Monday, August 24, 2009

Avatar-ded: The Epilogue

Having now had a few days to let the turd that was the Avatar trailer waft through our senses, we can begin to examine the fallout of what may be the most expensive deuce ever dropped. Friday was "Avatar Day," when footage from the movie was shown in 3D IMAX theaters to the delight of...dozens? It marked the beginning of the full-on assault for marketing, and it looks like the pencil-necked geeks in Fox's PR department aren't going to be sleeping until post-Christmas. (Also, F*cks Studio may be chowing down on delicious, hot, salty karma at this point.) There are really four parts to this current Avatar clusterfrak, so let's break them down all professional-like:

1.) Teasers never win - The reaction to the trailer has been called "mixed" by people who want to believe that because they liked it there was a strong wave of positive support out there. Unfortunately, unlike when a really fat guy bellyflops, a few vocal chubby bunnies can't make a tidal wave of positive hype. Even among people who were supportive, there was criticism. Nobody, not one person of reason, seemed to enjoy each and every frame...of the TEASER TRAILER. This is problematic primarily because you can cut a sick-ass sweet trailer for Bewitched if you want to. Ideally, people RAVE about the teaser trailer, it leaves them hungry for more. Think about the number of movies that rope-a-doped you with a super-cool trailer...and this $300 million production decides to run out a teaser using the generic Papyrus font and call it a day? The results were not mixed, they were not "all over the board," they were disappointing...they were frightening. You shouldn't be able to lose with a teaser trailer, so if there's a large group of negative buzz, you've lost. Period.

2.) Redemption, IMAX be not your name - Then came Avatar day...which we should have all been suspicious of. First, F*cks Studios don't properly support the online sites giving away free tickets to the free screening of 16 minutes of 3D IMAX footage (rumor has it that it was intentional, a ploy to get them more press...ugh). Then the trailer, which had a long-running countdown to its premiere, didn't work right on Apple's site. Then came Friday, the actual day when Cameron's footage was seen "as it was intended." The best report came from, who made note of the following tweets from reliable people:
  • In Atlanta former CHUD writer Russ Fischer says: Avatar maybe 1/2 full.
  • Aint It Cool's Quint chimes in: Wow, the Avatar theater in San Antonio is only a quarter full. Yikes...
  • JackGi on Twitter writes: I'm in MD and it was about half full, but the response from the crowd was pretty optimistic.
  • Florida's DrumDog2112 tells me: I went to the AVATAR preview. There were maybe 50 people in the theater.
That is not a good sign. Either F*cks screwed the pooch and didn't get the tickets correctly out to enough people, people were unwilling to go to a theater for 16 minutes of footage, or (worst case scenario) the trailer scared some people off. If you're the F*cks, the worst studio in the world, you have to be makin' a rumbly in your papers at this point.

3.) Tie-ins are made for bondage - My personal reaction when I saw the Avatar trailer was, "I can't wait to play that video game." I was only half kidding. I knew that there would be a game based on it, and by God there's no reason it can't look almost as clean as the animated renders that are being passed off in theaters. Guess what, it looks good:

Seriously, that looks fun, right? Sure, you're still playing with what one of our readers here calls blue kangaroo people or "bluhumaroos," but it could be a lot of fun. So, thumbs up on the X-Box front, Jimmy! But, here comes the big thumbs down you expected. Check out these friggin' toys! Ugh! (I got these from by the way)

avatar toys


God, look at the Sigourney Weaver character...I believe she comes with a STICK! Wow, I wonder how many technicians had to work on rendering that cricket bat? These are some of the worst toys I may have ever seen. Also, the bluhumaroos with pants on = hilarious! I love the one with shorts and boots on. Turd-a-licious. Then came this image (which is from

That's a 103-inch television. Excuse me, that's a 103-inch 3D television. Cameron is promoting it. Apparently, this movie is intended for rich assholes. I don't know that I have walls that big in my house. This is the other major tie-in: A television worth more than your car.

4.) Where do we go from here? - That's the big question. Let's face it, things are not looking good. Sorry people who want to believe that things are "mixed," things are shitty. You have a $300 million movie with by-all-accounts a TERRIBLE storyline and dialogue, that has been rejected in part by the core fans you were counting on, has been unable to mount a significant word-of-mouth, and looks to be spiraling out of control. There's probably not a way to right the ship entirely, but if they're going to try, they have to do so fast. They have to start putting out more footage, better footage, more carefully crafted footage. They need a second, much better edited, trailer RIGHT NOW. Beyond that, if I'm F*cks, I'm getting some people out there talking about the buzz that this may remind people of: See, a little more than 12 years ago, there was this movie about a boat that was INSANELY over budget, had a story that everyone had already heard before, and encountered behind-the-scene problem after problem. It went on to do OK. If I'm Cameron's people, I'm out there telling everybody that the last time people wrote this guy off, he made what will likely remain the top grossing film of all time. At this point, all you have left to sell is faith in Cameron. Also, if I'm Cameron, I'm lining up my next project immediately...chances are, he'll need to do a bit of redeeming for his nerd rep. "Battle Angel Alita" anyone?

More on the debacle, er, story as it happens.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry about this. The series was delightful. It is such a shame to see this legacy come from it :-(

August 25, 2009  

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