Avatar

I'm Drew Breunig and I obsess about technology, media, language, and culture. I live in New York, studied anthropology, and work at PlaceIQ.

Posts tagged film
The film’s two producers, Marvel Pictures and DMG Entertainment, had earlier announced the release of a specific version dedicated to the Chinese market, with a pledge to include more China-set scenes. The statement also explained how sequences featuring actress Fan Bingbing will be exclusively seen by Chinese audiences — another way of saying how the A-lister is basically cut out of the international version altogether.

The Hollywood Reporter

When video game’s moved to CD-Rom formats and video could be included, major pictures scheduled shoots to capture assets for tie-in games.

Now, as funds come in from different audiences we’re seeing additional actors, directing units, and cuts being released to deliver locally tailored products.

The 48fps footage I saw looked terrible. It looked completely non-cinematic. The sets looked like sets. I’ve been on sets of movies on the scale of The Hobbit, and sets don’t even look like sets when you’re on them live… but these looked like sets. The other comparison I kept coming to, as I was watching the footage, was that it all looked like behind the scenes video. The magical illusion of cinema is stripped away completely. As I said above the landscape shots are breathtaking. 48fps is the future of nature documentaries. But if it’s the future of narrative cinema I don’t know if that future includes me.
Early screenings of the Hobbit are getting burned by the soap opera effect

Topher Grace Made a Star Wars Fan Edit 

Yes, that Topher Grace and apparently it’s excellent:

The result is an 85-minute movie titled Star Wars: Episode III.5: The Editor Strikes Back. It should be noted that the Star Wars prequel trilogy is almost 7 hours in total length, and the shortest film (Episode 1) is more than 51 minutes longer than Grace’s fan cut. What this means is a lot of footage ended up on the editing room floor, and a lot of creative choices were made in the editing process. And the result? Topher Grace’s Star Wars film is probably the best possible edit of the Star Wars prequels given the footage released and available.

(Via Slashfilm)

2011’s Top Films Show Us What’s Wrong with Hollywood

Roger Ebert recently outlined several reasons film revenues are dropping. I’d like to add the my own item to his list: film studios are addicted to the safe but diminishing returns of properties created by a braver Hollywood of the past. And rather than investing in new, exciting ideas they’re choosing to tap dry wells and splurge on lobbyists in pursuit of a red herring, piracy.

To illustrate their inability to invest in new ideas, let’s take a look at 2011’s top 20 grossing movies:

  • 8 of the top 10 grossing films from 2011 were sequels or prequels
  • The other 2 films were franchise films which tied into recent movies (Thor and Captain America)
  • Which means all top 10 movies were previously existing properties or stories
  • In fact, only 2 of the top 20 movies are wholly original stories (Rio and Super 8)
  • For perspective, ten years ago the top 20 grossing movies contained 8 sequels and 8 original ideas
  • For further perspective, 4 of 2011’s top 20 grossing films have siblings in 2001’s top 20 (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Shrek, The Fast and the Furious, Planet of the Apes)
  • 6 of the top 20 films from 2011 are the 4th film in their series or higher. 7 if you count Puss in Boots, which is the 5th film associated with the Shrek franchise

Clearly, Hollywood needs to innovate and stop mining it’s past. But rather than invest in attempts to create new stories and new properties, it continues to squeeze every ounce of life out of its past creations and blames its woes on piracy. The film industry would like you to believe that piracy, not a lack of new ideas, is the culprit behind its financial decline.

The Special Edition of Star Wars was frequently reported in the media as costing as much as $20 million to enhance and restore, though some sources claimed as low as $10 million. In any case, the film’s restoration and enhancement cost more than the original production itself
The Secret History of Star Wars details the herculean process of restoring, remastering, and modifying the Special Edition of Star Wars

The world in California. Paramount Studios produced this map in 1927 as a guide for producers, directors, and investors. (Via Strange Maps)

Weekend Reading: How Kubrick Tells Us About Faking the Moon Landing with The Shining

With Kubrick, conspiracy theorists have found the perfect subject. Because both Kubrick and the theorists madly obsess over details, it’s impossible to discount that Kubrick didn’t intend the crazy stretches of reason the theorists suggest.

That being said, this discussion of The Shining is nothing if not entertaining. Especially because of the casual way the author states moon fakery recreation details. It’s always good to read pieces where the author carries a completely different set of casual assumptions about the world.

It is important to note that the room in question was numbered 217 in the Stephen King version of The Shining. For unknown reason’s Kubrick changed it to 237. Because the average distance from the Earth to the Moon is 237,000 miles.

The real truth is that this movie is really about the deal that Stanley Kubrick made with the Manager of the Overlook Hotel (America). This deal was to get Kubrick to re-create, in other words, to fake, the Apollo 11 Moon landing. Danny represents the artistic side of Kubrick. Because of the complexity of the artistic realization of the manner in which the lunar landings needed to appear, Kubrick needed to trust his artistic side. Room 237 represents the fake lunar set that Stanley had to create to make the lunar landings appear factual.

Secrets of the Shining.

Flixster buys Rotten Tomatoes 

himmelsblog:

This could be very interesting if the platforms become more transactional — digital rentals/streams or better movie ticket purchases.  Or even sound track downloads, gaming extensions, or semi-professional reviewers.

Possibilities are great and kudos to IGN for trying to focus.

I like how this one fell out after a good round of M&A speculation around Flixter.

The trend here seems to be valuing the network, not the content. Especially when it comes to opinion. Similarly, Apple’s pickup of Quattro could be them protecting their turf from Google owning part of their network (Admob powered aps in the App Store.)

Avatar is a fantasy about ceasing to be white, giving up the old human meatsack to join the blue people, but never losing white privilege. Jake never really knows what it’s like to be a Na’vi because he always has the option to switch back into human mode. Interestingly, Wikus in District 9 learns a very different lesson. He’s becoming alien and he can’t go back. He has no other choice but to live in the slums and eat catfood. And guess what? He really hates it.

Annaless Newitz.

After a few days thinking on Avatar, I’ve arrived at the belief that the film will be largely forgotten. Kind of like Titanic.

When the key feature of your film is its technology, the product is waiting to become obsolete. The story of Avatar is nothing new. In fact, it takes pastiche to a whole new level, constructed out of elements from greater Cameron works. Once Avatar’s technology is ubiquitous, it will only be notable as a ‘first.’ Noted, but not watched.

District 9, for all it’s faults, had something to say. Avatar had something to prove. (Via io9)

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