Friday, October 30, 2009

A few words about hype

There's been a gang of hype over the "revolutionary" new film "Avatar" that's set to hit theaters in December. I know lots of work (and hundreds of millions of dollars) went into making this thing, but I'm totally underwhelmed by the footage I've seen.

"ooooh wait until you see how different the aliens look" - they look like The Littles from the old ABC cartoon.

"James Cameron invented and entire world for us to see." - Didn't George Lucas create like twelve over that entire Star Wars thing?

Any trailer that dedicates ten full seconds to laying out the directors CV will definitely get the cocked eyebrow from me. Really? You're really going to intercut quick shots with a laundry list of films I may or may not have liked by this very good, very money equipped director? That's what you're going to do to convince me that this film is visionary? Why SHOW me something, that I think I've seen on my nephews video games, then say it's incredible wait until you see it in the theater? Hype.

Hype can kill a good project. It can spoil it right down to the last drop in the corner of the carton. While I'm kind of convinced Avatar will look good on an Imax screen and won't look as Xbox as it does in trailers online, I'm not convinced to pay money to see it. That's the problem. They cranked the hype machine too much.

I've read another reviewer say what's missing is "Matrix shock". I'd agree. That first trailer for "The Matrix" has Keanu Reeves (of all people) look cool then inhumanly bend backwards as we see bullets fly by him. "Bullet time" was introduced and the film world and fanboys alike, drooled. Was their hype? Barely. The directors damn sure didn't slide in "from the directors of Bound".

They actually gave out free tickets to see 12 or so minutes of footage of Avatar in Imax and the site was shutdown from demand! Hype. I really hope there's some story in there because what the new trailer achieves is stripping out several plot points and telling us as viewers way too much.... What we do see story-wise is woefully video game. Not Hype!

Nothing against the video game guys. Hell, the video game industry is making more than the film industry. Perhaps because they don't try to tell us it's visually revolutionary, they just let us see it.

Is it worth the hype? You tell me? I just wonder what Spike Jonze, Spike Lee, Charlie Kaufman or Zhang Yimou (co-director of the incredible 2008 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony) could've done with $200 + Million.

I'm sorry am I too hype?

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