefield Earth, Masters of the Universe (or Superman 4, both did Cannon in), and Cutthroat Island.

        The implication of a comparison to Heaven's Gate is that it is not only terrible, but so hideously expensive ($237 million) that it could bankrupt Fox. Which almost happened once before [wikipedia.org].

  • by chill (34294) on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:33AM (#29173671) Journal

    Uhhh...the movie is supposed to convince people to dress in identical black shirts and sweat pants, brand new black-and-white Nike Windrunner athletic shoes, and armband patches reading "Avatar Away Team" before committing suicide by mixing barbituates with vodka and plastic bags?

    If Rocky Horror Picture Show didn't induce that type of cult-like following -- though it was damn close -- I have a hard time imagining Avatar will.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven's_Gate_(religious_group) [wikipedia.org]

    • Re:Heaven's Gate? (Score:4, Informative)

      by jguevin (453329) on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:46AM (#29173827)

      No, it's about the disastrously overproduced movie of the same name.

  • OR... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info AT devinmoore DOT com> on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:34AM (#29173677) Homepage Journal

    Or, Avatar will completely whip ass and this and all other negative critiques will be laughed at and/or forgotten.

    • Re:OR... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice&gmail,com> on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:47AM (#29173851)
      Or, more likely, some people will rave about it, some people will rant about it, and the vast majority will just get some entertainment from it and never think twice. I don't really get why this film is being championed on Slashdot - its a film, nothing more. Just because it has a scifi orientated plot doesn't make it something to hold up and worship, there are plenty of decent scifi films out there.
      • by pcolaman (1208838)

        I think all of the championing is more about the CGI and 3D filming, rather than the story. It is amazing how great the movie looks, even if the story is most likely going to be underwhelming. The fact that many studios are already talking about scrapping making 2d movies and instead want to gear towards 3D shows that it is already having an impact in the film industry even before it has hit theaters.

      • by UttBuggly (871776)

        I hadn't seen the trailer until this article came up. Went to Apple and watched the HD version.

        A couple of impressions from that:

        1) It looks good. IMAX and 3D...could be amazing. Overcoming the palette dimming of 3D projection will be very important.

        2) I gathered the story was a grunt got "embedded" with the native populace and was faced with fighting his own race. Gee, Hollywood's never done THAT story before! Still, it was clear there was a plot, a story, and stuff that blowed up real good, so this may do

  • Only On Slashdot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:34AM (#29173685)
    Where District 9 is already as great as Star Wars and a movie that's not even out sucks.
    • by eviloverlordx (99809) on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:40AM (#29173751)

      Where District 9 is already as great as Star Wars and a movie that's not even out sucks.

      And Joss is actually thought of as a creative genius.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by sexconker (1179573)

        Joss Whedon is a derivative hack who can't help be defile every thing he touches with some sort of adolescent fantasy involving shitty, super-powered, little girls. Then his shows get canceled and the fucker throws a tantrum a 7 year old would envy, killing off all the likable characters and pile driving what little story there was face first into the fucking ground.

        • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday August 24, 2009 @12:32PM (#29174407) Journal

          >>>Joss Whedon is a derivative hack who can't help be defile every thing he touches with some sort of adolescent fantasy involving shitty, super-powered, little girls.
          >>>

          Now now. Whedon's not that bad. First-off they're not little girls - they're young women. Second produced two excellent shows (Buffy, Angel), a decent show (Firefly), and a mediocre show (Dollhouse). That's better than a lot of his colleagues. Gene Roddenberry did no better (one hit wonder) and neither did J.Michael Straczynski (another one-hitter) or Michael Pillar (DS9 and BSG). It's simply not possible to make EVERY show a hit. Whedon has no reason to feel shame.

          I have noticed though that Whedon seems to have a foot fetish.
          He spends a lot of time focusing his camera on women's feet.
          Well nobody's perfect. ;-)

      • I honestly don't know why this is flamebait. :) It's the most insightful comment I've read all morning... (Admittedly it's still early.) But there are far too many Whedonites on Slashdot than there should be. (given their percentage of the general population.)

        I'd rather have my butt hair plucked out than watch Joss Whedon's work. The man can throw elephant dung at a screen and his fans will marvel at how original it was he used elephant dung... as opposed to horse dung like all the other "wannabes". Y
    • District 9 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by arete (170676)

      I was going to say this, but of course you beat me to it. District 9 is one of the most legitimate serious science fiction / extrapolative fiction movies I've seen in a long, long time - things you usually only get in books. A limited number of fantastical assumptions, and then the exploration of the very rational ramifications of those assumptions.

      And it was made on a relative shoestring, and the effects are perfect -- and the acting is amazing. But if you're expecting a 100% crazy action/effects movie

  • My nominee for (Score:3, Insightful)

    by idontgno (624372) on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:37AM (#29173713) Journal

    "Most Snarky Use of the Word 'Emetic [medterms.com]'"

    And, may I add, perfectly appropriate and accurate, when used in reference to a huge proportion of the great wasteland that is MySpace.

  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:40AM (#29173749)

    So are we now judging a book by its cover? Thanks but no thanks, I'll wait until I see all the reviews on rottentomatoes before making judgement. Something tells me critics who have actually seen the movie and know how to write and think about film might be a better barometer than random nerd on the internet.

    Funny how the synopsis mocks teenage girls, but we dont mock teenage fanboys who loudly declare "FAIL" after just seeing a teaser trailer. Seems thats the more odious habit.

    Ironically, the teaser trailer has done its job: its got everyone talking. So little an investment for so much publicity.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Halo1 (136547)

      I saw the trailer (not the full preview, just the trailer), and I was not impressed by the animation. The way the lion-like thing moves is completely unnatural and it looks like it's made from plastic. The movements of the blue people was also off at various points. At several points I guess they got stuck in the uncanny valley.

      If it were a game, I'd say it had great graphics. But as a film it was just not convincing to me.

    • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

      Ironically, the teaser trailer has done its job: its got everyone talking. So little an investment for so much publicity.

      Irony doesn't work that way!

      And you know, everyone was talking about how awful Pluto Nash was going to be, too.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sexconker (1179573)

      Yes. We judge movies by their trailers. Directors and producers want us to. It's the trailer that gets people to buy the ticket.
      When was the last time a theater gave you a refund because a movie was shitty?

      It's not the fanboys who are declaring fail.
      It's the people who actually like science fiction, and were fucking sick of hearing about AVATAR. Now we see that it's really a piece of shit. We have the fucking right to mock and taunt, because we've put up with shitty hype for ages.

      The trailer got people

      • We put up with the hype for ages? I like science fiction films - I own a large collection of them on DVD - and this /. article is the first I've heard of Avatar. Methinks they might need a new hype machine.
        • Yeah, this is only the second time I've heard anything about it, the previous one being a slashdot article saying essentially "this might be really cool."

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Landshark17 (807664)
        "We judge movies by their trailers. Directors and producers want us to. It's the trailer that gets people to buy the ticket."

        It's the trailer that gets people to buy the ticket, but it's humanly impossible to judge a movie by its trailer. Trailers are made to be as generic as possible to appeal to the broadest possible audience and sell the most tickets. All trailers are made up of the same basic elements to make as many people want to see the movie as possible. There's the vet in a wheel-chair to appeal
    • by rho (6063)

      Funny how the synopsis mocks teenage girls, but we dont mock teenage fanboys who loudly declare "FAIL" after just seeing a teaser trailer. Seems thats the more odious habit.

      "No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame."

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by corbettw (214229)

      So are we now judging a book by its cover? Thanks but no thanks, I'll wait until I see all the reviews on rottentomatoes before making judgement.

      Well now I feel stupid, I was going to wait until seeing it myself before making up my mind. Guess it is easier to cut out the middle man and get my opinions from experts like everyone else. That way, I too can be an individual!

  • Puhlease! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Recovering Hater (833107) on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:43AM (#29173787)
    In Avatar, mankind has the ability to cross the voids of space in an effort to mine a mineral rich alien world. Bring these minerals back for refinemant and use. We have the ability to implant a human mind into an alien avatar body that we have ourselves created and control that persons new avatar body. And yet we can't repair a paralyzed human body? Fail.
    • Re:Puhlease! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice&gmail,com> on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:54AM (#29173929)
      Not all technological advancement happens at a steady, conformal pace - we can send probes to other worlds, put men in space, travel across the face of the earth in hours and yet we still rely on physicians making judgement calls about diagnoses?

      We can investigate the fundamentals of the universe, the big bang and quantum physics, but we are yet to fully understand every step in the process of photosynthesis - one of the most widely used processes in life on this planet.

      Just two examples.
      • Re:Puhlease! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday August 24, 2009 @12:55PM (#29174715)

        Not all technological advancement happens at a steady, conformal pace - we can send probes to other worlds, put men in space, travel across the face of the earth in hours and yet we still rely on physicians making judgement calls about diagnoses?

        We can investigate the fundamentals of the universe, the big bang and quantum physics, but we are yet to fully understand every step in the process of photosynthesis - one of the most widely used processes in life on this planet.

        Yeah, but being able to understand genetics enough to create an avatar and remote link a mind to it seems to imply a very strong understanding of biology. The level of ridiculousness here would be like saying "Ok, so they have cyborgs in this universe, ones capable of passing for human, the AI's are very advanced, yet they still have people manually flying aircraft and driving vehicles, not just out of a sense of nostalgia but because it can't be done...Wait a sec!"

        People were complaining about Firefly's wild west aspect with office towers and spaceships on one planet and nothing but horses and six-shooters on another. Well, we do have some pretty wild differences on this planet. Just look at the range of human technology depicted in District 9, cell phones in shanty towns. I could make a good argument that a farmer who has no certain access to outside resources would prefer an ox to a tractor since an ox is easier to fuel, two oxen can make more oxen, etc. A tractor could represent a recurring expense he cannot afford. And then to really blow your mind, he could use a solar-powered laptop with GPS to plot the lay of his fields. Hey, the laptop works for a long time if you don't break it and the sun's free...

        • Re:Puhlease! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by slimshady945 (1553213) <mullinaland@@@yahoo...com> on Monday August 24, 2009 @03:43PM (#29176903)

          Cell phones in shanty towns do exist now. In fact, there is a company in Kenya marketing ones that can be recharged by solar power. And even in the third world, EVERYONE has bad ass cell phones. Maybe not shoes, running water or electricity, but they have that.

          And they do prefer animals for precisely that reason; gas is expensive, grass is everywhere.

          Sometimes, weird developments actually occur in the real world, so why not in imaginary one?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sexconker (1179573)

      We can repair the body, or build a new body, but the brain has given up and thinks that the fixed or new body is still broken.

      And we can't fix brains, we just know how to move them. It's like you fucking nerds installing a CPU. You don't know shit about how it works, and you could never fucking make one - you just know how to plug it in.

      -
      -

      At least that's the shitty argument the fucking furries will throw at you.

    • by A. B3ttik (1344591) on Monday August 24, 2009 @12:40PM (#29174513)
      His spinal cord is emitting subspace tachyon flux rays that block any attempts at repair.

      They even tried the Main Deflector Dish, but the spinal capacitance field blocked it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vertinox (846076)

      And yet we can't repair a paralyzed human body? Fail.

      I think that part of plot line is just dumb simply because you can come up with a thousand reasons why someone wouldn't want to use their real body.

      I mean your chance of dying in an accident goes to near zero once you stop going outdoors and not to mention its just more efficient to travel around.

      But to say people only use avatar's because they are paralyzed is silly. People will do it because they want to, not because they have to.

  • by MaXintosh (159753) on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:45AM (#29173805)
    I learnt about Avatar the other night, when I saw an ad for it. I looked it up on Wikipedia, read it over, and I thought, "This looks like Dances with Wolves in Space." I was curious whether anyone else made that analogy, so I googled "avatar film dances with wolves."

    The first hit I got was "James Cameron: Yes, 'Avatar' is 'Dances with Wolves' in space ..."

    At this point, it would have to be really damn good for me to see it. I don't need blue aliens telling me how bad White Manifest Destiney was in the United States. But I definitely don't need the overtones of insert-enlightened-human-here going in and saving the tribe^H^H^H^H^H by becoming it's leader, which is what the director was talking about.

    Just say'n.
    • I was curious if in context he actually said that "Avatar" was "Dances with Wolves" in space so I googled your search and skimmed the article.
      Not only did he say that "Avatar" was "Dances with Wolves" in space, he then said he was trying to make it something that Rudyard Kipling might have written. I just don't see how his concept makes a good movie, but then again I don't understand the popularity of Quentin Tarantino movies either.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MaXintosh (159753)
        I suppose Scifi can be a great tool for introducing social commentary - Blade Runner, for example. So, maybe they thought that it could stand a fresh facelift in that regard. Or maybe the writers thought they had something new to contribute to the story. As devil's advocate, sometimes retellings can improve on the story.

        What's awful is it totally misses what made Dances with Wolves not suck, and it went right for a whole load of imperialistic garbage. The dialog would have to be really ****ing good to make
        • What's awful is it totally misses what made Dances with Wolves not suck

          Kevin Costner???

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by MaXintosh (159753)
            Touché.

            RedGreen said it best,
            Edgar Montrose: That native actor in Dances With Wolves was really good, they shoulda given him the Oscar.
            :)
    • by AP31R0N (723649)

      What does "Just say'n" mean?

    • by TimeTraveler1884 (832874) on Monday August 24, 2009 @12:21PM (#29174299)

      This looks like Dances with Wolves in Space

      I want this movie to succeed only so that it may have a Broadway adaptation and then later become a traveling figure skating exhibit. I mean, who wouldn't want to see "River Dances with Wolves in Space on Ice?"

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by CarpetShark (865376)

      Yes, 'Avatar' is 'Dances with Wolves' in space ..."

      Wouldn't that be "Suffocates Wolves"?

    • PST! (Score:3, Informative)

      by denzacar (181829)

      It is actually an action-based SF 3D movie.
      NOT a political/ecological diatribe about "how bad White Manifest Destiney was in the United States.".

      Because you are such a fan of Google-based-deduction, try this search string: avatar after seeing IMAX preview [google.com].
      You know... opinions of the people who actually saw the 3D footage in 3D - and a little more of it than a chopped up teaser trailer.

  • !aang, eh? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fredjh (1602699)

    I'm more excited about the Last Airbender, to be perfectly honest, so "Avatar" in the thread title always gets me...

    I think people should stop nit-picking about Avatar being science fiction... yes, it is science fiction.

  • ""It seems in Avatar that all this gee-whiz science is merely there to draw the 'old crowd' in and provide some kind of rationale for a brightly-coloured fantasy-world which reflects the most emetic of the artwork plastered over teenage girls' MySpace pages"

    That's stupid....everyone knows that teenage girls use facebook and twitter now..NOT myspace. Duh,

    • by pcolaman (1208838)

      What the fuck is twitter? I'm still trying to figure out this whole Prodigy and AOL stuff.

  • Honestly, I doubt it. Their entire catalog is skewed towards a younger demographic, and their recent announcements have indicated a trend towards sequelitis.
    I think the tougher question is why they've never taken it upon themselves to take a chance with a more mature (PG-13 to R rated) offering. Most of their profits are realized through merchandizing, so anything they can't stick on a lunchbox, backpack, bedspread, or turn into little plastic figurine is off the table. The most Avatar can hope for is so

  • "Will 'Avatar' be the most amazing film ever and justify my spending the last year in nerd-lust over it? I don't actually know a thing about it other than what's in the trailer, but I presume that it won't."
  • Sexist bastard. :P (Score:4, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:57AM (#29173977)

    "...which reflects the most emetic of the artwork plastered over teenage girls' MySpace pages"

    Ever since Twilight came out and fangirling became mainstream, the response by so many boys has been dismissive and derisive. But in a room full of boys talking about World of Warcraft nobody flinches. It's a double standard.

    • by Alaren (682568)

      Nobody flinches [kotaku.com]? I'm afraid there is ample evidence to the contrary.

      Some double standards are, at heart, sexist (in both directions, actually). Many are not. There are a lot of "double standards" in this world. In fact, deconstruction makes it possible to uncover "double standards" in all sorts of interesting places.

      This is not one of them.

      But, hey, nice try. (And hey, if you liked Twilight, be sure to click the link in my sig. d^_^b)

  • Seems like it's begging for confusion with "Avatar: The Last Airbender"
    • by pcolaman (1208838)

      Except that James Cameron has been dreaming up this idea for going on a decade and a half. The Anime has only been in existance since it's conception in 2001 and wasn't on TV until 2005. James Cameron wrote a lite-script for Avatar in 1995.

  • male chauvanism? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lexible (1038928) on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:59AM (#29174007)

    most emetic of the artwork plastered over teenage girls' MySpace pages

    sure... while teenage boys' fantasies get exalted into "real sci-fi"? (like, say the recent star trek movie?) mayhap den of geek should adjust his testosterone obsession by reading ursula le guin, c. j. cherryh, octavia butler, dorris lessing, joanna rush, emma bull, oh and heck, anne mccaffrey. i can't help but imagine that it would nicely leaven the quality of questions about sci-fi he poses.

    • by Alaren (682568)

      Most of those authors I've never heard of, however, I can say from reading them that Ursula Le Guin and Anne McCaffrey would both seem in line with the point of the article--that Avatar is a fantasy dressed in sci-fi trappings. In particular, I found the "sci-fi" origins of Pern extremely off-putting and stopped reading that series.

      Arguably, Star Wars is the same thing, of course, not to mention my wife's book (link in my sig) but I think that's a different argument than the one you're making here.

  • And the studios will finally force James Cameron to make Titanic II.

  • Three words: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unfortunateson (527551) on Monday August 24, 2009 @12:08PM (#29174119) Journal

    James F*cking Cameron

    Has he let us down up until now? Aliens, Terminator, T2, Abyss (not kick-ass amazing, but still a good flick), True Lies... you have to go back to Pirhana to get a stinker, and he was still cutting his chops, and he didn't write it.

    And I don't know what trailer the critic watched, but I'm with Sam Worthington: "This is *GREAT*"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fahrbot-bot (874524)

      Has he let us down up until now?

      One word: Titanic

      Sure, it made a metric f*ckload of money and women around the world cried, but it was a crap story. In the shadow of 1500 people dying needlessly in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic as a result of corporate short-sightedness and greed and societal dispassion for the poor working-class, we get some bullshit "love story" with sappy, contrived prose. Just thinking about final dialog between Rose and Dawson - while hundreds drowned and froze - stil

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dbcad7 (771464)
        Not to defend the movie, that to me wasn't "all that", but when telling the story of any large tragedy it does help people to understand the significance of an event when you can focus on the story of a few who went through it.. I think Titanic failed a bit in that, by too narrowly focusing on two people.. If you compare that with Saving Private Ryan, which is the same idea but done much better and with more characters to care about, then the technique of telling a story within a large event is acceptable a
  • What kinda bites is that one of the plot gimmicks is the mind control of robot/avatar, which makes it similar to Surrogate (with Bruce Willis). I'm worried that this will make Surrogate seem kinda like a knock-off of Avatar, which is a shame because I think Surrogate is poised to be one of the best Sci-fi movies on 2009.
  • From TFA: Worst of all, I don't believe that it will be a 'science-fiction film' any more than Star Wars...

    I'm sorry, I must be out of the loop? Since when is Star Wars not sci-fi? Is there a real empire? A real rebel alliance? A real death star, force, tie fighters, x-wing fighters, light saber, etc?
  • one thing that I get from the synopsis and trailer is that there's this main character that is paralyzed and is linked to a new hybrid alien life form through the mind (telepathy I guess).

    If they have this type of technology - why not just cure the paralysis. So it smells like a plot hole that the director is ignoring in the pursuit of a cinematic vision.

    I'll still watch it just out of curiosity.
  • All I could think of watching this trailer was that it looked like a rip-off of Thundercats.

  • http://www.avclub.com/articles/inventory-eight-surefire-fiascoes-that-unexpectedl,1532/ [avclub.com]

    titanic was way over budget and plenty in hollywood were sharpening the knives and whispering about cameron's "heaven's gate"... in 1997

    it didn't turn out that way. so many teenage girls around the world seeing that movie 10 times in a row. the guy hit one out of the ballpark

    but there's another guy who took a dubious premise and knocked one out of the ballpark... and then went even more ambitious and wound up with a career killing flop

    i am (ironically, since avatar is, as so many have noted, just dances with wolves in space [slashdot.org]) talking about kevin costner and his way over budget little personal project called dances with wolves that so many had rejected throughout the 1980s and he staked so much on career-wise

    Originally written as a spec script by Michael Blake, it went unsold in the mid-1980s. It was Kevin Costner who, in early 1986 (when he was relatively unknown), encouraged Blake to turn the screenplay into a novel, to improve its chances of being adapted into a film. The novel manuscript of Dances with Wolves was rejected by numerous publishers but finally published in paperback in 1988. As a novel, the rights were purchased by Costner, with an eye to his directing it.[4] Actual filming lasted from July 18 to November 23, 1989. ...

    Because of budget overruns and production delays, and after the fiasco of Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate, then considered one of the most mismanaged Westerns in film history, Costner's project was satirically dubbed "Kevin's Gate" by Hollywood critics and skeptics during the months prior to its release.[4]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dances_with_wolves#Production [wikipedia.org]

    then what happened after gaining so much legitimacy in the face of so much doubt? kevin costner followed up with waterworld

    gulp

    his career was never the same after that flop (even though, personally, i never thought it was a bad movie, it was enjoyable, just somewhat flawed, but not repulsively so)

    Problems encountered during filming led to massive budget overrun, and it held the dubious distinction of being the most expensive film ever made at the time. Some critics dubbed it "Fishtar" and "Kevin's Gate" (references to the notorious flops Ishtar and Heaven's Gate).

    With a budget of $175 million, the film grossed a mere $88 million at the U.S. box office, which seemed to make it the all time box office bomb.[6] Adjusted for inflation and expressed in 2006 dollars (USD), the budget for the movie was $231.6 million, and grossed $116.8 million at the U.S. box office.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterworld#Box_office_and_reception [wikipedia.org]

    so, to conclude

    titanic : cameron = dances with wolves : costner

    ? avatar : cameron = waterworld : costner ?

    no man is immune to hubris. avatar may very well be cameron's undoing. but then again, avoid the counsel of anyone who is certain avatar will kill cameron's career. no one knows yet, and anyone who "knows" certainly suffers from the same deadly hubris

  • Simplistic messages. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MaWeiTao (908546) on Monday August 24, 2009 @12:44PM (#29174589)

    While I'm very interested in watching the movie, at this point Avatar looks like it's going to feature the same old contrived storyline featured in sci-fi over the last decade: humanity and industrialization are evil and nature and those connected to it are good. There's been this tendency to depict humans are awful, uncaring monsters.

    It's reminiscent of District 9 where humans and the multinational corporation central to the story were so over-the-top evil it was almost comical. I will add that I did very much enjoy District 9 as far as favorite sci-fi movies go for me it's near the top of the list. I can appreciate the point of the message and liked the impact, but I would have preferred it to not be so simplistic in it's worldview. There are multiple sides to every story and I'm fairly certain that in this day and age there would be a lot of outrage to see extraterrestrials being treated this way.

    Basically, my point is while I do think we need to be reminded of the problems of the world I would prefer movies sophisticated in it's presentation. Sometimes I feel like these people in Hollywood are conflicted about the lavish lifestyles they enjoy and are trying to foist their guilt trips on us.

  • by peter303 (12292) on Monday August 24, 2009 @01:10PM (#29174869)
    I saw a trailer for Surrogates at District Nine. It appears to be about people in the real world whose bodies are used (rented) to virtual players. And soemthing goes wrong! Cameron's looks it will have better F/X.
  • a few thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stiller (451878) on Monday August 24, 2009 @02:44PM (#29176097) Homepage Journal

    1) It's James Cameron. Is this still Slashdot? Do I really have to explain who this is and why he deserves some credit?
    2) IMAX 3D. It's phenomenal. Really, it is. The Avatar preview was one of the most exciting things I've seen, visually, in a long time. It was like playing Doom for the first time. Or the first time seeing bullet time in the Matrix. And I know what you're going to say, "a good film should be enjoyable on any medium". Sure, enjoyable. But would you say that a Rembrandt is just as enjoyable to watch as a monochrome poststamp reproduction? Or that you'd just as well listen to Pink Floyd over the telephone? No, it would ruin the experience. Cameron has always pushed the envelope both visually and technically. T2 and Aliens were mostly just very well designed and executed remakes of the original, mostly.
    3) The plot. Most of us haven't read the screenplay. So we are basing our judgment on a two minute trailer. The premise of "Dances with Wolves" in space doesn't sound exciting, so what? It's exactly that; a premise. Most films are based on a simple premise, it's what you do with it that matters. I personally like the idea of a classic adventure film set it space, but maybe that's me. If you don't like a story about a young man who leaves his home planet to fight with a group of rebels against a technically seemingly superior power by tapping into some mythical power, so be it.
    4) The trailer. I actually agree. I don't think it's well done at all. Too much slow-motion, which completely cripples the motion capture performance. After seeing it, I had serious doubts about going to the IMAX screening. I can only say, I'm glad I went.

  • Well, DUH... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mblase (200735) on Monday August 24, 2009 @05:15PM (#29178159)

    Didn't anyone actually watch the trailer? I don't mean the effects or the monsters, I mean the part where they announce it's from the director of 'Titanic'. Not the director of 'Terminator 2', or 'Aliens', or even 'Abyss'.

    In that moment, it became obvious to me they're not targeting it to the sci-fi action crowd. Anyone who thinks they are will doubtless be disappointed.

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