Friday, December 11, 2009

Avatar: My First Thoughts

Michael here. Wow. WowWowWowWow! I've just returned from Pandora, and my mind is reeling from the experience. I'll need to see this at least three times just to soak it all in.

First off, Cameron has succeeded with flying colors at creating never-before-seen action spectacle married to a powerful story with characters you care about. The film is filled with applause-worthy moments that gave me goosebumps. Avatar is firing on all cylinders, and when the music kicks in and you are seeing something so totally mind-boggling that you just have to smile, you will realize the power of what Cameron has created.

The 3D is absolutely spectacular. The seats in front of me melted away: I was in the action. Pandoran bugs, critters, Na'vi, and avatars surrounded me. Cameron makes masterful use of the stereospace. From the scene where Jake leaves cryo to a woodsprite landing on Neytiri's arrow, the 3D enevelops you. The quality of the 3D cinematography is lightyears beyond that of any other 3D movie I've ever seen.

The Na'vi and Avatars are simply real. Cameron and WETA have leapfrogged over Davey Jones to create beings that give spectacular performances. And this is vital as the pulsing heart of the movie is the love story between Jake and Neytiri.

As for the action: nothing can prepare you for the final battle. I don't want to spoil anything, but it is just so gigantic with such a sense of scale and scope that it left me dying to see it again right away. And I can say that you will love the Great Leonopteryx. I could watch hours of the winged giant taking out Samsons by smashing them against cliffsides. The action is shot and cut together perfectly, and it all has stakes since you come to care about the characters.

Some favorite moments (in no particular order)

1. Jake running for the first time outside amongst the rows of plants. There is a wonderful sense of celebration and joy in this scene as his new, blue feet plunge into the dirt.

2. Taking down the Dragon. Awesome.

3. Jake and Neytiri fly together for the first time. Serene and beautiful, with great music.

5. The crashing down of Hometree. A sad moment, but the sense of scale is off the chain.

6. Final fight with Quaritch. Awesome.

I could go on and on. Cameron has put images on the screen that have never been seen before. My mind is still partly there, on this photorealistic planet where everything from the tiniest bug to the ferns to rocks to the critters simply *lives*. I really do feel like I have been on some sort of hallucinogenic trip. The 3D combined with the unprecedented accomplishment of creating a world from the ground up has left me shaken in the best possible way.

I want to go back right now.

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Jim Dorey
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