The Black & White

Cameron’s “Avatar” stuns all

By John Son

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"Avatar" used never before seen digital technology to create a new world. Photo courtesy of imdb.com.

James Cameron is perhaps the greatest legend in Hollywood. The director, writer and co-producer of “Titanic,” the highest grossing film ever has amazed moviegoers again with his latest stunner, “Avatar.”

Cameron is not a man with small ideas. Titanic, which cost $200 million to produce, was the most expensive film ever made at the time of its release. “Avatar,” Cameron’s newest film, had similar aspirations, as the movie has already racked up between $280-310 million in producing costs and over $150 million in marketing costs.

But Avatar was worth it. Cameron’s latest film made $1.14 billion after only three weeks. It is now ranked the number two highest grossing film behind Titanic, at $1.8 billion. And it still has many weeks in theaters to catch up.

Overall, “Avatar” was a movie made to please moviegoers. Its cutting-edge visual technologies wowed all, especially in 3-D and on a large screen. The technologies and the awesomeness that is James Cameron are the reason that it has grossed over $360 million as of Jan. 4.

But “Avatar” isn’t just any dreamchild of a legendary director. Cameron wrote the story for “Avatar” over 15 years ago and it was supposed to be released in theaters in 1999. But Cameron decided that technology had not caught up with his vision for “Avatar” and the film was put on hold.

And for good reason. Between 1994 and its Dec. 18 release, Cameron co-produced the 3-D Camera Fusion System, which was utilized in “Avatar.” The system places two cameras in front of the actors all the time, so that the blue skinned natives present in the movie were real actors without makeup.

Its storyline was unique. Though some slight influences were inevitable, Cameron portrayed a new world with a completely different and complex ecology from Earth’s.

The film’s script was also written to include several political and ideological points of view. Cameron depicts the Sky People (presumably humans from earth) as looking purely for unobtainium (great name) and uncaring about the vast environmental damage that might be caused in the pursuit of the ore. He conveys a clear message about corporations in today’s economy. Cameron also depicts the military as an organization bent on destruction.

“Avatar” also sparked a debate about “white guilt,” and critics assert that recent movies such as “Avatar,” “The Last Samurai” and “District 9” portray a white character who inserts himself into a different race and becomes the greatest of them all. Not only was “Avatar” a movie that wowed fans, it has stirred controversy on political, intellectual and social planes.

“Avatar” is a definite must-watch. If you haven’t seen it yet, go to theaters now and don those geeky 3-D glasses. You won’t be disappointed.

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