So I went to see the much hyped Avatar yesterday with my friend Felicia (of My Friends The Olsons™)
The money Cameron spent is on the screen, not in the plot.
Using a new 3D technology, Avatar is a visual masterpiece. Felicia and I agreed: This movie deserves Best Cinematography. Even without the 3D (which did not give me a headache, and was used well, rather than gimmicky), the movie is a feast for the eyes. Pandora is a fully realized world. For 160 minutes, you will forget your troubles, the economy, and the world outside the screen, and be immersed in a very alien planet. (Technically, alien moon–Pandora is much like Endor, the moon of a larger planet).
The plot and story are far less groundbreaking.
“Dances with Wolves in Space” is a cheap shot, but its not an entirely inaccurate one. The Noble Savage in tune with Mother Nature fights against the Goddessless rapacious white moneygrubbing oppressors that have high technology and no morals. White Man falls in love with Native girl, goes native himself and helps the Natives Fight Back.
As I said, the plot and story are not exactly new.
In the details, though, I detected some ideas in the plot and the nature of the movie from a variety of sources. Not only previous films (such as the Alien franchise) but I was even reminded of Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri computer game (very appropriate, too, since Pandora is in the Alpha C solar system).
Like the plot, the acting was nothing to write home about. The actors did fine with what they were given but the characters needed work from the scriptwriter, I think). The fact that I far more easily remember the visuals and eye candy than any bit of dialogue or characterization is telling.
Overall, though, I was impressed by what was committed to film here. I am thinking of how I can go and see this again in the theater. I want an reimmersion into the Pandoraverse, even given the tired nature of the plot.
The technology to imagine nearly any book I’ve ever read now exists with the CGI I saw on that screen.
The question is: What will Hollywood do with such CGI power?