Avatar fallout: Depression, political ravings, 3-D TV

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Dec 14, 2012, 4:09 PM EST

Whenever a movie reaches the level of success of James Cameron's Avatar, it ripples out into the culture in important and sometimes downright weird ways, and we've got a few examples. (As of Wednesday, Avatar had grossed $1.13 billion worldwide, becoming the second-highest-grossing movie ever, surpassing The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King's $1.12 billion and closing in on Cameron's own Titanic at $1.8 billion. In just 20 days.)


There's a group of people who have come together online to lament the fact that they can't actually download their consciousnesses into giant blue Na'vi avatars themselves, and they're now really bummed about it!

Here's a sample commenter:

OKOI: After I watched Avatar at the first time, I trully felt depressed as I "wake" up in this world again. So after few days, I went to cinema and watched it again for the second time to relieve the depression and hopeless feeling. Now I listen to the soundtrack and share my views in this forum. It really helps.


There's also lots of political fallout from the movie from both sides. Liberals have been attacking what they perceive to be the movie's racism or Euro-centric view of Third-World or native peoples and the arrogance to think it takes a human (read white person) to lead aliens (read people of color) to greatness. Essence.com quotes

Will Heaven of the Telegraph questions why the Na'vi (the blue skinned "natives") wear African jewelry and dreadlocks and are voiced by Black actors like Zoe Saldana, Laz Alonso and C.C.H. Pounder. "The ethnic Na'vi," he writes, "need the White man to save them because, as a less developed race, they lack the intelligence and fortitude to overcome their adversaries by themselves."

On the other end of the spectrum, there are conservatives who argue that Avatar is somehow anti-military, anti-capitalist or un-American, as in this ABC news story:

From its portrayal of the corporation that wants to take over the natural resources on the planet Pandora—a not-so-subtle allusion to the likes of Halliburton and defense contractor Blackwater—to distinct religious, anti-war and pro-environment themes, the film's political messaging has rubbed many conservatives the wrong way.


On a more mundane level, as Jaws birthed the summer blockbuster and Star Wars gave rise to the sci-fi tentpole, Avatar has everyone drooling about the prospects of 3-D films and even television (there are lots of 3-D systems on view at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas). Here's Business Week:

In particular, James Cameron's "Avatar" has set a new standard for 3-D in movies and has surpassed $1 billion at the box office. It demonstrates that 3-D is viable for more than just computer-animated children's or family movies such as "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs."

From PC World:

Blu-ray's movers and shakers are optimistic that "Avatar" will whet consumers' appetites for home 3D. "While I have not seen the movie yet myself, I have read enough rave reviews to believe that it could transform a lot of skeptics into 3D believers," writes Pioneer executive Andy Parsons, Chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association, in an e-mail interview with PC World.


Cabin in the Woods

In the movie sphere, Avatar has increased pressure on other films to incorporate 3-D.

Darren Aronofsky's proposed RoboCop remake is stalled because MGM wants to turn it into 3-D. Joss Whedon's Cabin in the Woods, meanwhile, was being delayed so that it can be 3-D-ified.

Here's The Daily Beast:

"There's no doubt that people all through the industry over the holidays were thinking, 'Should we do this movie in 3-D? Is this worthy?'" says DreamWorks CEO Stacey Snider. The company has already started talking about when it would make sense to use the technique.


James Cameron had argued that 3-D films would make it more difficult for pirates to purloin movies. So it's ironic that Avatar itself is now the fastest-pirated movie of all time. Here's Digital Spy:

According to Torrent Freak, the film was illegally downloaded 500,000 times during its initial two days of release, building to 900,000 over the first week.
The figure comfortably surpasses previous record-holder The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which is believed to have been downloaded 610,000 times during its first week in cinemas.

What fallout have you noticed from Avatar takeover of popular culture?

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