Great. So now I'm "the angry guy."
I'm not, though. I'm just passionate about what I've seen, and I'm increasingly irritated by some rote reactions that I think are dismissive and, frankly, demonstratably inaccurate. I guess I'm just at the point where I feel like someone who has rejected the "Avatar" footage we've seen so far is on such a different wavelength than I am that I can't really find a common ground in what we're looking at. Just as they can't see what I'm reacting to, I can't see what they're reacting to, and that gulf is frustrating.
Tonight, Jon Landau brought about a half-hour of foootage to the Drafthouse as part of Fantastic Fest, and while much of it was familiar for those of us who saw the Comic-Con presentation and the "Avatar" Day footage, there were two new scenes, and it was nice to see how the Real-D version of the film is going to look, having seen the IMAX 3D presentation on "Avatar" Day. Afterwards, I had about five different conversations with five different groups of people, as well as several smaller conversations, and I've definitely seen a major divide.
The main narrative knock I keep hearing is that it's "just 'Dances With Wolves' in outer space." Fair enough, although I don't think Kevin Costner created this particular basic storyline. He just happened to hit a pop culture home run with his version. I think it's a fairly simple and, yes, familiar spine for a movie: a guy from our culture encounters a native people who he is drawn to, and the more he engages with their culture, the more he wakes up to the things that are wrong with his own culture. It's a fish out of water story, and it's also a story about our own values as seen through new eyes. If that automatically bothers you, then nothing's going to suddenly win you over and convince you. There are several people I've spoken with now who just plain hate that storyline, and my guess is that they'll feel the same way after the film as they feel right now. If I hate romantic comedies about people who lie and lie and lie and lie and suddenly succeed in spite of all that, then I can pretty much count on each and every Kate Hudson film annoying me. Sometimes, a film isn't made for you, and it's better to accept that and just recuse yourself than it is to pound on a movie for what it's not, rather than what it is.
[more after the jump]