Blog 1: Avatar: the future of animation?

James Cameron has done it again with his hit movie Avatar (see movie poster above), which uses motion capturing technology to animate his characters and bring to life the world of Pandora; the setting of Avatar. When I first saw the preview for Avatar, I was curious but also a little bit skeptical towards liking the film because in the past I have seen movie trailers that look good, but the film turns out to be a total dud. However, despite my reservations, after seeing the film, I believe that Cameron’s use of motion capturing technology to capture human mannerisms and expressions and a very typical Hollywood-est plot about war and romance helped the film to be more believable and enjoyable.

Avatar, itself, is about a marine named Jake Scully (see picture below) who is recruited by the government to take the place of his dead brother on a mission to the planet (Pandora) to control an avatar or simulation of a Na’vi, the local inhabitants of Pandora who the Marines are in a conflict with. Once Scully arrives, his world changes, as he questions his loyalty to his military brethren (humanity) or his love for Neytiri the Na’vi (see picture below) who he meets in avatar form (see picture  of both his avatar form and Neytiri below) when separated from the scientists he is protecting. In the end, Scully chooses his love for Neytiri and to protect Pandora from death and destruction. Scully’s struggle with staying loyal to his mission and his growing love and appreciation for Neytiri and Pandora is the heart and soul of the film, though the big battle scenes add to the drama.

Cameron’s use of motion capturing technology is the reason, in my opinion, why the film was a success because without it, the relationship between Jake Scully and Neytiri would look awkward or forced; the battles with the human actors and the animated Na’vi would also look awkward or forced. In other words, the motion capturing technology is not only able to map out the movements of the actress who plays Neytiri very realistically, but also the other actors who play Na’vi and the creatures as well. In the end, I do not know if Avatar is the future of animation or film making in general, but according to CBS News, “Avatar has surpassed Titanic at the box office, topping $1.8 billion worldwide.” With money like that, who am I to judge whether it is the future of animation or film making in general.

ETA: I commented on David Dinnison’s blog, Emily Witt’s blog, and Nicole Aarestad’s blog.


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