6 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, 2009, 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

  • Prosecutors hope these 19 women can help convict Bill Cosby

    Entertainment CTV News
    PHILADELPHIA -- Prosecutors this week asked the judge in Bill Cosby's spring retrial to let jurors hear from 19 other women who say the entertainer drugged and molested them. They want to show that an alleged assault in 2004 that led to Cosby's only criminal charges was part of a five-decade pattern of drugging and harming women. Source
  • 'Call Me By Your Name,' 'Lady Bird' land GLAAD nominations

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Five feature films including "The Shape of Water" and "Call Me By Your Name" have been nominated for GLAAD Media Awards, one year after it found only two films to honour for gay-inclusive story lines and characters. Source
  • Kim and Kanye choose Chicago for their new baby's name

    Entertainment CTV News
    It's Chicago -- where Kanye West was raised -- as the name of baby No. 3 with Kim Kardashian West. Mom made the announcement Friday on her app without explanation. Chicago was born Monday, weighing in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces. Source
  • Producers Guild unveils anti-sexual harassment guidelines

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- The Producers Guild of America has ratified guidelines for combating sexual harassment in the entertainment industry, requesting that every film and TV production offer in-person harassment training and provide multiple ways for alleged victims to complain. Source
  • W5's intimate interview with Kiefer Sutherland about life, acting and music

    Entertainment CTV News
    There is a fake U.S. president in a fake Oval office, who understands the Canadian psyche. He goes by the name Tom Kirkman. Once a low level secretary, Kirkman was catapulted into the role of Commander-in-chief after a terrorist attack. Source
  • Montreal filmmaker at Sundance explores plight of tiny nation Kiribati

    Entertainment CTV News
    PARK CITY, Utah - Montreal's Matthieu Rytz hopes his first film, "Anote's Ark," will put the plight of the tiny Pacific Ocean island nation of Kiribati on the world's radar. The documentary premieres today at the Sundance Film Festival and focuses on a country that many do not know exists -- and might not for much longer. Source
  • Royal Shakespeare Company co-founder John Barton dies at 89

    Entertainment CTV News
    LONDON -- John Barton, co-founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, has died. He was 89. The company said on its website Thursday night that Barton had died earlier in the day. Barton co-founded the company in 1960 and spent the rest of his career with the group. Source
  • 'Jersey Shore' reality star expected to plead to tax charges

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEWARK, N.J. -- One of the former stars of the "Jersey Shore" reality TV show is due in federal court in Newark on Friday to plead guilty to cheating on his taxes. Michael "The Situation" Sorrentino and his brother, Marc, were charged in 2014 and again last year with multiple counts related to nearly $9 million in income from the show. Source
  • 'Jersey Shore' star Sorrentino pleads guilty to tax evasion

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEWARK, N.J. -- Michael "The Situation" Sorrentino, one of the stars of the "Jersey Shore" reality TV series that depicted 20-somethings partying and brawling by the seaside, pleaded guilty Friday to cheating on his taxes. Source
  • The Eagles settle lawsuit against Canadian-owned Hotel California

    Entertainment CBC News
    There can evidently be only one Hotel California. The Eagles have settled a lawsuit to stop a Mexico hotel from using the name Hotel California, arguably referencing the country-rock band's most famous song, after the hotel's owners withdrew their application to trademark the name in the United States. Source