For a supposed programming blog a disturbing number of my posts seem to be non-programming related.
Avatar seems to be getting a lot of hype as being revolutionary or groundbreaking or changing the shape of film making. Hearing this kind of hype coming from James Cameron can be pretty existing. This is the guy who really did some pioneering work on integrating CG with live actors (The Abyss), creating full characters out of CG (Terminator 2), and creating huge digital sets and crowds (Titanic). However, on reflection, I believe that Avatar has finally gotten the better of him and ends up being Cameron's 'Phantom Menace'. The phenomenon of a director rising to the level of his incompetence isn't exactly unusual. The Wachowski's did it with their second and third Matrix movies, Bryan Singer did it with Superman Returns. I feel certain Peter Jackson's next major release will be an utter clusterfuck. But I digress.
I defy anyone to tell me what's groundbreaking in Avatar. 3D has been done extensively before, and as its arguably easier to accomplish with an all digital scene than with a practical one, I submit that Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone was a greater accomplishment on that front. While the environment is lush and believable, again, this is something that's been done before. What we're seeing is at best a refinement of previously demonstrated skill sets. At first I was surprised at how recognizable the actors as Na'vi looked, but even then you can look at the second Pirates of the Carribean movie and you see the same thing in the Davy Jones effects.
A friend of mine commented that there were no Ewoks or Gungans in the movie, but once you've heard the term 'Thundersmurfs' that doesn't really hold any water with me.
What is with Giovanni Ribisi playing these whiny bitchy background characters. Even when he actually played the lead in something (Boiler Room) it felt like he was a character in a Vin Diesel movie that had surprisingly little Vin Diesel screen time. Who the hell casts Vin Diesel as a supporting character anyway? When Tom Hanks got a good look at Vin in Saving Private Ryan, I'm pretty sure the first thing he did was walk over to Spielberg and whisper 'Kill him first' in his ear. But again, I digress.
Also, today I learned about Linear Feedback Shift Registers, which is programming related, so there.