I have a Friday matinee ticket to see James Cameron’s new 3-D epic science fiction movie, Avatar. I’ll update this post afterwards if I’m impressed with what I see.
UPDATE: James Cameron will never win an award for best screenplay. If you see the trailer, you know the story. There isn’t much to it, but there’s enough to move the action along so it’s never boring. I’m still not sold on 3-D movies. It’s a distraction more than an enhancement. I would have preferred viewing a regular 2-D projection of the movie. I felt like I could focus better, see and appreciate more when I removed the 3-D glasses during some scenes where the 3-D effect was minimal. It still feels like a gimmick to me. It distorts the picture and makes my eyes feel sore. I don’t like it.
So are the blue computer-generated humanoids and the world they live on with all its strange flora and fauna convincing enough to create some real drama? Yes. The CGI isn’t photo-realistic, yet it doesn’t feel synthetic. At times, objects like leaves falling from trees move in a way that seems not entirely natural, but it’s happening on a planet (or moon) that doesn’t have full Earth-gravity, so it kind of makes sense that objects would seem to float a little more. The CGI characters are fully expressive. Their eyes, their facial expressions — it’s all there. They don’t feel like creepy Polar Express people or cartoonish Star Wars characters. It’s impressive.
I enjoyed the movie. At times, I did get caught up in the drama and the action, but I think I would have got into it more if I’d seen it without the distraction of the 3-D effects. If you’re going to see it, it should be in a theatre where the beauty and the spectacle of it all can be viewed up close and personal. I recommend it just for that. I can’t say I was blown away by Avatar, but it’s a good movie for what it is, an action-packed, science-fantasy drama. If I could see it again in 2-D, I think I’d appreciate more.
UPDATE #2 (Jan. 15/10): I saw it again but this time in the last row where the 3-D effect wasn’t as distracting or as hard on my eyes. I was able to focus better too. So if you’re going to see it, I recommend sitting near the back. I still don’t think the 3-D is necessary because it’s visually impressive enough already. It’s not a great film, but it’s fun, simple and effective. And it’s pretty damn cool. (Except for the Celine Dion cloned song at the end. James Cameron must have the lamest CD collection at home.)