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I can certainly see how Middle America shies away from chucking 15-17$ to see the film in a full Imax 3D way, or even the $13 regular screen 3D way.

I don't blame them, they just don't understand how important a film like this is to us genre lovers, and I'm not just talking sci-fi fantasy lovers. I mean folks who are embracing the advent of digital 3D and the leaps forward a 600M$ budget can give the artists and the direct impact that has on the environment of a film like this. Most folks just don't get it . . . yet.

 

JWeb mentions "Event Film", and I couldn't describe it better. But it's an event film that puts all other event films to shame in many ways.

Independence Day was an 'event film', but Jesus Palomino! You can't even compare the two. ID feels like it was made in the stone age by comparison.

Most event films could not stand next to Avatar, no way. LOTR, Indiana Jones, and the original Star Wars tril in it's day. The list is small.

Avatar redifines the meaning of the phrase.

But I don't think I'd be saying that if I'd seen it in 2D on a small screen. It would have been interesting to say the least but not what it's capable of being.

JWeb hits it on the head when he mentions that Avatar/Cameron will be almost directly responsible for ushering in the advent of 3D capable theaters and home systems.

 

I'm still in the halo of that viewing from last night and I truly believe that I just got a glimpse of a work that will influence the shape of entertainment for the 21st century.

 

If you have not seen the film and are on the fence about 2D, 3D, 3D Imax, or even about seeing it at all . . . Just stop for a second and rethink.

I strongly urge anyone reading this to find a theater showing Imax 3D, or even better, OmniMax 3D, and go see this film regardless of a little extra expense.

The rest of the world is going to be about a decade behind catching up to this (with a few exceptions).

If you are a genre fan, if you love being submerged in fantasy, if you love escaping your life for 2 hours and 40 minutes and are interested in something you've NEVER seen before then do it ;)

Even $10 more per ticket is a small price to pay for what you get in return, at least for this genre lover.

But of course I'm the kind of fella who doesn't think twice anymore when it comes to shelling out a little extra hard earned cash to get the ultimate experience.

 

I live in a big city now too so it's not so hard for me to find a theater - about a 20 mile round trip. Not everyone is so fortunate.

But even if I was still living in little 'ol Bloomington Illinois I'd buy my tickets on line, jump in my car, drive 60 minutes, and get in line 2 hours before showtime to get good seats.

Knowing what I know now I'd surely not regret having done it.

 

- TB

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I can tell you I pretty much skipped this because I didn't feel like shelling out $16 to basically see a more actiony Dances with Wolves with blue cat people in 3D. I'd just rather see something more interesting.

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I recently saw AVATAR in 3D IMAX for the second time. The first time was a family event with my daughters and mother. The second time I went with a couple of very good friends that are big time genre fans. Both personal entertainment events were awesome and worth every bit of the energy to make it happen. I think the best part of an experience like this is the immediate opportunity to rave and critique the film with the significant people you just walked out with.

 

My kids were blown away, much like I was when I saw "Star Wars" as a kid in the theater. I think that really is quite an accomplishment these days, considering how blasé kids are to graphic entertainment. As a parent, it's hard to show your kids something like "Wrath of Khan" without them telling you it's too hard to watch with the cheesy special effects. At the same time having my mom, who is approaching 70, raving about a visual experience that she never thought she would see in her lifetime made the family outing doubly worthwhile.

 

The second time was equally enjoyable. For all of us it was a sincere pleasure to see technology we knew we were on the edge of tasting, come to life because the influential Cameron was given a green light on something very risky, especially when that risk is amplified by economically challenging times. Without this effort, we likely could be waiting a few more years for this level of visual entertainment. Now that it is done and clearly successful, the door is open to continue pushing the envelope. In a sense this could be the "Holy Grail" for future genre films. There will be an audience expectation to continue with 3D and improved graphic film entertainment. This demand could very well drive the technology cost down as it becomes more common place and make it more available to genre and independent film makers.

 

Technology aside, I'll admit I wasn't excited by the story when I first heard about it and called it 3D "Pocahontas." But after learning about the effort to take visual experience in motion pictures to a new level, I knew I wanted to see it for what it was and made certain to see it in its intended environment. After seeing the movie, I almost think it was the perfect story to tell. It's broad audience, even if based empirically on those that saw the film with me. It is easy enough for all to understand, which may be very important to the wide success of the film as many may not be very interested in combining their visual experience with philosophical thinking. Then again if you want that intellectual struggle, there is the choice between the moral vs. ethical good or the warrior vs. the soldier mentality. In most cases I think the general audience had a pretty good idea of what side they chose.

 

To amplify this thought, I think I am the only person I know that enjoyed all three Matrix movies. I felt the story in the first one was incomplete and wanted to continue through the exercise in though regarding determinism and free will. Considering the lack of those around me with a common hunger for that experience, I have to agree that in the best interest of making a financially successful, ground-breaking, visual experience, the story needs to be something that the largest possible audience can identify.

 

The bottom line for me is that regardless of the story, or even what was done with the visual effects, like making blue cat people, this "IS" the next movie. It is the disruptive movie-making technology that breaks the mold. It is worth the price of two movie tickets just to support the change that will bring us more exciting films in the future. Support of this film will ultimately improve the genre films RAW fans love. Fortunately for me I happened to have a blast of a time sharing it with those I enjoy most.

 

Mike

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Love your post, Hess, er . . . Mike ;)

 

I just heard from brother Raffi who has decided to check this out in Imax 3D on the morrow, which gladdens my heart.

I'm seriously not trying to pimp a movie on Cameron's or the studio's behalf, I just think what a shame it would be to miss the experience.

Mine was incredible and I just want everyone I know and care about to see the spectacle the way it was intended to be seen.

 

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around things as mundane (for this film) as how they animated tall grass to take on the vortex of having a chopper land over top.

Was that real or memorex? Christ, the environment of this film simply boggles the mind.

 

- tb

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By the way, am I the only one who's girly-tickled that Stephen Lang is back on the map in a couple sweet films?

He was F'ing amazing in Avatar, and most excellent in Public Enemies, though way too brief.

 

Daly was commenting about how impressed he was with Lang's physique, the guy is no spring chicken.

I hadda tell him that Lang has been in great shape for a good long time and suggested that he see (even though it's WAY an 80's film, and WAY corny in a lot of ways) Band Of The Hand.

Kind of a cutesy title, not a great film (Directed by Paul Michael Glaser, TV's "Starsky"), but Michael Mann produced and it features a superb performance from Lang, all buff-hard as "Indian Joe".

 

It's been far too long since Stephen Lang was busting heads or rolling through parking garages in a wheelchair on fire (see Manhunter)

 

He HAS been working, just way under the radar. Last thing I saw him in was Gods And Generals (2003).

Welcome back Indian Joe.

 

- TB

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Even if one finds the experience a ride, because the story is comfortably predictable...though I prefer to consider it comfortably familiar, because we are trained by every romantic comedy to expect in many ways what is to come, AND that generally makes for an enjoyable 2 hours for anyone looking to escape...This was an escape.

 

I didn't need to be challenged, I don't always NEED to be challenged by complex, unique stories. I do need to be emotionally invested though, and that's exactly how good escapism steals me away. Immediately I was sucked in. That world? A world where without greed, and the interruption of that utopia by the worst side of ourselves would have gone along in harmony with the planet? Sold. The strange beauty?....it made me think about Earth, how beautiful it is and how without that worst side of ourselves again...how different life would be, how our planet could be free of all that...it was the world more than anything that emotionally pulled me in, and pulled hard...because as corny as all this sounds it was a place I'd love to escape to. It certainly helped that after 5 minutes I no longer saw the Navi as CGI characters, they fooled me good...no uncanny valley there.

 

All I can see now... the other thing that BLOWS my mind is that for the last 20-30 years I've really been asked by movie storytellers to forgive those little parts of special effects that we spot, to ignore them and juuuuussst essscape. Luke versus the Rancor? lol. Yeah, and that was ILM! It was so FAKE I noticed when I saw it as a KID! I ignored it and escaped though, the same way I ignored that Muppets were the stars of Dark Crystal. Style at least benefited them there.

 

NOW, it seems that that suspension of disbelief is NO LONGER REQUIRED. And lemme tell ya people, MY suspension of disbelief is like that of a 10 year old. If I want to escape, I can ingore and forgive SOOOO much. As a creative type, someone whose imagination is on 24-7 and has fantasized about seeing his little doodles come to life, boy O BOY am I excited. I am excited to know that the people who make those fancy motion pictures have a tool to make imagination SEEM real.

 

The story was exactly perfect. That movie delivered everything I required to escape, fall in love with Pandora and the plight of its inhabitants, and walk out wondering nothing but WHAT IS NEXT? Holy shit. As someone who LOVES to escape into a movie, and someone who has a big nerdy imagination...I can only guess at what someone like Guillermo Del Toro would do with those tools...or Terry Gilliam...or Spielberg... I mean can we REALLY do this now? Can ANY creature I dream up, paint the skin on become that real? Holy crap. It is ON people. Wayne Barlow's imagination did, his paintings and drawings did. Just spectacular. I only hope someday to be in those shoes.

 

Groundbreaking, incredible, sensational, and completely changes the game. Imagination, visually has lost its limits. This is going to be a good time now....hooo boy what is fucking NEXT?!!

 

Moebius....somebody tap his brain and let's see THAT insane world come life.

 

Very excited, done babbling.

-Jim :)

 

PS- some people REALLY got lost in Pandora...crazy stuff:

 

http://www.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBIZ/Movies/01/11/avatar.movie.blues/index.html

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Great post Jim-boy.

As for the link . . . My first reaction was to roll my eyes and say to myself, are you kidding me? What a bunch of fucking losers. Good Christ, it illustrates so much of what is wrong with society. But after really thinking about it I realized that I could actually empathize to a degree. Not necessarily in the Avatar experience (for me personally, I'm not the same being I used to be) but I can relate to that feeling of despair, again, to a degree when I think back to my 10/14 year old self after experiencing Star Wars/Empire Strikes Back in the late 70's/early 80's. I started to remember that I too longed to be inside the world of Star Wars . . . I wanted so much to be Luke, didn't matter that he'd lost everything, he was living that dream we all dream of somewhere deep inside. It was fantastic worlds and high adventure, which at the time, we'd never seen before, not like that. It opened up a whole new world. Much, very much like Avatar. That's FANTASY on a scale we are so rarely treated to.

 

I never contemplated suicide though ;) Those feelings of longing and despair quickly turned into inspiration and it all went down on paper in the form of hundreds upon hundreds of drawings and even my first attempt at 10 years old to write a screenplay (sequel) to Star Wars. And I wasn't alone that's for sure. Just as Star Wars nurtured the next generations of creators, Avatar will surely have the same impact.

 

- TB

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Apologies for a quick double-tap post but I received a message from a friend I respect like almost no other, Matt Sturm.

Matt has long been someone I've admired. He's brilliant (I call him Braniac), he knows the tech of a film like this and we're also very much on the same wavelength creatively.

Matt designed my first book, Maximum Black, and also wrote the Forward for my recent art book collection, Archetype.

 

I received this communication via email earlier today and felt like I had to post it here because Matt can articulate things in a way I can't, yet his thoughts mirror my own.

I post it here with permission pending ;) I've made small omissions which pertain to real people who may not want their names publicly tossed around and added Bold case.

 

Plot Spoilers below

 

"I've seen Avatar twice now (which in itself is some kind of modern personal record) and of course I loved it. First time was in IMAX (though the actual IMAX theater was kind of dodgy), second time in Real D 3D. (Edit) and I got out of that theater, and, well, you know I'm rarely at a loss for words ... I couldn't even speak I was so awestruck. There's so much to say about the film that even now I find my thoughts body-checking one another to get to the front of my brain.

 

Where to begin? The technical achievement alone has kept me cogently occupied for almost two weeks. I still can't understand how this film's pipeline could have worked so well. Imagine getting everyone on board and rowing the same direction on EVERYTHING. The new Cinefex (magazine) came out a few days or so after I saw the film for the first time, and I ate it up like a wild animal. I've become a bit jaded with the effects industry ... seems like the same old same old, you know? Every issue reads the same: "We CGI'd this and that and motion-captured the other stuff and blah, blah, blah." But this ... this is new beast entirely. If you haven't read it, do so. If you can follow what Cameron's people were doing it'll blow your mind what they're capable of now. Just from a technical standpoint APART from the the 3D, the film is a watershed, and yes, it will change how movies are made forever.

 

I reacted to the story in much the same way you did. The whole "Pocahontas in space" or "Smurfs with dragons" thing misses the point. The story works fine, and beyond that it keeps the sensory overload of the rest of the film from permanently fusing your synapses. Anybody who gets hung up on the plot of Avatar has lost the ability to see the magic of movies, poor cynical bastards that they are. Yes, I would have liked some slightly deeper characters, but there are nuances in them that aren't obvious unless you allow the story some breathing space. I think your assessment of Ribisi's character's mental state at the end of the film is spot on, for example, and there are many similar moments throughout the movie that generally people miss because they're distracted by everything else going on. One of my faves is how quickly Jake masters his avatar in the scene where he first jacks in compared with the bumbling way Norm's avatar moves as he gives chase in the same scene, especially considering his earlier throwaway line to Grace about how he's logged over 500 hours of simulator time.

 

An oh, what a panoply of wonders Cameron lays before us! From the shock of seeing a CGI Sigourney Weaver to the breathtaking detail of the Pandoran forest, my brain was filled to overflowing with images of a world so completely realized that I felt like I lived there. I was happy to see Barlowe's legitimate contributions up on the screen. The horse was so utterly his style! I didn't know he was involved until seeing it for the first time. I was happy to see he hadn't just been ripped off again."

This was just the tip of our conversation, we've got more to cover which I'll share here at a later date.

- TB

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I'm really looking forward to the sequels. Can't wait to see more of that world.

 

The connection between Pandora itself, the Na'vi and all the other living things is a very interesting concept and there seems to be a rich mythology - I hope that gets explored more deeply in future films. We haven't seen a whole lot of the moon so there is more than enough space. Maybe Cameron will show us some of the underwater world of Pandora?

 

I guess the name of the moon wasn't a random choice. With the connection between the moon itself and all life forms, I think that someone or something will open up "Pandora's Box" (maybe an "infection" of the ecosystem or a threatening new race) in a sequel and the Na'vi will have to fight to save their world.

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By the way, am I the only one who's girly-tickled that Stephen Lang is back on the map in a couple sweet films?

He was F'ing amazing in Avatar, and most excellent in Public Enemies, though way too brief.

 

Daly was commenting about how impressed he was with Lang's physique, the guy is no spring chicken.

I hadda tell him that Lang has been in great shape for a good long time and suggested that he see (even though it's WAY an 80's film, and WAY corny in a lot of ways) Band Of The Hand.

Kind of a cutesy title, not a great film (Directed by Paul Michael Glaser, TV's "Starsky"), but Michael Mann produced and it features a superb performance from Lang, all buff-hard as "Indian Joe".

 

It's been far too long since Stephen Lang was busting heads or rolling through parking garages in a wheelchair on fire (see Manhunter)

 

He HAS been working, just way under the radar. Last thing I saw him in was Gods And Generals (2003).

Welcome back Indian Joe.

 

- TB

 

I don't know if I would say I was "girly-tickled" (Tim does have a way with words) but I'm very excited to see Stephen Lang back on the big screen in such a big way. Hope we get a lot more Lang in the coming years!

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It was good to see Lang back on the big screen, twice in the same year no less. He was great in Public Enemies but woefully underused. His character is introduced and then disappears for about an hour, which I thought was a little strange. He still came out as one of the most memorable things about the film though.

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!st, let me say this movie is visually amazing. Anybody doing 3-d flicks needs to understand that this sets the bar. It is the 1st time I can think of when the 3d effects were not used as a gimick, but instead were a flawless part of the film. Joe Jusko was spot on, see this in 3-d at the movies. It is absolutely a must see. Story was a bit predictable, but then most blockbusters are, SEE IT TO SEE IT!

 

I have always loved Lang since I 1st saw him in the Band of the Hand. A very underrated actor, if you can stand the bad hair then you should check out his work in the film Gettsyburg, he and Jeff Daniels absolutly steal that movie.

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I totally bought Gods and Generals yesterday for $5. I'm not bragging, it scares me that you can buy good films on DVD for the price of a rental.

Yes, Blu Ray is here to stay for a while which means our DVD collections are safe for now . . .

But then I look at the 400 some odd films on DVD in my studio and can't help but think they will be worthless in about another 5 years, If I'm lucky.

Just like my beloved Beta collection and my Laserdisc collection . . . sigh.

 

BOOO!

 

But I digress. Back to AVATAR!

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I totally bought Gods and Generals yesterday for $5. I'm not bragging, it scares me that you can buy good films on DVD for the price of a rental.

Yes, Blu Ray is here to stay for a while which means our DVD collections are safe for now . . .

But then I look at the 400 some odd films on DVD in my studio and can't help but think they will be worthless in about another 5 years, If I'm lucky.

Just like my beloved Beta collection and my Laserdisc collection . . . sigh.

 

BOOO!

 

But I digress. Back to AVATAR!

 

digressing further...Lang is great as Stonewall Jackson in Gods and Generals, I bought that on dvd the day it came out...for $9.99 and I thought that was on the cheap! $5 is a bargain!...

 

back to avatar...

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Ahoy.

 

Saw this one in 3D. I had only seen Nightmare Before Christmas in 3D from before, and Shrek 4D at Universal Studios :P So I'm by no means used to 3D. I thought it was kind of hard and a bit disturbing sometime to watch it with the 3D glasses. It's probably just that it's not meant for me, but what I saw was very impressive. I'm not a creator of cgi of movies, but from my perspective as a viewer, it was extremely well made. It's probably a very innovative thing Cameron's made, and that we will see all blockbuster movies using this technology in upcoming movies. Also very good to see Sigourney Weaver on the big screen (lovelove). And I think it's the best performance by Sam Worthington yet (only seen 2movies with him before).

 

It was a good movie, but I don't think I felt "moved" anywhere in it. It felt very pixar at times and by the end I expected the Walt Disney logo to come up. The only thing missing was the characters singing songs. I totally understand them for playing it safe with the kind of money it cost to be made. Though I must admit movies like Dances With Wolves, Last of The Mohicans, Star Trek, District 9, Wall-E, Rambo or even the strong connection between Kurt Russell and his gf in the movie Breakdown displayed more emotion. I just didn't feel anything for the characters in Avatar sadly... It felt sometimes a bit dumbed down..

 

But hey, good step forward in regards of cgi. Though, imo story should always be the most essential ingredient.

 

I know Cameron can create bad ass violent'N'brilliant cinema, and hopefully we'll get that sometime in the future. :)

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But hey, good step forward in regards of cgi. Though, imo story should always be the most essential ingredient.

 

I know Cameron can create bad ass violent'N'brilliant cinema, and hopefully we'll get that sometime in the future. :)

 

I have not seen Avatar yet, but have certainly read a lot about it. And I wonder what you all thought about it getting best movie last night at the Golden Globes? From posts similar to Nighthawk's, I get the impression that the best thing about this movie is experiencing the visuals. The story is sort of mediocre. So I say, if you want to give it an award for breakthrough cgi or whatever, fine. But best movie??? I think not.

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Well, I haven't seen "The Hurt Locker", "Up in the Air" and "Precious" yet, so I can't judge the Best Film category. But I thought that Avatar would win after Cameron won for Best Director.

 

Ok, so I saw The Hurt Locker and honestly, I thought it was boring. I couldn't follow a story....was there a story to it? Anybody? Same ol' shit....now as far as "Precious" and "Up in the Air" haven't seen 'em yet....but judging from the trailers and my own personal opinion of "The Hurt Locker"...Avatar defenitely deserved this!

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I have not seen Avatar yet, but have certainly read a lot about it. And I wonder what you all thought about it getting best movie last night at the Golden Globes? From posts similar to Nighthawk's, I get the impression that the best thing about this movie is experiencing the visuals. The story is sort of mediocre. So I say, if you want to give it an award for breakthrough cgi or whatever, fine. But best movie??? I think not.

 

 

I'd reserve judgement for that until after you've seen it in IMAX 3D ;)

I think Matt Sturm said it best - "Anybody who gets hung up on the plot of Avatar has lost the ability to see the magic of movies, poor cynical bastards that they are."

 

Hey, you guys know me, I have a pretty low threshold for popular shit that gets attention it really doesn't deserve (Let's use Twilight and New Moon as examples).

Avatar does not fall into that category. Not even close. Was it In The Bedroom, The Godfather, American Beauty? No . . . And yes.

It's a singular achievement, the whole fucking thing. Is it it the best movie of the year? That's completely subjective.

I can tell you that I thought it was the best film of the year and I was in the camp of what's all the fucking fuss about UNTIL I saw it.

I believe it was VERY deserving of the honor. :)

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The visuals were definitiely the best part of the movie and agree that the story was simple and predictable. If that was all there is to say about the movie, it wouldn't deserve a best picture GG.

 

I think it won the GG due to Industry, Tecnhological, Commercial, and Historical impact. I believe the Hollywood Foreign Press was nearly obligated to award the movie accordingly.

 

Mike

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I think it won the GG due to Industry, Tecnhological, Commercial, and Historical impact. I believe the Hollywood Foreign Press was nearly obligated to award the movie accordingly.

 

Mike

 

Normally, if this statement is considered to be accurate, that's the kind of thing that would anger me as a film appreciator.

But in this case all bets are off. Avatar is the product of consummate filmmaking.

I see this as more of a Lord Of The Rings situation, a fantasy film that opened the door for films of this nature to be considered.

 

Love the shout out to IN THE BEDROOM. That movie still haunts me. Tom Wilkinson is amazing. The movie's brilliant.

 

Dude, same here. What an incredible film. Wilkinson is truly AMAZING, and so is the rest of the cast.

 

- TB

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I think Matt Sturm said it best - "Anybody who gets hung up on the plot of Avatar has lost the ability to see the magic of movies, poor cynical bastards that they are."

 

Now, come on. With absolute respect to Matt, and to you Tim, this is simply not true. This film is in many ways off putting and annoying for lots of people who are not cynical bastards. I think that over time, once the rave kid, glow stick monster shock and awe wear off, this isn't going to be what it once was for folks. I don't know that the design aesthetic of Pandora is going to have legs, so to speak. I liked it, I didn't love it. That doesn't make me defective as a lover of movie magic in any way shape or form. I cherish movie magic when it happens, like a crack addict with his last rock. It's important to me.

 

It didn't happen for me with Avatar. I get it, I'm in the minority and people are falling all over themselves for this movie. This is very much the intellectual exception to what we usually demand from our films around here. OK. I'm just not comfortable being told "You don't get it" when I express a dissenting opinion (not just here). I did get it, I just didn't love it.

 

I agree, Avatar isn't Twilight or Transformers 2. It is a film with integrity and it has some incredibly successful sequences as an epic FX fantasy film.

 

It's also a flawed work that has some mind numbingly stupid shit in it. In my humble opinion.

 

:)

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