5 years later, has 'Avatar' made a lasting cultural impact?

The seventh installation of the "Star Wars" saga officially hits theatres Friday, more than 38 years after "A New Hope" blasted its way into Hollywood history in 1977.

See Full Article

But also on this very day -- not so long ago and in a galaxy not very far away -- space marines stormed the forested moon of Pandora in James Cameron’s "Avatar". On December 18, 2010, the world was introduced to the nature-loving Na’vi and the greedy humans who invaded their space.

"Avatar" would go on to become the highest grossing film of all time by a long shot. It took in almost $2.8 billion by the time it left theatres, beating out another James Cameron gargantuan, "Titanic," which earned about $2.2 billion 12 years earlier.

Even adjusting for inflation, Avatar’s worldwide gross places it only behind "Gone with the Wind" on the all-time list, and among classics like "E.T.," "The Lion King," "Jurassic Park" and "The Exorcist."

But in terms of cultural impact, it’s hard to argue that "Avatar" has earned a permanent place in cinematic history. Most of these mega-profitable movies have at least one mega-memorable line:

“Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.”

“E.T. phone home.”

“I’ll never let go, Jack.”

“No, I am your father.”

But even just five years later, most would probably struggle to quote even a few words from the film, or even recall the main characters’ names. There are no "Avatar" equivalents of Luke Skywalker, Simba or Harry Potter.

Even the plot of the movie has been criticized as being a rehash of "Pocahontas," or "Dances with Wolves," or "Fern Gully," or The "Last Samurai." So what exactly did "Avatar" do to warrant such an incredible intake at the box office? What kept audiences coming back to theatres week after week, earning "Avatar" the records for largest-grossing third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth weekends?

Well, the film is undoubtedly a visual masterpiece. It showed the world what could be done with extensive motion-capture, and probably still sets the bar for use of 3D effects. That eye candy, though, apparently failed to spawn any sort of lasting effects on the industry, as Scott Mendelson writes in Forbes.

“But considering how big a deal it was for a brief period in time,” he writes, “it is all the more odd that exists solely as ‘that 3D movie that made a bunch of money.’”

Today, Star Wars’ return has drummed up a frenzy of excitement due to the original trilogy’s story and characters. Even with a less-than-excellent follow-up trilogy, fans are still foaming at the mouth for more of a franchise that is almost forty years old.

Meanwhile, "Avatar" itself is set to become a trilogy, with "Avatar 2" and "Avatar 3" planned for release in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Two years from now, we’ll see if masterful visuals will be enough to get people to dress up in blue, line up all night and book tickets months in advance to explore Pandora.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • American Music Awards reflect 2017 pop music, in which male acts dominate

    Entertainment CBC News
    The performers at the 2017 American Music Awards are evenly split between men and women, but the nominees? Not so much. In categories like artist of the year and favourite pop/rock album, where men and women compete, no female acts are in contention. Source
  • AMAs reflect year in pop music, where male acts dominated

    Entertainment CTV News
    The performers at the 2017 American Music Awards are evenly split between men and women, but the nominees? Not so much. In categories like artist of the year and favourite pop/rock album, where men and women compete, no female acts are in contention. Source
  • Ann Wedgeworth, known for 'Three's Company' role, dies at 83

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Actress Ann Wedgeworth, who gained fame on film and Broadway before taking on the role of a flirty divorcee on "Three's Company," has died at age 83. Wedgeworth died Thursday in the New York area after a long illness, her daughter Dianna Martin said. Source
  • Rep: 'Partridge Family' star David Cassidy hospitalized

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK - "Partridge Family" star David Cassidy has been hospitalized in Florida. His representative tells The Associated Press on Saturday that Cassidy is "now conscious" and "surrounded by family." The rep adds that Cassidy was in pain and taken to the hospital on Wednesday. Source
  • 'Partridge Family' star David Cassidy 'surrounded by family' in hospital: rep

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- "Partridge Family" star David Cassidy has been hospitalized in Florida. His representative tells The Associated Press on Saturday that Cassidy is "now conscious" and "surrounded by family." The rep adds that Cassidy was in pain and taken to the hospital on Wednesday. Source
  • Partridge Family star David Cassidy hospitalized

    Entertainment CBC News
    Partridge Family star David Cassidy has been hospitalized in Florida. His representative told The Associated Press on Saturday that Cassidy is "now conscious" and "surrounded by family." The rep adds that Cassidy was in pain and taken to the hospital on Wednesday. Source
  • Renowned fashion designer Azzedine Alaï?a dead at 77

    Entertainment CBC News
    Some might know his name from a quick reference by Alicia Silverstone about her party dress in the 1995 film Clueless. Others will recognize his extensive celebrity clientele. Tunisian fashion designer Azzedine Alaï?a, whose form-fitting designs earned him the title "king of cling," has died at the age of 77, according to media reports. Source
  • Harry Styles, Miguel set for Victoria's Secret China show

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Singer Harry Styles and R&B star Miguel will perform at the Victoria's Secret fashion show in Shanghai on Monday. People magazine reports that Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr. and Chinese singer Jane Zhang will also perform at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. Source
  • Woman must pay Katy Perry for interfering with convent sale

    Entertainment CBC News
    A jury has found that a businesswoman must pay $5 million US to singer Katy Perry and the archdiocese of Los Angeles, finding that the woman intentionally interfered with the sale to Perry of a hilltop property that was once a convent. Source
  • AC/DC co-founder and guitarist Malcolm Young dead at 64

    Entertainment CBC News
    Malcolm Young, who founded the Australian rock band AC/DC along with his brother Angus, has died at age 64 after suffering from dementia for several years, the band said on its Facebook page on Saturday. Malcolm Young was a songwriter, backing vocalist and rhythm guitarist for AC/DC, a hard rock and heavy metal band that was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. Source