Thoughts on 'Avatar' . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Worth Full-Price, Matinee or Rental: Avatar 3-D: Full Price; Avatar without 3-D: Matinee Price.

Will I Own It On DVD: Probably not. The caveat – if 3-D televisions do come out in the next few years, work well and aren’t priced sky high, then I probably will own ‘Avatar’ at some point. Until then, however, the answer is no.

Overrall Grade: Movie itself: B-; Movie Experience: A-

1) To finally watch ‘Avatar’ I spent the past two weeks trying to figure out a system. The first time I simply showed up at the local IMAX theater 45 minutes early for the first showing on a Saturday only to discover the entire day was sold out and people were lined up out the door to get seats for the showing once the ushers opened the theater. This was 5 weeks into the film’s theatrical run.

So, this past weekend, I bought tickets online a few days before Saturday, got there 1 hour early and extracted a fine pair of seats to watch the flick. The question in my mind was: Is this going to be worth the hassle, and the answer was yes.

2) The plot of ‘Avatar’ is nothing new – it reminded me greatly of ‘The New World’ (sans the sci-fi angle) in the most recent cinematic example I could summon – as the film is set in a future where Earth has been ruined by the depletion of its natural resources, so humans have gone to the planet of Pandora to harvest a rich energy source that occurs there. As could be expected, they come into harsh conflict with the indigenous blue inhabitants, a group of people who are in complete tune with Mother Nature and revere their surroundings. You can guess what conflict happens next . . .

3) But the best parts of ‘Avatar’ occur away from the main plot thread as I would guess that nearly an hour of the 2 hr and 43 minute running time is spent exploring Pandora’s geography, which is very cool with the 3-D effects in full force. During the day, the planet is a lush environment filled with massive trees, mountains and waterfalls, and at night, it turns into the best black-light poster ever conceived as vibrantly-lit, neon exteriors abound in every direction. It looks absolutely fantastic.

4) The acting in the film is universally solid with few real stand-outs. Sigorney Weaver as a scientist trying to ingratiate herself with the natives rises above some of the bludgeoning dialogue, and Zoe Saldana as the warrior princes of the native tribe is also quite good. The men don’t fare quite as well. Sam Worthington is servicable as a marine sent in an Avatar blue body to learn more about the natives, and instead, ends up falling for their way of life. Shocking, I know.

5) Overrall, 'Avatar' is a visual feast with a pedestrian story supporting it. This turns out to be enough, however, because the 3-D effects are astonishing, and they really place you directly in the action, which is only heightened by the fact that it occurs on a different planet and so it's easy to get lost in there, especially when it appears that trees and flying creatures and other foliage are constnatly coming at you from the screen itself.

This film really will suffer greatly when it transitions to home video. If 'Avatar' holds any interest for you, then I definitely recommend going to a theater with 3-D and checking it out for yourself.



  1. wigsf Says:
  2. So it's 2 hours and 43 minutes of listening to The Eagles' Last Resort while staring at a Yes album cover. Got it. Don't need to see this movie then.

  3. Heff Says:
  4. If you'd smoked a doob first you'd have probably given it an A, lol.

  5. JLee Says:
  6. I agree this should be seen on the big screen and in 3D to get the full effect. It could have been a bit shorter, but I agree with your review overall. The general dude was a bit over the top, too. lol

  7. WIGSF - I'm not entirely certain about either musical reference, but I'll go with since you have a deep knowledge there & in that case, I guess you could skip it. Ha.

    WIGSF - Exactly. I thought of that about half-way through, although you would be better putting it in brownies & sneaking it in since you have to get there so early before the show that the effect would wear off by the opening credits. Ha.

    Jlee - Yeah, I almost mentioned him but got lazy. Ha. It is definitely too long as you could have easily shaved 20 - 25 minutes off and been just fine. That being said, the 3-D was cool. :)

  8. nobich Says:
  9. I'll have to agree with wigsf- I have absolutely no desire to see this- maybe in the 80's....

  10. nobich Says:
  11. wow I'm not just showing my age I'm waving it around...yikes

  12. Linda Says:
  13. Agree with you on this. Though I didn't see it in IMAX, the 3D was pretty enough. The story was so weak for me, I was checking my watch for the entire second half (thought about leaving at 2 1/2 hrs). You are so right about the New World reference and I thought that movie sucked big-time. The marketing on this film has been phenomenal, thus the box-office bonanza. Also the time of year, not sure this film would be racking up these kind of dollars in a summer market. Cameron has taken technology another step, too bad he had such a dull story.

  14. Boxer Says:
  15. You know I loved it and it was for the visual experience. I truly felt as if I had been somewhere else for nearly three hours and I did not once check my watch (and I hate long movies.) I loved the underwater motif, the creatures, and even if the plot was old (aren't they all?) I thought having him a Paraplegic made his first run as his Avatar that more amazing. I'm glad you saw it. I don't see the benefit of owning this, because for me, the 3D really made the experience.

    Nice review and happy belated birthday.

  16. Nobich - Ha. That's OK, and at least you know that it's not for you. The one thing I will say for sure: It's very, very cool-looking.

    Linda - Yeah, I was getting a bit restless around that time too, and I knew (or generally) knew what was coming & wished they would just get to the climatic battle. I had a tough time with the 'New World' too even though some people loved it. I loved parts - small parts - of it, but it moved at a glacial pace. Christian Bale doesn't even pop up unil like 2 hrs into it. Ha. Anyhow, on 'Avatar' I seriously hope it doesn't win Best Picture for Oscar, but you'll get no argument from me that any technical award should probably head in that direction.

    Boxer - I agree about the immersion into another world. That was my favorite part as well. By far. The story was OK. I didnt' think it was terrible, but I also think is shed any new light or offered a new take on that general plotline (not that one occurs to me right this second anyway). The 3-D experience really did make this movie, at least for me, but I was happy to be thrown into Pandora for awhile and enjoyed the exploration of it the most out of anything in the film.

  17. Heff Says:
  18. Listen, Pal - that's the LAST TIME you call me "WIGSF", LMAO !!!

  19. Spectacle isn't enough. I sat through it and left feeling a little violated. I can't say I was entertained. My friend said "I am going to dream of a blue skinned, 7 foot girl with an ass you could bounce a quarter off of."
    I have already forgotten what it was about.

  20. Heff - Ha. Fair enough & I aplogize. But you know, if you had left the first comment, it might have been the reverse happening . . . Oh well, an oversight on my part.

    Getoffmylawn - Did you see it in 3-D? I would have felt really bored had I not . . . but yeah, somewhere in the middle, I was ready to get towards the end & there was still more than an hour left. If this wins Best Picture at the Oscars, then that is a flat-out disgrace.

  21. TROLL Y2K Says:
  22. This movie hasn't received enough media hype.

  23. really? you too? I just don't know if this is my thing. I mean, I even went around saying "Avatard" for a while.

  24. Miss Ash Says:
  25. Hmmm seems a bit long, I'd rather watch Gone with the Wind if I'm going to put in that kind of time!

  26. Troll Y2K - Ha. Yep, but I try to help out the little projects around here. Maybe this one will become profitable one day . . .

    Kmwthay - I wasn't excited to see this, which was why I waited for 5 - 6 weeks after it was out. But I needed to see what the fuss was about considering it will be the highest-grossing movie of all time. Crazy. Anyhow, the movie itself is just very OK & far too long, but the spectacle and 3-D immersion is worth the price of admission. At least for me.

    Miss Ash - See above comment, but you CAN watch both 'Wind' and 'Avatar' - just not on the same day as that would kill most of it. :) I've seen them both . . .

  27. I want to marry Neytiri

  28. I've heard that it is the highest grossing movie of all time. But, when you account for adjusted inflation, I don't think it breaks the top 10.

    Now, I've heard a rumor and maybe you can tell me if it's true. Is there really a naked Sigourney Weaver??

  29. Native Minnow - Was that Zoe Saldana? If so, I read that Cameron tried to make her a sex bomb, but for me, she was just a pretty cool giant blue creature. Ha. But to each their own . . .

    Kmwthay - True. The inflated 3-D ticket prices help, but I think it will get there anyway (even w/ adjusted gross) as the damn thing won't get out of the top spot. Ha. Anyway, yes I can confirm there is a semi-naked Weaver, but you don't see much of anything.


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