I sometimes…okay, frequently let go with nervy opinions, like that statement I made yesterday morning about how “mainstream Eloi tend to avoid [films] that look even slightly challenging — the movie with the brightest and most colorful wrapper with the plainest design tends to win.” It’s fairly obvious that the Eloi like emotionally simplistic, high-visual-energy movies because they’re lazy (i.e., ADD, not educated enough, narrow cultural influences), but you still feel slightly vulnerable when you write stuff like this because of…I don’t know but the sense of alone-ness that comes with the gig is part of it.
“Avatar looks like something you might have to get used to on some level,” I explained. “It seems rich and dense, like a realm you might need to explore and maybe study a little bit to fully enjoy. That’s not an Eloi magnet factor. They like fast-food movies that they can wolf down right out of the wrapper– no thought, no nothing, just ketchup. They can see that Avatar is no easy-lay Roland Emmerich film. They can tell it’s a sit-down meal.”
But occasionally someone else will come along and say something very similar, and it feels good. Last night around 9 pm Lauren A.E. Schuker, a writer for the Wall Street Journal‘s “Speakeasy” section, wrote that Avatar‘s original plot “presents a challenge to audiences inured to sequels, prequels, and films based on pre-fabricated properties, such as Transformers, Twilight and the coming Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey, Jr.”
The main thrust of Schuker’s piece was a report that Steven Spielberg saw Avatar on the Los Angeles Fox lot last Friday and that “he flipped for it,” according to “a person close to the acclaimed director.” It’s entirely possible that a lot of people are going to flip for Cameron’s film, starting with tonight’s press screenings in London, New York and Los Angeles, but c’mon….what’s Spielberg going to say, given the brotherly rapport he naturally feels with Cameron and given the kind of films he likes to make?