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December 27, 2009

James Cameron’s Avatar – I saw it. Twice. Once in 2-d; once in 3-d. To be honest, I thought the movie was going to flop. Given the hype focused on the 3d-ness and the animation, I figured most people don’t know enough about either area that it would make a difference. They would see a movie with a mediocre plot, and be extremely disappointed. Seems I was wrong.

I actually read very little about the movie before seeing it. I watched the trailer, read a few articles, but never had any other indication than rumors from friends that this movie was going to be “game-changing”. That’s a big description to live up to.

Anyways, the basics – it was long, like almost three hours long. Luckily, it was exciting enough the first time that the time flew by. The second time, however, didn’t hold up at all. The plot was extremely generic – not bad, but predictable. It was Ferngully meets the 21st century – with blue aliens instead of fairies. You can also compare it to Dances with Wolves, or Pocahontas, or any number of “humans learn to appreciate nature and other culture” movies. I don’t hold it against the movie, though. That plot line is a winner.

So what about the 3-d? The first time I saw the movie, it was without the 3-d effects. And without it, the movie was still pretty epic. Just the scenery, language, and computer graphic effects alone make the movie impressive.  But I didn’t think it was somehow more than other well-done large production movies. So I thought maybe I had to see it in 3-d, since that’s what this movie was all about, right? Plus, I heard good things about the effects. In the end, however, I was extremely disappointed.

Maybe my expectations of 3-d are too high; this was the first 3-d movie I’ve tried watching. Maybe I just got annoyed because the glasses don’t stay on my face all that well, so it requires constant adjusting. Maybe 3-d movies just require a larger screen than current movie theaters have. Maybe it’s just because I had already seen the movie and therefore, was too focused on the effects. And effects clearly can’t hold up the movie alone. So I admit the 3-d-ness is cool. But it’s not quite in the position to make a movie significantly better. In fact, I don’t think I would pay more at all to see it in 3-d instead of 2-d. On the positive side, at least when it comes to the small screen (and probably not in 3-d), I don’t think the movie will lose anything.

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8 comments

  1. Did you see it in the IMAX? I think the IMAX 3-D was good.


  2. Not having seen the movie, I can’t say much about it. Since I don’t like to spend $ on computer animation & Sci-Fi’s in general, I don’t think I’ll go see it. I saw its trailer months ago and thought it was just another colorful man-imagined alien movie. Now that I know its “humans learn to appreciate nature and other culture” plot line, I feel I’ve seen it already.

    On a separate note, I’d highly recommend “Up in the Air” (especially to frequent flyers). Although most of my 20-some-year-old friends seem not interested. I guess it’s for an older audience. Indeed the half-full theater for the 9pm show was mostly geezers and geezerettes. But it made me laugh, and moved me to tears at some moments.


    • Oh, good to hear about Up in the Air. I want to see it but I’ve been hearing not so good reviews.


  3. Saw it over Christmas in IMAX 3D. It was the first 3D movie I’ve seen where the 3D didn’t bug me too much. It was still a big annoying, though.

    It’s funny to hear you describe it as Ferngully because someone (one of my brothers? or my wife?) also said that. My wife said Pocahontas and I said Dances with Wolves because I knew it was that based on the South Park episode Dances with Smurfs.

    Overall, the plot was pretty generic, as you mentioned. I called Chekhov’s gun on the giant dragon and Dan called it on the Rhinos. But there were some nice twists. Some people who died or survived that I didn’t expect to. Also the fact that the mother goddess thing wasn’t just mythology was neat.


    • Kendra was the one who was calling it Ferngully meets The Matrix.


  4. I was actually impressed with the 3D because it was incidental. Instead of relying on gimmicks, you were just there watching it and it had depth. I dunno, if you’d seen it in 2D and were expecting a revolution, I can see why it would be disappointing. The glasses were also way uncomfortable.

    This may also be a result of my seeing it on an IMAX screen.


    • The other funny thing was danielle being unable to put her head on my shoulder because of teh polarized lenses and Dave intentionally playing with that during the film.


      • I put my head on neither Dad nor the strange man next to me’s shoulders during the movie, so I didn’t even realize that the lenses were polarized until after the movie when you guys were talking about it.



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