13 years. A long time has passed since James Cameron had overwhelmed us and completely upset the imagination thanks to Avatar.


It still today without a doubt one of the most famous, ambitious and iconic science fiction films ever.

Now, with the second episode arriving in our cinemas on December 14th (and the first one returning on September 22nd), it is perhaps also time to look back, analyze that film, understand how much and how our approach to cinema has changed.

entertainment, but above all to ask ourselves if he will be able to have the same success he had in that 2009. Because perhaps it has been a long, too long time, according to some, while others appeal to the mastery of the director, to the fact that good or bad if you are a good narrator, you are even after all this time.

A long creative miracle

It was 2009 when we were bewitched by Jake Sully’s adventures on Pandora, by Avatar , a science fiction film capable of combining the ecological theme in a new age sauce, with a very particular and original anti-capitalist and community spirit.

James Cameron had been working on this project since 1994, perhaps the most visionary of his already incredible and iconic career, but he was also the first to know that he needed a much more advanced technical and technological base than that of the 90s, if he wanted to. truly give the audience the cinematic experience they had in mind.

With nearly 250 million in budget, Avatar was undoubtedly an absolutely one-of-a-kind gamble, in which the director had condensed a myriad of elements drawn from substantially every film or science fiction story. Avatar in fact combined elements of anime and manga, of that western cinema of the 80s and 90s that had completely changed the vision of the natives among the general public. All without forgetting the novels of Burroughs and Cooper, the films of Miyazaki, and then a whole flood of comics, novels and adventure films often set in the Victorian era.

All this, however, would not have been possible without the extraordinary special effects studied by Weta Digital, more than a decade later still considered among the most innovative drugs ever seen on the big screen, and the main reason why the film fascinated audiences of half the world, earning nearly $ 3 billion at the box office. Critics largely agreed that James Cameron had managed to recreate the effect of novelty and charm with which George Lucas had made Star Wars , an absolutely iconic moment in Western culture. Or was it just the suggestion of the moment, the effect of a novelty also in the fruition of the cinematographic product of which, however, not much is left?

Innovation that looked to the past

3D. This is the watchword with which Avatar introduced himself to the general public, that is, theorizing that from that moment on entering a cinema would have meant good or bad once again to take advantage of a sort of unprecedented sensory experience.

James Cameron at the time said he was absolutely certain that 3D cinema would be the future, it would have an impact similar to that of the invention of sound, but the reality is that many years later, it must be admitted that that little the period in which, upon entering the room, we saw ourselves delivering those big and somewhat uncomfortable glasses, ended much earlier than even the most pessimistic thought.

It is something that, for better or worse, took up a certain niche cinema born in the 1920s, then returned strongly in vogue during the early 1950s, especially for what concerned b-movies and in general productions related to science fiction, adventure and fantasy. Returning to roar on several occasions, 3D cinema has never really taken root in depth, because no matter how attractive it is it is interesting, from a practical point of view it has often had to deal with unsolvable problems, linked to the difficulty of use for a certain part of the public, as well as at economic and logistical costs that are anything but indifferent.

But more generally, 3D cinema, especially for a film as long as Avatar , has often proved to be very tiring for the public, even though it then contributed in a particularly powerful way to a cinematic experience that we all still remember today as one of the most exciting of our life. All of course taking into account the fact that Avatar has never had such a particularly original or innovative plot, let’s face it, as evidenced by the various lawsuits filed for plagiarism.

A deeply idealistic film

So what’s left of Avatar today? Without a shadow of a doubt one of the most successful blockbusters ever, not only and not so much for the visual dimension, but also for a magnificent soundtrack, for a care of the characters that confirmed how James Cameron has always been one of the great cinematographic storytellers of our time.

Avatar was able to bring back to life in that 2009 the theme of man and his relationship with civilization, with his fellow men, but above all with nature. Paradoxically, it posed itself as a harbinger of an anti-technological message, despite being a film that without technology could never have triumphed as it did.

Which ultimately also reminds us that Cameron’s film has been able to be the bearer of a political message antithetical to the triumph of the new economy, the hi-tech giants, the gurus, the turbocapitalism and everything that makes us live today. a class society, on a planet Earth that we are making more and more unlivable for ourselves.

A powerful metaphor of what Western colonialism has been all over the world, Avatar above all made us understand the difference between progress and technological advancement, how the two things are not always connected, indeed, we often forget how much nature is the greatest creative force of the universe.

But will this film and the others that Cameron is preparing succeed? This remains the big question, but already from the first images, from the first trailer, it strikes anyone who is part of the over 25 audience with a force that we thought we had forgotten: it is that of great cinema, made up of wonderful images and above all of a soul that today the industry has set aside. The reality is that what we hope, 13 years later, when the influencers, tiktok, youtubers and the MCU did not yet exist, is to savor cinema as it once was, with great means but at the service of great ideas. , not a sickening and exhausting repetition.

Avatar will arrive again in Italian cinemas on 22 September.