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 clich├ęd 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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