Avatar- That Film with the Big Smurfs

Back in mid-April, Director James Cameron confirmed plans for not one but four planned sequels to his 2009 blockbuster Avatar. The acclaimed director, who has helmed such hits as Titanic, Terminator and Aliens, said that the first film is expected to release in 2018.

He stated that each film ‘stands alone but together forms a complete saga’. We can of course expect more details closer to the time.

The fate and reception of Avatar is a very strange one if you think about it. The all-time worldwide box-office record holder, nominated for numerous awards including the Academy Award for Best Picture, has nonetheless faded out of public and cultural consciousness. Indeed unlike Titanic and Terminator, Avatar had little long-term staying power.

In numerous situations the mention of Avatar leads to remarks and exclamations such as ‘wow, I completely forgot that existed’. People remember blue lanky people and… that’s about it. The visual mastery, great story-telling and powerful environmental message don’t seem to have caught on in such a way as would be expected from such a financially and critically successful film.

Sure there were some potential missteps, not the least of which being the silly choice of ‘unobtanium’ as the name of the valuable mineral central to conflict over Pandora. However the term ‘unobtanium’ has been used by engineers since the 1950s to refer to rare elements and so is not as stupid as many people assume.

I don’t have an answer to why Avatar seemingly disappeared from cultural consciousness; however it will be interesting to see how things progress now that it appears the franchise will be consistently prominent for the next eight years or more.

In a world of increased high-profile long-term franchise planning and building (Marvel and Disney, looking at you) it feels more and more like everyone is looking to compete in that same space to rake in as much profit as possible. Nevertheless people would be wise to put their trust in this phenomenal director who has proven himself over a glistening career.

It’s almost guaranteed that i’ll be queuing up on opening night for Avatar 2.

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