Avatar is "the most evocative and amazing science-fiction movie since 'Star Wars.'
I saw Avatar on Saturday, and when it was over I thought I understood what it was like to watch the first moving picture a hundred twenty years ago, the first movie with dialogue, maybe even the first cave paintings in Europe. The movie's not the same level of revolutionary, obviously, but the feeling of watching something entirely new is similar. For the record, it wasn't the 3D by itself that made the movie epic; I saw Beowulf in 3D IMAX at the Metreon, and that was creepy more than anything. I also saw Spykids 3D, and that was surprisingly decent having had a few beers, but nothing mind-blowing. Avatar is completely different.
James Cameron's imagination is unparalleled, and the world he dreams up is amazing. The bioluminescent flying jellyfish? The massive hammerhead land animals? The detail that went into the Na'Vi language? Just ... wow. Take the innovation of Terminator 2, or the epic scale of Titanic, and apply that standard to the visual imagining of an ecosystem. THEN you layer the 3D, and the net result is transcendent. Imagine the 3-D as the maple syrup that douses your pancakes and sausage; it adds a layer of goodness to everything, yet it's not the meal by itself. And the pancakes are fluffier than the puffiest clouds you've ever seen from the window seat and the sausage is juicy like it grew from a tree and you picked it in August (here's a free link to a brief James Cameron interview, as reward for reading my awkward analogies).
The plot on its own is decent, a mash-up of [edited since I can't turn the fonts white]. I won't review it here too much; the LA Times and NY Times do credible jobs. And it's not a perfect movie; the plot takes care of that. I didn't really care about these peccadilloes though; I was too busy enjoying myself, believing that I was also on Pandora and living in that world.
I'm so effusive about Avatar since I'm normally superlatively cynical with respect to watching movies. Avatar is more than an ordinary movie though, it's an immersive experience. Next weekend I'll try to watch it in IMAX 3D.
Did anyone else see it or like it this much?
Physics fun fact of the day: the 3D technology uses horizontal/vertical polarized light instead of the red/blue light filters of yesteryear. You can tell b/c if you look through the same lenses of two glasses, and then turn one of the lenses 90 degrees, all incoming light is blocked.