Dudes, I have been to the mountain top and returned with a revelation. I have had an epiphany. Or, to quote Joliet Jake Blues, “I have seen the %^$^%$ ^&%%&ing light!” Yes, this movie really is that good.
Of course, I’m talking about Avatar, the new blockbuster movie by James Cameron. He’s the man who brought us such classics as Terminator, Terminator 2, Aliens and Titanic. At the time, Titanic was the most expensive movie ever made. There were many who doubted Cameron would be able to bring in even a fraction of the costs in box-office receipts. After all, everyone knew how the movie would end. The ship would sink. Please. No one’s interested.
Turns out, Cameron was right. Titanic went on to be one of the highest grossing movies of all time and won a number of Academy Awards. So now, with Avatar, Cameron faced the same sorts of criticisms. Too expensive. Too long. Experimental format. Blah, blah, blah. There’s even talk that the entire promotion budget and shooting budget and all the rest could creep upwards of half a billion (yes, with a b) dollars.
This movie was worth it. Every. Stinkin’. Penny. This movie was worth it. It really is just that good.
To start with, let me talk about the cinematography and the Real D 3D process. Here’s the skinny. You must see this movie in 3D. I know you’ll have to pay more than you would to see it in 2D, but, again, worth every stinkin’ penny. The 3D is flawless. It’s not so much the arrows shooting straight out into the audience (hint: there are none), it’s basically just the amazing feeling of depth that the entire movie is suffused with. The mountains in the distance look like they’re in the distance, not just small.
The jungle scenes (and there are a lot of them) are breathtaking. Literally. The wealth of imagination on display, coupled with the revolutionary 3D process, made this like I was walking on an alien world. It was that good. At one point, I thought to myself, I know this is animated, but it looks more realistic than live-action movies I’ve seen.
You’ve probably heard about the story now, but let me fill you in a little. Humanity in the year 2150 something, has basically used up the Earth’s natural resources and has moved on looking for more. They find it in Pandora, a habitable planet orbiting a gas giant a long, long way from home. Even better, the place is lousy with a precious ore called unobtanium. No, I’m not kidding. I wish I was. I mean, was cantfindium as a name taken? Anyway, the problem for the Earth corporation trying to mine the ore on this hot jungle planet, filled with an atmosphere toxic to humans, is there is an aboriginal population of giant, savage, noble Smurfs. Um, sorry. They’re blue. They’re called the Na’vi and they’re not especially friendly to the encroaching aliens.
Fortunately, the corporation has Ripley, sorry, Sigourney Weaver to bioengineer a mixture of human and Na’vi and then allow for a telepresence system for a human operative to drive a Na’vi. Jake Sully is a paraplegic former Marine who ends up as part of the Na’vi avatar program when his scientist twin brother dies. Jake takes his brothers place and then realizes he always loved Dances With Wolves. He eventually goes native, falls in love with a Na’vi woman and then leads the Na’vi in battle to expel the aliens.
Yeah, I’ve got issues with some of the plot. Don’t even ask me about the lightspeed lag or how the link can work in the vortex. (See the movie. You’ll understand.) Those are just a few of the problems I saw on a cursory first viewing. But it doesn’t matter. I’ll be going back. Heck, my wife, known to some as She Who Couldn’t Remember A Movie If Her Life Depended On It, came out of the movie and said the most amazing thing: “I want to go back and see that again.”
My little dudes were so enthused they wanted to give up video games so they could be a Na’vi. You really need to see this movie. In 3D. Save some time since it clocks in at around 3 hours. And, for those of you who’s little dudes have more sensitive ears, there a maybe a dozen instances of cursing, but nothing truly serious.
All in all, I’d give this six dudes out of five. The unprecedented extra is for the technical accomplishments. Yeah. That good.
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