Tag Archives: avatar

Oscars 2010

Last night were held the 82nd Academy Awards, one of the TV events I anticipate the most every year. This year didn’t disappoint once again, especially because of Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin‘s performances as hosts. In my opinion, they were the funniest hosts ever on the Oscars. Prologue also delivered with all the show’s packaging, which was classy and pristine as usual.

No surprise as to who won Best Supporting Actor and Actress. I was surprised that Sandra Bullock won, but at the same time I’m really happy for her. This proves everyone who ever said that she couldn’t do anything else than romantic comedies wrong. I was about sure that Avatar would win Best Picture, even though I was rooting more for Up In The Air and The Hurt Locker, so I was kind of happy when Kathryn Bigelow‘s movie won.

What I still can’t believe though, is that James Cameron didn’t win Best Director. I didn’t like Avatar too much, so as I said, I’m happy that it didn’t win Best Picture, but it is completely absurd that the Academy doesn’t recognize the directing work behind this picture. It is the biggest production ever, and it was all orchestrated by Cameron himself, and it shows a far superior logistical and creative direction than any other movie produced this year. I hated the script, I thought the story was cheesy, but the movie itself is still a visual masterpiece and Cameron deserved the title. Shame on the Academy !

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My Avatar review

I’ve been expecting to see this movie for a long time, but mostly for its visuals and not for its story. Before I start my review, I have to say that the IMAX premiere of the movie in QC was in French, and 95% of French translations very much suck, so maybe my opinion will be a bit off, but I’ll go and see it again in English this week to have an uncorrupted opinion.

First off, I’ll get everything bad I have to say about this movie off my chest right away. Cameron needs to realize he can’t write a movie. Terminator was a melting pot of cliché one-liners, Titanic was very close for that matter, and unfortunately, Avatar keeps Cameron’s track-record intact. The dialogue is horrible, the bad guys are simply too much, and way too often in the movie did I say to my self “this line belonged in the movie Predator”.

Some of the actors aren’t bad, Ribisi is “ok”, but his 5’6, 140 pounds, baby-face physique just doesn’t fit the role of a multi-million dollar corporate/military operation boss. I’d say the best actor in the movie was Zoe Saldana, who was just incredibly believable as a Na’vi, the alien, indigenous population of Pandora, the planet where the whole story takes place.

Once you’re able to get over all this, and you just focus on the 90-foot screen through your 3D goggles, you’re in for one wild ride. Visually, this movie is light-years ahead of anything I’ve ever seen before. My jaw was dropped from the first minute to the last single frame. Cameron promised something new technologically speaking, and he delivered. Everything is just stunning; the colors, the details, the scenery. It is really a 3-hour documentary about a new, beautiful world that you just want to go visit right away. ILM and Weta really pushed the limits in terms of photo-realism CGI. Every character feels so alive and real, and so do the various animal species that live on Pandora.

Cameron delivers in terms of story-telling with the Na’vi. At the end of the movie, you truly think you could write a book about the population of Pandora. Their beliefs, culture and way of living are so well introduced that this new race of beings feels like it has existed right across the street for thousands of years. To be honest, Cameron should have made a movie only about the Na’vi, and excluded any real-life human scene. The movie would have been way better that way.

I have to say though, the movie is one big geek-trip, and if you’re not into Sci-Fi, chances are you won’t like it. But if you have any interest for artistic direction and imaginary stories, this is a movie you have to see, and you have to see it on IMAX 3D.

Avatar

avatar

I thought the day would never come, but yes, James Cameron finally released the trailer for his eternal in-production movie, Avatar. For those of you who don’t know, this is the movie for which Cameron wrote the script in 1994, and scheduled the beginning of production for the end of 1997.

Well, 12 years later, I have to say, it was worth the wait. Cameron developed some new technologies for the movie, including a new motion-capture system and a new 3D camera. Though we cannot yet see how the 3D output will be, the motion capture shots in the trailer are just incredibly well done and rendered. The VFX in general are just out of this world, props to Digital Domain for that. The trailer is aesthetically flawless. But, there is a big but. Movies that spend that much time, money and effort on visual often end up having a crappy scenario. I hope Cameron proves me wrong.

Please check out this trailer in full HD on Apple’s website, it is worth every single kb you’re going to download.

Ubisoft raising the bar of CG realism: Assassin’s Creed 2

assasinscreed2
At Nova Film, we’re currently working with Ubisoft in Quebec City to produce short videos about some of their upcoming projects. Of course, that led me to visit their website, on which I had not been for almost a year. Coincidentally, I visited it on the same day that they released the trailer of Assassin’s Creed 2, a soon to be released sequel to the monster hit video game.
By the time you read this, I’m not sure if my jaw will be back in place, since it dropped so low after watching that trailer.
I don’t watch video game trailers often to be honest. I’ll check some once in a while, mostly on rainy days when I have some time to kill and I want to make a rental. For me, to this day, no trailer had surpassed the quality of the WoW: Wrath of the Lich King trailer. It was well directed, had a progressive rhythm, and the quality of the CG animation was so flawless, I had to watch it several times to convince myself it was 100% CG.
Today, in my opinion, that trailer was surpassed by AC2. The first minutes are not really on the WoW level; I think the women look too CG. But when the battle sequence kicks in, you feel like suggesting actors to find another job. The movements are fluid, the lighting is perfect, as well as the textures and the costumes are splendid. And the final scene… I bet that if they were to do a live-action movie in the same place with similar lighting, you could easily put in one of those CG shots, and no one would even notice.
I learned at the same time that the trailer was produced by Ubisoft Digital Arts, which is a newly-launched production studio that is currently working on James Cameron’s Avatar. If this is a preview of the VFX quality for that movie, we’re now sure we’re in for a treat !