I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way. Go watch the movie. In 3D. Now. Interested parties can read further. No spoilers, I promise!
Back at e3 in June, Sergio and I attended the Ubisoft media briefing. We were both shocked when James Cameron walked onto the stage to talk about the Avatar video game. He also talked a bit about the movie that was released yesterday. Until then the movie was totally not on my radar. The only thing that I cared about was that it ripped off the name of a popular Nickelodeon cartoon.
On the contrary, this movie has been in the works since before Titanic was released. James told us that when he brought the concept to producers, they said that there was no way that it could be done.
That was then, this is now.
The first thing you need to know about this movie is that it is a visual masterpiece. Suspension of belief aside, I have never witnessed more remarkable 3D animation. Everything is seamless. The Na’vi people have a level of expression that makes Jar-jar Binks and his friends look like Saturday morning cartoons. It’s freakish.
Each of the Dreamwalkers have a resemblance to their human controllers, and the level of expression is truly something to behold. Pandora’s lifeforms come to life in a way that makes you forget that 90% of what you are watching was pooped out of a computer.
The bad thing is that I don’t know if I will be buying this movie on DVD (or Bluray, for that matter…) because of the 3D technology. The glasses are definitely not a gimmick. 3D adds another element to the immersion and I want to encourage you to watch the movie in 3D if you can. You will not regret it. This movie definitely is going to be experienced best in the theater.
There’s the obvious space-opera backdrop (with the whole thing being on an alien planet) and there are even nods to anime like Evangelion (I couldn’t help but think about sync ratios when he jumped inside of the Avatar control system for the first time). You have space marines, which sort of gives things a Halo vibe. In fact, I’m quite sure after watching this movie that Halo can be done justice in the theater.
Speaking of games: I haven’t played the Avatar game, but there could be some amazing games made in this universe.
The thing I like most about this movie is that it never forgets that it is a movie. What I mean is that with all the special effects, they never get in the way of things. They are simply a backdrop for a compelling story. And even with that, you’ve seen this story before. It can be seen as technology vs. nature or capitalism vs. communism. You’ve seen similar plots in movies like Ferngully…heck, it even resembles The Last Samurai on some levels. However, the complete package together brings us something new and unique.
I don’t really want to get into any more detail, just know that if you love watching movies this is something you can appreciate. If you are a syfy sci-fi fan, this movie is something you can REALLY appreciate.
I think we have a new epic on our hands.