Saw Avatar earlier tonight.
Short review: Wow! What a great movie!
Slightly longer review: OMG! What a freaking awesome movie!!
Longer review, with no spoliers (!!) below the fold.
James Cameron’s movies tend to be visually spectacular but short on plot. Titanic coms to mind. The part where the ship actually sinks was pretty cool. The other parts, where paper-thin characters say implausible things to each other, was less so.
Avatar was very much in that mold. Its just that “visually spectacular” really does not do the film justice. It is simply amazing. Strikingly beautiful with lots of imagination and scrupulous attention to detail. If one of the hallmarks of good science fiction is plausible world-creation, then this film is a home run.
Frankly, a complex, nuanced plot would only have been a distraction. Who wants to be bothered with elaborate character studies when you have a cool world to explore? It’s like bringing your homework to the Grand Canyon. Yeah, yeah, yeah, love story this and cliched evil military guy that. Whatever. Show me more of those hammerhead rhino dudes and the pterodactyl thingums. Now, that’s the stuff!
And the action sequences! Holy crap!! They were more realistic and believable than a lot of what you see in live-action films. So many action movies these days fail to observe the distinction between action and chaos. They think shaking the camera and making the action scenes a chaotic mess somehow makes them more exciting. Instead it just makes them frustrating and confusing and liable to cause motion sickness. But here, even during the most complex action scenes you could follow every detail. Every stunning, beautifully choreographed detail.
I saw the film in 3D, which was pretty cool. To be honest, though, I doubt the film would lose much in 2D. For the first half hour or so of the movie I found the 3D a little hard to get used to. I started to get that, “I have to close my eyes for a minure” feeling I get after trying too hard to get one of those Magic Eye drawings to come into focus. But then I adjusted, and for the rest of the movie I had no problem.
Anyway, between this and Sherlock Holmes it looks like I’m two for two with end of year movies. Still have Nine (sadly not yet at my local theater) and Up in the Air to go…