AVATAR (2009) – Thursday Mid-night show – 12.17.2009 (SLC, UT)
When I realized that #Avatar (Twitter lingo) was one week away from release, I went straight aways to Megaplextheaters (SLC) online to purchase my ticket. I have to say, I didn’t realize I was going to sign up for the Thursday mid-night showing. I’m rather glad I did. Usually, whenever a really good movie is released, I like to attend opening night. This is how I make a determination on a movie’s over-all viewer experience. If a movie that is highly anticipated meets the expectation of the audience, there almost always will be a huge viewer involvement. The Star Wars trilogy (both of them) is a perfect example. No one can forget standing in line over night (errr… so I hear anyway) for a ticket. Standing in line just to show off your light-saber and your Darth Maul costume (that was my favorite by the way). But the best part was being inside the theater to feel the excitement in the air. Every time there was a kick or laser fire or any action sequence, the crowd roared. If it was a funny scene, the crowd laughed almost hysterically. These are the tell-tail signs I was looking for while watching Avatar. Sadly, there was very little audience involvement in both the action or humor scenes. My first impression: It’s over hyped and the reviews will not go well.
Who are we kidding. All one has to do, is watch the movie trailers (Online in HD @ Apple® Trailers) and the entire plot is unfolded for you. If this is what’s going to make the movie for you, then you might want to wait to watch it at a matinee showing. But definitely worth more than the dollar showing a few months later. Much of the movie reminds me of several other animated movies. I saw a bit of Disney’s “Pocahontas” and the entire “mother earth” theme, DreamWork’s “Prince of Egypt” and the “Moses” theme, Peyo’s “Smurfs” (1981, not the 2011) – for the blue characters, and even James Cameron’s “Aliens”. This last one due to the alien features of the creatures. One can even see a body-armor robotic suit, very similar to the one Sigourney Weaver wore in Aliens. Imagine that. Sigourney Weaver in an alien themed movie with “loaders”, fan-driven air crafts, rescue mission, etc. Truth be told, only Sigourney can get away with that. Does anyone remember the “Aliens” sequence where Sigourney is in full body armor robotic “loader”, where she comes to save the day yelling out, “Get away from her you B!T@H” Something to that effect you’ll see. All that’s missing, from Aliens, is Sigourney running around in her underwear. Wait, does she run around in her under wear in Avatar? Dunno.
Q: Aliens? or Avatar?
In the movie itself, all plots and sub-plots are very predictable and obvious. Each development or obstacle in the movie, comes along with it, a very transparent resolve. In fact, you can pretty much put the whole thing together just by reading the IMDB summary and viewing the trailers (exactly what I said at the beginning of the “Plot” summary).
However, do we really watch a movie solely for the anticipation of a plot development or to see a sudden reversal in role or theme? Well, I suppose the answer is yes. But, if you’re a big FX enthusiast, or a gamer who loves his video rendering, then you’ll enjoy, if nothing else, the visual experience in and of itself.
I didn’t watch the 3D version of it, so I can’t speak for it. In the regular showing, the colors and textures are bright and vibrant (sounds very generic and cliche, but there it is). Actually the mix of computer generated textures and actual physical textures, are remarkably seamless, and make for a good marriage. I’m including some screen shots here (no spoilers, there all screen shots from the trailer/teaser). Feel free to click on them for the much larger version.
Visual experience: 9/10
Story/plot development: 6/10 (not very original)
However, my personal take on it is this:
I’m watching it again tomorrow at the matinee show. Well worth it for me.
For me it was the heart-pounding experience, despite the obvious plot developments. The visual affects and all of the fight sequences that grabbed the “Military” or “Marine” in me. To a less degree, It was also the “Avatar” nature of it. Social media hubs or cyber-living has given us the idea of a virtual self. “A rebirth” to borrow the phrase from “Avatar”.
Go and watch it, and figure out if you like it.