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Old 12-20-2009, 12:12 AM   #256
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I don't really want to get into specific story/structure issues until I see it again, but I will say some of the dialogue was very Lucas-esque (though thankfully never "awful" like Episode 1 and 2" but rarely bothered me. It's a story we've seen countless times before, and Cameron doesn't really do anything to shake things up intellectually, at least not explicitly in the narrative. But the story and characters are all really effective in the broad strokes, which is always how Cameron has worked, the fuel for the pure cinema spectacle of the rest of the film. You watch action sequences and what should be otherwise un-stimulating moments with just random small actions or character moments and you feel these huge movements and emotions because of those broad strokes. It's how he's always worked. The film is a rather brilliant excursion in pure cinema, also much like Lucas in that regard.
Spot on. Apart from the final 40 minute epic bonanza of awesome, the sequence where Jake captures/flies his banshee was mesmerizing. Scenes like that make it easy to overlook any lame bits.

Can we talk about how sublime James Horner's score is? Probably not memorable by itself, but in terms of heightening the visuals, think of that scene where they get to the Eywa Tree and have to ceremony, or when Jake's trying to rally the Na'vi. My God, man.

That, Giacchino's Up and Land of the Lost scores, and the Coraline score are tops of the year for me.
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Old 12-20-2009, 12:15 AM   #257
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Goes to show what the guy can do if you give him two years to write a score. :\

Seriously, the guy's kind of a hack, but every 10 years or so he does deliver something pretty amazing. This is one of those times.

My other favorite scores are probably Ponyo, Public Enemies, Bright Star, Mr. Fox, The Informant!
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Old 12-20-2009, 12:20 AM   #258
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He has an eternal pass for me on account of his Wrath of Khan and Search for Spock scores.

Haven't seen Ponyo or Bright Star yet, but I agree with the other ones you listed, too. I dug Carter Burwell/Karen O's work on Where the Wild Things Are, probably one of the only things I really remember from it.
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Old 12-20-2009, 12:28 AM   #259
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Also, I'm pretty sure this movie contains the single most startling, audacious, and brilliantly beautiful scene I've ever seen within a blockbuster film, not to be hyperbolic or anything (lulz), but regarding this one particular moment I feel especially justified:

 
Neytiri bursting into the avatar shack at the very end of the film to save the dying human Jake, cradles him in her arms... holy shit. That shit took brass balls the size of orca whales. Also sums up just about everything creatively about the film, in terms of storytelling, the pure cinema experience, and the extra-textual ambitions of the film. Even with what the prior 2 and a half hours have shown me, I couldn't possibly have imagined Cameron would attempt such a scene, and I still can't believe he executed it perfectly. Did I say Holy Shit?
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Old 12-20-2009, 12:46 AM   #260
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You know, its not often in entertainment events like this - whether it be film, music, whatever - that something actually lives up to the hype. I cant remember the last movie or album that I've been so excited for, that has lived up to my expectations. Doesnt happen often, but I'm glad this one did
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Old 12-20-2009, 12:53 AM   #261
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You know, its not often in entertainment events like this - whether it be film, music, whatever - that something actually lives up to the hype. I cant remember the last movie or album that I've been so excited for, that has lived up to my expectations. Doesnt happen often, but I'm glad this one did
Mm. Seems like it's going to recoup its investment after all too. In shape for an 80 million dollar weekend domestically, and word of mouth seems to be really strong. No to mention its commitment in IMAX theaters for like 3 months.
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Old 12-20-2009, 04:55 AM   #262
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I was thinking back to an interview Cameron gave about his reaction to Star Wars, about how it inspired him to quit being a truck-driver and get into filmmaking, and it's amazing to see him get to make his Star Wars, you know? A solid and archetypal story with some engaging characters and a completely immersive experience. I can't measure how it must've been in '77, but to me, this felt like the closest I'd get to that level of excitement in '09, you know?
Well, as I said before, if he's expecting this to become a franchise, I'm not buying it. Can any of you say that the characters in this film are as endearing across such a wide demographic as those in Star Wars? Because that really is the secret to Lucas's success, above anything else. It's the look of those characters, and their memorable names.

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Can we talk about how sublime James Horner's score is? Probably not memorable by itself, but in terms of heightening the visuals, think of that scene where they get to the Eywa Tree and have to ceremony, or when Jake's trying to rally the Na'vi. My God, man.
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Goes to show what the guy can do if you give him two years to write a score. :\

Seriously, the guy's kind of a hack, but every 10 years or so he does deliver something pretty amazing. This is one of those times.
Funny, the film forum I hang out at has shown pretty much universal ridicule for Horner's work on this film, even the people that loved it. He's accused of recycling his old material, as usual.

I'm planning on catching an early show tomorrow so I'll be able to participate in this discussion on a more informed level.
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:54 AM   #263
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So is watching this movie in 3D a must?
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Old 12-20-2009, 11:19 AM   #264
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Well, as I said before, if he's expecting this to become a franchise, I'm not buying it. Can any of you say that the characters in this film are as endearing across such a wide demographic as those in Star Wars? Because that really is the secret to Lucas's success, above anything else. It's the look of those characters, and their memorable names.
Yeah, I don't think this film really accomplishes that at all. I'd say Neytiri is really the most compelling character in the film, but as I said before, it's such a bizarre sort of role I'm not sure how she works in a franchise sort of situation. The only way I see it is to introduce a number of completely new characters in a sequel. Best case would be something like a Terminator 2 style sequel, but nothing like a sustained Star Wars saga. It's just really not that kind of story.


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Funny, the film forum I hang out at has shown pretty much universal ridicule for Horner's work on this film, even the people that loved it. He's accused of recycling his old material, as usual.

I'm planning on catching an early show tomorrow so I'll be able to participate in this discussion on a more informed level.
Well yeah, it' still entirely derivative, and I really wish Cameron would use another composer, but as YLB said before it's a really strong compliment to the film at times, and the ludicrous amount of time that went into composing it does show.
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Old 12-20-2009, 11:43 AM   #265
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So is watching this movie in 3D a must?
I could be wrong, but I dont think there is an option to watch it in 2D at the theatre. But if there was, still see it in 3D. Its really quite different than any other 3D experience you may have had.
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Old 12-20-2009, 11:46 AM   #266
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James Cameron is, hands down, the best second unit director in the history of the medium. Somebody let him write screenplays and direct films, though. So it goes.
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Old 12-20-2009, 01:23 PM   #267
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Well, as I said before, if he's expecting this to become a franchise, I'm not buying it. Can any of you say that the characters in this film are as endearing across such a wide demographic as those in Star Wars? Because that really is the secret to Lucas's success, above anything else. It's the look of those characters, and their memorable names.

Funny, the film forum I hang out at has shown pretty much universal ridicule for Horner's work on this film, even the people that loved it. He's accused of recycling his old material, as usual.

I'm planning on catching an early show tomorrow so I'll be able to participate in this discussion on a more informed level.
I'm referring more to only the first Star Wars film more than anything else. Like Lance said, it'd have to be a T2 or even Aliens-style sequel for such a thing to work.

You can hear chunks of his Trek scores in there, which again, is awesome, but incredibly lazy. Still works though.

Cool.
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Old 12-20-2009, 01:45 PM   #268
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I've been waiting a long time for a 3D movie to 'put you in the picture'. Sounds like this one does that.

Can't wait to see it. Will go this week to an early showing. Is there a difference between IMAX and non-IMAX 3D?
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Old 12-20-2009, 02:26 PM   #269
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Haven't seen this yet, will probably do so the week after Christmas while I'm off work, but as far as franchise ideas go, would it work as a Planet of the Apes style mythology? Use the world, rather than the same core characters, as the story and explore it that way? Actually that's similar to Lord of the Rings as well. If just one character shows potential for further exploration then completely new stories could spring forth from them.

Glad to hear that it's by no means a disappointment though.

OH and I have one cinema near me showing both 2D and 3D versions, as well as one just showing the 2D version across three(!) screens. I'll be checking out the 3D, can't really be arsed to drive over to Birmingham for an IMAX fix.
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Old 12-20-2009, 03:00 PM   #270
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