I have a confession that will probably embarrass my co-workers: I loved Avatar. Yes, there were holes in the plot. And yes, I thought it was predictably annoying that a white guy had to swoop in and save the natives on Pandora. (Haven’t seen the movie and need a summary?)
Throughout the nearly-three-hour movie, though, I watched with my jaw dropped, enraptured by the vibrant colors and awesome plants and animals of Pandora. I completely bought the love story between Jake and Neytiri, and I liked the environmental parable of the story. To tell you the truth, I don’t think I’ve ever been so engrossed in a movie before, and I might even have suffered from some post-Avatar blues after I returned to regular ole’ Earth.
So, I read with great interest when the news broke that director/writer James Cameron is planning to write an Avatar prequel. The book will not be a “novelization” (a.k.a. summary) of the movie, but rather a “big, epic story that fills in a lot of things,” according to producer Jon Landau. The prequel will be Cameron's first book.
Many reviewers have noted that Avatar’s weak link is the clunky/predictable dialogue (“we’ll fight terror with terror,” “you have a good heart,” etc.), and as the New York Times ArtsBeat blog points out, of the nine Academy Awards nominations Avatar has received, none is for best original screenplay. Are there enough fans out there who’ll overlook Cameron’s shortcomings as a writer, and focus on his ability to transport us to another world?
Since Avatar’s success rests largely on its incredible visuals, I wonder why Cameron’s not choosing to go the graphic novel route with the prequel. What do you think, Avatar fans? Will Cameron’s book be filled with cringe-worthy dialogue and a loose plot? Or will it be a welcome ticket back to Pandora?
If you’ve got a need for fantasy and waiting for Avatar just won’t cut it, check out our February Sci-Fi column on BookPage.com.