Just got back a little while ago from seeing the James Cameron’s epic Avatar. In a word, the movie was BRILLIANT! Yes, that’s right, it was that good. I seriously think I’m ranking it #2 right underneath the Lord of the Rings Trilogy on my all time favorites list. It’s great when directors are allowed to take their time and and just create. Cameron doesn’t disappoint. So what was so great about it?
Well to start with the imagery is absolutely amazing. A gorgeous visual masterpiece that is both stunning and breathtaking. It’s certainly all about special effects and they are impeccably accomplished, never once did I feel like something was faked (remember Anakin slicing the apple in Attack of the Clones). The detail spent in building the Pandoran world alone is worth sitting through the 160 minutes. Another plus was that not once was any one thing in Cameron’s world made to call attention to itself. Everything fit, it all flowed seamlessly and the actors did incredible jobs inferring raw emotion into their Avatar characters.
There’s three versions of this movie, a regular cinematic version, a cinematic 3D (or what they call REAL D 3D and an IMAX 3D version. We saw the cinematic 3D version and for the most part it was excellent. I’ll be going back to see it again in IMAX because the sensory immersion should be well worth it. People say 3D and just roll their eyes, remember Jaws 3D or any of your favorite horror movies that were done in 3D. It always seemed cheap and gimmicky right? Not this movie. Sure you can tell it’s not true 3D but it’s very minimal and after the first few minutes you hardly notice it. Even the subtitled translations of the Na’vi native language seems completely natural. If I have one complaint about the 3D it’s the peripheral field of view, that’s where I noticed the typical 3D glimmer but it was minimal. I also think the IMAX version will compensate for that, we’ll see.
Something else about the 3D effect is how Cameron expertly weaves it into the movie. Rarely is it “in your face” and those moments were suttle, perfectly executed where a raindrop might slash off to the side or a leave floating in the wind. No rockets shooting “at” you or flying monster trying to eat you.
Pandora itself is a spectacular visualization of the imagination. You’ll want to go there, probably move there. Everything about it is in a nutshell “perfect”.
Ok so you get the picture, visually the movie is beyond excellent. So what about the story itself? There’s been a lot of hype about the underlying themes the story implies. It’s all true, everything you’ve heard. Every tree hugger story, liberal, white man conquered the Indians story is absolutely true. At least from a moralistic viewpoint. Avatar is every movie you’ve ever seen. It’s absolutely Dances with Wolves, it’s every video game storyline, every novel and every big budget movie plot line. Whatever your moralistic and/or political viewpoints are, this movie has it. However, none of it matters.
If you can’t shed a tear for how the Na’vi are treated then there is something most definitely wrong with you. Seriously, I can’t think of another movie, aside from the three Lord of the Rings movies that even remotely compares. Braveheart and Gladiator are in my top 5 as well, yet even they don’t compare.
Avatar is worth every minute you sit there. Long yes but not drawn out with meaningless filler and you hardly notice the length. I’m sure there will be numerous folks who disagree with me but in my opinion it’s just extraordinary and I think it will break Titanic’s Oscar record as well.
So after all that, if you skipped way down here to read the last few lines the best advice I have is (as with most movies) turn your brain off before you go in, don’t worry about what the movie “might” be trying to tell you, just sit back and enjoy it.
Overall I’d have to give it 5 out of 5 stars.