Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Avatar in 3D: Two Thumbs Up

I saw Avatar this afternoon at the Scotiabank Theatre on Richmond in 3D Digital and give it two somewhat unexpected thumbs up.  I'm now wondering what it would have been like to see in IMAX.  I saw the movie '300' in IMAX only to get dizzy.  Maybe not.

***Minor Spoiler Alert***
The spoiler is that there is no spoiler.  Not really, anyways.  Any number of story summaries in newspapers/magazines or online will tell you about the human (well-played by Sam Worthington) who goes to the planet of the Na'vi (the blue creatures created by CGI) by controlling his human-constructed Avatar's mind and body.  Instead of simply intelligence gathering, he learns their ways, falls in love, and tries to defend them.

I thought a seemingly trite plot-line would extinguish what little interest I had in the movie at the start, but it didn't.  On the contrary:  I was engaged throughout the 2 hour and 45 minute journey unlike many movies in which I've unintentionally fallen asleep before (apologies to Batman Begins, Lord of the Rings).

A word about the 3D movie experience (wearing theatre-supplied 3D glasses, seeing various images extend closer to you than the actual screen): while awesome, it added to without interfering with the story.

So what did it for me?  The story itself.  When I first saw movie advertising showing the blue-creatured Na'vi, I must say, I felt distant from both the movie and the depiction.  Who were these icky creatures?  And why were they so strange-looking?  Certainly, if I were James Cameron, I would have created Avatars that humans could more easily identify with.  Despite the turn-off and various criticisms I've heard, I made myself see this movie to satisfy my remaining curiosity.

And that's when the story-telling took over.  The narrative moved along as it should with normal-time scenes interspersed at the right time with overlayed narrative cutting to visuals, and jumps in time, space and perspective akin to the satisfying layers of a baroque fugue.  The rushes of sounds and grandiose images punched when they needed to.
But the story is not something on its own that people would rave about.  It's the story intertwined with the grandeur of the movie and project.  Immense.  It's both a a world I couldn't previously imagine, and a project I wouldn't know how to really start.

So how do I feel now?  Having "lived" with the Na'vi for about 3 hours, I see movie advertising again, (say, in the following link:
and I now feel empathy towards these blue creatures.  The movie stirred something within.  A tug, a tear.  Some understanding.  Even a musical critique (why were two chords in the background music reminiscent of Titanic? -- surely there are other chord progressions than A minor to G major with C and D as the melody that can sound both grand and ethereal).  It's all good.  The  movie will stay with me.

Posted via email from middledragon's posterous


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