I came to this movie in two minds… I’d heard a lot of good things: ground breaking film making that’s a BIG boost and I’m always a little skeptical. The claims were that the plot certainly left a lot to be desired. I’d never before seem a movie in 3D. Vague rumors that this effect sometimes makes people queasy had been praying on my mind ever since I got motion sickness watching Cloverfield, so while I was curious I’d avoided 3D screenings so far.
I’m late seeing this movie anyway because KM was just not interested and it’s taken me this long to persuade him that I wanted to go much more than he didn’t want to. I WIN 😛 … oh and I owe him a movie.
So you want the good news … or the bad?
Let’s start with a WOW. I was immediately impressed, but the realism of the world Cameron creates – Pandora – is stunning, captivating. It has SUCH a polished look it’s so easy to believe. Landscape shots are just breath taking. But the movie really comes into its own with the creation of the Na’vi its here that the leaps forward that the filmmakers have made became apparent. I honestly found it hard to remember that these 8 foot tall blue creatures where entirely artificially created. The CGI look has completely disappeared. Facial expressions are recreated like never before. I found it hard to believe I was looking at a copy and not some actors face painted blue. I’ve said I’m always skeptical when I hear the term “game changing” related to a film. I mean the marketing for blockbuster movies is a powerful thing and I guess I just love a good rant when films given this label fail to blow me away… but today I’m eating a big old piece of humble pie… BLOWN AWAY.
UGH now for the bad. “Unobtainium”… REALLY?! … pah. I’ve since been informed that this term has been around since the 1950’s in science fiction, BUT still. I’m with KM when he said that name must have been a placeholder name in the script that some dork forgot to go back and change it/think of something better…
The plot is unapologetically formulaic. Cameron claims “Dances with Wolves” as an influence but we could very well call it a remake/updating. (EDIT: Gadget Guy here… I prefer “Dances with Avatars”) There is nothing original here and on top of that, the film goes beyond highlighting some VERY important environmental issues… too far beyond. It’s like taking a bludgeon to the human race, beating you about the face repeatedly with so much force that you’re psychologically choking on your own blood. It’s hard not to get pissed off with that, especially when you paid for the privilege. The film was started over ten years ago and the criticisms of the situation in Iraq are equally obvious and here I am pissed off again. Its not that I don’t agree. I was and always have been against what happened BUT I’m not anti-military. Thinly hiding the criticism behind the military man gone mad on a power trip has been done just one too many times. I’m fed up of the full force of the population’s displeasure being landed at the military’s door because people are too shy or scared to come out and say that USALLY it’s the people above them calling the shots and THEY are the ones who have lost their minds. If you HAVE to make a point in such an obnoxious way, get some balls and do it right.
Is it just me who’s a little uncomfortable with the idea that you have to plug into things to get them to cooperate with you? AND IS IT JUST ME who was a little uncomfortable with the rhythmic chanting, rocking and such of the Na’vi population gathered around the spirit tree? I LOVE the notion that they were all trying to work together to achieve a common goal but it was all a little too cult-ish for me. I clearly wasn’t drinking Na’vi Kool Aid. Being more in tune with nature, I get that. Respecting nature and your fellow man all admirable aspirations… but… somehow… that rhythmic chanting just pushed me over the edge. Oh pleeeeeease stop.
I’m a little sad at this huge gulf in my opinion. The movie is technically mind bowing in a way that makes me want to love love LOVE it, rate it as one of the greatest movies of all time and rave about it to everyone I know, BUT the issues I have with the plot just get in the way. I’m AMAZED by Avatar but I don’t LOVE it.
KM is even less impressed. He’s now firmly of the opinion that James Cameron needs to have a change of career and go make kick ass video games “because you don’t need any credible plot for those.” I can’t be that harsh. The plot issues are balanced by JUST HOW AWSOME the special effects are. If you’re into movies and movie making, grin and bare the plot crap. YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS MOVIE.
My opinions on the 3D thing? Oddly it was KM that complained that the 3D made him feel dizzy (maybe ‘cause he wasn’t enjoying the film 😛 ) I thought it was subtle and DID add something to the creation of the world and how realistic it felt. It didn’t get in the way or irritate me. It was about the only thing in this movie that WAS subtle. However, have you seen the ticket prices? Those are going to have to come down before I’m going to choose the 3D option every time. It’s insane that my movie ticket is getting closer to a theatre thicket in price. In that case I’d rather just go to the theatre; it’s been 3D for years and interactive too 😛 I don’t think we need a future where all movies are shot in 3D. I simply don’t think all movies would benefit from it enough to make the additional costs of shooting in 3D worthwhile. I, however, have to acknowledge that this is the way things seem to be going. Apparently we’re getting 3D TV soon too. I’m not sure we need it, to be honest. I have enough trouble trying to find ONE pair of glasses to watch TV but Gadget Guy claims ESPN wants to give us baseball, football, hockey, etc. in 3D. Wooooo now THAT I might enjoy.
We better get our skates on over here. KM and I haven’t even entered the world of television in HD yet we’re getting left behind 😛