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

  • Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Jason Statham welcome a baby boy

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- It's a boy for model-actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and her fiance, Jason Statham. Huntington-Whiteley wrote in an Instagram post Wednesday that son Jack Oscar Statham was born on Saturday weighing 8.8 pounds. Source
  • Powerful young female characters are the new action heroes

    Entertainment CBC News
    From the murderous Laura in Logan to the mysterious Eleven in Stranger Things to the audacious determination of Mija in Okja, opening Wednesday, powerful young girls are starring in mainstream action fare like never before. Though Nancy Drew was solving mysteries in the 1930s and Buffy slayed vampires all through high school in the late 1990s, young girls are rarely shown as heroes in programs aimed at general audiences, said Mary Celeste Kearney, director of gender studies and a professor of…
  • Jason Statham, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley welcome baby boy

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Jason Statham and model/actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley have become first-time parents to a baby boy. The Mad Max: Fury Road beauty announced the birth of Jack Oscar Statham on her Instagram page on Wednesday, revealing their son was born over the weekend. Source
  • The X-Files all-male writing staff draws ire from gender parity critics

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Apparently, the iconic X-Files tagline ‘trust no one’ includes how creator Chris Carter feels about the show’s writers. But some in the media are implying that his staffing choices don’t belong on this planet. According to IndeWire, the seven writers currently on board to script the upcoming eleventh season of the 90s sci-fi classic all have one thing in common: they’re men. Source
  • Peter Mansbridge on some of his most memorable stories at CBC

    Entertainment CBC News
    Peter Mansbridge is in the homestretch of a remarkable career as the face of CBC News. Mansbridge will officially sign off from his role as chief correspondent of The National on Saturday, presiding over Canada Day coverage beginning at 10 a.m. Source
  • Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew to debut his first play in November

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew is set to debut his first play in Toronto this fall, co-starring alongside a fellow Canadian rock singer. Billy Talent frontman Ben Kowalewicz will join Drew in "A&R Angels," in which they'll play two angels who've spent years rescuing people from the brink of death with their music. Source
  • Robert Durst's pals resist testifying at California hearing

    Entertainment CTV News
    MINEOLA, N.Y. -- Two of Robert Durst's longtime friends are fighting in a New York court to avoid being sent to testify at a pretrial hearing in the millionaire's murder case in California next month. Source
  • Animatronic Trump will speak at Disney World show

    Entertainment CTV News
    LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Disney has confirmed that an animatronic version of President Donald Trump will have a speaking role at its Hall of Presidents attraction at Walt Disney World in Florida. The company is pushing back against reports that Trump's figure wouldn't have a speaking part in the show, which features figures of all U.S. Source
  • Lily Collins brings scrappy energy to Netflix's moving 'Okja'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    It doesn't seem entirely fair how Lily Collins has cornered the market on brains, beauty and talent. Turns out she also has more energy than most mere mortals. The Golden Globe nominated actress/model/writer/singer published a memoir earlier this year and has both television (The Last Tycoon) and two new Netflix projects on the go. Source
  • From Rush to Drake to Bieber, celebrate Canada’s 150th with the 150 best Canadian songs of all time

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    To borrow a line from the one and only Burton Cummings: We’ve got our own way to rock. Our own way to roll. And these days, we’ve also got our own way to rule the charts. Whether you listen to music on your stereo or your smartphone, it’s hard to miss the current crop of Canadian artists — including Drake, Carly Rae Jepsen, The Weeknd and Justin Bieber — dominating the scene. Source