Fast becoming the highest grossing movie ever made, Avatar is taking the motion picture business by storm – and rightly so.
The anticipation while queuing the length of the cinema foyer was akin to that when queuing for a ride in a theme park. Almost everyone within earshot was recounting 3D movies or theme park experiences they have had. This led to a particular, although orderly rush for prime seats.
The trailers gave us a taste of the 3D experience. An excellent move as it does take time for your eyes to adjust to the depth of view. It also gives you a chance to get used to wearing the glasses. No flimsy cardboard for this, properly produced plastic glasses with decent lenses were handed out – and, yes, you do have to give them back.
And so, on to the main event: As a movie, this stands easily alongside James Cameron’s other excellent sci-fi output. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) joins up for a deep space army mission in place of his recently deceased twin brother. Jake has been offered the chance to go because his twin had been trained in the expensive duty of piloting an Avatar: An Avatar being a physical body that can be controlled remotely from the mind of the pilot with matching DNA – hence the need to use Jake Sully. The extra twist to Jake’s story is that he is in a wheelchair. The mission is to infiltrate and aid negotiation with the inhabitants of a far off planet, Pandora. Pandora holds valuable fossil fuels and the indigenous people need to be moved from their land in order for this to be mined. It is very clear that, should negotiation prove unsuccessful, the land will be taken by force.
Jake’s recklessness or rather eagerness to utilise his new found movement and freedom lands him in hot water on may occasions, but it also brings him to the attention of a tribe living on Pandora. Jake then engrosses himself in learning the tribe’s ways whilst simultaneously remaining focused on his objective regarding the mining.
For the few of you, judging by the box office takings, that have yet to see the movie, I won’t spend anymore time explaining plot. My final comment, before moving onto the 3D experience, is that in my opinion, this movie will still be a great movie when watched in 2D. The plot and characters have enough about them to keep you engrossed and involved throughout.
Which brings me neatly to the 3D experience: To put it simply, it’s mind blowing. At first it’s a little difficult to take it all in and some of the shots are a little disorientating. The great thing is that the movie does not overuse the “things appear to come out of the screen” aspect of 3D. Instead, the movie offers a depth of perception unlike anything I have ever seen on screen. There are no gimmicks and no specially chosen segments of 3D for the audience to wow at – the movie has the wow factor throughout.
Cleverly, as Jake finds his Avatar self to become reality and his own self to become dreamlike, so do we. Cameron uses the stark interiors of a military base to make things seem clinical and cold. Whereas, when out in the jungles of Pandora, there is a whole plethora of sights and sounds to take in. With a depth and richness of colour that makes it seem so much more real.
The attention to detail is staggering. The indigenous people, the plants, the animals and everything in between have a level of detail that makes them seem real. And this level of detail exists throughout. There are no blocks of fillers used. It seems as though indigenous tribe member 121 at the back on the left has as much detail and character as one of the main characters in the foreground.
Cameron has certainly set the bar high in terms of quality throughout and he has achieved that with aplomb.
To say that the movie is absorbing is an understatement. The high quality story and it’s excellent execution makes this a must see movie.
I feel like I have seen a piece of cinematic history. This movie will stand out as the benchmark for any other movie made in 3D. I’m not sure that even with this movie to use as inspiration that this level of quality will be matched or surpassed for quite some time.
This is the dawning of a new era.
My Rating 5/5