‘Avatar’ trailer: Reviewers hopeful but not blown away

Aug. 20, 2009 | 8:33 p.m.

Everyone is talking about it, but only a few sites have waded into the reviewing waters following the release this morning of James Cameron’s “Avatar” trailer on Apple.com, and subsequently, a weird release by the French MSN site. The photo here will take you to Apple’s site, and there are a few opinions afterwards.



Pros: Aliens, compelling CGI. It’s a freakin’ space epic!
Cons: Probably will be “family-friendly.” Boo.
“I’m excited for this movie, and I can’t wait to see another trailer. Avatar may have a fairly unoriginal plot, but I think it shows promise. Thanks, James Cameron!”

Tim Robey – Telegraph.co.uk

Brisk and a little perfunctory, the trailer itself is not a huge wow, but there’s plenty in it to tantalise.


The environments do look quite beautiful and I have to say, I’m intrigued by the idea of people stepping into these mind-controlled versions of themselves. That said, the CG does look like CG, and I think it’s going to be hard for a lot of people to accept that most of the action is essentially fully animated.

Marc Bernardin, Entertainment Weekly

I’m kind of underwhelmed. There’s a definite Attack of the Clones vibe to the creatures — which feel like beasts from the sketchbook of an insanely talented 12-year-old — and the world, while expertly realized, just doesn’t carry the charge of the New.

Drew McWeeny, HitFix

You know what’s not cool?  The way fandom seems to have decided that, no matter what, they’re going to sit cross-armed and irritated over the entire idea of the film … I guess you can color me profoundly out-of-step with what looks to me to be the general response to the trailer, because I thought it was a simple, elegant introduction both to the world of Pandora and the general idea of the film.

You’ve heard their opinions, now tell us yours.

— Jevon Phillips



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13 Responses to ‘Avatar’ trailer: Reviewers hopeful but not blown away

  1. The trailer was intriguing but of course the big wow factor is the 3-D used in a remarkable new way and the trailer can't give us any of that. It's like talking about a film that is revolutionizing color and sound but reviewing a trailer in black and white with title cards instead of dialogue. I'll save my opinion until I can see everything Cameron is going for. That said, the creatures did make me think of The Dark Crystal.

  2. Elian Gonzalez says:

    So, why no link to the weird release by the French MSN site?

  3. David in SoCal says:

    Underwhelming at best. Comparisons to recent Star Wars entries seem entirely appropriate, and that's not a compliment. Cameron should stick to sinking ships.

  4. Laer Carroll says:

    Just another war movie, US Army murdering Indians, or Russians murdering Afghans, etc.

  5. Sheldon says:

    The Avatar teaser trailer is just that – a teaser. It's far to early to be putting some of the film's best moments into the trailer.
    As a teaser, though, it works really well, giving us a taste of the alien world and the human use of surrogates to blend in and learn about it.
    It intrigues more than bedazzles – which is what you want a teaser trailer to do.
    The mixed response gets people talking about it. At this point, that drums up more interest: those who love the trailer will go prepared to enjoy the film; those who don't like the trailer will still go – it's the new James Cameron film, after all – but will be looking to whether it fails or not.
    Controversy, in other words, generates bigger [if not necessarily better] buzz and stirs things up.
    I enjoyed the teaser trailer and am just itching to see this world in 3-D.

  6. we_are_coming says:

    I saw the online trailer a few days ago and was underwhelmed. I went and saw IMAX 3D preview last night and now I’m cursing that there are so many days until December. All I have to say is, don’t let the online teaser trailer convince you of Avatar’s worth. You’re going to love it!

  7. agniyo says:

    If this is, at least in part, a story about a guy with a broken body who gets access to a whole body, and then wants to defect in said body while his actual, transmitting self is essentially a prisoner of the bad guys, then I find it hard to say that this story is just more of the same. I find that dilemma really compelling, and I'd utterly reject any glib comment that "it's just like 'The Matrix.'" I think some people will hardly be satisfied except by getting to voice their disdain for others' creative work.

  8. Paul says:

    It has Cat People riding on Dragons. This is way off in Fantasy Land. I was hoping for something a little more realistic. I honestly have no interest in seeing.

  9. steve says:

    Looks like a Jar Jar Binks disaster layered over 3 other movies I've seen before. Good luck Jim.

  10. lee says:

    The plot has that "Last Samurai" feel to it. All kinds of forced allusions to native Americans or Manzanar will be made, and the lines between the oppressed and oppressor will be drawn without much nuance.
    Really, who would call alien natives in another planet as "Savages", future or not? The plot and dialogue in Titanic was barely above a soap Opera. Looks like this movie will be no exception.

  11. Intrigued says:

    Seen the trailer and, like Sheldon, I'm intrigued. I love the choice of Sam Worthington – he's got an amazing x-factor about him and I can't wait to see how his career progresses. Jim's got an eye for talent – he chose Di Caprio when he was only known about via indi films. I've seen some of Sam's Australian work and it's impressive.
    The story may turn out to be standard, the twists may be predictable, but people, how do you think film makers get to the 'next level' unless they try and experiment? I'm reserving my judgement for now. Don't forget Titanic had its detractors too.

  12. Andy says:

    Ive just seen Avatar in 3D and I was truly bowled over. Its an amazing piece of work and what made it for me was good story telling as well as the special effects. Totally immersive cinema at its best. Outstanding.

  13. Peter Beck says:

    I agree with Andy. Didn't think much about the previews, but having seen it in 3D…the whole thing comes together nicely.
    Your subconscious will tell you, if you let it, that you were really there.

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