The news is coming thick and fast from CinemaCon this week and breaking news this evening comes from Hollywood directorial titan James Cameron.
Cameron announced to the CinemaCon crowds today that we will be getting not one, not two, but FOUR follow-ups to his box office busting Avatar from 2009. These sequels will be delivered in 2018, 2020, 2022, 2023. There have been persistent rumours since Avatar that Cameron had two sequels planned, then it became three but now it seems apparent that to give his “epic saga” a proper treatment he will be pushing ahead with 4 movies.
The question remains though. Do we really need four more Avatar movies?
Ok. We know why we’re going to be getting so many Avatar sequels. Avatar was the first movie to smash the $2 Billion mark and still holds the record to this day. There is no question that it is a highly lucrative property like Star Wars, any Superhero franchise, Fast & Furious, and so on and so forth. There is even plans for a theme park and graphic novels produced by Dark Horse Comics. Money spinners are the A-game for studios at the moment and it is hard to argue that Avatar isn’t one of those properties.
But, and this is where I may get a little but controversial, is four more Avatar movies something we really need? Hear me out. Cameron may have an ingenious plan that makes Avatar a classic saga for years to come but looking back on the first movie in 2009, I can barely remember anything significant or joyously memorable about it. It was blow for blow the plot to Disney’s Pocahontas but in an alien world inhabited by blue cat-like creatures. Natives. Invaders. Magic Tree. Big Fight. It just needed a few musical numbers and a cute animal side-kick and you may as well have had the Disney Castle show before the movie.
Avatar left no mark on me and I firmly believe I’m not the only one who feels this way. I cannot remember a single quote from the movie. There was nothing significant about it that was worth remembering. Compare this to the likes of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Dark Knight, Scott Pilgrim, any Marvel film, Back to the Future – the list is endless. Heck, even Batman v Superman left its most adamant detractors with something to take from it.
The only purpose Avatar served was on the technological side of cinema. Being the first major 3D movie caused people to flock to it in their droves. It also brought CGI on leaps and bounds in comparison to some of the techniques at the time. Visually it was f*cking beautiful! In Avatar‘s defence, it did make groundbreaking strides that set a new standards for cinema that are still being pushed today… but this is no different from many of the aforementioned franchises did in their time, while also retaining a cult status among not just fans of that franchise, but with audiences around the world. Lucas pushed the boundaries of special effects with Star Wars, Back to the Future set many Time Travel precedents and the sheer scale of the Lord of the Rings production in all areas is incomparable.
I’m totally open to being wrong here. As a movie fan, I am fully open to Avatar & James Cameron giving us a cracking Sci-Fi saga that lives through the ages. But I do feel as time rumbles on, unless something magical comes of these four Avatar sequels, the franchise will be mostly forgotten in time. When the next generation looks to the great movies of the past, it won’t be Avatar they will be looking for first. It will continue to be Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park & Back to the Future. The movies that not only brought film forward, but left a mark on us deep inside that will forever remain. Avatar will be left with its box office records… if Civil War doesn’t topple it!