Film Analysis Of Avatar

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In 2010, James Cameron’s Avatar became the highest grossing film in history, making a total of $2.78 billion worldwide between its initial run and special edition release. At that point in time, no other film had even passed the $2 billion mark. What about this film kept audiences coming back repeatedly? The plot itself isn’t particularly noteworthy, sharing several similarities with Dances with Wolves and Pocahontas. What stands out about Avatar is the revolutionary special effects employed to create a cinematic experience that had never been seen before. Avatar redefined what a digital film is by developing a groundbreaking new way to capture performances which allowed the digital characters and world to be instilled with a vitality and…show more content…
Manovich states in Language of New Media Excerpts that digital film is equal to “live action material + painting + image processing + compositing + 2-D animation + 3-D animation.” Like the digital films before it, Avatar utilizes all the tools Manovich lays out, but what separates it from all others is the way in which it captured the world of Pandora. Avatar relied a virtual camera and performance capture for creating realistic digital characters interacting in a completely digital world. The “camera” used to capture the non-live action parts was not a camera at all. In a large hangar, aligned with 140 digital cameras from every angle, the performance of the actors was captured and rendered onto a database. Once captured, the performances were fed into an LCD screen that James Cameron used to “shoot” the film, allowing him to see a rough version of the characters and Pandora while filming. A head rig was also developed to capture the actor’s detailed facial expression. This marked the first instance a full-length feature film had been captured in this way, establishing an innovative new way to shoot a digital film. It cut out the need to capture live-action footage, blending animation is performance capture into one process, fundamentally changing the definition of what a digital film is, at least per Manovich. Not only did Avatar transform the modes…show more content…
In Digital Cinema: A False Revolution, Belton asserted that “the digital revolution is more clearly being driven by home theater and home entertainment software and hardware technologies, and by corporate interests in marketing, than it is by any desire - as in the past - to revolutionize the theatrical moviegoing experience.” While corporate interests will always be involved in such a big-budgeted film, Avatar undoubtedly created a unique and engaging moviegoing experience, spurring studios to convert their own films into 3D in hopes of similar returns. What separated Avatar from the films that followed was that the new technology went hand in hand with telling a specific story. James Cameron didn’t push the boundaries of technology for purely financial means. He had a story he wanted to tell, waited for the technology to make it, didn’t see anyone else working on it, and decided to develop it himself with the help of experts in the field. As an indirect result, digital cinema has taken over Hollywood since, with digital projectors being the predominant mode of exhibition while film projection fades into the background. It’s spawned a new age of exhibition, and with that comes new experiences. Ironically, Belton felt quite sure digital cinema would not replace film within five, ten or twenty years,

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