I’ve been watching the obligatory holiday favorites, a bit of “White Christmas” and the like though I can’t keep my attention fixed on them or keep away from the laptop for long. The beloved holiday Star Wars marathon is the only thing I find myself unable to look away from, even some of the new trilogy, which lies somewhere between horrid and mediocre.
What really surprises me is how awful the cartoony CGI looks in these films – compared to the hand made sets of the originals – which was the only thing they had going for them, outside of the occasional juicy Star Wars lore tidbits. Story and soul abandoned for bling, it’s the theme of big studio filmmaking and brings me back to the new holiday blockbuster “Avatar.” I don’t care what James Cameron, or his composer, James Horner say about the attention paid to story. Lucas paid a l lot of attention to story too, there’s still something lacking in CGI that leaves a picture too clean, too sterile.
A glance at the box office any day shows that the masses buy into anyway despite the common grievance about hollow plots. “Avatar” is currently dominating with last count at a $381,630,006 worldwide gross. It was actually overtaken by an animated film in daily gross take yesterday when “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” opened, scoring a few more seats than the king of the world. I wonder if we can count “Avatar” as an animated film too? It seems that animated flicks dominate the holidays, indeed the other big winner is “The Princess and the Frog.” Those Randy Newman tunes can’t lose either.
But as far as I’m concerned, the field is crowded with losers. The bang for the buck this year lies in the holiday standards, and the king of those is obviously “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” It’s free, it has a good story about triumphing over how fake and commercial we are, and it has the best holiday score ever.