I went to see Avatar in 3D last night with my son Landon. I have been waiting for this film since I first saw the trailer and read about it. Beyond the hype of James Cameron bringing another film to screen. Beyond it being the most expensive movie ever made. Beyond me being a huge Sci Fi fan, I wanted to see a truly great film. I felt that Landon at 10 would be old enough to appreciate the “art” of this movie. We were not disappointed!
Visually Avatar is the most stunning movie ever made. If you can see it in 3D do so, but if you can’t I would say it is still stunning. The 3D is a nice touch but not a make or break feature.
The story is not particularly unique. It is the classic story of the invaders with superior technology coming to exploit the natural resources of a land settled by a people at one with nature. In order to do so the exploiters will have to throw the natives off of the land or kill them. The natives fight back and look to their Gaia like spirit of the living planet to help them. (sound familiar?).
Of course this all takes place on an alien world called Pandora. The humans are the invaders and bad guys. A unique twist is our ability to grow avatars that are made from native and human DNA fused. This gives certain humans the ability to walk among the natives. You can probably figure out most of the plot from that.
But the real magic of Avatar is the technology used to make the movie. I am old enough to remember when Tron first came out. The buzz was that one day all films would be created inside of a computer with computer generated characters and scenery. I remember seeing it in the movies and thinking the black light fluorescent colors were really cool.
I remember Pixar with Toy Story. Supposedly the first computer generated animated film. I loved the story, but the animation of the people didn’t make your think they were real people. George Lucas in the second trilogy of Star Wars took movie animation and graphics to another level I think. Mixing real life and animation together the worlds of Naboo and Coruscant were breathtaking. But Cameron has outdid even Lucas in Avatar.
The mixing of computer generated characters with real actors together is amazing. But even more amazing to me is how life like the computer generated characters were. The Na’avi in Avatar are so far beyond Andy in Toy Story that it is not even fair to compare. Even the animated characters in Star Wars are no match for the Na’avi and the rest of the animals on Pandora. The bioluminescent forest is spectacular. The whole movie just has a feeling of quality in craftsmanship that lets you believe that you are really peeking into a real world called Pandora and these are real people and creatures you are watching.
No, I don’t know if Avatar is the future of film. But James Cameron has certainly set the bar pretty high for others to shoot for. I can’t wait to go back and see this movie again!