I have been debating with myself this past week over whether or not I should join the pool of writers, critics and bloggers that all have had something to say about James Cameron’s new blockbuster movie, Avatar.
After all, someone writing on an animation website should have some serious and important things to say about this ground breaking, record setting, technological marvel of a film, so what’s been holding me back? Aren’t my insights as good, or better than the next guys? Don’t I have interesting and provocative opinions? And don’t I know a bit about motion capture and stereo3-D? So what in the world is my problem, why haven’t I written anything yet?
I haven’t seen the film.
But as luck would have it the Los Angeles Times had an article by Patrick Goldstein yesterday in the Calendar Section, which I read with some interest over my coddled eggs and kippers. The gist of the piece dealt with the dissatisfaction of conservative personalities (an oxymoron if ever there was one) and their objections to the film’s liberal, commie, tree hugging, peacenik, antigun, pro ecology, socialist, anti-global-warming/corporation message. Their gripe seems to be that Hollywood is clearly a southpaw that does not make films that reflect the feelings of the country as a whole but rather produces films for a small group of like minded liberal lefties.
And who’s to say they're wrong? Not me. I don’t want all of these guys putting my name down on one of their lists. No, no, not me. I don’t want any of the Fox News Fair and Balanced Cable commentators asking me to appear on one of their shows to answer a few questions, no not me. I know we don't blackball people anymore in our industry but better safe than sorry!
Goldstein, a far braver person than I, notes that these overseers of the common good have pointed out that the lack of box office on many of Hollywood’s pinkish films is due to them being of no interest to the common man, you know, the guy in the street carrying a NRA card in one hand and whistling the Star Spangled Banner as he strides along confident in himself and his beliefs. These real Americans, the conservative pundits argue, have turned their collective backs on the intellectual drivel which Hollywood is so enamored with and in doing so, have doomed many of these films to the watery deep of box office failure.
And who am I to disagree?
But, in a little over two weeks Avatar has brought in over one billion dollars in worldwide box office – that’s $1,000,000,000.
And guess who is the distributor? 20th Century Fox.
So what does all of this tell me? Not so much really because we all know that B.S walks and money talks. The film and television divisions of New Corp. (Fox) are not so much different than other networks and studios – they are all there to make money and if just like a corporation that can own one division selling diet food while another makes ice-cream, it’s all good as long as they both make money.
Now back to the movie. I am not a James Cameron fan as a storyteller so I suspect I won’t fall in love with this film anymore than I did with Titanic or Terminator although I did have a small crush on Terminator 2! I am fairly certain that I will be awed at times by the visuals but l would expect no less after a 300 million dollar plus budget and three years of development and production.
I guess the only way I’ll know for sure is if I go and see the darn thing so that’s what I’m going to do – they certainly need my fifteen bucks and I guess it doesn’t do too much more harm giving it to Fox than it would going to Viacom or Disney…. Why doesn’t the Sierra Club or Green Peace make movies?