Monday, April 5, 2010

Avatar and earthquake

Went to see Avatar yesterday with Dean and Lia. The previews were punctuated by an earthquake. Magnitude 7.2, centered south of El Centro. It happened right during a part of the Clash of the Titans preview that had lots of bass, so we weren't sure immediately if it was an earthquake or just the sound system.

As far as the movie, it was good. The most impressive thing is that you can't really distinguish the CGI from the live action. The CGI doesn't have the traditional CGI look, it looks like live action. Of course you can't find actors 9 feet tall, and I dare you do to an ikran live, but it doesn't look computer-generated. Oh, you can spot it when the CGI and live-action characters interact, small things like skin doesn't depress like it really should when a CGI character touches a live actor, but you have to look really really close to spot it. And as Dean said, if you're looking that closely for flaws you're missing the point of watching this movie.

I did notice a lot of parallels with Aliens beyond just having Sigourney Weaver in it. Selfridge is an awful lot like Carter Burke. Trudy Chacon reminds me, both physically and personality-wise, of Pfc. Vasquez. Jake Sully reminds me a lot of Cpl. Hicks. I shouldn't be surprised considering who directed both. It works, though.

One thing you'll notice is that the avatars really do resemble their actors. Much of that's from the way the CGI was done. It's all motion capture, but taken to the next level. The capture uses a lot more reference points, and unlike traditional mo-cap it also includes capture of the face. And all this is used to completely drive the CGI models. The end result is CGI aliens that look and move realistically, even down to the fine movements of facial expressions. That realism is one of the things that makes the CGI work as well as it does.

All in all, I recommend seeing this movie.

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