of the films on the way in 2009, the one which is the most desperate to attract any sort of attention is Avatar, a film which marks the return of James Cameron. the return of James Cameron to making films is something which they want you to get all excited about. in fairness we should be, but as it turns out not all that many are.
film lovers should be excited about a new James Cameron project, but he tends to make it difficult for one to do this. Cameron is responsible for two of the greatest films of the 80's, the masterpiece that was The Terminator and the brilliant Aliens. after those two films, however, it seems to have all gone somewhat pearshaped.
Terminator 2, whilst boasting some of the greatest special effects in the history of cinema, illustrated that Cameron had no realisation or appreciation for the mythology he unleashed in the first Terminator film. it was quite something for us to buy The Terminator as a reprogrammed "good guy", but the notion of a Terminator not killing / "terminating" people, a pledge to that effect and other lame lines like "hasta la vista" was all a bit too much to swallow.
after that we got The Abyss, a none too bad sci-fi romp, but one that should have been visually stunning. it wasn't, with Cameron's camera perpetually focused on his fancy effects, and no breathtaking, vast illustration of the actual abyss of the film. if Ridley Scott had made this one, no doubt it would have been a masterpiece.
True Lies was mildly amusing and enjoyable when it wasn't busy telling you that they were doing all the things that had never been done in a James Bond film. and then we get to Titanic. whatever merits and faults the film has, everyone who saw it more or less regretted doing so after the Oscars, when Cameron gave his embarrassing "king of the world" acceptance speech, only to go into his demeaning, patronizing moment of silence for the "victims of the Titanic". he wisely climbed into a hole and out of public sight after that debacle.
and now James Cameron is back. he hasn't been away all that long - in the last ten years he did host a rather good documentary on 2001 and, if i recall, babbled something or other about finding "the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth", although the documentary he promised about it has yet to surface.
the plot and what have you of Avatar is all rather sketchy; something about a band of humans fighting aliens. what Cameron has spoken of about the project, however, is enough to dampen any excitement. yet again he speaks enthusiastically about the technology - the effects in the film, the 3D filming - and barely a word on the actors, script or plot. oh dear.
to make things worse, just have a look at one of the first images released of the film :
yes, that's right, it is a bed. a bed. a futuristic, vision of the future bed perhaps, but a bed all the same. doesn't this just remind you of how the makers of the greatly anticipated Matrix sequel, Matrix Reloaded, got all enthusastic about the fact that they had built their own stretch of highway for the film? i am not sure how excited we were all supposed to get about 8 or so miles of concrete, but i do know that the film was a major disappointment. the few bits we know of Avatar suggest that we are heading the same way with this one.
if i'm wrong and Avatar turns out to be a masterpiece (i would settle for watchable at this stage), i'll confess as much here. as Ridley Scott seems to have moved away from sci-fi and Spielberg has become hit-and-miss (Minority Report a hit, War Of The Worlds a dodgy miss) the world could really do with James Cameron coming along and lifting the genre. methinks, however, that by the time Avatar hits the cinema, we shall all have been so dazzled by Star Trek and, tellingly, Terminator Salvation that this one will just go down as an obscure footnote in cinema.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!