Wednesday, December 30, 2009

James Cameron’s Avatar 3D Review

I know I’ve written my last movie review for 2009, but I just got back from watching Avatar, and it is impossible to wait for 2010 to do this.

First of all, Avatar is the latest effort from the guy that made Aliens and Terminator; that fact alone is more than enough to raise the hype-bar to an impossible level. He also directed Titanic, so this guy really knows how to make big budgeted blockbuster movies.

Having hype is great for any entertainment media, but it also comes with the risk of disappointing the fans if that hype is not fulfilled; and Avatar has a hype-rate that is almost impossible to achieve.

Although it was more expensive (1800yen plus 300yen for 3D glasses), I choose to watch the 3D version of the movie. I am not really a big fan of 3D movies but I heard the 3D technique in the movie is new and different; so why not?

Ok enough about me, here goes the review.

The movie progresses in a very methodical way, and the story is nothing new actually, taking ideas and themes from Braveheart and Last Samurai. Nevertheless, James Cameron has successfully created a fantasy world so finely detailed and rich with content that it took about 2/3 of this 170 minutes running movie to introduce the world and build connection between the characters and viewers; one very important element if you want your viewers to care about the climax and ending.

Although it was quite long, this anti-war and eco themed movie was nothing short of amazing, taking little time for the viewers to be absorbed into this fantasy world make-believe. To summarize the story, a wheel-chair bound soldier gets a second fighting chance when he gets to take control of a Navi body, the natives of Planet Pandora where humans are trying to conquer its rich resources. The motive of the initiative is to infiltrate the natives from the inside and learn their way for the benefit of the humans. The new found strength and agility that the Navi body gives was a refreshing freedom, but he was left with a difficult decision to choose which side to take, as he falls in love with the people of Pandora and its culture… and this also means that he HAD to fuck the native tribe leader’s only daughter. So as I said, the story was nothing new, but it was really good nonetheless and was never boring because the pacing, atmosphere, acting, music and level of detail put into every element was nothing short but impressive.

Talk about acting, I have never seen a movie that translates human emotion so flawlessly through computer generated images, and for the first time I forgot that I was watching a CGI movie. The technology used to make this movie in term of motion capture is truly years ahead of anything out there.

The 3D feature in the movie was something new too. Other 3D movies out there tend to bring images ‘out’ from the screen but Avatar uses a totally different technique that emphasize on depth and distance between object in focus and out; achieving an effect of ‘being in the movie’ instead of ‘being brought to’. I really don’t know how to explain it.

I don’t want this to be any longer, so here is Avatar in a nut shell: One extremely well made albeit methodically, movie that uses new technology that could change how big-budgeted movie are made from now on. The story was not revolutionary, but the combination of drama, detailed fantasy, stunning images and action scenes could definitely stimulate the senses and leave the viewer wanting more, made this movie one jewel that is hard to miss. The 3D feature adds to the experience tremendously, and I highly recommend the 3D version. Even without 3D, this is simply the best movie of 2009, and its mainstream broad appeal won’t scare even the most strict movie mania.

So people, go watch Avatar. NOW! You will not regret it. Get ready to experience something new from the movie industry. Next I'm going to watch the 2D version to see how different the experience could be. I'm also buying the blu-ray the first thing it's out.

Yes, I have become an Avatar fanboy. Good job Mr Cameron!

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