Friday, December 18, 2009


I just returned from seeing James Cameron's new film "Avatar". Words cannot adequately describe the experience, but I will try. This was without question the single greatest theater going experience I have ever had! "Incredible" just doesn't do it justice. The movie is breathtakingly beautiful, awe inspiring, reverential at times. I had no idea that such things were possible. I am speechless just thinking about it. It truly is indescribably good!
The world James Cameron creates is so thoroughly immersive, it almost feels as though real life were a dream. I have never had such a physical, emotional, and mental response to a film before. I was completely enwrapped. I physically and verbally cheered in moments of delight and excitement. I cringed and clenched my fists in moments of anger and frustration. My jaw dropped in amazement many times. This movie involved me on every level. It really is a unique experience, and I wish I had had a camera trained on me throughout the film to record my reactions. I would love to be able to go back and witness my own responses to such a wonderfully new experience.
Make no mistake, this isn't just some new special-effects intensive popcorn movie; this is revolutionary. This is industry changing. Everything else pales in comparison.
Is it mostly CGI? Yes. Can you tell that it is CGI? Yes. Is all the CGI distracting or annoying? NO! James Cameron has finally found a way to do it right! This is the best CGI I have ever seen and the effects are seamless and beautiful. The look and style are very conducive to the alien world Cameron creates. After a while you stop thinking about the special effects and just allow yourself to be immersed in the world of Pandora. The 3D of the IMAX format takes some getting used to, but after a few minutes you will feel as though you are right there alongside each and every character. All I can say is, be prepared to be surprised!
In the weeks leading up to Avatar's release, I read everything I could find on it. Nothing I read even came close to doing it justice. One write-up talked about how the technology developed for Avatar would be the biggest thing to hit the film industry since sound! I was pretty sure that hype of this magnitude would be impossible to live up to; I now see that they were absolutely, 100% correct. After you see Avatar you will never look at another movie the same way again. I realize that not every film lends itself to Avatar's method of story telling, and that's okay; but for every imaginative, surreal, epic adventure, the bar has been raised. People will be talking about Avatar for a long, long time.
Coming in at 162 minutes, it is quite long. I absolutely recommend a preemptive stop in the restroom prior to the movie. Trust me, you will not want to miss a single second of this masterpiece. I honestly didn't want it to end. Avatar is so masterfully crafted that there is never a dull moment or a dragging minute. It could have easily been twice as long and I would have been thrilled. As the conflict resolved I felt a sense of apprehension come over me as I knew that the film was drawing to an end. I literally was disappointed when the screen went black because I wanted to remain on Pandora just a little longer. To paraphrase one reviewer, "for the better part of three hours, James Cameron makes you feel like a kid again." I agree with this statement whole-heartedly, and I can tell you that it felt very good. It felt like returning home after a long absence, or like something you have eagerly awaited for so long has finally come. Avatar is the film you have been waiting for, even if you don't know it yet.
The majority of the criticism for Avatar is directed at its story and dialogue. One review called Avatar a mix of Dances with Wolves and Fern Gully. I would say that this is an accurate description...but who cares! The story works! It is emotional, and touching, and thought provoking, and real! It grabs at your inner core and makes you ponder what it means to be both human, and humane.
It has also been criticized for containing environmentalist propaganda. My response to this is: Yes, Avatar has an underlying message(Gasp), but this is not necessarily environmental. Why is it a bad thing for a film to have a message it wants to get across, or a central theme that people can relate to, or a moral of some sort? I say the best films ARE the ones with a message, or that give you something to think about. Avatar is an allegory that can be applied to many situations that we face in the world every day, not just the environment, or our military campaigns. Some of its parallels hit very close to home, and I expect that different people will identify many different morals contained in Avatar. To me this is a sign of a very good film. Personally, I feel as though my appreciation for life has been enhanced by my participation in Avatar.
Definitely go see Avatar! Definitely see it in 3D! Definitely see it in the IMAX, if possible! I would say that if you have an IMAX theater within a two hour drive of your home, it is worth making that drive to see Avatar as it was meant to be seen.
I went in to Avatar with very high expectations. James Cameron is one of my favorite directors and he has produced some truly incredible films in the past. I was very much aware of all of the hype and rumor surrounding this film. I can honestly say that every one of my expectations was not only met, but blasted into outer space! I don't believe I have ever been so delighted by a film in all my life. I can't praise it enough. I will definitely be returning to the IMAX for another viewing.


Andrew said...

I agree with everything you said. I've never been so impressed with a film. Everyone needs to see this, in a theatre, in 3D. It won't be the same if you wait for it to be on DVD. And definitely go to the bathroom before you go in. I only made it two thirds of the way through before I had to make a trip to the Men's room.

Nikki said...

You. Are. A. Dork. ...But you usually have good taste in movies so I'll just take your word for it. Glad you enjoyed it.

Erica said...

Amazing, amazing, amazing!!! And, thanks to Robby's reactions to the film, I was entertained twice. Once by the film, and then again by Robby's reactions.

I also agree with everything you said. I have now seen Avatar 3 times and would gladly go a 4th time!