Let me say first that I enjoyed Avatar 3D. The space ships and the technology were very pleasing and the alien world, Pandora, was magical and enthralling.
The movie itself is approaching 3 hours long, and I didn’t have quite the same restlessness as I’ve felt in other movies of a similar length.
We deliberately went to the 3D version, having enjoyed UP in 3D.
Note: if you’re the type who finds even the name of the movie a spoiler, then don’t read on. For the rest of you: I’ve tried to keep things general in my comments so as not to spoil the plot or characters.
The curse of 3D
I hope that in time to come movie makers will get over their own 3D and special effects. The movie had a certain amount of “Look! It’s special effects! In 3D!”.
There were numerous high-speed, high-risk chase sequences, which were of course exciting, and some of which were setting up some background for later in the movie. But they definitely had that air about them of just showing off what the film maker could do.
I guess it’s a bit like the early days of desktop publishing when you included every font on the computer because you could.
Don’t get me wrong, the special effects were stunning, and the 3D really popped, but some of it was just that bit self-serving.
The unwilling suspension of disbelief
Perhaps the main ‘problem’ with the movie was the struggle I had to suspend disbelief, or rather, to disengage my brain.
I wanted to sink back into my comfy theatre chair and be carried away into a quite magical world. But my thoughts were too noisy: ‘Oh, that’s a reference to the wars in Iraq’, ‘oh, yes, the industrialist profit motive’, ‘oh, Dragonriders of Pern‘, and on and on.
That’s OK when you feel clever for detecting it, but Avatar somehow managed to hit you over the head with its numerous topical references. They were cramming in an awful lot.
An hour or more into the movie I had to give myself a stern mental talking to, telling my brain to shut up and just enjoy the story as a story.
A recognisable plot
The plot is one we could all write, given one or two suppositions. Or as one Twitterpal, @thomasbeagle, so aptly said:
It so too did have a plot. I recognised it from a number of other films..
The creative elements
There was some superb creativity on display in the movie: the forests of Pandora, and their creature inhabitants, the language of the native Na’vi people, some of the military technology.
The alien world, Pandora, was richly drawn and intriguing, as were its inhabitants. It put me in mind of a TV programme I saw a few years back where scientists conjured up an alien world, explaining how certain features would be a result of the planet’s physical makeup: shapes of trees and animals, size, locomotion and so on.
The planet was fantastical and magical, beautiful yet savage.
Go see the movie
All in all I’d have to say this is a movie worth seeing. It has plenty of action, chases, explosions. It has spaceships and technology and the whole ingenious idea behind the avatar programme.
It cleverly takes you into the world of the avatars.
It introduces an alien world and culture that richly blends many Earth cultures.
The themes are worthy, the special effects are special indeed.
I enjoyed it a lot, especially once I finally silenced my brain and accepted the movie as a movie.
Set aside 3 hours and watch it. Tell us what you think in the Comments.