Jan 132010

I took in Avatar, James Cameron’s first real movie of the 21st century, with BamaDan and Dad tonight.  We did it right—in 3D at the Privé, with a round of Sam Adams.

Regular readers know I’m not an opening weekend sort of guy.  I’m not going blow-by-blow on a blockbuster almost a month after release, so I won’t bother with a full review, but here are a few thoughts.

Surely you have read soaring hyperbole from all corners about the jaw-dropping visuals.  I mean, people can’t shut up about it.  This is a game-changer.  This might be the most visually arresting movie ever.  This world is so immersive, it’s unbelievable.  The bar is raised—a lot.  Blah, blah, blah.

Know what?  “People” are right.  I think it might be impossible to overstate how beautiful this movie is.  “If you see no other movie this year…”  Heh.  Seriously, this one deserves the big screen.  If high-impact visuals make you warm, this film will wear your freak right the hell out, collapsing you in a heap of euphoric exhaustion.  Go see it.

And I’ll throw the final aerial battle in there as one of the best I can remember.

Unfortunately, all of this top-of-the-top stuff serves a relentlessly stock plot, almost laughably predictable in its execution.  You can tell the whole story after watching the first half-hour (no small trick when it weighs in at 2:42).  At any point after that first half-hour, you can describe in detail three to five scenes that are to occur as the film progresses.

“Well, it is Jim Cameron.” – BamaDan

If Cameron could ever relinquish enough ego to turn loose script people who are as good as his visuals people are, he’d ultimately be remembered as a cultural giant, instead of a pretty good film director.

Appreciate what I’m saying here:  with a story made with as much care as the visuals, Avatar is a legitimate contender for best movie ever made.

Instead, it pulls up at “excellent.”


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 Posted by at 10:36 pm

  4 Responses to “Review: Avatar”

  1. I took the boy to see it this weekend. I also took the girl to see “Princess and the Frog” too. “Princess and the Frog” was MUCH better. It is a classic Disney fairy tale princess movie on par with “Sleeping Beauty” and “Beauty and the Beast.” After having seen Disney’s “Mickey’s Philharmagic”, most all other 3D effects in movies just seem lame and contrived.

    While the visuals in Avatar were pretty good, the 3D did not add much to the movie (like almost ALL other 3D movies, see above). It elevates the coolness factor but not much else.

    The plot and subsequent message in Avatar was the predictable Hollywood tree-hugger, anti-American, anti-business, anti-military story. To have this movie making millions degrading the Marines while they are simultaneously being sent to Haiti just disgusts me. Had I known what this movie really was, I would not have wasted my money supporting the establishment that makes this kind of drivel.

    I am sure it will win dozens of Academy awards.

  2. BB_FAN: I deliberately avoided mentioning that it was a hard-left screed, mostly because the film is eminently convictible without doing so.

    I do, however, agree the film is laughably one-dimensional and obnoxious politically.

  3. Same plot as Pochahontas, right?

  4. Visually a beautiful movie and a true experience. I’m still waiting for the True 3D effects to do more than show depth. So many times it was *this* close to popping off the screen boundary, but it’s obvious to see better is coming.

    It’s like this. I can enjoy a movie just for it being a good experience. City of God is an amazingly well-written, dramatic masterpiece. Avatar is not. But that’s what I expected going in, so I was very pleased with my experience. The numbers don’t lie.

    Even Criterion released Armageddon and The Rock on DVD…

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