Avatar is, in a word … stunning (insert applicable thesaurus equivalent). James Cameron, love him or hate him has once again worked his magic to bring to life a world where even I started saying “oh yeah…blue people can be totally real”.
I had misgivings from the start, I mean seriously…Blue…People. I’d thought Cameron had finally gone round the bend in his quest to make something entirely new. I knew that it would be a superior movie in terms of technical prowess but I had doubts that it would be anything more than fanciful eye candy.
So, I was wrong. That happens…occasionally.
After adjusting to the 3D sunglasses (which are nothing like the blue/red paper ones I had when I was a kid…headaches here we come!) I was pleasantly surprised to feel more than see the effects. The environment of the story suddenly held depth, walls and trees subtly enveloping. There were of course more obvious uses of the 3D medium and at one point I actually blinked to clear some floating debris. The world of the movie certainly lent itself to the medium, high cliffs and towering tree branches predominated the scenes and I would occasionally catch myself holding my breath or feeling just a teeny bit queasy from the now palpable height. Even the CG characters themselves were weighty, they held a definite space and moved with such realism that I found myself almost instantly buying in to the obviously alien creations. Now that I’ve seen this movie in 3D I can’t imagine seeing it any other way. It certainly completed the experience.
The characters in Avatar are somewhat what I’ve come to expect from a Cameron film. He doesn’t tend to use overly complicated plot structures or characters with abundant depth. What he does do well is to create a solid group of core individuals that he slowly builds life into. The character reactions are honest and simple. The plot is a classic story line (High tech vs Low tech, Money vs Nature) it was a good choice not to try and introduce a completely new idea here, working with a known plot lets us sit back and enjoy the ride. I was absolutely pleased to see that his motion capture technology allowed the power of the acting to easily be seen through their CG masks.
Overall this movie exceeded on every level. Cameron was obviously trying to create a technically memorable film, wanting to set his creation yet again as the benchmark. He certainly provided an experience I’ve never seen on film and looking at the cost to produce this….may never see again.
Cameron, have a drink on me….you deserve it.