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August 25, 2009
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I got tickets to the AVATAR sneak preview screening of 16 minutes of footage in IMAX 3D. For those not in the know, James Cameron, director of TITANIC, TERMINATOR 2, ALIENS, etc. has not made a movie in 12 years since sweeping the Oscars ™. Now he has returned with a science fiction opus that many industry insiders have said will completely change the game on how movies are made and distributed because of how awesome the 3D is in this. Since it’s about 60% all CGI with alien characters and a strange planet, and 40% real sets and actors, it seemed like it was possible. I’ve been excited since I first heard about this film 4 years ago.



Now that I’ve seen the 1920x1080 HD teaser online and 16 minutes of it on the big screen, my expectations have dropped tremendously. Granted, what I’ve seen was absolutely amazing and kick ass, but it was NOT life changing or revolutionary. In fact, I found the 3D glasses to start feeling annoying in 5 minutes, and as impressive as the 3D was on the big screen, it made it a lot harder to focus on anything in particular.



The movie looks to be a somewhat oft told story of how an invasion of some alien planet doesn’t take into account the indigenous life, blah blah blah. Most of the movie will be a somewhat anthropological view of the alien life. It’s cool and interesting, but nothing that will change the way people sees movies. Looks like the industry is desperate to do anything to combat lagging ticket sales and high definition home theater experiences. 3D won’t be the thing that keeps me going to the theater… good movies will.



I saw DISTRICT 9 and loved it. Great sci fi movie in there. I particularly like that it takes place in South Africa without the stupid American studios turning it into a tourist video explaining all the subtle differences between our cultures. Phil Garrett showed me a short film in 2005 from this writer/director and the feature is a remake of that movie.



I also finally got around to watching a couple Netflix DVD’s. HANNIBAL RISING, the prequel to RED DRAGON and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS was a clunker. It was a typical revenge story, rather than anything inventive or cool. The lead actor was incredibly weak, and that’s not even comparing him to Anthony Hopkins or an unfair scale, but simply based on his performance. It’s too bad because the sets, costumes, art direction, locations, and everything LOOKED amazing, but it was all for nothing.



I also got on DVD the YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES movie that Steven Spielberg executive produced. Interesting factoids on this movie:

1. Written by Chris Columbus who would later use a LOT of similar elements in the first
2 HARRY POTTER movies he would direct in 2001-2002.
a. The FX and style are eerily reminiscent of Harry Potter
b. The gothic English architecture and locations
c. A prep school atmosphere
d. A rival between the underdog student and a blonde bully
e. A headmasters friendship with the rogue student
f. The teachers not liking rogue student

2. Directed by Barry Levinson, future director of

3. First ever all CGI (Computer Generated Image) animated character intergrated with live action on film

4. PIXAR animation, at the time still under Lucasfilm, created the CGI knight from a stain glass window, before their sale to Steve Jobs of Apple Computers.

5. Even though it is not based on any Sherlock Holmes adventure by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it does originate several common character traits including his never taking a love interest, parental influences, his distinct hunting cap, the smoking pipe, and his lack of emotion.


Bear in mind that this was years before HARRY POTTER was even conceived of.



I loved this movie as a kid and still liked it now. I always coupled this with THE GOONIES as Amblin Entertainment/Steven Spielberg movies that were geared towards my age group, but this holds up very well.

I still want to see THE HURT LOCKER and INGLORIOUS BASTERDS soon.
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