Oregon Movies, A to Z

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Avatar (2009)

December 21st, 2009 by Anne Richardson · No Comments · Oregon actor, Oregon film, Oregon film new definition

Cameron obviously intends Avatar to be a critique, however broad and simplistic, of American money and militarism—after all, his hero is an embittered veteran insurgent. But it’s hard to entertain seriously the proposition that the Most Expensive Movie Ever is on the side of the underdogs, let alone the angels. When judged against scrappier pictures like Fantastic Mr. Fox and Coraline, and their respective modest budgets, Avatar more closely resembles the unsavory, disproportionate strategies of Michael Bloomberg, our billionaire mayor who recently bought his own re-election, another king of the world. Benjamin Strong, in The L Magazine

When Benjamin Strong isn’t using James Cameron’s latest film to address the need for campaign finance reform in New York City,  he uses it to discuss CGI vs stop motion.

It’s worth noting, though, that 2009 has seen not one but two outstanding animated films—Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox and Henry Selick’s Coraline—both of which were made with stop motion, a technology that’s supposedly obsolete, at least as compared to what Cameron is doing. These two films—Fantastic Mr. Fox, in particular—have natural, fully immersive settings, material worlds that appear as if they were handmade in actual three-dimensional space (and not on a computer) for the reason that they were. Benjamin Strong, in The L Magazine

Thanks for the shout out, Benjamin! Readers of Oregon Movies A to Z instantly recognize that both the “scrappier” pictures he cites were made by animators – Travis Knight and Henry Selick for Coraline, and Mark Gustafson for  Fantastic Mr. Fox — who originally worked for Oregon born and raised Will Vinton, the godfather of feature length stop motion animation.

Oregon’s contribution to Avatar, however, is on the live action side of the equation.

Kristi Turnquist, an honorary research associate of Oregon Movies, A to Z, broke the big story: Joel David Moore, the actor who plays scientist Norm Spellman in Avatar, is from Portland.

That’s Moore, catching flies, to the right of Sigourney Weaver.

Avatar is James Cameron’s second Oregon film, after Point Break, which he executive produced.

Anyone seen this film?

I hereby claim Avatar as an Oregon film, on the basis of Oregonian Joel David Moore’s presence in the cast.

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