Episode 48: Avatar’d

January 15, 2010

James Cameron‘s billion-dollar baby, Avatar, is as simplistic an adventure movie as they come. The last movie which so perfectly played by the numbers to deliver a rewarding and surprise-free night-out was, perhaps, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Both films are perfectly plotted “hero’s journeys” that rely heavily on archetypes and tried-and-tested models of mythological storytelling  to guide the audience through a satisfying fairytale with as little discomfort as possible.

That’s a compliment. And one not even intended to be backhanded. There’s something really enjoyable about a well-done clichéd, hackneyed, formulaic and trite storyline. Afterall, they became clichés for a reason: they work time after time.

The problem is clichéd adventure stories are so often not done well and we’ve developed a distaste for them. We claim we’ve “seen it all before” while forgetting there hasn’t been a new story since Perseus gave Medusa a haircut.

And when it comes to our new fairground-ride styled blockbusters which place so much emphasis on CG and effects, you really need there to be a story behind the glitter that works effortlessly with the audience.

Star Wars Episode I is a classic example of a technologically advanced marvel that fell on its face by trying to hard to push the envelope for storytelling at the same time. There’s a Dune amount of characters and plot in that movie but only enough time to tell a story like… well… like Avatar.

Avatar is really what Episode I should have been. Imagine something like this: Read the rest of this entry »


Project Potter: Half Blood Prince

July 6, 2009

Though I enjoyed it more, generally, than Order of the Complainers, I can’t remember much of The Half-Blood Snape. I’m finding there’s not much to say about it. My one complaint is with all that’s going on, I find it hard to believe Harry would care much about quiddich or house points or girls. Okay, girls maybe. Love always flourishes in times of strife. But when Snape is unfairly taking points away from Gryffindor, the fact Harry thinks any of that matters just further strengthens my belief he is a big wiener. He may as well change his name to Skywalker.

Otherwise, there are only two things I can remember about this book. The first is the underground lake full of zombies. Awesome. Though Rowling massively pulls some punches in the that scene. She may have brought zombies to the table, but then she doesn’t let us have any. What a crappy host. I can only hope these Inferi creatures show up again in The Deadly Marshmallows and are used to their full potential.

The second big event is of course the Snapester killing Dumbledor. I have to give Rowling props for not having him saved by some contrived bit of magic like Snape’s curse was blocked by a cigarette case or a jinx-proof vest. Which is what I was expecting. I am however concerned he’s going to pull an Obi-Wan and show up as a ghost or, worse, is perhaps living in Harry’s wand.

Anyway, Half-Blood Prince. It’s alright. Don’t have much to say about it.


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