Avatar: Can A Movie Be Really Original Anymore?

Can A Movie Be Really Original Anymore?

To watch the Trailer, please go to video section.

We have conducted an interesting experiment over the past two days.  We showed the trailer for James Cameron’s “Avatar” to two of my colleague-professors and two of our writers and then asked them to write down the first thoughts that came to their minds by way of visual or textual influence. 

There was a good deal of consensus among members of our very biased “jury” about several facts or trends.

First, that Cameron has not borrow from, or paid homage to, himself, and that the trailer, with all its underwater imagery, does not look like the auteur’s “The Abyss” or “Titanic,” both employing huge water tanks.  That’s a good but not surprising sign, considering that since “Titanic” in 1997, Hollywood has gone through a number of technological revolutions.

The second conclusion is that the trail was shrewdly constructed and supervised by Cameron to the point where it’s impossible to detect any narrative line.  The two-minute trailer contains numerous images and sound bites, which move at a breath-neck pacing.  One respondent used the word “mishmash,” and another “hodgepodge,” not particularly positive terms, and perhaps premature as “Avatar” is still in crucial phase of evolution. I expect, knowing Cameron’s perfectionism, that the final cut of “Avatar” will have a cleaner, more consistent look than the trailer.

The third trend detected by the respondents is the various works of the most visionary directors in Hollywood today, Spielberg, Lucas, Guillermo Del Toro, and especially Peter Jackson have had some influence on the look and sound of the film.

More specifically, the jury singled out the two “Hellboy” films by Del Toro and two works by Peter Jackson, the trilogy “The Lord of the Rings,” especially the last segment, “The Return of the King,” as well as his 2005 remake of the classic “King Kong,” particularly in the lush forest sequence.

By the way, Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy may prove to be the most influential epic of the decade, as is evident in the latest “Harry Potter” installment, whose last reel could not exist without Jackson’s pictures.

Regarding the look of the big, nasty creatures, three of the five mentioned those of “Jurassic Park” as well as the human-eating creatures in Paul Verhoeven’s military actioner, “Starship Troopers.”

Final note:

The new technological innovations have led to new interesting teamings and creative collaborations that had never existed before.  It’s not a coincidence that Spielberg and Peter Jackson are joining forces on the “Tin Tin” film series, or for that matter, that Jackson is the producer of the upcoming “The Hobbits,” to be directed in New Zealand by Guillermo Del Toro.