Thursday, August 20, 2009

In Defense of the Avatar Trailer

If today's internet buzz was any indication, Avatar Day (tomorrow) is going to be insane.

Let me back up for a moment.  Today, Fox released the first official trailer for James Cameron's latest sci-fi epic, AvatarYou can watch the trailer in all its 1080p glory over at  Go on, I'll wait.

Done?  Ok, let's continue.

Already, the internet is all atwitter over what to think of this behemoth.  Seriously, Twitter just exploded this morning.  The reason for my posting here today is because all the buzz over this thing is decidedly not good.  People are complaining that the CG looks plasticy and fake.  There's no sense of story; there's only one line of dialogue; it looks like 10,000 BC meets Aliens.  From the established movie bloggers, the primary complaint seems to be that the sense of scope is completely missing from the 25 minutes of footage that all the Twilight fans got to see at the San Diego Comic Con.

So let me say this as clearly as I can.  THIS IS A TEASER.  For all intents and purposes, it doesn't make too much sense for James Cameron, Fox, et al to reveal everything as early as August.  What is it about the concept of a teaser that people just don't understand?  A full trailer will probably hit some time in October, and that's going to be the one to scrutinize. 

The other issue is the CG element.  Complaints that Cameron's 10+ years of research and development were all for naught seem a bit overzealous, don't you think?  From those who were actually at Comic Con, the CG does indeed look gorgeous.  This is a film clearly meant to be experienced on the big screen, so why nitpick it on a 14 inch computer monitor?

Sure, the average joe moviegoer probably isn't going to be able to make heads or tails of this trailer beyond "Some guy puts his brain into an alien and flies around and does stuff.  And he's blue."  Going online and actually looking up the plot synopsis or (God forbid) waiting for the full trailer will reveal much more about the nature of the film, and I honestly hope the moviegoing public will show that kind of enthusiasm for this film.  Say what you want about the teaser, but it shows far too much promise for the general public to poo-poo it right away.

I guess my plea, if there must be one, is for you the viewer to keep an open mind about Avatar.  There is a very good chance that James Cameron WILL blow your mind, but you need to be willing to take that journey.  Chances are, if you haven't seen the teaser by now, you'll be seeing it in front of Inglourious Basterds this weekend.  An initial hatred of this teaser is only the first step in your ultimate disappointment.  A better trailer will come, trust me.  For my part, the clarity of the CG is secondary if the story is one worth telling.  I can't wait to see what else Avatar has up its sleeve.

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