Monday, January 25, 2010

Avatar 3D

This weekend we "finally" went to see Avatar.  Paul really wanted to see it and I agreed to go along because I'm cool like that.  (I also went to Star Trek, which I surprised myself by enjoying, and GI Joe, which was laughably bad, but I drew the line at Transformers.) 

And I didn't mind "having" to see Avatar; I was interested in the special effects and 3D.  I'd heard a lot about the 3D.  "It was better when I took off my glasses."  "I was really nauseous at first but got used to it."  "I had the worst headache when I got home."

The 3D didn't bother me (though I did get a little dizzy for a moment when the marines started jogging in formation early on).  In fact, I thought it was pretty cool.  Most of my previous experience of 3D had to do with gimmicky things jumping out of the screen and attempting to land on my face.  Avatar isn't like that.  Nothing comes out of the screen; it's more like the screen itself has significant depth.  It's more like watching something through a window than watching a flat projection of an image.

In general, I thought the effects were very cool and the world Cameron created was pretty nifty.  The creativity that went into the people, their religion and mythology, their world and its creatures . . . fabulous.

The plot?  Not so much.  For example the resource "The Sky People" (Earthlings) were on Pandora to recover was called . . . unobtainium.  Un-obtain-ium.  Seriously.  The dialogue was a little weak, the plot itself was overly familiar.  My biggest complaint was that ever-so-cheap plot device whereby an outside comes into a foreign community and within a short period of time (in this case, 3 months) is more Them than They are. 

Avatar's main character, Jake Sully, starts out his career as an avatar being hugely ignorant and disrespectful and clumsy.  A few months later, he's mightier and more skilled than the finest warriors of a hunting, fighting, warrior-respecting race of "humanoids."  Whatever.

But the imagery was beautiful, the creativity inspiring, and the filmography wonderfully enjoyable.  I'm glad I went! 

What did you think about the movie?  (Interestingly, Paul didn't enjoy it as much as I did.)


albe said...

I agree on the plot, but to be fair the word unobtainium is a bit of a joke in the sci-fi world, so it was probably a nod to prior unobtainium references in books and movies.

Sarahlynn said...

Albe, right. But . . . often writers name their unobtainium (e.g. Niven's "scrith"). I think using "unobtainium" mining as the purpose for the movie's plot was campy in a movie that otherwise took itself pretty seriously - and therefore seemed out of place.

Also, it looks silly to those who don't get the joke. Why limit the audience in such an unnecessary fashion?

Better idea: call the desirable element something else but let one of the geeky scientists refer to it as "unobtainium" in dialogue.

keribrary said...

We haven't seen it yet, but I found this comparison to Disney's Pocahontas pretty amusing:

Sarahlynn said...

Hilarious!!! See you in a few . . .

Sarahlynn said...

Oh, no: