James Cameron's Avatar

ogopogo3

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#1
I was just reading an article in a book of trivia about films that were never made and/or completed. This one peaked my interest:

AVATAR (1999)

Great Idea: After TITANIC made $1 billion and won 11 Academy Awards, director James Cameron could make any movie he wanted--and this was the one he wanted to make. Set in the year 2040, AVATAR follows a paralyzed war veteren on a mining expedition to the distant planet Pandora, where, through a computerized psychic link, he inhabits the body of a purple-skinned, nine-foot-tall, ammonia-breathing Pandoran.

Kiss of Doom: Cameron wanted to use a cast of ultra-lifelike computer-created actors. Plus, most of the special effects needed to render Pandora would have to be invented. AVATAR's budget: a staggering $400 million. No studio would fund it, so the movie was scrapped.


I'll be the first to say that thing sounds like it'd be an utter train wreck. Nevertheless, does anyone know how far this thing got outside the pitch stage? From what little I could gather, Cameron did complete the screenplay. Are there character sketches, production design illustrations, anything?
 

hokum6

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#2
Yeah, the screenplay was completed. I've read it before, and it doesn't sound like a train wreck, it was pretty damn good. Seems to have disappeared off all the script sites, though, apparently Cameron had it removed.
There was a big buzz about it at the time, one of those films that everyone in the movie biz has heard of and thinks should be made, yet won't fund (like I Am Legend).
 

hokum6

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#3
Avatar is a go!

So James Cameron has been dropping hints about his next film, which was operating under the name Project 880. And according to AICN it's a rejigged Avatar!

Source

(I left out Harry Knowles pointless waffle at the beginning)

“Hi Harry, this is James Cameron.”

PANIC! Quint has my recording equipment for the cel phone. My computer is turned off to take notes. 0-60 had to be done in an eye blink. You see – I was expecting this phone call about 2 weeks ago. It all began with Quint in Santa Barbara when he met James Cameron. He deferred to ask about PROJECT 880, because he had heard other reporters getting the door slammed in their faces in regards to it. Well, edited out of that transcript was Cameron telling Quint that he would call me to tell me exclusively what Project 880 was and unload all the nitty gritty details were. He’d shoot 100% straight with me.

Obviously I was anxious. And when the day of his expected call came and passed, I wistfully saw it as another one that… got away.

As a result, all the equipment I had ready to record this historic conversation was gone. It was resting at Quint’s Sea Shack ready to interview the director of V FOR VENDETTA. AICN must get off it’s ass and get equipment to all it’s lead writers for exactly this reason.

Ok – so what’d he say?

PROJECT 880 is AVATAR, or as he put it, “a retooled version of AVATAR” We talked about the scriptment that got out and he said while he was annoyed that it got out, he realized it was really no different than adapting a novel, and that certainly adapting that scriptment, which was incredibly dense as it was, had been a great challenge in and of itself.

Now he still doesn’t know if it is going to be BATTLE ANGEL ALITA or AVATAR that comes next. You see deep within the N.S.A. like security of LIGHTSTORM, Jim has been constructing a Virtual Production Studio completely unlike anything anyone has ever seen before. Within that space are two separate teams concurrently prepping and getting ready to shoot back to back essentially over a 3 year span, BATTLE ANGEL ALITA and AVATAR.

Because of the films’ mutual lack of a BIG STAR in the lead role, his start up on filming isn’t having to be locked down. So both projects can be prepped right up to the last minute before he calls it as to which is getting made.

Why the back and forth? It isn’t because he’s trying to drive us crazy, it’s because he is so in love with both projects that he can’t just emotionally choose one over the other. What has to be decided is which project is the greater commercial introduction to the technology that he’s going to be unleashing upon us. You see. This isn’t just a “next film” to Jim, it’s about evolving cinema as we’ve come to know it. When you’re speaking to him, you’d find yourself not speaking to a crackpot, but to the most lucid evangelical techno-fetishist in the world, who just happens to be a filmmaking god. How can I say that?

Well, one of the side projects that he’s doing is working in conjunction with the MALIN SPACE SCIENCE SERVICES group… those are the guys that developed the M.O.C. Global Surveyor that’s been mapping Mars for the last couple of years. That’s completely changed everyone’s belief of what MARS is. Well, the next big NASA mission is going to have a Live Video Stereo Motion Image device that Cameron has been developing with M.S.S.S. to bring us back live 3D video images in full motion from the surface of Mars… all tied to the back of one of those nuclear powered Rovers that’ll be exploring, if all goes well, for years. See… Evangelical Techno-Fetishist.

I asked if we could expect any of the Cameron Company Regulars to be in BATTLE ANGEL ALITA or AVATAR. His response was, “I really hope so. Listen, I definitely have my favorites. If I’ve chosen to work with an actor once, it’s probably with a good reason, but if I’ve worked with an actor a couple of times, I’ve stayed friends with them.”

Now – BATTLE ANGEL ALITA is seen as the next “franchise” from Cameron. He sees it as a “3 film cycle.” I asked about whether or not he’s seen “Alita” yet, and he confirmed that on both ALITA and AVATAR he’s seen working models that he’s quite satisfied with.

With that we began talking about 3D. The camera he is going to be shooting with is called THE FUSION CAMERA, which is scheduled to shoot a U2 Concert in the next couple of days. I love that he knows where his camera is going. Anyway. Jim’s planning on shooting 3D not so much as the stab you in the eye, throw a flaming spear at you type of thing, but as, what he calls, “A More Lucid Window,” through which to observe the worlds that he’s going to unleash upon us.

When I began talking about the questionable Home Entertainment application in terms of immediate revenue return, like the 2D market today… especially with this film being seen widely in the superior stereoscopic format. Cameron said that all the at home viewing technology is developed and is sitting waiting for content. Before the technology giants like SONY come out with the perfect 3D at home screening units – they need to have at least 30-40 major popular titles to package to offer in an initial offering to the public. That’s where the retro-fitting of 2D films to Stereo Optics is coming in. 3D STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES, etc. I asked him which of his films would get that treatment and at this time he’s really concentrating on T2 and TITANIC. When I asked about ALIENS, he kinda went a little sheepish on me. It seems that he cringes a bit when he watches ALIENS, as the grain of the film bothers him and it was really pushing what could be done with models and costumes and he doesn’t really care to pull a George Lucas and “fix it”, because that is the best that film could be given the tools at the time, and he feels that after all this new fangled technology is out there – that in 30 years time, people will look at those films with a degree of fondness and appreciation for what they represent. And would take into granted their limitations of technology, the same way we do when looking at WIZARD OF OZ or GONE WITH THE WIND or TEN COMMANDMENTS.

Lastly, he wanted people to understand something in regards of the Digital projectors that would be being placed in theaters around the world. These projectors have the capacity to screen things at up to speeds like 120 to 140 fps. The entire industry is going to be shifting to higher frame rates, probably somewhere above 40fps where suddenly the strobing you see or can detect on those big massive battle scenes in films like TROY, which instantly make you disconnect. Those will go away. And on AVATAR and BATTLE ANGEL ALITA it is absolutely necessary to have those higher frame rates, one for the sheer projection of the Stereo images, but also the sort of images he’s planning on putting out there are just the type that at 24 fps, would start to kind of break-up and become unintelligible.

The very last thing I asked was in regards to him having a finish line in his head by which point he’ll know for a fact whether it will be BATTLE ANGEL ALITA or AVATAR – and he said it would be a couple of months and that he’d give me a call to keep me in the loop. It seems that Jim has been very respectful of the legwork that we’ve been doing to track what he’s been up to. And feels he should keep us in the loop.

OK – so the 5 Cameron films he’s going to hit us with look to be AVATAR, BATTLE ANGEL ALITA 1,2,3 and DIVE… which will be a drama shot in and projected with the latest digital 3D technology. Of my hour on the phone with Jim, I can say this. He is giddy, jocular, dead serious and scarily on target. He’s going to be bringing various key filmmakers to his shoot to show them what he’s doing in terms of these films. Basically, he’s the recruitment monkey to try and get the other guys in long pants to set up and play with the toys he’s been helping to innovate. In fact while on the phone with me, he began to inquire about John Carter of Mars and wants to talk to Favreau about the technology he’s using and it’s applications for BARSOOM. It’s this type of evangelical, “I’ve seen the future,” type of self-assured moxie that I love about Cameron.

Did I tell you he was planning on going to the International Space Station and shooting a documentary where he does a spacewalk and the whole 9 yards. Jim is a fascinating fellow to “shoot the shit with” and it looks like we’re going to be doing this again from time to time. Only next time, I hope it is with a bit of warning… and with my equipment bedside and ready. After all… an interview about the future of cinema shouldn’t be left to the waking mind… or maybe, it’s best that it came to mind half in and out of a dream. After all, that is exactly what he’s trying to do. Place a lucid window into the dreams he wishes to share with all of us.
 

sherbetbizarre

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#4
Cameron gets 'Avatar' going

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117956906.html?categoryid=13&cs=1

James Cameron and 20th Century Fox are moving forward with the long-planned $200 million production of his 3-D sci-fi tentpole "Avatar" and are aiming for a summer 2009 release.

"Avatar" pits a band of humans in a battle against a distant planet's indigenous population.

Cameron's pic, officially announced Monday, will hit screens 12 years after the helmer's last feature -- "Titanic," which holds the all-time box office record with $1.8 billion in worldwide ticket sales -- was released in 1997.

The helmer also had been developing "Battle Angel," about a 26th century female cyborg, but said Monday his efforts have been focused on "Avatar" since 2005. "I've been working on this picture exclusively for the last year and a half," he said.

Cameron's "Avatar" will employ CG techniques with which the director has been experimenting over the last several years, including on his underwater 3-D docus "Ghosts of the Abyss" and "Aliens of the Deep." The aim of the techniques is to seamlessly blend CGI and live-action footage and characters.

Techniques Cameron has developed via his Lightstorm Entertainment banner include motion-capture CG that can record an actor's facial expressions and a virtual camera system that allows him to see in real time the way his actor-based CG characters interact with their virtual worlds.

Cameron conceived the story for "Avatar" 11 years ago, but waited for the technology to catch up before fully immersing himself in the pic. "I've wanted to do it since then, but sort of shoved it in the back of a drawer," he told Daily Variety. Despite Cameron's "picking away" at the film for the last year and a half, Fox greenlit the film only this week.

Live-action production is slated to begin in April in Los Angeles, with Peter Jackson's New Zealand effects shop Weta doing the major effects work.

Cameron decided to team with Weta after meeting with Jackson and his writing and producing partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens in New Zealand. "They sat with me and discussed the script for the better part of a day, giving me their ideas and input," Cameron said. "That whole group down there seems to be a culture that reflects Peter's passion for fantasy filmmaking. It reminds me of how ILM was 25 years ago."

Principal photography will be in 3-D; Cameron hopes the digital cinema equipment needed to show 3-D pics in regular theaters will be pervasive enough by then to allow for a wide 3-D release. He said by summer 2009, there will be between 1,000 and 2,000 3-D screens in the U.S.

"I feel that we're over the hump of the battle domestically," Cameron said. "The international, which typically accounts for as much as two-thirds of revenue on a picture like 'Avatar,' is what's lagging behind."

Cameron said it would take "major filmmakers announcing major projects" for the international exhibition community to play catch-up and realize that "if they want to compete, they'll have to have the same showmanship as in the States."

He added the 3-D experience was a way for Hollywood to keep drawing auds to theaters and away from the proliferation of digital platforms, adding 3-D "maintains that sense of showmanship and gives people something special. It's something that people can't have at home, can't watch on their laptop."

As he did on "Titanic," Cameron sought to cast largely unknown actors for his leads. Young Aussie actor Sam Worthington will play an ex-Marine who ends up leading the planet's indigenous species in battle against the human colonizers. In the lead female role, Zoe Saldana ("Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl") will play a local woman with whom Worthington's character falls in love.

Cameron is designing the creatures who make up the "humanoid indigenous alien species" that inhabit the planet. They are 10 feet tall and blue, with nocturnal vision, but resemble humans.

A movement coach from Cirque du Soleil is working with the actors, and a linguistics professor from USC is coaching them on the alien language, as well as alien-accented English.

With Fox eyeing "Avatar" as a potential franchise, both Worthington and Saldana have signed on for future installments.

Cameron said he's sketched out stories for possible second and third installments, but added, "It's not a planned trilogy. This one falls into the category of trilogy of opportunity: If it makes a lot of money, it'll be a trilogy. If it doesn't make any money, we'll forget all about it."

"Every year, our business makes hundreds of films, most of which come and go," said Fox co-chairs Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos. "Jim's movies raise the bar, both in storytelling and use of technology. 'Avatar' will do so again. It will take two more years, but in the summer of 2009, 'Avatar' will be a seismic change in the moviegoing experience."

Producing are Cameron and his Lightstorm partner, Jon Landau.

New interview between Cameron and Harry at http://www.aintitcool.com/node/31191
 

GNC

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#5
M. Night Shyamalan's next film is called Avatar as well. There's only one way to settle who's the best. Fight!
 

ogopogo3

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#6
Ug, there can be no winner in that fight.

Whoever wins must make a film. :cross eye

It's a no-win situation, goddamnit it!
 
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#7
I remember reading an Sf story, a few years back, about a thalidomide space jockey who makes a trip to Jupiter, encased in a special cybernetic spacecraft, that's an extension of the astronauts own body and mind.

It was an interesting concept, I don't remember any purple aliens, though. Nor, can I remember the name of the story, or the author. It could have been in a New Worlds Magazine story, in a compilation.

It wasn't The Ship Who Sang, by Anne McAffrey, either.

So, a special Nebulous Award, to anybody who can remember the original story.
 

PlagueRider

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#8
gncxx said:
M. Night Shyamalan's next film is called Avatar as well.
Let me guess.... it'll have a big twist at the end? Which will actually mean it's as rubbish a film as we first thought even though the twist might save it but that we were all duped into seeing it and getting disappointed - all over again?

I'm actually looking forward to Cameron's Avatar - sounds very promising if it can all be pulled off.
 

ginoide

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#9
i find m. n. shymanamalamanamayan whatever-his-name-is very fascinating. it is true that every director (or writer, at that) in the end tells the same story, with the same mechanisms etc., over and over. but he took it too literally - and that's exactly what i find fascinating.

(in a "pierre menard, author of don quixote" way, maybe)
 

sherbetbizarre

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#11
Link below, as taken out of context, the first sentence does not entirely make sense...

Christmas 2009, the date when Cameron’s $200 million science-fiction epic AVATAR, starring Sigourney Weaver, gets released, as crucial as THE JAZZ SINGER was back in 1927.

“It’s going to change everything”, says Lewis. “There will be all the movies before AVATAR, and then all the new movies after it. Cameron is not using 3D as a gimmick, shoving spaceships in your face. What he’s doing is directing within the 3D space. He’s referred to 3D as turbo-charging the viewing experience and his producing partner Jon Landau says making the screen disappear is their aim. Cameron is pushing the needle from a filmmaking standpoint. He’s been working on AVATAR for ten years doing 3D documentaries to test out all the abilities of the process meaning it will be unlike any production you or I will ever have seen before. New 3D is all about pure cinema. Everyone was terrified of Cinemascope in the Fifties – how were they going to fill that enormous frame? But true artistry came out of that format. The same is happening with 3D because it’s experiential rather than interactive. A whole new immersive cinematic language is about to be invented and it’s going to take the Camerons and Spielbergs of this world to show how it’s done”

The latest advances in 3D technology, Lewis’ Real D especially, has come about because the tools are offshoots of NASA and other defence companies’ design methods. “We’ve just married great science with digital technology to engineer the most sophisticated and exciting way to see a movie on the planet. Period”. Forget splitting headaches like in the old days of red and green plastic lenses blurring the black-and-white scares of CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. Lewis continues, “Real D means you can tilt your head and move around. It doesn’t matter where you sit the 3D image is perfect. We use software – called ghostbusters - to correct double imaging for complete clarity. Eye fatigue is not a factor either because we shutter the image at 144 frames per second, not the 24 film average, making for more comfortable viewing. Today’s 3D is so amazing every film using it becomes a must-see event”.
http://www.frightfest.co.uk/alanjones8thjanu.html
 

stu neville

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#12
Good... but, you have to have the facilities available to view the film properly, as I take it this spectacular experience won't work at your local multiplex, where 99% of the audience will go to see it in (presumably) straight 2D*. In which format, of course, the film itself will stand or fall on it's own merits.

Not a criticism of the technique, which sounds stunning, but it's going to be lost on most people for that very reason.

* Imax cinemas - which I presume are more geared up for this sort of thing - aren't doing great business by all accounts: my local one closed last year as it was becoming un-viable. And how many people want to travel 100 miles-plus just to see a film :(?
 
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#13
James Cameron's avatar is too big. No surprise there.

Mind you, I didn't even know that he was a member of the FTMB. :shock:
 

OneWingedBird

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#14
M. Night Shyamalan's next film is called Avatar as well. There's only one way to settle who's the best.
Duel...


...oh sorry, that was speilberg :shock:


I remember reading an Sf story, a few years back, about a thalidomide space jockey who makes a trip to Jupiter, encased in a special cybernetic spacecraft, that's an extension of the astronauts own body and mind.
Sounds like a job for Matt Fraser, the man who brought us Thalidomide: The Musical
 

sherbetbizarre

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#15
stuneville said:
Good... but, you have to have the facilities available to view the film properly, as I take it this spectacular experience won't work at your local multiplex, where 99% of the audience will go to see it in (presumably) straight 2D*
Beowulf was also Real-D - this was shown in most multiplexes with plastic glasses for the audience. Although I'm sure Cameron will push the IMAX version.
 

rynner2

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#16
'Avatar Friday’: the day film-making may — or may not — change forever
Murad Ahmed, Technology Reporter

It is the movie that could change film-making for ever. It has the power to alter your mind. Watching it will be like dreaming with your eyes open.

Blockbusters have been hyped before but never quite in the terms being used to describe Avatar, the new film by the Oscar-winning director James Cameron.

The colossal expectation and outlandish claims surrounding the project will be put to the test this week, however, when hundreds of 3-D IMAX cinemas around the world screen a 15-minute teaser of the film before its release this Christmas.

Public reaction to the trailer on Friday, dubbed Avatar Day, is likely to determine the eventual success of the film, made by the director of Titanic and the Terminator series.

More than 20 minutes of footage from the sci-fi spectacular was made available to fans last month at the Comic-Con International convention in San Diego, California.

After the preview, directors lined up to describe it as “the future”. Excited reviewers said that they could not stop dreaming about it and that it was as though they had just taken a highly addictive drug that had left their mind yearning for more. Neurologists at the screening wondered if the movie had activated parts of the brain that were previously untouched by conventional, two-dimensional films. :shock:

For many it confirmed the rumours. Avatar would be an immense leap forward for film — the equivalent of the first movie with sound or in Technicolor.

“It comes from a director whose last dramatic feature was Titanic, and that broke new ground,” said Jack Warner, of Screen International, the film industry magazine. “He also did it with the Terminator movies. This is what he does. He spent years developing the technology to match his vision.”

But sceptics argue that the importance of Avatar to film studios has less to do with its creativity and more to do with the fact that 3-D movies are hard to copy and therefore, inevitably, attractive to an industry ravaged by online piracy. 8)

Many in Hollywood hope that the Avatar 3-D experience could not only change cinema but save it.

The film is also being met with high expectations because it has been such a long time in coming. The concept was first conceived by Cameron 14 years ago, just before Titanic became a critical and commercial hit.

Cameron seems keen to distance himself from the wilder rumours surrounding the film, telling reporters: “Whatever they think it’s going to be, it’s probably not.” :?

Avatar follows Jake, a human soldier who becomes disabled during combat on Earth. In order to join the “Avatar programme”, which will give him a healthy body to inhabit, he travels to the distant planet of Pandora, a rainforest-like world covered in alien life forms.

Cameron helped to develop the advanced “fusion camera system 3-D technology” used to shoot the film. The system uses a combination of high-definition 3-D cameras alongside special, motion-capture techniques that can pick up high levels of detail, including almost all of an actor’s facial expressions.

Ten UK cinemas every week are reportedly upgrading to the digital projection systems necessary to screen the film.

Viewers will still need 3-D glasses to watch Avatar but the coloured spectacles of the past have given way to a pair of “polarised” glasses that look more like sleek sunglasses.


“All the other 3-D stuff that is kicking around right now seems to be quite gimmicky, where people point at the camera and all that ridiculous stuff,” said Daniel Bettridge, a British fan who saw the Avatar preview at Comic-Con.

“[In Avatar], whether it was a case of plants just drifting into the foreground and looking really good or heading through this alien landscape, it felt as if you were not just watching something but immersed within it. You felt as if it surrounded you.”

Analysts warned that the film represented a big gamble on the part of Twentieth Century Fox, which is part-owned by News Corporation, the parent company of The Times.

Movies in 3-D have been around since the 1950s but audiences and film-makers still appear to prefer the flat canvas of a 2-D screen.

The studio has reportedly invested more than $200 million (£123 million) on the project and needs it to succeed. While that price is around the same amount that it cost to make Titanic, that film went on to be the highest-grossing movie of all time.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/u ... 799610.ece
 
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#17
rynner2 said:
'Avatar Friday’: the day film-making may — or may not — change forever
Murad Ahmed, Technology Reporter

It is the movie that could change film-making for ever. It has the power to alter your mind. Watching it will be like dreaming with your eyes open.

...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/u ... 799610.ece
Coincidentally, it was made for 20th Century Fox, who apparently gave Cameron about $195 million to make the movie, owned by the same company as The Times. Could this sort of ridiculously overblown hype be a case of Rupert Murdoch's journalistic buttmonkeys dancing to the organ grinder's tune again?
 

rynner2

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#18
I guess we'll see if it's "ridiculously overblown hype" when the other papers report on Avatar Friday... ;)

(BTW, that's the 24th time you've combined 'Richard Murdoch' with 'buttmonkey' in your posts, PM! 8) Record stuck in the groove?)
 
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#19
rynner2 said:
...

(BTW, that's the 24th time you've combined 'Richard Murdoch' with 'buttmonkey' in your posts, PM! 8) Record stuck in the groove?)
I think you'll find that I've never combined 'Richard Murdoch' with 'buttmonkey', until now, Rynner.

Richard 'Stinker' Murdoch was a fine comedic actor, on such radio and TV series as, 'Bandwagon', 'Much Binding in the Marsh', 'The Men From The Ministry' and 'Rumpole of the Bailey'.

'Rupert Murdoch', however, is a pestilence upon the face of the Earth. Those journalists who work for him are merely his buttmonkeys. Fact.
 

GNC

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#20
Richard Murdoch also narrated The Moomins back in the 80s.

Anyhoo, it is nice to see a blockbuster in this day and age of sequels, remakes and two hour toy commercials that is based on original material. Whether it's any good or not, time will tell.
 

rynner2

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#21
Pietro_Mercurios said:
rynner2 said:
...

(BTW, that's the 24th time you've combined 'Richard Murdoch' with 'buttmonkey' in your posts, PM! 8) Record stuck in the groove?)
I think you'll find that I've never combined 'Richard Murdoch' with 'buttmonkey', until now, Rynner.
True, I wrote Richard here by mistake, instead of Rupert.
BUT my search was done on your posts using 'Rupert Murdoch' and buttmonkey*', and the result still stands. To be more precise, that's 24 Threads - searching for Posts brings in a fine haul of 36!
Richard 'Stinker' Murdoch was a fine comedic actor, on such radio and TV series as, 'Bandwagon', 'Much Binding in the Marsh', 'The Men From The Ministry' and 'Rumpole of the Bailey'.

'Rupert Murdoch', however, is a pestilence upon the face of the Earth. Those journalists who work for him are merely his buttmonkeys. Fact.
Fact? Or opinion? ;)

Anyway, I think we've got the gist of your thoughts on RM now... :roll:
 
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#25
Mob1138 said:
Looks lovely, but it's a bit dull though. Still, can't be much worse than Titanic.
No. No. You're going off message. Surely you mean that this film will change our lives, evolve us to the next level of evolution and give us all multiple orgasms?


:confused:
 

Timble2

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#26
It looks good, but from the description of the plot it sounds like the sort of thing SF novels were doing in the mid 1950s (Eric Frank Russell, Wasp; Hal Clements, for weird alien physiologies) and Edgar Rice Burroughs's exotic worlds were earlier still (human falls for alien Princess anyone?)


BTW what are the chances of Princess of Mars/Gods of Mars/Warlord of Mars, and the rest ever being filmed, there's supposed to be a production kicking off later this year, but there's been rumours before. It'll be the centenary of the first one in 2011...
 

rynner2

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#27
Oh dear, I fear that at least one of RM's B-Ms is going off message..! ;)

As an art form 3-D cinema simply stinks
Marketing bosses are driving this new era of film
Kevin Maher

So, “Avatar Day” has been and gone, but the dream of 3-D cinema is almost upon us. A 15-minute preview teaser for the director James Cameron’s 3-D sci-fi movie Avatar (his first fiction feature since Titanic in 1997) was released across the globe on Friday, and with it came the prospect of a world converted entirely to 3-D cinema, of a magical, mind-altering, cinema going experience for everyone, and of an art form utterly transformed. There is, however, just one snag: it’s all rubbish. :shock:

The trailer only managed to reveal, yet again, how 3-D is the ideal format for demonstrating the laws of diminishing returns. The initial thrill of witnessing alien flora poking, seemingly, through the cinema screen is quickly replaced by “spectacle fatigue” and the nagging sense that the story of giant, blue-skinned, jungle warriors flirting and fighting in a phosphorescent jungle might actually be a bit naff (think The Dark Crystal meets FernGully: The Last Rainforest).

There was nothing in the footage, as there was nothing in recent 3-D blockbusters such as Monsters vs Aliens or Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, to suggest that 3-D is anything other than a trick to squeeze more out of the giddy, yet increasingly wearisome thrills, of point-of-view movie chases.

Despite the chatter from Cameron, and from the Hollywood honchos bankrolling his dream, there is no aesthetic justification for a wholesale transition to 3-D film-making. This is a technological evolution that is being aggressively championed by corporate Hollywood which stands to make, according to some analysts, up to $16 billion (£10 billion) in profits over the next decade from it. Higher ticket prices, cheap distribution costs (3-D films are digital, and will be streamed electronically rather than physically delivered) and a host of ancillary industries (such as the manufacture of designer 3-D glasses) all point to a cash bonanza.

Which is why enormous amounts of time and money (Avatar, according to some guesses, will cost $300 million) are being spent on denying that, as a format, 3-D stinks. It is designed to elevate the unthinking wham-bam of spectacle over quieter dramatic subtleties. It rubbishes the notion of carefully composed cinematography by exploding everything out of the frame in a crass, undignified mess.

3-D is fundamentally anti-cinematic because it transforms film from a medium where, according to the French film-maker Jean Cocteau, “the whole audience dreams together”, into a theme park distraction where the audience shouts, “duck!” together. And no amount of Avatar Days, hoopla and marketing spin can change that.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen ... 807091.ece
 

Kellydandodi

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#29
Timble2 said:
It looks good, but from the description of the plot it sounds like the sort of thing SF novels were doing in the mid 1950s (Eric Frank Russell, Wasp; Hal Clements, for weird alien physiologies) and Edgar Rice Burroughs's exotic worlds were earlier still (human falls for alien Princess anyone?)


BTW what are the chances of Princess of Mars/Gods of Mars/Warlord of Mars, and the rest ever being filmed, there's supposed to be a production kicking off later this year, but there's been rumours before. It'll be the centenary of the first one in 2011...
There was a short story about humans transforming themselves into aliens so that they could explore and gad about Jupiter - transforming their physiology into "Jovians". Anyone know what I'm babbling about and what the title/ who the author of the short story was?
 

Peripart

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#30
Kellydandodi said:
There was a short story about humans transforming themselves into aliens so that they could explore and gad about Jupiter - transforming their physiology into "Jovians". Anyone know what I'm babbling about and what the title/ who the author of the short story was?
I remember an Asimov story about Earth robots sent to Jupiter or thereabouts to negotiate with some hostile aliens. These Jovians, or whatever it was they were, systematically tried to kill the robots, but couldn't. Assuming that these invincible creatures were actually humans, the aliens surrendered forthwith... don't remember the name of the story, and it may not even be what you're thinking of?
 
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