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''Avatar,'' interrupted

Bigelow  A crack appeared in Avatar's shiny blue armor last night, when Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker won the big prize at the 21st annual Producers Guild Awards, a reliable (but not infallible) bellwether for the Best Picture Oscar winner.

Buoyed by the revenues earned from higher-than-usual IMAX ticket prices, Avatar has grossed an astounding $552 million and is poised to surpass the current all-time champ Titanic by the end of this week. Even though Avatar remains far behind Titanic in terms of actual admissions, Avatar will also eke past the former champ's $1.8 billion international haul sometime this week (although if you adjust the grosses for inflation, Avatar is only 26th on the all-time list.)

Obviously, I was more than a little wrong when I wrote "there's just no way this movie is going to come close to Titanic's grosses." Movie critics have no business trying to be box office prognosticators. I am genuinely baffled by the film's amazing success - I knew it would be big, but not this big - and I have tried to go back and see Avatar again, to see what it is about the film that has connected with so many people.

But although I saw Titanic three times in the theater, I haven't been able to muster up the energy to sit through Avatar again. I feel like there is nothing to be gained from a second viewing: The thin plot is certainly not going to reveal any new shadings, the 3D annoyed more than anything else, and my emotional engagement with the film was too remote to lure me back for seconds. I liked Avatar better the first time I saw it, when it was called Aliens.


Still, the film's phenomenal popularity seemed destined to be coronated by a Best Picture Oscar in March - at least until last night, when the PGA declared "We don't all love Avatar, either." I don't think James Cameron stands a chance of besting his ex-wife Bigelow for the Best Director prize, and suddenly Avatar is no longer a lock for Best Picture. The movie is still the front-runner, but it is not unbeatable.

This all helps make this year's Oscars a little more interesting, which is good, because the race is pretty boring. Even though the nominations won't be announced until Feb. 2, most of the major categories have already been decided (Jeff Bridges, Mo'Nique, Christoph Waltz, etc.) The only real question, other than Best Picture, is whether the Academy will finally give Meryl Streep another Oscar or allow Sandra Bullock into the winners' circle.


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Frank Blanco

I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels Avatar is vaguely familiar to Aliens. The visuals are astounding, and I felt the 3D was used to great effect, meaning it was used to enhance the depth of the scenery, as opposed to having crap fly out of the movie screen towards the audience. I definitely liked Avatar, but I don't think it deserves Best Picture.

can't fight this feeling anymore

I think you are insulting Aliens to say Avatar is the same thing. Aliens had nonstop action and sure, there was a it's-bad-to-value-corporate-profits-over-people theme going on, but none of the tiresome and repetitive hand-wringing, goody two shoes, feel-good, save-the-environment, Tree of Souls mumbo jumbo. Long live Ripley!


I didn't see any of Aliens in Avatar at all. i got more of an Abyss feel to it. It was a fantastic movie though, and I think its the beauty of the visuals that is connecting with people. And say what you want about the plot, but is extremely easy to get into. That too will conect withy our average joe movie goer.

I think The Hurt Locker SHOULD win the Oscar and Bigelow SHOULD win best director. I think she, and that film deserve it more. The Hurt Locker was the far more complex, and emotionally engaging film. It's a tragedy the theatrical release was so botched! That movie deserved a far bigger audience. I didn't even get the chance to see it in theaters. Had to rent it. And I immediatlely bought the blu-ray after i saw it. Brilliant movie. The ending really was something else.


as i have not seen the hurt locker. im not going to try and comment on that...but going as far to say avatar wasnt eh good movie and tryin to figure out why people enjoyed it is one thing..but then saying that oh it save the enviroment think green blah blah blah it was an inspiring movie and why wouldnt people like it...we need to start doing something about the earth...lol or else it gonna be like the book of eli...avatar is going to win best movie no doubt...and sam worthington is a pimp im pretty sure he has done quite well coming from doing terminater salvation.he has definately proven to be a box office actor and has clearly made quite an impact on filmakers seeing how he is in avatar and the new movie clash of the titans....avatar is the best movie many people will ever see....hmmmm i wonder what connects them to people lol

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