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Mark Harris On Avatars

Mark Harris: “Cameron blamed this latest delay on the virus, which might be, of all things, unfair to coronavirus. In a statement posted on Instagram, he said that the four-month shutdown is “preventing us from being allowed to recommence most of our virtual production work on stages in Los Angeles”; the live-action main-cast filming of both ‘Avatar 2’ and ‘Avatar 3,’ much of which was done in New Zealand, is presumably long finished. I don’t know enough about Cameron’s process to refute that, but I’m going to cock a slightly skeptical eyebrow nonetheless. In the movie business, historically, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and with other films cautiously resuming production over the last week or making plans to do so over the next month — including some that hope to be before audiences by the end of this year — it’s hard to imagine a movie that got underway in the fall of 2017 being unfinishable in the next eighteen months. But I suspect something else is at play, and it may be Cameron’s need to be a game-changer. Because what looks unprecedented today may look dated and run-of-the-mill five years from now, it’s easy to forget what a shock Avatar was when it opened — it’s the movie that ushered in ten years (and counting) of 3D, and was, arguably, the first Hollywood film to use that technology to create a world that felt truly immersive. Whatever you thought of the movie’s screenplay (writing has never been Cameron’s strong suit, and notably, he’s not writing the sequels on his own), it looked like no film ever had before.”

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