Its official – James Cameron is the most successful ass—- of all time, which makes him the only Canadian to be the best at something. Not even Wayne Gretzky can claim that.
Following the not-so-surprising success of Cameron’s movie adaptation of the album covers of 1970s band Yes, he has become the first person to be both “top of the world, ma”, while simultaneously being right underneath himself – probably where he feels happiest. ‘Avatar’ has just become the highest grossing film of all time ahead of, yes that’s right – James Cameron’s “Titanic”.
And from this news I can only deduce on thing – people want films that look like video games and/or album covers. Avatar has that strange quality of being graphically amazing enough for you to almost believe it’s real, while also having ten foot tall blue creatures, and requiring you to wear cardboard sunglasses inside… in the dark.
This miserable news of the death of narrative cinema is compounded further when you look at some of the other films that have taken our hard-earned money; ‘Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince’ and ‘Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen’ were the other most successful films of 2009, while over the past few years we’ve seen a similar spew of Harry Potters, Spidermans, Batmans and Pitates of the Caribbean. What do all these films have in common? Asides from being hugely overrated, they all have an air of video games about them, and lo and behold – they have all become video games.
Meanwhile, for those people who are too fat and lazy to go the cinema they always have the video game, which has been doing what movies have been trying to do for years – to become immersive.
Since the innovation of the third generation games console, games have been getting more elaborate, more detailed and more… distracted.
Rockstar, the Coen brothers of the games world released their opus magnum in 2008, Grand Theft Auto IV (because we all know Roman numerals are classy, just look at the Rocky, or the Super Bowl) which contained a reported 10,000 page script, which pales in comparison your typical action flick, which will have approximately 90.
With the rise of video game from guilty habit to legitimate art, they are creating a whole new venture for Hollywood’s elite; Phil Collins famously appeared in GTA: Vice City Stories, while Hollywood actor Samuel L. Jackson provided his voice in GTA: San Andreas, (is their anything he doesn’t do?) along with Peter Fonda, Chris Penn, David Cross and James Woods, while Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart and Mickey Rourke have all lent their voice to various video games. Other than that, Monster legends cheats also made happy thousands of players who used them over a month period.
And as any Hollywood producer will tell you – just the same as getting a big-name actor involved, throwing money at a project is bound to make it work. And it does. ‘Avatar’ came in at a respectable $300M, making it the most expensive film ever, while a reported $100M was spent on the production of GTA 4 made that one of the most expensive of all time, and the fourth highest selling of all time on PlayStation 3.
But does this actually mean the game is any better? Any self-respecting film aficionado will tell you neither ‘Titanic’ nor ‘Avatar’ are great works of fiction. Do we really care that this lump of pixels is an Academy Award nominee? I just want to sit on my ass, eat Cheetos and kill people. So what the graphics have realistic shadows, does that in any way affect me putting a bullet through this innocent civilians face?
People ask for too much nowadays, or at least they’re given too much, and we don’t really appreciate, need, or want it. That’s why so many people are fat, “pudding, sir?” the waiter will ask, and although you’ve just eaten a full dinner, you look at the picture and know what you could have – and just can’t but say “yeah, sure – and bring a jug of cream too.”
And what’s the result of this? Everybody looses. Films are trying to be video games, video games are trying to be films, and the pudding is trying to be dental floss. If James Cameron wants a world with pixies and floating islands – then make it into a video game, otherwise you’re just ruining a movie; if a video game wants all this intricate detail, and clever plot – make it a film, otherwise you’re just distracting yourselves from what you’re trying to do – make a fun game.