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

  • Larry Coryell, virtuoso jazz fusion guitarist, dead at 73

    Entertainment CBC News
    Jazz guitarist Larry Coryell, known as the "Godfather of Fusion," has died in New York City. He was 73. His publicist, Kurt Nishimura, said Coryell died Sunday in his hotel room of natural causes. Nishimura says he had just performed two shows at the Iridium on Friday and Saturday. Source
  • 'The Bachelor' recap: Bringing Nick home to Mama

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Nick Viall isn’t perfect. He has his fair share of flaws and they’ve certainly been put on full display throughout numerous seasons of bachelor franchise shows since his scrawny, goofy smile earned him the first-impression rose from Andi Dorfman in 2014. Source
  • 'I was in denial'; 'Partridge Family' star David Cassidy fighting dementia

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Veteran singer/actor David Cassidy has been diagnosed with dementia. The former pop idol, who rose to fame on 1970s show The Partridge Family, reveals both his grandfather and his mother suffered with memory loss, so he knew it was only a matter of time before he was struck down with the condition, too. Source
  • Former teen idol David Cassidy says he has dementia

    Entertainment CBC News
    Former teen idol David Cassidy said on Monday he was suffering from dementia, a day after weekend performances in California in which he forgot his words and appeared to fall off stage raised concern about his health. Source
  • Pictures from Kim Kardashian's Paris robbery surface

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Pictures have emerged of Kim Kardashian’s Paris hotel room after the reality star was targeted by armed robbers in October. Kardashian was bound, gagged and held at gunpoint as thugs robbed her of millions of dollars’ worth of jewelry, including a US$4 million ring. Source
  • Drake to live in a mansion fit for a Disney princess?

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Anyone who knows Oakville knows the house on Lakeshore Rd. E., near Balsam Dr. It is a fairy-tale monstrosity dubbed Buckingham Palace by local wags, and it’s currently for sale for just under $18 million. It seems to have been on the market for almost a year. Source
  • 'Doctor Strange' director Scott Derrickson doesn’t know when the sequel is happening

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson was relieved he didn’t have to try and shoehorn references to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe when he brought the Sorcerer Supreme to the big screen last fall. No Iron Man cameo, no Spider-Man tease, no Guardians of the Galaxy nod. Source
  • David Cassidy fighting memory loss, wants to 'enjoy life'

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Former "Partridge Family" star David Cassidy says he's struggling with memory loss. The 66-year-old actor-singer tells People magazine his family has a history of dementia and he had sensed "this was coming. Source
  • 'Billions' beauty Malin Akerman comes home

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Malin Akerman says her Billions character will show more "humanity" in the TV drama's second season which debuted Sunday, Feb. 19 (Crave-The Movie Network). The Swedish-born, Canadian-raised actress plays Lara, the protective wife of hedge fund manager Bobby "Axe" Axelrod (Damian Lewis) who is being investigated by federal prosecutor Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti). Source
  • Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Joe Walsh hit the studio

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have reunited in the studio to collaborate on new music together. The two surviving members of The Beatles met up at Ringo’s home studio in Los Angeles on Sunday, with the drummer, 76, posting a picture of himself and his former bandmate on Twitter. Source