Ok, so I know this might seem like it’s a bit late for an Avatar review, especially since it was released in December and it’s now February, but, trust me I have a good reason! I did in fact see it on opening day, December 18th, in 3D Imax, which was definitely an experience. But, I was waiting to see it again this week followed by a Q&A with the man himself, James Cameron!!!!!!! I think it was worth the wait to hear what he had to say about the film after it had been out for a while and became the highest-grossing film of all time. And it’s worth a mention that the film taking spot number 2 is Cameron’s work too, Titanic. Umm yeah, he’s rich.
So, here was my experience seeing it opening day. Of course I got there super early because I wanted to be dead center for the best immersive experience, and I guess every other excited nerd in the city had the same idea! I go out to get popcorn and an Icee (manditory movie snackage) when I come back well, just imagine who you think would be going to see Avatar on opening day and you’ve got a pretty good idea of whose stuffed into the seats to my right and left! They look at me with shock and awe, “We were just discussing what fat greasy man was going to be sitting between us! But, you’re not fat OR greasy!” I politely giggle, giving my best, that’s sweet but please don’t talk to me smile. WRONG CHOICE! The one to my right, proceeds to tell me how he’s asked 3 other ladies to join him for this incredible movie going experience, but was turned down… Which is lucky for him because he ended up on a date with me! At least that’s what he decided to share with me.
Here’s a note to all guys, just because you are sitting next to a single woman at a movie theater, that DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE ON A DATE WITH THEM!
Ok, now that we’ve gotten that gem of wisdom out of the way, the movie starts and I won’t lie, I was glad to have people next to me who were just as excited as I was! Who’d read up on all the pre movie hype and were legit fans, because it was fun to get to be like, DID YOU JUST SEE THAT?!! And know they were just as giddy as I was. But, I swear if their hand went for my popcorn or anywhere over the armrest barrier I was going to lay the smack down!
I’m going to bypass giving a detailed description of the film and just say this… One part Ferngully, one part Pochahantas, throw in a few giant blue cat monkeys oh, some Halo Master Cheif suits and some serious AWESOME! And that is Avatar!
I know it might sound like those movies are a little lame, but I don’t mean it that way at all. This movie was a fantastic adventure, it was the first time I have seen a 3D movie where I forgot that it was in 3D! It wasn’t like silly moments of bullets flying at the camera for shock sake (although I will say when they shot the gas guns into Hometree I jumped.) It was everything that I expected and more! Cameron does a great job of completely pulling you into the story and making you feel for the characters! I mean when it comes down to it, this movie is an action romance! He never forgot that. We got incredible action sequences that seemed like I was playing Halo in 3D, and still got those perfect moments where you could see Jake and Neytiri’s chemistry. (Unlike in the Twilight film when all of a sudden Edward and Bella are supposed to be in love.) But, I mean really, the priceless unobtainable mineral that the big bad humans are after is called, UNOBTAINIUM? I guess he used up all his creative juices on the new technology to capture the actors performances and make the movie the best 3D thing ever! I mean he’s not perfect!
The acting was so much fun to watch. Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington were a huge part of what made this movie so believable. But, since they were Na’vi for most of the film it did make me wonder how much was in their actual performance and how much the WETA animating magicians made happen. Having Cameron there in person to talk and explain more in detail made me appreciate it that much more. He said that was a big part of the technology they were waiting on and developing. He wanted to show the footage of the actors next to the films animated footage so that we could see how exactly they transfered the actors performances into these giant blue Pandoran aliens.
I loved the small moments where you could see the scale of the Na’vi to the humans, when Jake first becomes his avatar, in the final fight scene when Neytiri saves Jake’s human body, and when they try to transfer Grace and Jake to their avatar bodies permanently. I liked being reminded that this was a fantasy world with glowing plants, flying jellyfish tree seed and GIANT aliens! It was perfect.
It would be impossible to see this movie and not see that Cameron was trying to tell us all something about how we are treating the environment. He said that the Na’vi are a part of us that really wants to appreciate the Earth. When he discussed it he was incredibly passionate about the idea that you can use entertainment and say something good with it! Which I totally agree with, I don’t think everything always has to have a message, but why not use the voice you’ve got.
He talked about coming up with the idea for Avatar, and that it did not come to him over night. He mentioned how artists during the Surrealist movement would just paint what they dreamed with no thought of what it meant, and let the audience connect with it on that dream level. Parts of this film were his dreams, specifically the flying. Cameron said he always had dreams of flying as a child and that the film really helps to get people back to that childlike place. I have to say those were my favorite scenes in the movie! When Jake connects with his Ikran and takes off in the floating Hallelujah Mountains, that was amazing! And I mean the scene where he flies in on Toruk even cooler! I WANT MY ONE OF MY OWN!
The ending was perfect. Period. A great full circle moment, the movie opens with Jake Sully beginning this new life on Pandora as his human self and ends with him beginning his life as a Na’vi.
The real question is … when do I get to being my life as a Na’vi??? I can’t wait for Avatar 2. I will be there opening day ready for date number 2 gentlemen!