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

  • Mudbound's Dee Rees aims for 'changing people's idea about themselves'

    Entertainment CBC News
    Mudbound's Dee Rees aims for 'changing people's idea about themselves'2:24 Mudbound actors Rob Morgan, Garrett Hedlund and filmmaker Dee Rees on making the film festival favourite, adapted from a book by Hillary Jordan. Source
  • Guy Maddin 'ludicrously honoured' to have designed Winnipeg warming hut

    Entertainment CBC News
    A warming hut designed by Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin will be among those lining The Forks' Red River skating trail in Winnipeg this winter. The Winnipeg-born Maddin's piece holds as much mystery as its name: Temple of Lost Things. Source
  • Victoria's Secret gala hits snag in China as model pulls out

    Entertainment CTV News
    Top U.S. fashion model Gigi Hadid on Friday pulled out of the annual Victoria's Secret fashion show in Shanghai after an online video showing her apparently making a slant-eyes face sparked criticism in China. The announcement is the second apparent snag to hit the U.S. Source
  • EA backs off in-game purchases in 'Star Wars Battlefront II' controversy

    Entertainment CTV News
    The developers of a new Star Wars video game are backing off their controversial business strategy following a storm of criticism on the social media site Reddit. Fans of “Star Wars: Battlefront II” showed their dark side earlier this week when they discovered the game’s maker, Electronic Arts, was keeping popular characters Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader behind a paywall. Source
  • Rare comic showing Superman's 1st appearance to be auctioned

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- A well-preserved issue of the 1938 comic book that first featured Superman is heading to the auction block. Profiles in History announced Friday that it will sell a copy of Action Comics .1 at a Dec. Source
  • Transparent actress alleges impropriety by star Jeffrey Tambor

    Entertainment CBC News
    An actress on Transparent says the show's star Jeffrey Tambor pressed his body against hers in a sexually aggressive manner and made inappropriate and unwanted sexual statements on the set of the show. Tambor denies the allegations saying in a statement that he has "never been a predator — ever. Source
  • Steven Avery attorney wants judge to reconsider denial of new trial

    Entertainment CTV News
    MANITOWOC, Wis. -- An attorney for a Wisconsin man convicted of homicide in a case featured on the Netflix series "Making A Murderer" is again asking a judge to reconsider a prior ruling rejecting a request for a new trial. Source
  • Actor Tom Sizemore denies groping allegations

    Entertainment CTV News
    SALT LAKE CITY -- Actor Tom Sizemore has addressed recent allegations that he groped an 11-year-old Utah girl during a 2003 photo shoot. Sizemore says he never inappropriately touched the child and calls the claims "highly disturbing. Source
  • What to expect if Prince Harry and Meghan Markle become engaged

    Entertainment CTV News
    As the Queen and Prince Philip prepare to celebrate 70 years of marriage with their platinum wedding anniversary on Nov. 20, royal watchers will be keeping a close eye on the weeks that follow for news of another royal occasion. Source
  • Movie reviews: 'Justice League' soars as a self-aware superhero smackdown

    Entertainment CTV News
    JUSTICE LEAGUE: 3 ½ STARS The old truism “less is more” has been thrown into the interdimensional void with the release of the new jam-packed superhero film “Justice League.” At almost two hours, and featuring the talents of not one but two high-powered directors—Joss Whedon took over for Zach Synder who stepped away in post-production due to personal issues—it features the top-line DC heroes like Superman (Henry Cavill), Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) plus a host of others…