Delgo Creators Hint at Lawsuit Over Avatar Connection
The phrase "Delgo vs. Avatar" has taken on multiple meanings over the last week, from the uncanny comparisons between Hollywood's biggest animated flop and its most ambitious film ever, to my inner masochist praying for a big-screen, Alien vs. Predator-style showdown between the two somewhere down the line. But I much prefer the latest interpretation, with Delgo's downmarket animation studio alluding to legal action against James Cameron and Fox.
A press release headlined "James Cameron's Big Budget Avatar Compared to Animated Indie Film Produced by Fathom Studios" arrived last night at Movieline HQ, laying out a number of Web sites and critics who had pointed out visual parallels, thematic overlaps, and other odd similarities between the films. Apparently not understanding that Avatar's connections to Delgo were in fact a criticism of Cameron's high-tech blockbuster, the Fathom gang commenced saber-rattling anyway:
A spokesperson for the studio said, "From what we have seen, we are amazed by the visual similarities between the two films and we are reviewing what legal options may be available to us."
Delgo is an independent film that took over a decade from conception to release. The initial proof-of-concept was available on Delgo.com in 1998 with work-in-progress from the feature production accessible via the website's Digital Dailies since 2000. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Avatar began production in 2006 after a rewrite of the script.
Look, I was as eager as the rest of you to let this go after a few funny comparisons. But now, considering the utterly misconceived failure that Delgo was, I am all about seeing how Fathom would prove its veiled allegations in court.
I want to meet the crackpot copyright lawyer who would take Fox on. I want to see Freddie Prinze Jr. on the witness stand, pointing to Sam Worthington when asked if he saw the man who manipulated his character as a giant blue Nav'i, then breaking down under withering cross-examination ("Isn't it true, Mr. Prinze, that you scalped no fewer than 10 tickets to 'Avatar Day' previews at the Bridge? Isn't it?") while Jennifer Love Hewitt's attorney strikes a deal in the hallway outside. I want to see Cameron show up spitting mad, wearing military fatigues that probably cost more than Delgo earned per screen. And ultimately, of course, I want to be a fly on the wall at the U.S. Supreme Court, where Delgo v. Avatar lands after several years of litigation, and where Chief Justice John Roberts dispatches one clerk to research precedent and another to research his query, "Delgo? What the fuck is Delgo?"
Anyway, it's not like Fox isn't loving this; their home-video side is currently distributing Delgo on DVD, which is probably as popular now as it will ever be. Here's hoping they continue to take advantage of it; the exploitation game is surely big enough for both parties.
· James Cameron's Big Budget 'Avatar' ...[PR Newswire]