Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I may have more to say later, but Avatar... wow! I'm not sure Cameron built the epic universe he was after (ala Star Wars) but man did he do something special with the world building and animation. I can't really say it was special effects because nearly the whole movie was animated, but it isn't your father's animation. I am usually as stickler for effects that don't look quite right, or animation that seems stilted or mechanical, but my goodness... there was barely a hiccup in the nearly three hour movie. It was utterly believable; like he took a camera crew to another world and filmed it. The 3D engulfed me. The flora and fauna was breathtaking. And the acting via digital performance capture was top notch. I felt like the Na'vi were real flesh and blood people, with a full culture and attitude. It was just amazing.

Now to the epic nature of the story. This is really the only area I think Avatar fell short. For what it was, the story was solid. It wasn't cheesy, or unbelievable, but was it epic? Did James Cameron create a universe with the vastness, the "bigness" of a Star Wars, or Star Trek, or Middle Earth? I don't think so. Was it a big enough universe for one 3 hour movie? Yes. But big enough for a series of movies? Big enough to become an icon, a piece of American culture? I don't think so. Again it was amazing, but more in the immersivness of the world, and animation, but not universe. Will it make a boatload of money? You bet. Will I see it again? You bet. Will it be something that defines this generation of movie goers, like Star Wars did? I just don't see it. But only time will tell for sure. What I can tell you is the bar has been raised considerably. Movies of this nature (science fiction and fantasy) will never be able to get by with what they were doing a year or two ago. I feel some regret Avatar didn't happen before The Lord of the Rings. If you could marry the effects/animation/world building of Avatar, with the epic story of the Lord of the Rings, I would probably call it the greatest movie ever made.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Agree - visually stunning and a good story. I liked the vistas and "reality" of the CG. It looked very real, especially in 3D. I would go see the sequel, if they make one.