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April 24 2012

(SPOILER) Joss details his shooting style and James Cameron's influence on The Avengers. And (thankfully) avoiding Michael Bay's style.

Yep. I have many misgivings about Cameron's later work, but Terminator 2 and Aliens both have some of the finest action setpieces ever committed to film, for my money.
OMG, we're going to get 45 minutes of cut footage on the DVD! This is going to be so awesome (now I'm just excited about the DVD release as for the movie!).

And there is going to be a post credit scene! A reason to sit around in the theater when the lights are up and they are wanting to clean! LOL

[ edited by embers on 2012-04-24 02:04 ]
OMG, we're going to get 45 minutes of cut footage on the DVD!

So he made a movie and then cut an entire TV episode out of it. Cool.
T2 is pretty much my favorite action movie ever, and Joss nails what makes Cameron's action scenes to great. He lays out a visual sense of the arena, conveys motivation and intent purely through action and motion, and everything has a consequence (because of gravity, the laws of physics, the endurance of the human body). In Bay's action set pieces, things explode and it feels meaningless because it occurs in a void divorced from meaning or consequence.

I'm so excited for this movie already.
Never would he have guess over 11 years ago writing Xander's line about "Avengers Assemble" (forget what it was-been awhile since I've watched "the Freshman") that he'd be doing this.
This is still an unbelievable convergence of lifelong obsessions that never seemed possible until the announcement of Astonishing X-Men.
Actually, I think the best example to cite of Cameron in the way Joss describes how he sets the parameters, explains the problem, shows the attempt at solution, makes the problem worse, I'd go with The Abyss. Particularly the entire sequence from Ed Harris trying to take on Michael Biehn to the minisub fight to the rescue sequence that follows it.

I'm also glad that he's gracious enough to distinguish Cameron (and himself) from Bay without denigrating the latter. It's just classier -- it's not like there's no fun to be had watching a Michael Bay flick (I'm staring at you, The Rock).
Imagine if Joss had been able to script doctor Avatar (or Titanic).
I just am excited as can be that Joss is about to hit it out of the park. One because I think all of his hard work and limited budgets all led him to this. Between CITW and Avengers getting fantastic reviews...the sky is the limit.

I just hope beyond hope that Joss can parlay this Hollywood clout to revisit some of our favorites....*cough*....*Firefly*.

Seriously though....can't be happier for Joss. Congrats Mr. Whedon.
Good interview, but was it just me or did Joss seem a bit grumpy? I'm sure the promotion tour is getting very old (for him, I'm loving all the interviews).
Imagine if Joss had been able to script doctor Avatar (or Titanic).

I'm sorry, I'm a far bigger Jim Cameron nerd than I am a Joss Whedon nerd. 14 academy awards, worldwide gross of 4.9 billion-with-a-b dollars. Apart from a stiff line here or there, I don't think either one needed much of a consult, as they are sort of the all time benchmarks for how to make a commercially, critically successful film with devoted fans. And I didn't even like "Avatar" all that much -- if you were gonna turn Joss loose on either of them, that's the one.

Daren is right -- if "Avengers" hits gold, Joss will never have a better time to strike if he actually wanted to try a Serenity sequel. He'd be able to get it made on sheer momentum, the way Chris Nolan was able to advance his pet project about dreams after having conquered the known universe with his Batman vision. But Joss will never have a better opportunity, probably in his whole career, than post-"Avengers" glory to make anything he wants.
I know it's heresy but I think it's safe to say we're not going to get a Serenity 2. Like Buffy and Angel, the 'verse will live on in comic form and in our hearts, but I would be very surprised if Joss did that. I'm sure he's got a few delightful irons in his brain-fire ready to go assuming studios line up to hire him; he'll have other offers for things he probably hasn't even thought of yet (Prometheus sequel? He's said he wanted to give that franchise another shot in recent interviews...pure speculation on my part but it certainly matches the lauded 'spaceship in trouble' model), and it sounds like he'll be busy with Bellweather and Wastelanders.

I think he's 100% spot on in praising the action sequence work of Cameron, the guy still plans, shoots and edits his stuff with a relatively classic cinematic style, which is to say the audience's brain can follow what the heck is going on. I can't watch a Bay movie because it's just cut-cut-cut with no attempt to use the editing process to do anything but raise the audience's blood pressure for 120 minutes.

One last thing--I've been wondering all along if Joss would ever address the original Avengers script, and boy did he. Ouch.
I don't ever expect a "Serenity" sequel, either. Nor do I expect a Buffyverse film. If "Avengers" hits the numbers it's meant to, though, especially if it's really going to do a three day open that competes with "Dark Knight"/"Hunger Games", then from that moment on, we'll know that the only reason there's no "Serenity" or "Buffy" movie is because Joss doesn't want to make one, because there will, again, never in his whole career be a time when he can make any movie he wants more than the next movie after "Avengers".
I agree with what he said about Bay, in particular what Bay had ILM do for "Transformers". Any individual snap shot is spectacular (which is what was shown in magazines/posters leading up to the showing). But when the film was actually rolling, I could not follow the action at all, it was a jumble of metal parts. (Was that a kick, a punch, or some random car being used as a club? Who just got hit?)
I don't doubt Joss would like to revisit the 'verse, but I also think he realizes time has gone on, several major cast members are very busy with other projects these days, and quite frankly he might be shutting the door on future opportunities if he dove right back into something his core fan base loved but the rest of the world more or less pleasantly nodded at and moved on from. To take his Avengers cache and use it to make a big budget Serenity 2 could relegate him to the minors if it wasn't a huge hit. I'm sure he'd like to do more Firefly on the screen, but he's also a pretty smart fellow and would see the potential mines in the field.

Back to Bay--I've only seen the Dark of the Moon Transformers thing, forced to watch it at a family gathering of all places, and aside from the idiocy of the whole endeavor I was struck by the violence essentially being robot torture porn, like Bay said "alright kids, you want to see robots fighting, I'll give you them spearing each other in their privates with oil (standing in for blood, of course) spraying everywhere." The sheer cynicism and hatred of the audience was appallingly clear.
Shows have been using violent robots for a while. The cartoon series 'Samurai Jack' is notable for it especially, and honestly, even Cars 2 has some pretty bizarre death. You can call him out on his racism, sexism or whatever else, but not really violence. That stuff is so ingrained into our culture it's weird to pick Bay when he's on-par with most people with that, really.
After reading this, the fact that Zak Penn is getting credit for the Avengers script seems insane. I suppose there is a Hollywood reason for it.
I'm also glad that he's gracious enough to distinguish Cameron (and himself) from Bay without denigrating the latter. It's just classier -- it's not like there's no fun to be had watching a Michael Bay flick (I'm staring at you, The Rock).


+1
Leo, I'm not sure about all the legalities but I'm guessing that since Marvel had him do a version with the good guys going up against Loki, there were more than enough similarities that Penn had to get credited and paid even if only the broadest of similarities between his work and Whedon's existed. As Joss himself would tell you, writing credits in Hollywood are a strange and dangerous beast indeed.
Since Penn turned in a script and was paid for it, I'm pretty sure according to some weird WGA bylaws, he is guaranteed writing credit even if nothing of his work survives in the actual movie.

I'm not too bothered by this; it's the opposite happening, when someone provides a great deal of input on a script, and goes uncredited that gets my goat. re: Joss and Speed.
You know, someone's mention of The Hunger Games above made me think momentarily that Joss could/should direct one of those movies. The thinking would be that it's a strong-female-lead sci-fi action story with stuff to say about modern media, just the kind of thing Joss would do!

The reality is that making such a movie would require one to be too faithful to the source material (which does all of the above far less well than Joss does) so having Joss do it would be a terrible idea.

You know, I trust Joss to choose his projects. But, boy, I'm excited that he will have a lot more opportunities to choose from!

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