Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Sigourney Plug is Worth a Thousand Teasers

It was just about three months ago when I first heard Sigourney Weaver eloquently plug James Cameron's "Avatar" (in which Ms. Ellen Ripley plays a scientist). In this curiously super-watchable video from Trailer Addict, Weaver excitingly and convincingly discusses the film as though it were the next "Star Wars" or "Lord of the Rings" -- a blockbuster motion picture that will revolutionize the biz. (Even more enjoyable is seeing and hearing Mary "Battlestar Galactica" McDonnell's giddy reaction to Weaver's spiel.)

And now we've all been served our first glimpse of "Avatar," and many of us have even been given a 15-minute sneak peek. More than a little disappointed by the unveiling, I find myself wishing I could wind back the clock and return to the time when all we had were whispers and promises from people like Weaver. The teaser -- which, like most recent trailers, is edited with frantic, excessive force -- doesn't deliver on those promises.

Aside from the fact that the connective tissue of an urgent storyline is virtually nowhere to be found, the motion-capture CGI looks far from revolutionary. The blue-skinned lifeforms on the star/planet Pandora are dangerously resemblant to video game characters, an observation I wasn't expecting to have while watching a preview for what purports to be a game-changer.

What did impress me were the otherworldly environments (love the hovering islands), the "Aliens"-like militarism, and the sheer depth of field of the airborne action sequences. But if this is to be as character-driven as Cameron's previous films, it would appear that there is much to be desired. I wouldn't normally make all these statements based on a trailer alone (since so many of them now seem to mislead under the totalitarian, get-the-butts-in-the-seats control of the major studios), but this particular preview was heralded with enough marketing to power the movie's actual release date. As is too often the case, the hype created an unfillable hole in the imaginations of us anticipatory movie buffs.

Cameron, of course, is still in post-production on "Avatar," meaning December's end result could still wow the pants off of viewers everywhere. But if we are to react to this first taste with the same seriousness as we would a feature film, I'll say that "Wow" was about the furthest thing from my mind. Perhaps a new version, re-edited with comforting, well-spoken, promise-filled narration from Sigourney Weaver, would put me at ease.


Encore Entertainment said...

Don't lose faith. The trailer didn't have an impact on me. It has not changed how I feel about it. I still want to see it...and it was not a trailer...more like a teaser...

I hate 3D, though I was never really going on the revolutionary technology, etc.

There was Sigourney and there was James Cameron and so, ergo, there was me.

Abhay said...

I saw a 3 - 4 minute trailer and am very disappointed with it.
Maybe I was just expecting more from a James Cameron movie trailer. But this one seemed to have all the cliches of a very average movie that wants to hold on to your attention with a forced sense of awe. I mean it just wasn't engaging enough.
I am hoping the movie will be much better.

Kurtis O said...

I very much agree with this: "There was Sigourney and there was James Cameron and so, ergo, there was me"; however, I find it odd and disheartening that what we saw was the best that Cameron could muster. My hope is that he's VERY busy polishing his bajillion dollar baby.