It has been over 10 years since Avatar. What has changed?
I remember seeing Avatar on opening night and getting blown away. Not only was this the best use of 3D I had ever seen, but it also literally made me feel like I was being transported to a whole new planet. The story was a simple reef about the fish out of the water that took the audience out of their bodies and carried them off into a strange world.
It was literally "running a mile in someone else's shoes".
The film was written by James Cameron and was a runaway hit. It went on to become one of the most beloved films of all time, taking the crown as the highest grossing film until the arrival of Avengers: Endgame.
It's been a decade now and I actually work in Hollywood. I'm not a college junior staying up too late to see the new Cameron movie.
And the director moved on to … the sequel to Avatar. Let's take a look at what he thinks is the legacy of the first movie in Hollywood.
I never knew founding Avatar was a dream. I think it speaks to Cameron's sense of amazement in his writing and directing that he was able to realize a random dream, build a world, and be patient enough to further concretize it. He took the time not only to get the story right, but to get the tech where it needed to be. He edited and revised it. It says a lot about the power to withdraw from a project for a decade and come back whenever the urge to make it happen.
When it came to throwing Avatar, Fox wasn't sure how to do it. Luckily for Cameron, he had the hallmark and success to convince her that he could handle it and that it was worth her huge investment.
But before that … he did a proof of concept. Sure, he got Fox to pay for it, but they used $ 10 million to build the software and cameras that he eventually used to shoot the entire film. It was a worthy bet, but at the time, Cameron proved his concept mattered.
I think many readers can understand why this makes the most sense. Even if you don't have the money to make a film as advanced as Cameron, it pays off to prove you can.
After those large items were done, all they had to do was make some sort of traditional film.
What was Avatar's legacy? 3D movies have been around for a while, but the real legacy is what the movie did for the blue screen. You can now create whole sets in a computer and this work can be respected for cinematography and even writing.
Cameron admits the film doesn't have a permanent place in the zeitgeist like Star Wars, but he does believe that people who are anxious to go back are talking about how it's seen around the world. It was a story that had universal human experience. From childlike amazement and respect for the planet to the search for a place where you belong. The film is about figuring out where you fit in, and that legacy resonates.
As he prepares the sequels, I think they will be very exciting.
When it comes to breaking in, he tells people to go to sets. Learn the crew's duties, learn the lenses, and learn how all the pieces come together. He also mentions storytelling as one of the most important skills.
In the end, it's difficult to measure something that was so popular in 2009 by today's standards. I think Avatar's enduring legacy should have been for studios to take more risks with originals, but what it really is is advancement in technology that will help dreamers move forward.
Let me know what you think in the comments.
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