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  • #4369
    David M
    Participant

    Has any one watched the first trailer for Avatar? It’s the new film from James Cameron. I must say it looks VERY good.

    Here is the link to the HD version: http://www.apple.com/trailers/fox/avatar/hd/

    Just want to say hello too, bout time I actually joined this site.

    #102630
    pfm
    Participant

    To me it only looks half good. The CGI IS impressive but it looks too busy, overblown and cartoony in an Attack of the Clones/Revenge of the Sith type way. We’ve just got to hope that the acting holds up under all that technology. The live action parts should be pretty solid. They look a bit like a brighter-lit Aliens and The Abyss.

    #102631
    p2p_productions
    Participant

    Hi there, David.

    Yeah, I gave the trailer a brief mention on my blog. TBH, I was expecting a little more that what was presented (essentially, Aliens, ET, Minority Report, etc. in a blender), too.

    Don’t get me wrong, the trailer’s clearly well produced – it just didn’t grab me the same way the Star Trek ’09 or Terminator Salvation trailers did recently. Word is, Avatar as a whole, works amazingly well in Imax, so maybe that’s the venue I need to see it in.

    Still looking forward to the flick, though. I mean, it IS from James Cameron, after all. :-))

    #102632
    Andrew
    Participant

    I think it looks utterly mediocre, to be honest!

    I fully expect the film itself to entertain the hell out of me – aside from Dark Angel and Piranha II he’s always managed that – but that trailer is just…nothing. With almost no character stuff on show, it’s all ‘look at these visuals’. But I’m looking…and I’m seeing Star Wars prequels.

    Cameron’s already said that one boon of 3D is that it sells you on the CGI in a way 2D can’t. You see it move in the same three planes as the actors, it gains a credibility to the eye that a flat image can’t match. I can completely believe that…but in 2D that CGI stuff looks like CGI stuff. Well enough done, but nowhere near eye-fooling.

    Sure, blue people suffer the Hulk problem – how can it EVER look natural to the eye? – but trees don’t. And military ships really shouldn’t: the design of vessels and combat suits are wicked, but the execution is yet to impress. Cameron’s always had a gift for making things seem SOLID (in block capitals) – there’s weight to his action, a ‘heavy’ feel to everything from strapped-together guns and power loaders to diving suits and Robert Patrick – and so far everything here feels vague and floaty.

    But, as I say, I anticipate this being a trailer issue. That SOLID feel comes from sound FX as much as the visuals, and the trail’s not giving us those. And the tension and character weight will come from the story, which has yet to be effectively communicated.

    In the meantime, though – nah. I’m more excited by District 9.

    #102637
    ChrisM
    Participant

    I think the ship, and mechanical stuff looks awesome. As for the aliens… I don’t mind the design too much (although they’re a bit too cute maybe) but they certainly don’t look real. They’d be ok in a CGI film where everything is in that style like Beowulf, but in a hybrid film like this which incorporates both, I’m rather disapointed. Not that it’s bad, per se, it just seems disproportionate with all the hype. Lets face it Gollum looked just as good.

    And why do they have a CGI version of Sam Worthington in a wheelchair?
    For your reference.

    A HUMAN guy in a wheelchair? Maybe it’s just easier for them to have a CGI version since he’s outside the ship in a rendered environment rather than sticking him in there using blue screen but I don’t buy that. They mastered blue screen long before CGI. I’m not a CGI hater, but that’s a major example of it’s overuse.

    #102638
    p2p_productions
    Participant

    The one thing I DID like was the low key music – a real change from the usual sweeping movie/opera-lite tracks that I usually use..! I’m sure it’s there to help the viewer focus more on the visuals, but as has already been said here, there and everywhere, the visuals are… well, ‘meh’.

    #102644
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Well, that was incredibly depressing. I was prepared to love this. It’s Cameron and it’s Sci-fi, so as long as it’s not The Abyss II, I was prepared to book my tickets now.

    But this just looks like Final Fantasy : The Spirits Within. Urgh. The CGI for the blue aliens is crap too.

    Cameron seems to have been infected by the bug that Lucas and Zemeckis have contracted. Priority #1 : Push technology.

    #102647
    p2p_productions
    Participant

    New Inception trailer’s out, too.

    http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1810099246/video/15201197

    #102651
    pfm
    Participant

    Anyone who’s seen Terminator Salvation knows that we have a right to be worried about Sam Worthington’s performance in Avatar. Can Cameron’s influence turn someone from a crap actor with little presence into a good actor who can carry a massive movie even under a CGI guise?? Salvation was shot after his work on Avatar so he could have IMPROVED for Salvation!! Dear God.

    The other main cast are solid enough. Zoe Saldana, the new Uhura, is a personal favourite of mine, even though it seems we will only be seeing her as a big blue CGI alien in Avatar (or WILL we…? maybe that would be too obvious a twist to have HER secretly being an Avatar rather than a natural Na’vi creature). Sigourney Weaver, there’s nothing that needs to be said there, apart from – does she ever age??? Get her back as Ripley one last time PLEASE!!

    #102653
    Dessie
    Participant

    Models look far more impressive to me than any CGI i’ve ever seen. That’s what i like about Aliens, the queen looks fantastic in that film but the CGI version in AvP was boring to watch. Cameron’s movies have a certain “real” feel about them which seems like it could be lost in this film.

    #102654
    Andrew
    Participant

    I woudn’t blame the CGI for anything in AvP being boring to watch…

    I actually thought their queen was very well executed – but the method’s only as good as the filmmakers. Spielberg – now there’s a man who knows how to shoot for the vis-FX. Anderson? His live action shots aren’t that interesting either.

    But yeah, I agree about Cameron’s ‘real’ feel. His stuff always had a heft to it, always felt solid, and so far I’m not getting that from Avatar at all.

    #102655
    Andrew
    Participant

    Actually, I will say this for the CGI: it’s clearly good enough to confuse people!

    There’s a Den of Geek review of the trailer that claims the alien bobbing in the tank is a prosthetic, which I don’t believe it is. (Confusion likely caused by a ‘production still’ released by the makers. But when you’re working with hi-res digital, every rendered frame’s a potential still.)

    ChrisM – what makes you think that’s a CGI Sam Worthington? The face lighting is odd, but that’s because he’s wearing an internally-lit breathing mask. That’s a bloke in a chair, surely?

    #102656
    ChrisM
    Participant

    ChrisM – what makes you think that?s a CGI Sam Worthington? The face lighting is odd, but that?s because he?s wearing an internally-lit breathing mask. That?s a bloke in a chair, surely?

    It is mainly the face, that creates the affect it’s true. If the body is real the face looks like it’s been tacked on. It struck me the first time I saw it in the video. His whole appearance looks slightly off to me too, but it could be the whole screen filter/tone* coupled with the strange face that gave me that impression.

    *using the word ‘tone’ in the literal colour sense here, there’s probably a proper filmakers term for it. It’s not a bad tone though, quite nice in fact, I’m referring more to the overall affect coupled with the image of Sam.

    #102657
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    I thought the same as Chris. It looks weird.

    #102658
    p2p_productions
    Participant

    You know, there’s some fantastic CG work in that first AvP. In a few of those shots where the pyramid’s walls are shifting, there are often completely digital walls in full view, and I can hardly tell which are real and which aren’t.

    Even though they say Art thrives on restriction, AvP is probably one movie that I’d admit legitimately needed just a bit more money and a slightly more realistic age classification. Oh, and I suppose a script polish couldn’t have hurt. Conceptually, Andrerson made some great choices (the grid-alien, Arctic setting, etc.), but IMO, his vision was likely cut short by the budget.

    #102659
    Rad
    Participant

    I went to see the 15 minute preview. It’s a James Cameron science-fiction film so I was expecting something truly great. But… I am a bit disappointed. It does seem to be telling a conventional story of man finds a new life in different society then fights against his own people to protect it by utilising extraordinary special effects.

    After seeing the preview I have to say I don’t agree with this 3D = greater immersion idea. If anything it was just distracting. When the general addresses the troops in the scene he just stands out unrealistically from everyone else. It was like watching a film while something waves an Action Man in front of your face. And the action scene with Sam Worthington being chased through a forest by a beastie was actually blurry in comparison with what I saw in the trailer.

    However, it looks like a very well-worn story but you could probably say that about most of Cameron’s films to an extent. Also, Cameron has amazing form when creating believable worlds. I don’t think there’s a shot out of place in the incredible Aliens. So I’m still definitely going to see it when it comes out.

    #102660
    Andrew
    Participant

    I don’t think Anderson’s failings were remotely budgetary. Cameron’s $18m budget for Aliens in 1986 adjusts to $31m in 2004. Anderson had $60m to play with.

    It’s not like the guy’s ‘vision’ amounts to much of anything. There’s no ability in evidence that would have elevated some of his more brain-dead ideas – from his own script, remember – and the good ideas he did have were executed just fine.

    All else aside, one of the reasons he got the gig was because of his ‘proficiency’ at delivering low-budget mainstream genre fare that recoups its costs and does well on home video. His vision comes a poor third after ‘I promise I’ll make it for 60’ and ‘I guarantee you a PG-13 certificate’. There’s not much artistry in that pitch.

    He’s a DTV guy who gets lucky – give him a hundred million and he’ll give you something expensive with a few good ideas but otherwise misguided and ill-conceived. Same flat ideas, same avoidance of insight. The guy can fuck up a David Peoples script, after all!

    #102661
    pfm
    Participant

    The man’s a maggot.

    #102662
    peas_and_corn
    Participant

    So where’re you going to go?

    #102663
    David M
    Participant

    Oh, and I suppose a script polish couldn?t have hurt.

    The script needed to be torn up and thrown into the bin, if you ask me. AvP was probably the biggest let down, ever.

    Anderson could have made a great film, but it was smeg. I agree with what Andrew said about him and couldn’t put it better myself. Mortal Kombat was good tho.

    By way Andrew, what’s your picture? Can’t make it out.

    #102665
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    It’s the poster for ‘The Fly’ with the pod, the arm and the fly’s leg.

    #103164
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    > The man?s a maggot.

    True, but he’s a maggot who gets to make blockbuster movies and sleep with Milla Jovovich.

    #105184
    Nick R
    Participant

    Two awful quality cam copies of the new trailer.

    Bright, but blurry and will probably be taken down quickly:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhkPpcbu-Ts

    Sharper but darker, but it disguises the title so it might stay on YouTube longer…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a47YvdYYYLQ

    Well, I’m still excited by the film! When the teaser trailer came out, I was surprised they only mentioned Titanic, but the new trailer includes that knockout sequence of captions TERMINATOR – ALIENS – TERMINATOR 2 – TRUE LIES – TITANIC. A reminder that this is James Cameron we’re talking about, it will be good!

    It’s hard to say much about the special effects from video quality that bad (can’t wait to see a HD version). I couldn’t quite understand people’s complaints about the effects in the first trailer, but then I’m always quite tolerant of shortcomings in special effects anyway – The Matrix Reloaded’s Burly Brawl looked fine to me, except for Neo’s coat in the shots where he spins round high in the air. It’s only really bad effects like the infamous ones in Die Another Day that irritate me.

    The film’s hype has made a big thing about the way the Avatars’ faces resemble the actors, but I confess that I still don’t really recognise them in either video or stills. :(

    #105186
    Kris Carter
    Participant

    Better than the teaser definetely, but even though I’m a MASSIVE Jim Cameron fan-boy… eh, I’m just not feeling it.

    #105187
    ori-STUDFARM
    Participant

    This movie is coming with lots of hype…most of it that I’ve heard is people who say they don’t think it’ll be any good. Usually a sign of an excellant film on the horizon……expectations not being dashed and all that….

    meh!….we’ll see….

    #105191

    Everyone’s going to see it, I don’t think there’s any question of that.

    #105196
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    > TERMINATOR – ALIENS – TERMINATOR 2 – TRUE LIES – TITANIC

    PIRANHA II

    #105197

    THE ABYSS. Oh, and THAT STUDENT SHORT HE DID.

    Hell, might as well name all his films. Hardly made any films at all, the crazy guy, however this has probably helped him stay well-respected. If he had churned out half a dozen stinkers over the last 10 years or so I don’t think we’d be holding out much hope for Avatar at all.

    We’ve all seen huge effects spectacles like Avatar before, except normally the underlying elements (story, dialogue, tension etc.) are seriously lacking. The focus is on the technology not the guts. The tech seems to have been the main focus of Avatar’s production similarly, and that’s the worrying thing. You watch The Terminator back and the danger is very real, the dialogue strong and pace totally perfect. You come out of something like that thinking ‘fuck yes!’ You come out of a 3hr overblown CGI nonsensical, pointless mess thinking ‘fuck’.

    #105198
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    [far too tired and argumentative]

    #105199
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Is it me or is True Lies a big, boring mess of a movie? I’d rather watch Titanic,

    #105200
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    I’m not a massive fan of True Lies, but I think even it does seem pretty exceptional things. The scenes with the the Jump-Jet (if that’s what it is) are pretty spectacular, especially for its time.

    The great fun with ultra-hyped event movies is that whilst everyones focusing on them one or two sleeper hits emerge that actually do change cinema a little. Who can forget the fanaticism that came with The Phantom Menace, but it turned out to be The Matrix and Blair Witch (I think) that were the breakout movies of that year.

    #105209
    Kris Carter
    Participant

    Pete mentioned True Lies – and the Avatar trailers make me feel the same way as I did about True Lies. It was alright… but that’s it. Although Bill Paxton was fantastic in it!

    #105212
    Dessie
    Participant

    After seeing the trailer on the big screen i’m quite excited about this now.

    #105213
    Andrew
    Participant

    > Is it me

    Yes. Pretty much all the time.

    #105220
    p2p_productions
    Participant

    You know what? I’m sick of being in the van. You guys are going to be in the van next time. I’ve been in the van for fifteen years, Harry.

    #105239
    ChrisM
    Participant

    There is some great comedy in True Lies. (If it’s the film I’m thinking of.)

    #105246
    ori-STUDFARM
    Participant

    Is that the one where Arnie steps from the screen, discovers he is a movie character and in true Bladerunner traditions, tries to track down his creator to plead for more life?

    #105250
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    that’s Star Trek!

    #105285
    Ian Symes
    Keymaster

    Is that the one where Arnie steps from the screen, discovers he is a movie character and in true Bladerunner traditions, tries to track down his creator to plead for more life?

    That’s Last Action Hero. True Lies is the one where he kidnaps his own wife (Jamie Lee Curtis) and forces her to strip for what she thinks is a stranger but is in fact himself. Then they shoot a fuckload of foreigners.

    #105289
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    True Lies is also the one with a young Eliza Dushku in it.

    #105292
    ori-STUDFARM
    Participant

    Aaaah yeas! The one where John Cleese speaks Russian because Jamie-Leigh Curtis gets turned on by the Italian language!

    #105296
    Ian Symes
    Keymaster

    No, that’s A Fish Called Wanda. You’re rubbish, unless I’m missing several levels of sarcasm.

    #105304
    ori-STUDFARM
    Participant

    I thought that was the one where Nemo finds Dora (who is forgetful) and they try to get back to Nemo’s Dad?

    #105306
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    That’s ‘Shark Tale’

    #105308
    ori-STUDFARM
    Participant

    I’m confused!

    #105568
    Petetranterssister
    Participant

    I can’t wait to see this film it looks ace, we are going to watch it at the IMAX in manchester to get the full experiance!

    #105594
    ori-STUDFARM
    Participant

    What? Sharks Tale is on at the IMAX in Manchester!!??

    #105615
    Petetranterssister
    Participant

    No no no lol avatar is!

    #105630
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    I don’t remember this.

    #105656
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    I’m going to bed, this is gonna go on all night!

    #105659
    ori-STUDFARM
    Participant

    Night night.

    #106936
    Nick R
    Participant

    Reviews (or at least Twitter comments) are starting to appear, skirting the NDAs in creative ways:

    @slashfilm I’m not allowed to say anythng about what I thought of Avatar, but saw it in a screening room with neill blomkamp, who didn’t sign an NDA. He loved it… I will say this, it’s hard to disagree with Neil :)

    This one stands out though:

    @simonpegg Avatar …………………… tweetless. Just tweetless in the best possible way.

    #106937
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    I’m really looking forward to this film. As part of a university project, I’ve chosen to rescore the trailer. Not that I didn’t think the existing music isn’t fucking wonderful. I just wanted a bit of a challenge to push me. Which means ADR and Sound effects mixing. Good times!!!!

    #106938
    Andrew
    Participant

    Question: what do you about dialogue? Record your own? or is there some snazzy stripping to be done even with the basic trailer audio?

    #106939
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    I’m still dubious, but I’ll probably wind up seeing it anyway.

    #106940
    Ridley
    Participant

    Can anyone confirm/deny whether it’s the ripoff of Smurfs that South Park implies?

    #106941
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    South park wasn’t implying that it was a Smurf rip-off. It was implying that it’s a Dances With Wolves rip-off that features Smurfs.

    #106944
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    Question: what do you about dialogue? Record your own? or is there some snazzy stripping to be done even with the basic trailer audio?

    Well we can probably strip whatever we can from what audio exists without music behind, but if there’s existing music, it’ll just clash with our own arrangements. So yeah, we have to re-record the voices ourselves.

    We’re not marked on the voices and the sound effects for this module, but we need them in order to give the music come context and to show our consideration of the mix between SFX and score.

    Plus it’s a great opportunity for me do try out some sound design and to havea crack at ADR, something i’ve been aiming to learn for a while now.

    Should be fun!

    #106948
    ori-STUDFARM
    Participant

    >Should be fun!

    It will be if you give them all silly accents!

    Must say, First trailer I saw failed to impress. Second looked fantastic. Saw a third one at the cinema last week and I’m back in the “failing to impress me” camp. I hope there is a lot more to the story than the trailer appears to show and also hoping that the last trailer was misleading as to what the storyline actually is

    #106957
    Ridley
    Participant

    South park wasn?t implying that it was a Smurf rip-off. It was implying that it?s a Dances With Wolves rip-off that features Smurfs.

    That’s what I said. *cough* But IS Avatar a Dance With Smurfs ripoff?

    #106973
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    Don’t think I’ve seen a bad review yet; Empire five-starred it.

    Meanwhile, if anyone’s interested (unless they’re interested in picking holes in it I’M LOOKING AT YOU ANDREW): http://www.channel4.com/film/gallery/index.jsp?id=33005

    #106974
    Andrew
    Participant

    You spoil all my fun. :(

    #106977
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    A review on the Guardian website gave it two stars although like most of the criticism I’ve read so far seemed to be slagging it off for what it is, rather than whether it was any good.

    #107082
    Dessie
    Participant

    Saw Avatar in 3D last night. It’s fucking brilliant.

    #107086
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    Here’s the thing – Avatar may well be a visual spectacle. That’s fine. I’ve no problems with that. But if it doesn’t have a good story to back it up then I may as well as watching a firework display. Wanted had some fantastic action set-pieces, for instance, but the story was predictable Hollywood shash

    If the plot for Avatar doesn’t hold up then, technical wizardry aside, it’s not worth my time.

    #107087
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    True. We took my friend’s 4 year old son to see The Polar Express in 3D at an IMAX theatre the other week. It looked fantastic…but was still completely uninvolving on account of it being bloody boring.

    #107088
    Andrew
    Participant

    > Wanted had some fantastic action set-pieces, for instance, but the story was predictable Hollywood shash

    A fate-predicting loom, mass destruction by exploding rat swarm and the leading man turning professional assassin as the end of a ‘live a more interesting life’ character arc being things Hollywood does all the time?

    (Yes, I love Wanted. It’s batshit insane, but it’s not the action that gives it such appeal – it’s the tone. That final, to-camera “What the fuck have you done lately?” That’s not anyone’s standard Hollywood moment.)

    #107093
    Dessie
    Participant

    The plot for Avatar is really good and there’s some great characters in it. It’s a long film but it flew by.

    #107094
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    I’m hopefully off to see this next wednesday! Really looking forward to it.

    #107096
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    > Yes, I love Wanted. It?s batshit insane…

    I really wasn’t sure what to make of Wanted. I pretty much hated it’s tone, it’s stylised violence and its lad’s mag attitude. However I begrudingly respect that it stuck to that ‘message’ and pulled no punches. The bit where he smacks the guy with the keyboard and the keys fly out to spell ‘Fuck You’ (or something similar) is a perfect example.

    The bit with the loom is f*cking ridiculous though. 12 Century monks that not only have a fate predicting loom, but the ability to read binary on the fly.

    #107097
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    > (Yes, I love Wanted. It?s batshit insane, but it?s not the action that gives it such appeal – it?s the tone. That final, to-camera ?What the fuck have you done lately?? That?s not anyone?s standard Hollywood moment.)

    The problem I had with Wanted is that I knew how it was going to end because the plot points were being shouted, screamed, shrieked at every possible turn. Yes, that final shot isn’t a “standard Hollywood moment” but everything else in the epilogue is. Predictable, uninteresting, dull.

    The point was hammered home by the fact that I’d just stepped out of another theater showing Hancock which, while not perfect, throws a real curveball at you halfway through the film. I bloody loved that. The marketing team had some real guts, not broadcasting that point in the trailers.

    #107099
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    The trouble with Hancock is that whilst it throws that curveball, it also turns into an entirely different film after it. One that suddenly doesn’t seem to know where it’s going or what it’s trying to say.

    The impression from reviews so far is that Avatar’s story is going to be pretty-by-the-numbers stuff. I can see why that will disappoint some people, but at the same time I think Cameron’s determined to push through his ideas about 3D as the future Hollywood standard. As a result I can see why making sure Avatar is a box office success over a critical one would take priority, and a storyline that anyone can grasp is essential.

    I hope he kicks on from this into Battle Angel which would probably work better with a darker, more complex story.

    #107119
    Nick R
    Participant

    Here’s a 27 minute interview with James Cameron about the special effects. Some interesting stuff in there – like his discussion of why he thinks that scanning faces at higher and higher resolution (as the Matrix sequels and Superman Returns did) is the wrong path to go down, and his explanation of the problems they faced stopping the motion capture markers from interfering with the set lighting.

    The impressions of the film I’ve heard so far seem to be split completely down the middle: those who think that the characters (both alien and human) are fleshed out and their relationships are convincing, and those who think that it’s a too-simple story with awful dialogue. Those who think this is a real step forward for 3D, and those who think it’s a blurry mess.

    I’ll find out for myself next week! Not sure if I’ll be seeing it in IMAX 3D or Cineworld’s 3D yet, though. I’d prefer IMAX for the full Sensory Overload Event experience, but it might be hard to get seats towards the back/centre (The Dark Knight is the only IMAX film I’ve seen, and I was far too near the front for that). Also, after Coraline, I’m a bit worried about how comfortable it will be to wear the 3D glasses over my own for 3 hours (that’s including the trailers).

    #107476
    ori-STUDFARM
    Participant

    I’ve just been to see this movie expecting to be bored by the over-hyped and ridiculously predictable story line…along with the feeling of being swindled out of an extra couple of quid for shitty 3D effects that weren’t needed…

    …I was wrong. It was trully awesome and I loved every minute of it. First time I’ve seen 3D that actually works…..apart from Freddy’s Dead (joke!)

    The only thing missing was any thought provocation. I came out with absolutely no “What if?” questions. It just left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside!

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