So here comes the Game Changer.
... To observe Cameron directing "Avatar" is to witness filmmaking as it's never been done before. Whereas most movies add all of their visual effects in post-production, Cameron was able to see fully composited shots in real time: The actors he was directing may have been performing in front of a blank green screen, but Cameron's camera eyepiece -- not to mention giant 3-D television monitors -- immediately displayed lush, synthetic backgrounds ...
"The revolution, the change that Jim has brought about is that for the first time the CGI-created characters have a reality and an emotionality that completely conveys the actors' performances," said Tom Rothman, co-chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment. "That was the big leap -- that you would care about a CGI-created character."
Uh ... I guess these folks have never seen any other CGI-created characters before.
Maybe Avatar will be the greatest piece of movie-making since The Wizard of Oz, but when I saw the trailer in glorious Big Screen Three Dee, I thought:
"Gee. It's J. J. Abrams' Star Trek meets Bill Kroyer's Fern Gully."
Which, I donno, might catapult us to new new heights in feature-length entertainment, but swear to God, I just don't see it.
Somebody please educate me, quick. Because when I see moving foregrounds, moving backgrounds, and lots of tumbling actors all wrapped inside three dimensions, I get a headache.
OTOH, it will undoubtedly have a stupendous opening weekend, it might be totally enchanting despite the trailer, and it has put a hell of a lot of animators and technical directors to work.