Self-proclaimed King Of The World and crackpot genius James Cameron has announced that he's going to give us the chance to watch 15 minutes of his new film, Avatar, for free. Make no mistake, Avatar will be the most hyped movie of the year. Forget Bruno, forget Harry Potter, forget Satanic Sluts III: Scandalised; Avatar will be the film of 2009, because it's Cameron's first film for a decade, it'll have groundbreaking effects that'll make your eyes dribble out of your face and it'll cost 700 bajillion dollars and make a wazillion times that much back.
However, it's not out till December, and Cameron wants us to be eating, breathing and farting Avatar constantly until then. So he's taken this unprecedented step of, rather than a boring old trailer, granting us a free 15 minute fix of eye-heroin to tide us over until he can provide a full-on, heart-attack-inducing geeksplosion for Christmas. What's more, he's going to do it in IMAX and 3D cinemas just to be sure our brains totally liquify and trickle out of our bottoms.
I suppose it makes sense; Avatar's a massive science fiction extravagasm set on a planet populated entirely by bonkersness, so the last thing he wants is people watching clips on their phone in an office in Grimsby. If you ask me though, this exercise is fraught with danger. What if we don't like what we see? A three-minute trailer is rarely bad enough to put us off something we're probably going to see anyway, but a 15 minute taster could convince us that actually, this all looks a bit silly, I don't think I'll bother thanks. Cameron had better be sure what he's showing us is worth leaving the house for or he might be waving ta-ra to all that moolah come December.
What's more worrying is that I fear a new dawn in movie trailerage. Currently we have to endure 30 minutes of adverts and trailers before a film; if this idea takes off we'll be there for hours, and by the time the movie starts we'll have forgotten what we came to see. People will have to book two days' holiday and pack a change of underwear just to go to the pictures.
I'm looking forward to Avatar but I can't see myself watching 15 minutes of it four months in advance; that's like eating a roast potato for breakfast then having a full Sunday roast at teatime. Pointless. Also, Cameron has a long way to go to impress me. Aliens is fantastic, but T2 and True Lies sag in the middle like a badly cooked souffle, and Titanic, no matter how much cash it hoovered up, is just an enormous pant-pudding.
But what do I know? Avatar will probably be the greatest thing since sliced bacon and the 15 minute experiment will win Cameron a Nobel Peace Prize. As long as he doesn't proclaim himself to be Grand Poobah of the Cosmos when he collects it I don't care.
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