Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Avatar (possible spoilers)

My wife and I saw Avatar in 3D last night.  Here's a little review.

First of all, you need to go to the theater and see this movie.  My wife doesn't even like going to the theater, yet she will tell you that you need to go to the theater and see this movie.  Perferabley in 3D.  The movie takes visuals and bumps it up to a scale that is basically unprecedented in film.  Remember that feeling you got when you watched the graphics in Star Wars for the first time?  Well, welcome to the next generation of theater cinematography.  Yes, it is really that good.  But is isn't just landscapes.  It's details.  The native creatures (Na'vi) are lifelike and the textures and expressions are done with amazing precision.  The depth of detail into the forests of Pandora (the location for the film) are stunning.  James Cameron did the right thing waiting 20 years to make this film because his use of technology to create such images is precedent setting.  I wouldn't usually say it, but this movie is good enough to see based on the visuals alone.  And yes, go to a theater.

The story is your basic "corporation vs. native population" situation.  There is a lot of "Mother Earth" tones to the flim and the ideas around interconnectivity, all of which play out fine.  Think of it like Wall-E.  The message was obviously there, but it didn't spoil the movie.  Unfortunately Cameron had to get his War on Terror digs in there as well, and did it without being subtle at all.  That's where it started to get a little preachy, which I don't need in my films entertainment films.  James Cameron would have done better to watch some Battlestar Galatica episodes to learn how to get effective social messages across to the public, instead he just blurts out the politics.

This movie is better than Titanic, but also similar in its scope.  The visuals are what carries it (and carries it well) while the story is fine and lightly entertaining.  The film should win just about every technology based Oscar in existence, but a Best Picture nod should not be future.  I'd give the film an 8.5 out of 10.   
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