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Aug042009

James Cameron, please stop talking about Avatar until August 21

James Cameron is really excited about his new movie Avatar. You can hear it in his voice. When he talks about the different species on the fictional planets in the movie, and the avatar suits his characters wear, and the relationships they have with one another, you can tell he's completely absorbed in and pumped about the world he's created. Unfortunately, the rest of us don't know what the hell he's talking about and won't until August 21, dubbed "Avatar Day," when a trailer finally premieres, and we (the public) get to see 15 full minutes of footage.

Maybe it's because we haven't seen much of Cameron for the past 10 years, but he seems to be everywhere lately, talking up a storm about the film, even revealing plot points. We keep hearing lots of talking about a movie that claims to be the best looking film ever, but he won't let us see anything! What's worse, this verbal teasing been going on since June.

Here's a quote from a Cameron interview I just read. In many interviews he seems almost frantic, discussing the film in an overly-technical detail usually saved for science fiction fansites (even they won't know what he's talking about yet).

"...the Thanator is my baby I told everybody “Just step the hell back. That’s mine!” The Viper Wolf I did some early drawings for and that ended up being about ninety percent what I had sketched out. The other ones evolved from the group, like the Sternbeast, the Banshees, the Leonopteryx. Wayne Barlowe even got a little of his scent on the Leonopteryx. He was one of our first designers, but he didn’t stay with the project very long, but the big kind of double crest that it has on her... We haven’t released any art on the Leonopteryx yet, but it’s a major player story-wise." - James Cameron speaking to AintItCoolNews

Now if we had a picture of a 'Leonopteryx' to look at, Cameron would just be geeking out about his movie, but we don't. We've never seen any of these creatures, and he's discussing private footage he showed to the interviewer. Thus, he sounds like a crazy person.

It started at Ubisoft's press conference at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo, the largest video game show of the year). Ubisoft is working with Cameron and his crew on the Avatar video game. But instead of showing screens or footage of the new game, as we saw with every other upcoming release, James Cameron took the stage and talked about the movie and game...and didn't stop. He kept talking for 15 straight minutes. No footage was shown. The video is below.

Listening to him talk about how cool the movie is and give away the basic plot was torture. Avatar is set in a science fiction world filled with creatures, planets, and creations we've never seen before. Without visual aid, it's difficult to get excited about a movie that shares so little with our reality. It isn't based on any existing license or brand (this is good) either; I feel like a kid in the 70s and trying to imagine Star Wars without any visual help. There is no trailer for Avatar, no revealing photos, no nothing; all we have are a couple art photos and the comfort that James Cameron is really excited. He has made some great movies so far, I guess.

Since mid-July, Cameron has let loose. He'll talk about anything with anyone. He's talking about Avatar; he's talking about climactic battles; he's talking with Peter Jackson about 3D films, he's discussing the possibility of a True Lies sequel; he's even letting us know what he thinks about The Hurt Locker (a very good film). Latino Review got a video interview with him too. Below is a video of his panel at Comic-Con.

If Avatar is as amazing as James Cameron says it is, he has reason to be excited, but he's treading dangerously. This media blitz has created immense hype for a movie that won't release until December 18. On August 21st--Avatar Day--a trailer will premiere in select IMAX theaters, along with 15 minutes of 3D footage. This day could make or break the movie. If everyone isn't thoroughly impressed, all the hype may backfire. The Guardian.co.uk disagrees with me.

[Avatar Day] will give James Cameron the luxury of allowing the film footage to be seen in a way that does the movie justice, rather than just allowing a tiny trailer to be leaked on to YouTube. Presumably Avatar Day will also serve as a wake-up call to cinema chains, showing them that digital 3D won't simply be a gimmicky flash in the pan and giving them four months to convert and allow them to share the rewards that Avatar will offer. - Guardian.co.uk

I think it's dangerous. While there may have been some hype surrounding Avatar because of it's budget and its director, Fox and Cameron are responsible for setting expectations for Avatar astronomically high. I don't understand why they couldn't have shown a sliver of game footage at E3 or a short trailer for the movie at Comic-Con. If the movie is great, it would have built momentum in July just as well as August. 20th Century Fox must be pretty confident that the trailer, and film, will deliver. It will need to be pretty great to break through the brick wall of hype they're building around it.

Here's the newest teaser poster.

Am I nuts? What do you think about Avatar and it's hype?

Reader Comments (2)

I think I agree w/ you 100 %.

This movie looks like crap - he should stop trying to revolutionize our eyeballs
and instead should've spent the past 10 years using the vastly under-utilized Stan Winston to make some revolutionary character-based films, instead of this 3-D garbage.

Plus, if you watch his body language on the Comic Con couch w/ Sigourney & Zoe, he looks so ridiculously uncomfortable.

I have to believe he's simply a grown up man who plays too many video games.

I'd have been teasing them & touching & tapping them all over the place, arms behind them!
You're the director, for c hrissakes! Where are your balls - in the Virtual Reality pod???

August 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDjango

I'll have to watch that video. I'm really not too impressed with that he did show of Avatar so far. I didn't get a chance to catch the 15 minute preview though.

Honestly, it was mostly his rant at E3 that bothered me most. That Ubisoft press conference was already a disaster, and he just added to it.

August 24, 2009 | Registered CommenterJeffrey Van Camp

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