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  (Source: 20th Century Fox)
Nothing can seem to stop worldwide audiences' love of Cameron's sci-fi epic

While some may criticize it as unoriginal for parallels to past movies and literature, James Cameron's latest masterpiece, Avatar is a smash hit among critics and moviegoers alike. 

Fueled by strong sales of more expensive 3D movie tickets and fueled by a viral marketing campaign online and off, Avatar proved a triumph in a hit or miss market that's seen even veterans like Harrison Ford recently deliver painful flops.  If Avatar has one problem it's that it's having a hard time keeping up with international demand, as the film quickly raked in over $1B USD within only three weeks of its December 10, 2009 release.

From a tech and science standpoint Avatar is landmark success for 3D animation, marking the first time audiences have embraced (for the most part) emotive human-like 3D characters alongside living ones in a drama flick.  The animation pushes the boundaries of current work, as does the xenobiology featured in the film (Avatar hired a team of experienced biologists to help develop the flora and fauna of the fictional world of Na'vi).

Now Avatar is about to make history as it is expected today to become the highest grossing film ever, sinking the Titanic's record total of $1.843B USD.  What is particularly impressive is how quickly Avatar pulled in the total, reaching $1.841B USD over the weekend, after only six weeks in theaters, and less than that in some foreign markets. 

In many countries, Avatar has become the top grossing U.S. film in their history, and even among their total top grossing films -- a remarkable achievement in countries with strong film industries like France.  Internationally the film has earned $1.288B USD, despite getting a bumped from China's standard theaters for a new Chow Yun Fat epic about the Chinese philosopher Confucius (Avatar continues to play in around 900 of China's 3D theaters).

Even as Avatar rolls towards the epic mark of becoming the first movie to break $2B USD, Cameron has announced that two sequels are in the works.  Considering Fox may have spent more than $300M USD on the film, that's great news for the 3D animation industry.

With its success, Avatar has drawn some backlash.  The U.S. Marine Corps disliked the unflattering depiction of the mercenary marine army whose leadership was corrupted by greed and bloodlust.  Others loved Avatar so much that they reported depression and suicidal thoughts out of regret they could not live in the movie's fantasy world.  And still others have complained of the film being too similar to past work, varying from Pocahontas (first popularized to the masses by the 19th century burlesque The Gentle Savage) to Braveheart.

Critics, for the most part, have been deaf to such criticism.  They rewarded Avatar with awards for Best Motion Picture and Best Director and the 2010 Golden Globe Awards.

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3D...stil not ready for primetime.
By kyleb2112 on 1/25/2010 12:01:03 PM , Rating: -1
The 3D didn't look any better than the other movies I've seen. Coraline's 3D was still the best. Cameron's big breakthrough apparently boils down to just using LESS 3D--not pushing anything too far out at you. But it still just looks like 2D layers stacked at different depths, and nothing you'd mistake for real life depth. Coraline managed to convey rounded volumes. Could be that stop action just lends itself better to the effect, or maybe the small scale everything's shot at.

The real breakthrough with Avatar is the motion capture system that's finally hi res enough to avoid the creepy puppet look. That'll be counted as a huge milestone long after we've abandoned the stupid glasses...again.

RE: 3D...stil not ready for primetime.
By The0ne on 1/25/2010 1:39:13 PM , Rating: 1
Wow, your post got rated down quick! You're not going to convince others of the 3D stuff, especially using a "cartoon" :) Most are convinced Avatar has brought 3D to us all!

I agree with you completely on Coraline 3D. Watch how my post plummeted for that too :D

By Oregonian2 on 1/25/2010 5:38:34 PM , Rating: 2
As reported in 3D photography mailing lists, Avatar actually did have a half dozen scenes that were 2D because the interocular was too wide and rather than redo it, they slipped in 2D shots. I have no idea how long the snippets were and I'll have to admit that I didn't notice them, but apparently they're in there somewhere. :-)

RE: 3D...stil not ready for primetime.
By Spivonious on 1/25/2010 2:35:58 PM , Rating: 2
Coraline had great visuals. I only wish they had used polarized glasses instead of red/blue. Red/blue messes with the colors too much.

RE: 3D...stil not ready for primetime.
By Oregonian2 on 1/25/2010 5:35:22 PM , Rating: 2
Coraline was with polarized glasses, at least here. Saw it in a RealD theater.
Didn't even know they made an anaglyph version of it (generic description of the red/blue method).

RE: 3D...stil not ready for primetime.
By Spivonious on 1/26/2010 9:13:36 AM , Rating: 2
Yep, here it was red/blue in the theater and I got a BD copy that is also red/blue.

By Oregonian2 on 1/26/2010 8:21:43 PM , Rating: 2
I hope they burn the anaglyph version's distribution film. Ick. 3D movies can be very good, but not possible in anaglyph (IMO). Gives 3D a bad name.

RE: 3D...stil not ready for primetime.
By Soodey on 1/25/2010 3:53:13 PM , Rating: 2
I agree 100% and am still blown away by how many people found the 3D version to be the greatest thing ever. I saw it once, in IMAX 3D and I wish I had seen it in a standard theater. Cardboard cutouts slightly emerging from the background is not what I call revolutionary 3D tech. More often than not it ruined the intense action sequences because everything was far too blurry. Maybe something was off with my IMAX, but I just don't understand all the praise.

That said I loved the movie and seriously wanted to see it again, just never got around to it.

By Oregonian2 on 1/25/2010 5:42:55 PM , Rating: 2
Offhand I suspect your IMAX glasses may have needed new batteries. At least the RealD version had relatively little noticeable "cardboarding" (what 3D'ers call it). Not saying "none", but not enough to be a problem IMO.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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