Monday, December 28, 2009

Movie Review: Avatar

Hello gang, I hope everyone had a nice X-Mas and are getting ready for a great New Years!

Yesterday, Elise and I walked up to the Capitol theater in Arlington to catch Avatar in 3D. We both weren't exactly taken with all the hype, but both felt that the technical achievements of the movie made it worth seeing in the theater in 3D instead of waiting for DVD. We were not disappointed.

The 3D was outstanding and almost completely immersive. I was only taken out of the experience when things like computer monitors were also displaying in 3D, it was so odd to see that I stopped focusing on the movie and focused on the monitor. It was perhaps a bit too cool of a visual.
The forest scenes were amazing and quite often nearly breathtaking.

The planet, Pandora was beautiful. The inhabitants were a weird mix of slightly familiar creatures with a twist and a HEAVY dose of deep sea creatures. This last part I found slightly distracting, some of the creatures were SO heavily deep sea that it took me out of the movie, while some others were so unusual that I wanted to see more of them!

The mix of live action and CGI was seamless. Absolutely seamless. The Na'vi each looked like individuals and the main characters all looked like their alien counterparts. It was almost too easy to forget that this wasn't some kind of amazing makeup and that the past 40 minutes was all computer imagery! When humans interacted with the Na'vi it was also completely believable. It was pretty astounding.
The eyes and those tiny facial movements and micro expressions that people make and that we don't necessarily consciously notice are what make CGI characters come to life and the Na'vi were absolutely life like.

The story is basically Dances With Wolves in space and was fairly stereotypical. This is not necessarily bad, it IS James Cameron after all, so you have to expect the movie to look better than it's written. The only really groan worthy part of the movie is the depiction of the bad guys. They're your basic mindless military and corporate slimes. Cameron pretty much just transplanted the jerks from Aliens straight into this movie. The bully's are all totally 1 dimensional and not much time is devoted to developing them, actually scratch that. NO time is devoted to developing them. For it's nearly 3 hours, only about 3 or 4 characters get any development time. But that's probably ok, there were a lot of people/characters running around and not all of them really had a lot to do. If they were each developed, the movie would have been 4-5 hours long! This is really a special effects movie and you just have to go with that.

So, to make a long review short, the movie may not be perfect but it is quite a lot of fun. The technical innovations that were created just for the movie well make the movie worth seeing in the theater. This WILL NOT be the same at home.

I give it a B+/A-

ps- I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to Na'vi cosplay at next years comic con's but there is no way we WON'T be seeing it. If it's done well, it'll be something to see. But, if it's not done'll be something to see.


  1. So would say that the 3D effects in Avatar are better than they were in Jaws 3D and Friday the 13th Part III in 3D? Because frankly, I would find that a little hard to believe.

  2. I'll just say that in one of the jungle scenes, I thought that the bug that flew around the screen was actually real for a second. Amazing 3D.