This review was originally posted over at Realms & Galaxies: Celebrating SFF on the 19th of December 2009.
Last night a friend and I went to go watch Avatar, and we were both completely blown away! Not only is it an incredible 3D movie (and the first I’ve seen), it’s also a movie with a very strong message – a message that I’m afraid will go completely un-noticed because it has been packaged in entertainment.
So, we sat down, watched the previews of other movies -and the plethora of TV ads that are the irritating norm for SA movie-goers- and when the movie started, we slipped on our 3D glasses…
The first thing that grabbed by attention -during the main character’s voice-over- was, of course, the 3D. Even though you don’t see much in the beginning, it’s still amazing, though it was introduced in a manner that made you want to say, “Okay, that’s cool, but not breathtaking or amazing.” I’m glad that James Cameron took this route, because it would have been terrible to showcase everything the 3D technology could do in the first ten minutes of the movie.
As the movie progresses, James really ups the ante – and as the world of Pandora is revealed, the 3D tech almost overawes you -almost, I say, because James balances showcasing the tech with the absolutely stunning world he has created; Pandora really is an alien world, and is stunningly beautiful! Everything from the plants to the landscapes to the creatures – the CGI is so realistic that you’ll find yourself thinking on more than one occasion that there must be a world like Pandora somewhere, and that James Cameron traveled there to shoot the movie. It will, without a doubt, take your breath away!
Another aspect in which this movie really works, and which ties in to Pandora itself, is the culture of the natives – and this is where, I believe, the message and lesson of Avatar will be glossed over and forgotten in the hype and beauty of the movie:
I bet if all the delegates at Copenhagen watched this movie, they would be awed, would enjoy it, would cheer at the movie’s climactic battle – but would they get the message? Would any of us? The story at the heart of Avatar is about destruction, and the hope that it can be halted, or at least staved off. Either way, I really hope this movie is not only enjoyed and celebrated because of its utter beauty and the incredible technology employed within it, as well as the fact that it looks at issues the whole world is facing, and forces us to acknowledge those issues and deal with them.
Avatar is a movie that you simply must watch in a movie theatre – watch in in 3D, watch it in IMAX, as many times as you can!