Who cares about the Avatar 2 trailer?

avatartooAvatar. That was that glossy sci-fi adventure movie with a paper-thin plot liberally borrowed from other books and movies that was really kind of silly. Technically impressive sure, but… Unobtanium? Unobtanium? Goodness, I’d tried to forget about that; I was SO close, and then this Avatar 2 trailer drops and… yeah, James Cameron pulls me back in.

Avatar. Er, yeah… that’s that James Cameron 3D epic that took the world by storm about twelve years back and was promptly forgotten. A bit like that “3D is the FUTURE!” nonsense- do they even make 3D televisions now, and how much damage did Hollywood’s rush to making 3D films do to blockbusters in general?  Avatar rather represents most everything bad about blockbuster movies today, in which the medium, whether it be 3D or Dolby Atmos or a gigantic Imax screen, is the message, rather than quality of drama or acting. Avatar took eye-candy to some whole new level, as if the setting -the alien world of Pandora- was a place to visit and experience in 3D (admittedly it was the best 3D I ever saw) and the only real reason to see the film. Divorced from the 3D and giant screen, the film has to rely on its script, its acting, and, er, that’s where it was found wanting, clearly. I have a copy of Avatar on Blu-ray… haven’t seen it in years. I haven’t even THOUGHT about Avatar in years. Can’t imagine many people have. I mean, it wasn’t like Star Wars or anything; Star Wars, when it became the biggest film of all time and entered the cultural consciousness, it was on tee-shirts and memorabilia and in books and comics and…  Avatar? That thing came and went, except that it did half of what Star Wars did, albeit the important half: it made lots of money.

In Hollywood, awards and critical plaudits are nice and all, but all they really care about is the money. Money talks, so Avatar is a pretty big deal. Outside of Hollywood, I’m not so sure, but in Hollywood, they care a bit less regards if a film is any good or not, as long as it makes gazillions of dollars, that’s where its at. And Avatar made a lot of money: $2.8 billion worldwide. That’s about as big as it gets until we start talking Marvel movies.

Doesn’t carry as much weight in my neck of the woods, mind; in my back room the Blu-ray is sitting on the shelf unwatched for years. I think that’s true of the collections of many film collectors and geeks and nerds (those two the same thing? I don’t know, maybe) and I don’t really think many people have been thinking about it or wishing to get more of Pandora in their lives, or that Unobtanium. I still can’t believe that Unobtanium nonsense, but I digress. I just don’t think people care.

I know James Cameron has spent the last twelve years or so not making movies. Well, not making movies that weren’t titled Avatar, because I think he has two or three of them coming out (or was it four?). I figured that was kind of sad, especially as it seemed to preclude him from signing-off on Blu-ray releases of The Abyss and True Lies, and derailed him making that Alita movie himself (a film whose failure possibly should have had him a bit worried about future Avatar movie prospects?). I mean, he’s off beavering away on more 3D CGI ‘movies’ (sorry MOVIES). and no-one cares, the darn king of the world doesn’t realise no-one cares about Avatar.

Or maybe not, maybe I’m wrong, because the trailer for Avatar 2 was revealed last week and it has at last count some 17 million views, which means somebody out there remembers Avatar, and is at least curious enough about it to watch the trailer. Who knows, maybe they are curious enough to don those 3D glasses again and pay top money to go watch it at the cinema this December. Maybe its going to be some kind of Second Coming.

But… but…

On the evidence of the new trailer for Avatar 2, the chief selling-point seems, depressingly, to be “look! Pandora is prettier than ever!” It doesn’t reveal much of the plot, but rather a sense of new places to see and ‘experience’ in 3D, i.e. more of the same, well, Avatar (except now some of the aliens are green). And the king of the world has spent the last decade making not one, not two, but three more of them? I may be wrong on that count, I never had much interest in Avatar sequels. I’m just wondering if I’m alone in that, and whether 17 million views of that trailer reveals I’m adrift of the cultural zeitgeist once again.

7 thoughts on “Who cares about the Avatar 2 trailer?

  1. Matthew McKinnon

    Difficult to judge – Avatar did really well because it sold the whole cinema experience thing. Now 3D is pretty standard [on the wane, even], and there’s no new tech wave for it to ride. I expect it’ll do OK. I mean, no-one likes to say that because Cameron has beaten the odds spectacularly several times before, but looking at this…

    I see a lot of copies of Avatar on Blu-ray in charity shops now. Not even tempted to pick one of those up. The film was a total dud.

    17 million views means there’s curiosity to see what a sequel 13 years in the making will look like. I mean, I watched it.

  2. Tom

    Unfortunately your last statement I think is accurate, but it isn’t your fault. The current cultural zeitgeist sucks dilapidated donkey dicks and a lot of it seems to be owed to the creative shorthand that CGI and digital rendering gives filmmakers. Essentially the entirety of the Marvel movies would not exist without CGI, none of that is achievable with practical effects. So with the increased reliance upon the magic of CG wonder, I think there’s been almost irreparable slippage with the way creatives rely more on it and forget the rest.

    1. Matthew McKinnon

      Marvel movies only rely on CGI to exist because it’s the only way you can bring to the screen the insanely complex and ambitious visuals the comics have been producing for decades.

      I don’t really hold with this Luddite argument about practical effects being innately superior. I’ve seen a LOT of very bad practical effects in movies, and they didn’t make, say, Return Of The Jedi or Last Crusade any better as movies (not to mention a plethora of bad low-budget movies).

      It’s like people who believe vinyl is superior to digital sound on principle: reality just doesn’t bear it out.

      1. Tom

        I really find it obnoxious I get the Luddite description hurled my way in a comment I was directing at the blog poster, not you.

  3. James Cameron is like some law unto himself. Multiple times people have written off his next project as an overblown vanity exercise that will do no business, and multiple times they’ve turned out to actually be the highest-grossing movie ever made. As much as it’s easy to write off Avatar because it doesn’t seem to have an enduring fanbase (turns out it does have fans, they’re just very quiet), it’s still the highest-grossing movie of all time — ‘everyone’ saw it, and that gives it an automatic level of recognition. Doing a sequel 13 years later can be seen as “what’s taken so long?”, but it can also be “oh wow, they’re finally going back!” (depending on one’s level of behind-the-scenes awareness).

    Also, can’t forget that the property is now owned by Disney, who’ve already opened a (presumably expensive) theme park set in this world. They’re clearly banking on it, to at least some degree. And with their power — more than just money; the ability to force theatres to block book films, etc — Avatar is surely all but guaranteed to at least be a financial success. Whether it’s a game-changer… 3D-loving me kinda hopes it is, if only for that reason. I don’t hold any great hopes (or interest) for the plot, etc.

  4. Pingback: 'Avatar,' The Biggest Film That No One Seems To Care About : The Indiependent

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