Monday, January 4, 2010

Weeks Too Late: Avatar

Avatar. Director & Writer: James Cameron.

(where I will tell you about the candy castles I've built in my brain about the movie before seeing
it): Well, it's no secret that going into this movie I expected a very nearly overblown epic about Space Elves vs...erm...Space Mechs (if there are no Space Orcs to be found my sympathies tend to go with the Mechs, so Go Mechs!) I had to be bodily forced to see it in 3D (I believe my shoulder has been dislocated) because I was certain it would be a cheap gimmick that would leave me headachey and irritable. James Cameron's movies have been about 50/50 with me in the past. Even the ones that weren't my cup of tea still tended to be visually interesting.

General Review (where I will not spoil the meat in your fridge): Well shut my mouth: 3D isn't the least bit stupid after all. Even if you hate every minute of the Fern Gully plotting, Nature Loving, deus ex machina filled plot I think it's worth the price of admission just to see what 3D is capable of. Far from being a cheap trick to pull in grandmothers and idiot children it enhanced the whole experience. Seeing alien landscapes dance on the tip of my substantial nose was captivating. But more than just being pretty, the 3D added depth to normal scenes of guys sitting around.

Avatar was not the Ride of the Valkyries style action movie I was expecting. Oh certainly, there was action to be had, but the smell of napalm wasn't nearly as pungent as anticipated. I'm reluctant to complain about lack of action in a movie, but in this case if it hadn't been for the interest generated by the 3D experience I would have tired of prancing around in the woodland much sooner than I did.

Unfortunately, the phrase "if not for the 3D" came up regularly during the movie. The pacing would have been too slow (if I wasn't being awed by the light show of the 3D); the plot would have been pe
dantic and snore worthy (if I wasn't giggling and clapping at alien kitties rolling around); and the overall nature worshiping motif would have irritated me to no end (if I wasn't gasping at the neat perspective tricks).

The alien, plant and planet design were neat, there is no denying it. I wish some of the same attention to detail had been put into writing the characters. Our main character Jake has several changes of heart that are expected in this type of story but not given any build up in the story. Whether it was the writing or being an animated Space Elf for much of the movie the usually delightful Sigourney Weaver could have
been any middle aged actress.

At the end of the day, I enjoyed myself at Avatar, but probably wouldn't have liked it as much if I'd seen it as a 2D DVD. I'd recommend going to see it but only if you can while it's still in theaters.

Random Thoughts (where I leave whatever else has dribbled out of my ears): More than once I found myself wanting to ask Trudy, Michelle Rodriguez' character if anyone had mistaken her for a man.

What would a Mech want with a knife?

Unobtainium? That's what you're going to call your precious, difficult to acquire ore? I've been told it's a supplier's joke...but really?

Floating mountains are the point which one of my movie companion's suspension of disbelief snapped. Not alien lifeforms or giant robots, but flo
ating mountains.

I think everyone looks cool in 3D glasses:

Aside (where I will tell you things unrelated to the review): And now I begin my six month journey to see if I can provide regular content regarding movies you've probably already seen. I promise neither the keen insight of my co-writer the Lady Doomwench of Girl on Book Action nor up to the minute reviews, tweeted to you while I watch the movie. However, I do get around as far as flicks go and am bursting to share my thoughts with you.