It is clear now that Avatar will have the same effect on the next generation of filmmakers. Back in December, when the film first premiered, the question was whether or not today’s audiences are too progressive, too well-informed to embrace a story based on Archetypal Characters. Five months later, in spite of all the criticism leveled at the story, the overwhelming positive response to this movie cannot be ignored. Kids (and grown-up kids) today love this film just as much as kids in the 70s loved Star Wars.
Among the older generation, Avatar will become the film they love to hate. It will have to be seen whether or not a greater understanding of the mechanics of story structure will somehow allow them to look on Avatar with different eyes, and somehow re-capture that spark of imagination they experienced when they first sat down with Skywalker and company.
All true. In the 70s folks over 35 thought Star Wars was a clever retro-spoof of those bad, bad serials of yesteryear. Today the hip response to Avatar was that it was a shameless retread of just about every movie you've ever seen. If you're 12, that's probably a feature, not a bug.