Over the weekend, I joined the madness and saw James Cameron’s Avatar in 3D. Going in, I wasn’t super psyched to see it. I think I was the only 14-year-old girl who didn’t go see Titanic 17 times. But I knew people who wanted to go see it and it seemed like a perfectly wonderful way to spend my Saturday night.
The effects were awesome. The world of Pandora looked spectacular and while not real, like it could be real, in 2054 and on another planet. The 3D was pretty awesome too. There were so many times when it unexpectedly added to the movie - small vines reaching out or seeds floating almost in front of your face. It all helped to create an unreal, yet real world.
I’m going to have to agree with most of the reviews I read, in that the story left me cold. I didn’t really care about what was happening to any of the characters. Little to nothing was done to develop the protagonist (perhaps that part was cut for time, since as is the movie is three hours!). Even though the main character, Jake, kept video diaries his progression to full-fledged member of the native tribe they were mostly perfunctory. His journey was never met with any kind of feeling other than a desire to be a part of the tribe.
No discussion of his guilt for the mission he was sent on, to get them to abandon their home. What did it mean that he was falling in love with a member of this tribe? What did it mean that he was learning all these skills with a body that wasn’t actually his? What does it mean to really be alive? His spirit was possessing two bodies, I think this would have sent any normal person into existential crisis. But not Jake, he just ran straight through all that deep and emotionally uncharted territory as, I guess, we would expect an action movie hero to. Don’t ask those complicated questions, that’s sissy stuff.
It could have been an interesting topic. What was he leaving behind as he became more and more a part of this world? This guy had a mother right? Or maybe even an old army buddy? A tether to the real world would have made his decision to jump into the avatar all the more compelling and grounding for the audience. It was what I was thinking about even though it wasn’t happening on screen
While I’m not sure it’s going to change movies forever, I certainly don’t want my money back. And if you think your bladder can take it, it’s worth seeing on the big screen and in 3D. And if it does change movies forever, you can tell your kids that you were there.