I wasn’t as excited to see Avatar as some people and I didn’t even know it was in 3D. I know. I’m special, right? But people liked it a lot and I figured I’d get out of the house when Wendy asked me if I wanted to go. Plus, she paid. XD
Anyway, the story is typical, really quite juvenile and I found that surprising consider this movie is like 20 years in the making. Basically, humans has discovered another planer, Pandora, where exists a race of blue and humanesque creatures who just happen to live in some giant tree over a major deposit of valuable ore. The soldiers want to shoot first, ask questions later while the scientists are interested in cultural exchange and the unique psychic properties of the planet. But wait for the plot twist! An ex-marine is recruited by the scientists to take over the role of his recently deceased twin brother because their DNA matches and, somehow, he is accepted by the aliens.
Really? That’s all you can give us? That’s sixth grade writing class material there, not an epic movie. A movie about soldiers shooting up aliens is every 13 year old boy’s wet dream and Avatar is about cliche as is gets. The plot lacks overall complexity and offers no surprises to the audience but I can forget that. It is all about the effects after all, right?
I have to say the CGI was fairly well done. It was pretty much seamless which is important when you’re incorporating that much CGI into a live action flick (or maybe that much live action into a CGI flick?). There was never a point where I really felt like “Oh, it’s going into CGI mode now” and some of the effects were stunning. Really quite beautiful. Much of the alien planet was UV-reactive and the colours and glow were gorgeous. It was really just pretty.
I still think that the aliens were just a bit cartoonish and I was reminded that I was looking at CGI when I saw them. It’s not the fault of the graphics as much as the design of these people just seemed a bit juvenile to me. This was one of the reasons the trailers never caught my attention: everything just looked so juvenile. With that said, minus violence, Avatar was really more family friendly than I would have expected.
And while I had no idea who was in it, Sigourney Weaver was, as always, a solid performer who portrayed her character, a (com)passionate scientist, to a T. Sam Worthington plays a generally likable guy as well, walking the fine line between marine and compassionate human while also narrating the movie but he does feel mostly replaceable. Any talented actor would have been a good call. I do feel that the thought put into his physical transformation as he transforms mentally was a nice touch if not a bit cliche.
The acting was certainly well done enough to evoke emotions, however. I felt sad at parts and Avatar reminded me of my own happiness or foibles as it progressed. It pulled me in sometimes without me realizing it. Would I be able to say the same if I weren’t in the emotional state I am currently in? Doubtful but it does have that sort of “we should all have good morals” pull that sells a movie.
So that brings me down to the 3D experience which is really the least phenomenal aspect of Avatar. Maybe it’s because Avatar is the first 3D movie I’ve seen in at least a decade (or maybe at all) and it takes some adjustment but I simply felt like I was looking at a layered screen instead of being in the movie. It was nothing like being in it at all and I kept wanting to look past that 3D “layer” because it was distracting me from the important things going on which became apart of the “background” because of the 3D aspect. Maybe it’s personal preference but I wish I could have taken off the damned glasses and watched the movie normally. There was only one scene in which 3D added to the experience (in the end, when the planet is burning and ashes fall). It seems like there has to be a DVD release without 3D and I bet I’d like that much more.
Despite its downfalls, Avatar was enjoyable enough that the 3 hours just flew by. There wasn’t a single point where I felt bored, although I was more enthralled at some points. The attractive CGI definitely was a big part of that and even if the plot wasn’t the most complex plot ever, it was something that we all can relate to on some level or another. I did not find Avatar to quite match the hype but it did at least meet my expectations and and even surpassed some of them.