Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Style Nod to FJM

Mr Musacha says... I'm breaking this one down FJM style:

The movie studio that produced the mega-blockbuster, "Avatar," had no problem with the film's alien race being blue -- but it turns out they were initially concerned about the Na'vi being too green.

Damn jealous aliens.  Or are they sick?  There's actually a lot of metaphorical ways people (and aliens) can be green.

According to director James Cameron, 20th Century Fox had some initial apprehension that his $2 billion-dollar-baby delivered the wrong kind of message -- the message of environmental conservation.

Oh, the aliens are environmentalists.  I heard about those guys during the Super Bowl...apparently they're quite the group of fascists.  No wonder the studio was nervous.

Cameron recollects the studio's warning as being: "We really like the story. It's great. But, well, is there a way to not have so much of this tree-hugging, 'Ferngully' stuff in it?"

Wow.  Even studio executives, the most useless and uncreative people on the planet, recognized that Avatar was just a ripoff of a cartoon movie. 

The famously exacting director wasn't going give up on the central point of the "Avatar" story.

Anyone who thinks the "central point" of Avatar wasn't the special effects is kidding themselves.

"I said, 'Not with me making it,'" Cameron said. "Because that was my purpose in making the film. I wanted to make an environmentally conscious mainstream movie."

I don't know the exact carbon footprint involved with the making of Avatar, but Cameron employed an entire crew of special effects artists to work around the clock for two years on a fleet of computers powerful enough to draw his fancy jungle movie.  That doesn't even account for the impact of the filming itself.  So let's just assume the carbon footprint was SIGNIFICANT.

Hey James, here's an idea for your next environmentally conscious's you handing a check for 2 billion dollars to Greenpeace, filmed on a camcorder, then not making a feature film.  The environment will thank you.

"FernGully: The Last Rainforest" was a 1992 animated film -- also released by 20th Century Fox -- featuring the voice of Tim Curry as the villain who gains his power from pollution.

Was it so long ago?  From the commercials on my T.V. I could have sworn FernGully came out a few months ago.

Instead of backing down, Cameron, instead, reveled in the environmental themes leading up to the climatic conclusion of "Avatar". "I think there's something amazingly satisfying when the hammerheads come out of the forest and start mowing down all the bad security enforcers. Nature gets to fight back," he said. "It's 'Death Wish' for environmentalists. When did nature ever get to fight back in a movie?"

Jaws. Birds. The Ghost and the Darkness. Pretty much any movie where animals go after humans (usually explained by territory encroachment).  Hell, what about King Kong?  Pretty strong message about humanity's exploitation of nature there, and Kong kicks all kinds of ass before biting it.  The Ents (sp?) have their day in Lord of the Rings.  Or how about Fern Fucking Gully???  Wasn't that shitty Open Season movie about people encroaching on the woods and the animals fighting back?  That happened in Dr. Doolittle 2 as well.  Shit, these are just off the top of my head, James.

Cameron concedes that 20th Century Fox wouldn't have been the only studio with concerns. "To be fair…any of the other studios would have said the same thing. Fox ended up being enormously supportive and wrote this huge check. But they would have been much more comfortable if I had eliminated what they called the 'tree-hugging' elements."

Maybe they just wanted a story that wasn't so contrived and corny. 

James Cameron's environmental concerns can be attributed to being a parent of three young children and the fact he would like them to have a world to grow up in. "I think there's a way to live and raise your kids with a set of values that teaches them the importance of hard work, the importance of respecting other people and the importance of respecting nature. And that it's not this consumer society where you buy something and then throw it away when you get the next new thing, filling up huge landfills with plastic and electronics."

Good call.  That's probably why you approved the licensing of Avatar merchandise to McDonalds so they could produce plastic replicas of vehicles and animals from your movie and distribute them to children in Happy Meals.  I'm sure people will view those trinkets as treasured keepsakes, and that none of them will ever end up in a landfill.  At least you're dealing with a company in McDonalds known world-wide for their outstanding contributions to the environment.   

Cameron's environmentally friendly message has not, as the studio was initially concerned, negatively affected box-office receipts. "Avatar" has so far grossed over $2.2 billion worldwide – which is well over a billion ahead of the ticket sales for the closest best picture Oscar rival, "The Hurt Locker." That film (which also has an arguably controversial message in its coverage of soldiers in Iraq) was directed by his former wife, Kathryn Bigelow, and has only taken in $12.6 million in domestic box-office sales.

Take that, Kathryn Bigelow!  I'm shocked - SHOCKED - that a big-budget movie crammed full of special effects and with a retarded plot is more popular than a challenging drama about soldiers who risk their lives to disarm bombs in Iraq.  It's like I don't even know the American public any more.


  1. I will treasure my Thrill Cards forever and ever and ever.

  2. What a relief! I expect to see them on your mantle someday! :)