I saw Avatar in 3D.
– The special effects were very good. I have seen special effects of similar quality, but never such quality in such quantity. The detail was striking enough that I assume I stopped thinking of it as “special effects” and more as simply a background canvas. I’m talking more about the landscape, the flora and fauna, than the humanoids, who occasionally slipped into uncanny valley territory.
– The plot was melodramatic and not particularly exceptional. The ideological ax didn’t bother me because the plot was mostly extraneous to the film’s experience anyhow.
– I think that the 3D was really not much of a value-add. It was often distracting, especially at the beginning.
I don’t know how well this film will do. But I think it’s right to assume that this sets a new standard in terms of special effects. In many films special effects are most evident and utilized in action sequences or in alien contexts, when there’s a lot of sensory overload and you can’t fixate too much on whether they look fake or not. In Avatar an entire ecology was constructed, and there were many moments of idyllic calm when one could focus on the detail.
Note: The were many sequences which gave me flashbacks to 2005’s The New World.