Archive for December, 2009

Avatar review: D. Ryan Reeb

still frame from jim camerons avatar

I just got back from seeing Avatar at the Sherman Oaks Galleria Arclight. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The visual effects have definitely raised the bar for many studios. I now see how outsourcing is not the problem but a solution to making film on this scale. This film will be the first of many of its kind. It will take a worldly effort to make more pictures like this, I fully expect this type of film making to succeed and become a standard. The 3D stereoscopic technology is still new and has a ways to go but it was not inhibiting whatsoever, lets get past the whole wearing the polarizing lens on our face and well be good. This is coming from a guy who was wearing his vision glasses during the movie along with the stereo glasses. My hat was more annoying that the glasses were.
As a CG artist / aspiring director I’d love to talk about the CG first but I have to comment on the story. I have read a few articles pinning the film into a category like 2012, Transformers Star Wars etc. Yes its was a high octane ram it up your ass movie firing on all 8 cylinders, but it is also a spiritually awakening humanitarian film that the environmentalist inside of me came all over. If the majority of the population actually gets the moral of this story our culture may still have some hope. I don’t think its irony that this movie came out the same week as the UNFCCC in Copenhagen. Its great timing! The message and story in this film is so utterly important as we move into the next decade. Thank (god?) someone like Jim Cameron has the ability to make this film. This story needs to wake people up that these are times to change over from the old system and focus on the new way of living in harmony with our environment. I have heard people say that this is Jim’s last dying breath at trying to make a film. I don’t think you can believe that after seeing this movie. I think if he is going to tell this story correctly that he will have to maybe spend the rest of his life buried in this franchise making sure it stays true to its story and characters. That isn’t a bad thing. George Lucas did just that with Star Wars. At least Jim Cameron told a bunch of other stories before he opened a can of worms like Avatar.
Technically there were many things I have never seen before at the level that Avatar brought them. Definitely raised the bar. The fluid dynamic effects specifically were more believable than I have seen before. The scene where one of the Navi 😉 is being wiped down with a white liquid all over its body as a right of passage looked so real. It interacted between the two characters so realistically. Typically its the things that interact dynamically in cg with the real world that throws me off and loses me. Another great example is the scene where one of the Navi bite into a piece of native fruit and the fruit just peels open spilling out its insides. It looked the opposite of the goop coming out of shreks ears. Since im referencing other cg films I should take a moment to mention that this film and Delgo should never be mentioned in the same sentence again. Delgo was a small puttering fart next to this massive cannon. They captured the essence of human skin on something as outlandish as a blue biped, the subtle imperfections and the way light is distributed with the SSS was not your typical blown out tips of the ears and fingers. The facial movements were for the first time captivating and came across as adding character instead of instantly pulling away from the character. I think that performance capture has matured to a point where people can sink in and believe instead of judge and doubt its possibilities.
This film is a must see! I am so tired of this string of post apocalyptic dystopias. All those films do is plot out how we will end. I personally would like to see our cultures as humans survive. Not just survive but survive harmoniously and thrive. If we shift gears and start thinking of positive outcomes, hopeful endings then we may be able to artistically help steer our way of life out of an inevitable demise. I will try to see this movie again hopefully in IMAX next. I would also like to see it in 2D just to make sure I wasn’t just wowed by the tech. Although, if it was the tech that sucked me in then I expect to see a lot more stereo projects in the future.
9.5 out of 10

My beautiful boy

I had the best bonding experience with my son tonight. he finally let me put him to sleep. What a blessing, what a beautiful boy! I love him so much. His baby blog link is

My youth on vinyl

I’d like to repurchase all of my old favorite punk/emo bands on vinyl. Found my old “promise ring, Texas is the reason, Hudson” records as well as others. looks like amoeba will get some more of my money! I would like to press my old punk bands songs on vinyl and give it away to anybody who sends me money for shipping.

“Lilith & Thatch”animated short film

A close friend of mine Gunnar came to me with an idea he had for an animated short film called “Lilith & Thatch.” It was dark, creepy, fun filled, loving and scary. The best part is that Gunnar was willing to complete the majority of the concept art himself. I love Gunnar’s style. I have been a fan of his art ever since he designed my friends band “New Found Glory’s” album art. I read Gunnars initial short story and fell in love. He let me run with the idea and I turned his poem into a screenplay. Today we’re halfway to having a completed cgi animated short.

With the help of talented artists such as Jean Choi, George Mehlan, Rob Burton we have been trying to assemble this cg short since January 2009. We have hit a small road block and initiated a fund raising event through the web site in hopes of raising the funds necessary to complete our film.

I hope you will all go to this site and re post the link or possibly donate to our cause. We are deeply invested in this project and have to see it through to completion. If we meet our fund raising goal we should be in a good position to finish the project. We need your help.

Please click this link below to navigate to our fund raising site.

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