Avatar, Basterds, Recycled Storylines, and Why Jar Jar would never survive against a samurai sword

Avatar, huge special effects, weak story. This is what I’ve heard so far.
I’ve yet to see the film, but hearing from so many other sources, I pretty much know what it’s going to be about.

(The following has been recopied from a posting on Matt Wallace’s blog,
I liked the flow I was going with, so decided to use it for my own blog And expanded on it. If you haven’t read his Next Fix, do yourself a favor, go buy 2 copies give one to a friend who likes great stories.)

I expect the huge conversations long shots between 2 characters, building of tension and then sudden bloody violence from any Tarantino film. He’s taken the parts of low budget mid 60’s – 70’s films and distilled them into a format which he calls his own. Its all the parts of modern cinema that no on else uses, but it works for compelling character development. And yes, we needed more of the Basterds in the film. But the secondary story of the heroine in Inglorious Basterds did feel like the other side of the popular late 70’s books that you would flip over and get a somewhat similar story. Its also hilarious about the last chapter of the film that pokes fun at the whole film industry.

Cameron does a lot of innovative new technology into the film industry, and it’s funded by the viewers of the film. That’s his venue. The Abyss lead to better underwater technology, which lead to better underwater subs, which lead him to Titanic, and Kate Winslet side boob. Avatar may lead to… 3d in home entertainment? Or if following the same progression towards side boob shot of some japanese popstar/waif in Battle Angel Alita scheduled for 2011?

But yes, we need more celebration and concentration on good scripts and story telling. Best version of Avatar I saw was 1998 film The Beast http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beast_(1988_film) it follows the same story line. Soldier fighting in war, gets exposure to the perspective of the enemy, realizes what he was doing and rebels. Think this is on page 12 of ‘generic war story for large screens’.

But it sells.

And there aren’t enough well selling war stories that can be recycled. Can you imagine a reboot of Bridge on River Kwai starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence? Studios would put money into a comedy like that. But a reboot of River Kwai starring Hugh Laurie and Warren Ellis doing the treatment on the script? That’s big film budget investment, but great story investment which will get people to talk about how great that film is for generations.

While we’re at it, can we send Pixar films a new story outline? The ‘outcast with distinguishing feature comes back and saves tribe’ storyline has been used too many times. I think they ran out of dead horses to flog in the late 90’s.

Also while we’re at it, can we get Lucas to rewatch the Kurosawa films? I’m quite sure Jar Jar was never a character in the samurai genre.
Yes, do yourself a favor and read the above link, you’ll thank yourself if you have ever enjoyed the Star Wars films. Essentially a character that is primarily concentrated for one portion of the audiences entertainment and does not move the story or affect the other characters is nothing more than a marketing gimmick. Yes, I’m still bitter over the prequel films.

At least I can still watch Yojimbo or Das Boot, thankfully there are escapes from the modern marketing machine. You won’t find them in your local video store, because when was the last time you saw ‘guaranteed to be there’ when its referencing Key Largo? We need a shift in direction from the large big budget film towards the smaller independant film makers. It’s up to you to decide, choose well.

I’m still here,



  1. To me the justification for reboots is that the full underlying concept hasn’t been realized. One prime example would be Batman Begins/Dark Knight. Until Nolan’s reboots, the full darkness of that revenge myth hadn’t been explored honestly, because our culture was too uptight during the previous periods when earlier Batmans were made. That’s why the other tries all turned “camp”.

    It’s a mistake to remake a classic. The best you can achieve is “almost as good as”. Speaking of Lucas, look how closely Cameron is following HIS business model.

    Good post. Very absorbing.

    (I posted about Avatar, on-camera acting, and bad movies lately.)

    • Nice. I like your thoughts on this. Think I’m going to save my Batman response for another blog post. Too much to handle in just a response.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s