We finally made our pilgrimage to a 3D theater to pay our respects to James Cameron’s latest blockbuster creation, Avatar. As a science fiction lover, I wanted to see it as soon as it came out. But I’m also a workaholic and finding the time just wasn’t happening. However, when I read that it was finally going to be replaced in theaters at the end of the coming week I figured it was now or never to see the movie as the director intended, in 3D. After cajoling Debi into it, she agreed to go. She wanted to, but she was unwilling to pay $40.00 for a sitter so we could spend $30.00 to see a movie. The compromise: we took Toren. I don’t think he loved the experience, particularly not the really loud parts, but he likes getting out of the house. He didn’t make a peep the entire 2 hours and 40 minutes of the movie. We got some really strange looks taking our 9 month old son into the theater to see Avatar, but no one complained.
As for the movie… First, the technology behind it really is remarkable. The 3D effect was very cool, though it seemed much more noticeable in the slower sequences when you had a chance to really focus on depth than in the action sequences where there was too much movement to make the 3D effect really matter. The Navi were also very cool, considering they were a combination of computer generation and human actors. And the world of Pandora was spellbinding. The luminescence was absolutely stunning, especially in combination with the 3D. What a remarkable feat of human ingenuity to create a visual experience like that.
As far as the movie goes, I enjoyed it. It’s not the most amazing story ever, but certainly compelling in its own right. The best part about it is that it takes place in an utterly believable alternate world. Of course, what I mean by that is not that the supernatural elements of Avatar are believable, but assuming a suspension of belief, it is a well-developed alternative reality. And the quality of film production made it possible to disappear into the alternative reality of Pandora for nearly 3 hours and not realize what was happening. I loved that.
The story was good, with its respective twists – just enough people dying to make it believable but not so many that you consider it a full-on tragedy. The take home message – don’t spoil the beauty of nature – is a good one, that I support. And I’m even fond of the criticism of corporations, though the irony is funny: a corporation (20th Century Fox) made the movie possible; no corporations, no Avatar. But certainly corporations can be driven by greed and many are. Maybe that will change one day. The tie-in with the situation with the Native Americans was also nice, though I think the Navi took their “Native American-ness” a bit too far, unnecessarily. It wasn’t really a bad thing, but it also wasn’t necessary to make the Navi full-on Native American.
I’ll be intrigued to see if this film does change the movie industry, permanently. It did get us to the theater, and we rarely go to the theater, preferring to watch movies at home where they are much, much cheaper. I’m not sure we’d go just for 3D in the future, especially if it’s just a character-driven film. But it is experience-enhancing. Anyway, anyone else want to comment on Avatar?