Remember Avatar?

The majority of DHS students barely remember the highest-grossing film of all time

by megan sarns

As far as movies go, it’s the age of the blockbuster. These high budget and highly anticipated films seldom make an appearance on Academy Award rosters, but they rake in millions of dollars and take the cinema world by storm. Franchises like Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (i.e. The Avengers and Captain America) lead the pack with several of the highest grossing films in history.

But the highest grossing film of all time doesn’t feature superheroes or an intergalactic battle against the Dark Side or Vin Diesel street racing through Los Angeles –– because even those movies are still making money somehow. Raking in approximately $2.8 billion at the box office, Avatar is the most successful movie of all time.

Remember Avatar? That movie about the blue people living on an alien planet? According to a survey of 100 DHS students, their answer would be a resounding “huh?” with 48 percent admitting they’ve seen it only once or not at all.

Avatar did something unprecedented. Released in December 2009, the film earned nine Oscar nominations (winning three of them) and was regaled as the pinnacle of motion capture technology before retreating into almost obscurity, similarly to how the film’s director, James Cameron of Titanic and The Terminator, retreated back into the Mariana Trench or wherever it is that he comes from to conceptualize the franchise sequels.

Cameron has confirmed four sequels, the first of which was supposed to be released in December 2018, nine years since its predecessor’s theatrical release, but has since been delayed to 2020. Maybe. According to Cameron, Avatar 2 is taking this long because they’re working on all of the sequels simultaneously. Considering the first film took 10 years from pre-production to release, we can all look forward to taking our grandchildren out to see Avatar 5, directed by James Cameron’s cryogenically preserved head.

But, seriously, what was that movie about? Before I started researching for this article and familiarized myself with the story line, all I could remember were the blue alien people. The more I read, the more I thought: “Oh, right. That’s what happened.”

Maybe it’s because the whole point of the movie was its special effects. Clearly, there was little regard for much else, considering they hired Zoe Saldana to play the female lead only to CGI her beyond recognition. In addition to the film’s plot, I asked DHS students to name the film’s main character and only 15 people could do so correctly. I Googled it, and his name was Jake Sully, by the way. He was a paraplegic former Marine…his twin brother died…is this ringing any bells?

It’ll be interesting to see whether Avatar 2 can replicate the hype of the first and break its own records. My guess is that it probably will; after all, everyone loves a jump-started franchise (you can ask the Star Wars and Jurassic Park people once they’ve finished counting their millions). In the meantime, if you’re interested in watching a tribe of blue people frolick around in some sort of magical forest, there’s a new Smurfs movie out now.