Music Observer

James Cameron Concerned that Avatar Would be ‘Cringe-Worthy’

The visual effects of the upcoming Avatar sequels are impressive, according to director James Cameron. He is worried that they will make the original film (2009) look out of date.

But thankfully, the first film was given a makeover before its recent release, less than three months before the highly anticipated sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, which opens in theaters on December 16.

The latest version of Avatar is visually significantly better than 13 years ago thanks to the 4K High Dynamic Range upgrade.

“I went into that screening worried that it was going to be a bit cringe-worthy relative to the new film, which looks pretty spectacular,” Cameron said in an interview with EW of his experience watching the original movie remastered for the first time. 

“As the film ended, I went, ‘Hmm, I don’t know. I’m now worried about the new film,'” the director jested, ahead of getting the records straight, “That’s not true. I’m not worried about the new film. It looks pretty amazing. But I am hopeful that people will get out to the cinema and either discover or rediscover that experience so that they know what an Avatar movie’s all about.”

Some of those who saw the remastered film were Cameron’s children.

“I got to watch it with my kids, who are 15, 18, and 21, recently. And they hadn’t seen it in 3D in a theater, certainly not in the state that it’s in right now because it’s more gorgeous than it’s ever been.” 

Watching the film again today, the filmmaker feels a renewed sense of gratitude for what he and his team accomplished back then.

“It’s remastered in 4K, it’s remastered in an Atmos 9.1 sound, which wasn’t available at the time. We judiciously used high frame rates to smooth out some of the 3D. So, it looks better than I’ve ever seen it. I was sitting there going, ‘We did that? Wow,'” Cameron said. 

Despite Avatar’s commercial and critical success in 2009, Cameron said the sequel was even “more ambitious” than the original.

“Certainly, water is much more difficult to realize in CG,” he emphasized. “And our water is mostly CG water, but you won’t be able to tell. It looks photo-real. It looks like we just went out to the ocean in Pandora and shot it.” 

Read also: Olivia Wilde on ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Fuzz: Media Coverage ‘Always Seems to be Different’

Cameron Believes Sequel Feels Like A Dream

In Cameron’s view, the objective of the visual effect is for the crowd to feel like they are in a dream. 

“In dreams, we believe we’re in the situation while we’re dreaming,” the director elaborated. “And that’s what I wanted to accomplish with the new film. That’s what I wanted to accomplish with the first Avatar and what I think we did.” 

He further said, “Through the world-building and through the presentation and bright laser 3D and so on, you’re there. You can see every leaf on the tree. You feel like you can reach out and touch it. But it’s a new story with new characters, new stakes, new jeopardy, et cetera.” 

While visuals are crucial for Cameron and Avatar, storytelling is the most important aspect of any movie. 

“It’s all about: Do I care about these people?” Cameron asked. 

“It doesn’t matter how beautiful the film is, how breathtaking the visuals are. Do I care? Am I having an emotional reaction? Resonating with their sense of loss or tragedy or love or whatever it is? That’s what movies are all about. It doesn’t matter how big or how small they are – they have succeed on that level first.” 

The remastered Avatar premiered globally on September 23 ahead of Avatar: The way of Water on December 16.

Read also: ‘Big Sky’ Returns with Reba McEntire and Jensen Ackles in the Third Season

Photo: EW

Tomb Raider Star Alicia Vikander Reveals Sequel Might Be Coming Later Than Expected

Photo: Gilded Wallpapers

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Lara Croft on the big screen, and it looks like her break is up for an extension. 

Alicia Vikander, the award-winning actress who starred in 2018’s highly successful Tomb Raider as Lara Croft, has announced that it is now deferred after tapping Misha Green to write and direct the continuation.

“With the MGM and Amazon buyout, I have no clue. Now it’s kind of politics,” Vikander states, referring to Amazon’s purchase of MGM in March. “I think Misha and I have been ready, so it’s kind of in somebody else’s hands, to be honest.” 

The 33-year-old actress continues that she “can’t really say” more details about Green’s rendition of Croft, the iconic action-adventure protagonist who made a groundbreaking moment during the release of the first Tomb Rider in 1996. 

In the last update about this character, we saw Croft’s origin tale in Roar Uthaug’s 2018 smash-hit movie as she walked down a faraway island, following the steps of her father (Dominic West). He had set out on his mission to investigate what became of an ancient Japanese ruler.

“I’ve been excited to show the world,” Vikander hints at Green’s plans. “I love what she’s done with Lovecraft Country.” 

Tomb Raider Supposed to See Light of Day Before the Pandemic

In an interview with EW, Alicia Vikander said that the follow-up to her first film was set for release before the pandemic hit but has been postponed for obvious reasons. 

“I hope we go and make another movie. Because of the pandemic, we had plans of shooting this film, and now it’s been one and a half years, but Misha Green is on board, and she’s writing a draft right now,” she stated. 

“It’s pretty amazing – we’re, like, the same age! I was like, ‘Oh, I’m just now on a Zoom with an extremely talented woman that I think has done some incredible work.’ It would be so amazing if we get to go and do this very big-ass film together, going to kick some ass in front of the camera and behind the camera, you know?” 

The 17-year gap between Angelina Jolie’s first take on the role of Lara Croft in 2001 and now has not been an issue as the two films earned almost the same amount – Vikander’s earning an estimated $274 million on the global blockbuster and Jolie’s earning near that amount. 

Read also: Beauty and the Beast 30th Anniversary: A Combination of the Film and Musical Performances

Tomb Raider First Released as a Game

With over 88 million copies sold worldwide by 2022, it’s no wonder that games based on Tomb Raider have become one of the most popular video game series. Critics have even praised the series, and Lara Croft has since become part of the most recognizable video game heroines, bagging awards and snagging places on the Walk of Games and Guinness World Records. 

But she has also been involved in some controversy as her sex appeal is used for marketing, reflecting a widely debated issue.

Some of the games based on Tomb Raider:

 

Tomb Raider (1996)

Tomb Raider II (1997)

Tomb Raider III (1998) 

The Last Revelation (1999) 

Tomb Raider Chronicles (2000) 

Curse of Sword (2001)

The Prophecy (2002)

The Angel of Darkness (2003) 

Legend (2006)

Anniversary (2007)

Underworld (2008) 

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (2010)

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris (2014)

Lara Croft: Relic Run (2015)

Lara Croft Go (2015)

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015) 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) 

Tomb Raider Reloaded (2022)

Read also: Stranger Things 4 was Supposed to be More Bleak with Max Mayfield’s Death

Moonage Daydream Filmmaker Claims David Bowie Taught Him How to Live Again

Photo: BBC

The filmmaker of a most recent commended documentary based on the words and music of David Bowie expresses his gratitude for the singer for “teaching him how to live” after he underwent a heart attack in his late forties. 

Brett Morgan, director of Moonage Daydream – a more than 2-hour film without narration yet packed with Bowie’s interviews, deliberation on art, and his performances – states that his own life was “out of control” when he started venturing on the film in January 2017, nearly a year following the British musician’s death. 

“One of the greatest legacies anyone can have is to continue to inspire when we’re no longer here, and David does exactly that,” Morgen said in an interview with BBC. 

“David Bowie changed my life. I first came to him as I became a teenager, and his impact was tremendous. Then, just as I started working on this film, I suffered a massive heart attack. I flatlined for three minutes and was in a coma.

“My life was out of control, and I was entirely work-obsessed. I put all my ego into my work, and I’m the father of three kids. When you have an experience like that, you think, what’s been the message of my life? Work hard and die in your 40s…” 

He further says, “I needed to learn how to live again, and that’s when David Bowie really came back into my life at the age of 47.” 

Morgen, who also created the 2015 movie Cobain: Montage of Heck, about the life and death of Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, released the new movie this week at the Cannes Film Festival – and grooved on the red carpet to Bowie’s music. 

Moonage Daydream is the first-ever documentary authorized by David Bowie’s estate. First, it reveals the unseen clip of Bowie, counting concert footage from Earl’s Court, London, in 1978, where thrilled fans can be seen scurrying into the arena. Then, Bowie performs Heroes on stage. 

“We were the first people to be able to access that material, and that was a true revelation,” Morgen states, further saying that he scanned through nearly five million Bowie “assets” for the five years of creating the film. 

“My personal favorite moment in the process was finding material of the 1975 Soul tour [which] I didn’t know was in existence,” he continues. “But I want to be more than the sum of its parts of the footage.” 

The documentary also features the singer’s artistic interests in sculpture, theater, film and painting and his journey in East Asia. In addition, it focuses on his life in Berlin in East Germany in the 1970s, stating that he wanted to make himself “uncomfortable.” 

“He just wanted to make the most out of every day and recognized that feeling comfortable is a falsehood,” Morgen spells out. “If it’s easy, why do it? So once Bowie mastered something, he moved on.”

Besting Taylor Swift, An Album of Endangered Bird Sounds Reaches Australia’s Music Charts

Photo: Rolling Stone

A collection of natural sounds under threat rivals most of the prominent pop stars in Australia’s music charts. 

In the last month of 2021, Adele has stayed on top in Australia’s best-selling album followed closely by Ed Sheeran, and then a collection of incredible sounds which caught the people’s attention.

 Song of Disappearance is a collection that contains endangered Australian bird sounds. The album has been ranked No. 3 on Australia’s top 50 albums for last month, and it even beat out Taylor Swift. 

The album was produced by Anthony Albrecht, a musician and Ph.D student at Charles Darwin University where his advisor is professor Stephen Garnett. It came together with Albrecht’s arts organization, the Bowerbird Collective. 

“I knew it was an ambitious thing to suggest and — I don’t know. Stephen’s a little bit crazy like me, and he said, let’s do this,” he said as an opinion on the record. 

This album was jointly issued with a university investigation that proved the fact that he Australian bird species are now at risk of extinction with one out every six types being threatened by it. 

In Song of Disappearance, we see a total 53 different birds that have been affected by this phenomenon and some may even be singing sounds people may perceive as bird song. 

“Things like the golden bowerbird — it sounds like a death ray from some cheesy ’70s sci-fi series,” Sean Dooley says. “And then you get to the Christmas Island frigatebird, which the male, it has a flap of skin under its chin that it inflates like a giant red balloon. And so when it’s doing these courtship sounds, it looks incredible as well as sounds bizarre.”

Sean Dooley, the head of Birdlife Australia is excited about this new project. With album sales proceeds going directly towards conservation efforts he knows that this will be an exposure and awareness- raising campaign like never before. 

“When we have community on board, that brings pressure on board to government to do the right thing,” Dooley said. “And we know that these conservation actions do work.”

Charles Darwin University and Birdlife Australia have teamed up in this paper for the sake of endangered birds. They’re using social media to get their message out, with an aim that more species will be saved if these tweets go viral.

Tom Holland Continues to Dominate Box Office with Uncharted

Photo: Columbia Pictures

Video game adaptation Uncharted made $44 million at the domestic box office this weekend. With a projected total of $51 million this Presidents’ Day long weekend, Tom Holland continues to dominate the box office. 

This latest adventure film tells the story of Nathan Drake (Holland), who teams up with Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) to find the lost treasure of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Other cast members include Antonio Banderas, Sophia Ali, and Tati Gabrielle.

Initially set to direct Uncharted, producer and director Shawn Levy (Stranger Things) stepped away from the video game-inspired movie to do Free Guy instead, another movie in the same genre. In a 2019 interview on the set of Free Guy, he told EW that his goal was not just to appeal towards gamers but rather to show how anyone can enjoy this genre.

“I think you’re often obsessed with servicing the fans of that video game, understandably. We want a movie that will appeal to gamers, but we will have failed if we only appeal to gamers. We really want a broadly accessible movie,” Levy told EW.

Director Ruben Fleischer, who Sony reached out to for the movie, said he was “completely blown away” by the script.

Fleisher told EW, “I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn when I say that it was a fast-moving train I was hopping aboard, but I was so stoked.” Holland added, “It was stressful. We were all guns blazing.”

Uncharted laid the “video game movie curse” to rest. The film was followed by Channing Tatum’s directorial debut in family comedy Dog, with an estimated $15 million following its release on February 18th. It focused on one Army ranger (Tatum) and his furry friend as they hurry down along the Pacific Coast towards a soldier’s funeral. It is projected to hit $18 million this long weekend.

Spider-Man: No Way Home, in which Holland plays Peter Parker, remains steady at third place and brought in an additional $7.2 million by Sunday. Kenneth Branagh’s murder mystery Death on the Nile and Jeff Tremaine’s Jackass Forever came fourth and fifth, garnering an additional $6.2 million and $5.2 million, respectively.

Dua Lipa, Green Day, and My Chemical Romance Are Headliners for 2022 Firefly Music Festival

Photo: Business Wire

Another festival is up for fans to go to this year. 

This coming September, the Firefly Festival will pop as Dua Lipa will headline the last night of Delaware’s famed fest, with Halsey, My Chemical Romance, and Green Day to conclude the event. The fest will kick off from September 22 to 25. 

Among the lineup are Weezer, The Kid Laroi, Big Sean, Zedd, Porter Robinson and Gunna, with Avril Lavigne taking the top spot on the roster and Jamei XX, Charli XCX, Gryffin, and Bleachers. 

The fest will also have performances by Rainbow Kitten Surprise, The Head and the Heart, Jungle, Conan Gray, All Time Low, Yungblud, Cordae, Willow, Saint Jhn, Ashnikko, Manchester Orchestra, Cold War Kids, 100 Gecs, Princess Nokia, and more.

Produced by AEG Presents, Firefly Music Festival will also include Dayglow, Girl Talk, Little Simz, Benny the Butcher, San Holo, Wolf Alice, Mallrat, Anna of the North, and up-and-comer Gayle. 

The festival will be held at the scenic Woodlands of Dover Motor Speedway, with camping sites accessible for guests and visitors. It is positioned within driving distance from prominent metropolitan regions on the East Coast, such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and New York City. 

Festivalgoers can draw on the proximity of Amtrak service to Wilmington, Delaware, and SEPTA and Greyhound bus line service. 

Passes are available and start at $299 and fetch up to $2,699 for Super VIP weekend passes. Tickets go on presale starting Friday, February 25 at 10 a.m. ET. Festivalgoers can sign up for the presale here

There are no COVID-19 safety measures like vaccine requirements or negative tests required for the event; the festival site, however, says it will oblige all local protocols at the show in September. Check out the complete roster of artists here.