Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Avatar - a revolution in cinema

No spoilers ahead.

I dont know what response did Citizen Kane get when it released. But it surely did revolutionize the way movies were made around the world. To sound "so cool and intelligible" as some of my colleagues would put it, Citizen Kane introduced the world to deep focus photography, as we were told in lectures. There was a unique way invented through which the film was shot. "The foreground was shot first, with the background dark. Then the background was lit, the foreground darkened, the film rewound, and the scene re-shot with the background action." i quote from wikipedia, so i dont appear intellectual but just someone who is seeking information. For seekers, there is more here, on how Citizen Kane had amazing shooting techniques.

Like Citizen Kane and Jurassic Park, Avatar too is a big step forward in revolutionizing Cinema. Avatar is the first big-action movie to be shot entirely in digital 3D with the help of Peter Jackson's effects company, Weta Digital in New Zealand. For more details, click here.

While watching Avatar at the IMAX screen in Mumbai, it is hard not to get mesmerized by the visuals and the fact that how they were brought to life. How were those images created in the first place. Woody Allen says that once the film is ready in the autuer's mind, every step from there on is a step downwards for that film. The thought is the most purest one. Writing, Shooting, Editing slowly kills the movie what it was originally supposed to be. I wonder how would have James Cameron had that first image in his mind. Now before i start raving about Avatar, i had a problem sitting through that half an hour extra-stretched "typical hollywood" climax. Blame it on those 3D glasses. But then 20th Century Fox had to get that 1200 million dollars back, so the Climax with a Hero triumphing over the humans is important. On second thoughts, aint we love the movies like that? I sincerely loved it, if it was not for those irritating 3D glasses. At one point of time i too started hating the humans, and thank you James Cameron for that. Its been some time since i watched a movie while knowing its commercial story elements yet having that gut feeling to support the Pandora guys called Na'vis, and shouting when "Toruk makto" comes flying. Wow. I was transported to Pandora.

As a kid, I remember shouting and cheering in the stalls of Novelty theatre, Grant Road for Sanjay Raj Malhotara of Model School in that Cycling championships during the climax of "Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar". James Cameron took me there. Novelty has been shut now. And this is the first James Cameron movie to come in the Multiplex era. There is no connection here, but just blogging.

There is more to explore on the intricacies of Avatar and its relation to Hindu Mythology, the idea of Vishnu, the blue colored Na'vis etc. But as of now, just watch film for its sheer pleasure. The reading can be done later. Infact, here is a wonderful explanation of the connect of Hindu mythology to the film's concept.

The only fact that i am afraid of is, after almost 27 years when i have started getting a hang of cinema and movie-making, the concepts of cinema have started changing. As if the technology - HD to Video to 35 mm to 16 mm was not enough - now 3D, digital workstations, Live Action are becoming the norm, what's next - the "sense of smell" while you watch a film??

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta


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