In the last day or so, a geek smackdown is brewing over the screening of 24 minutes of footage from James Cameron’s Avatar at the San Diego Comic-Con.
It all began when Devin Faraci posted his thoughts about the screening on his highly regarded movie site CHUD. A few quotes sum up his reaction:
not as alien as advertised
He also found it:
an evolutionary jump, not a revolutionary leap. Avatar left my eyes unfucked. I didn’t experience movies in a whole new way, and nothing I saw on screen left me feeling more than impressed.
Of the CGI he said:
Avatar looks like a very advanced CGI toon. When CGI Navi are interacting with CGI monsters in CGI landscapes, it all looks very CGI.
This is, frankly, not photoreal.
In short, he wasn’t crazy about it. He’s entitled to his opinion and all that. But one wonders if his oft-stated poor relationship with Fox colored his reaction intentionally or not.
But whether his comments were part of an agenda, or the honest reactions of a movie blogger, doesn’t really matter. Because it didn’t end here. An unnamed member of the Avatar crew posted a reaction to Faraci’s comments, blasting the blogger:
Avatar IS photo real. and you will believe it is a real place once you have seen it in its final form. you Devin and the rest of the negative druids will eat everyone of your words come December 18th. and if fox hates you, who could blame them. you come across as a hateful person.
He also said:
are you for real ? what kind of movie knowledgeable journalist can look at what they saw and say its nothing short of a technical miracle. and what you saw was most assuredly the tip of the iceberg.
And he concluded this way:
what is the in word for the online community ? EPIC FAIL ? NOT US
Faraci could have ignored all this. Always the best reaction to such things. But he decided to go on. And in an article he posted entitled “An Avatar Crew Member Can’t Take Criticism” he expanded his earlier thoughts:
Everyone walked into the San Diego Convention Center on Thursday thinking that the winner of the buzz sweepstakes was going to be Avatar; it was, in fact, a foregone conclusion.
Everybody was wrong.
He then added:
You either walk out of San Diego with major buzz or you don’t. Avatar may be walking out of San Diego with fourth place.
And he said of the letter:
It’s a pretty dopey letter, all told, but it’s interesting to see that my reaction – which was overall positive! – elicited this reaction from someone who actually worked on the film.
No point in taking sides in this sort of thing. Except to say that geeks shouldn’t fight. They always end up looking silly. Like a remake of Rocky III with the Muppets!
But Faraci’s characterization of people being underwhelmed by the screening doesn’t match the online reaction. Comingsoon.net called it “a jaw dropping experience,” Io9 referred to it as a “weird masterpiece,” Marketsaw called it “historic,” and IGN said it “surpassed all expectations.”
Ain’t It Cool News is one of the few sites to share Faraci’s reaction. Site maven Quint echoed Faraci’s take, saying:
I will say lower those expectations. The footage was good, layered, incredibly detailed and full of imagination and incredible imagery, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s the next quantum leap forward in filmmaking.
But whatever the bloggers are saying. Or whatever geek fights the screening has spawned. We’re still hugely excited about this film!
Update: Faraci continues his silly attacks on Avatar. For more on that click here.