Avatar and Animated Features Picked as AFI’s Significant Moments

The American Film Institute has singled out James Cameron’s Avatar and the year’s wave of top-notch animated features as two of eight ‘moments of significance’ of 2009.

AFI called Avatar a “pioneering effort to unleash the human imagination,’ and added. ‘With an army of technological wizards at his side, writer/director/producer/co-editor Cameron called upon the forces of art and technology to create new tools for storytelling that are groundbreaking in both scope and scale. The magic of the motion picture’and the transfer of its power to television and now video games’has always found its truest power in its immersive qualities, and with Cameron’s advances in CGI and 3-D, Avatar enters AFI’s almanac as an achievement that will have profound effects on the future of the art form.”

Seeing animated films as a single trend, AFI noted, ‘Though animation has been a genre of great impact since the dawn of the moving image, 2009 marked a year that saw a dazzling explosion of noteworthy work from many of the nation’s finest artists, and in forms vast and varied’from classic hand-drawn stories like The Princess and the Frog to stop-motion splendors like Coraline and Fantastic Mr. Fox; to computer-generated creations like 9, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Monsters Vs. Aliens.’

The other “moments” listed by AFI included Twitter, the tough economic climate, the debut of The Jay Leno Show in primetime, reality TV’s loss of boundaries, the end of analog TV, and Michael Jackson’s death and the concert film This Is It.