Friday, January 08, 2010

Avatar: which lesson for the industry?

Lots of people are coming to conclusions about "Avatar", and what it teaches us. Having seen it "flat", I can already understand that it is a huge hit as it delivers great entertainment. For me, I think the 3D and Imax versions are icing on the cake. In a good analysis, Mike Goodridge of "Screen International" quotes LOTR's Peter Jackson: “It’s not about technology,” he insists. “It’s about entertainment and stories.” Goodridge continues:
And he is right. The best stories will continue to attract talent to make them and audiences to see them. It sounds clichéd to say it all starts with the script, but perhaps that has never been so relevant as now. Avatar, after all, is a good story rich with detail and flourishes from Cameron’s imagination. The audience has responded.

This is both comforting for writers and a challenge. I personally know no-one that would have spent time writing an Avatar-type story - starting with me. Too much like Pocahontas, too mass market, characters that are just on the wrong side of corny; yet Cameron pulled it off very well. It's easy to get distracted by discussions about the budget. "Avatar" connects on a more basic level. And if it really is all about the script, it is up to us writers to write scripts that connect with larger audiences.

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