What would the last couple of weeks before a new super-costly James Cameron movie be without a Kim Masters article saying “uh-oh…big financial risk…look out!” But her 11.29 Daily Beast piece, titled “James Cameron’s Titanic Gamble,” does introduce an Avatar impression that I’ve never heard before. The Na’vi don’t look like cats but goats, in the view of “a veteran producer of A-list films.”
My initital Na’vi impression, which I posted on 8.14, was that they reminded me of the old Pinocchio donkeys in the 1940 Walt Disney film. Then I switched over to Captain Planet With Cats and then the wide Na’vi cougar noses. But after reading Masters’ piece I can’t get the goat thing out of my head, despite the above photo comparison not lending much support.
The other Masters quote that leaps out is one from a studio chief, who says, “I’m curious to see [Avatar] — I’m not anxious to see it.”
There’s a kind of a spillover effect between comments about the “dead eyes” in the characters populating Robert Zemeckis‘ A Christmas Carol, which under-performed, and the wary expectation comments about Avatar. (I had to read the piece a second time to realize the guy complaining about “dead eyes” was referring to the Zemeckis film and not Cameron’s.) But Masters makes it clear a paragraph or two later that Avatar isn’t expected to look the same or suffer a Christmas Carol fate.
Avatar producer Jon Landau and Fox co-chairman Tom Rothman have both said that the film has the ‘emotionality‘ that previous motion-capture films have lacked,” she writes, adding that Cameron “used tiny cameras mounted on his performers’ faces to avoid the dead-eye look.
“No one has seen a full version of Avatar yet but those who have seen pieces of it say the technique is more immersive than flashy.” But when I visualize goats I don’t think of emotionally expressive eyes — who does?