I’ve just returned from an alien world. That’s what it feels like after seeing Avatar.
I’ve heard all the negative buzz: it’s Dances With Wolves in CG [really? You consider that a Bad Thing?]; some of the dialogue is clunky [I prefer blunt and to the point, but, well…]; it’s a crossover combining too many genres – a boy’s adventure; epic romance; action flick; a melding of both science fiction and fantasy; an eco-fable [someone forgot to mention that they are blended together seamlessly]; and on and on…
I don’t care.
Let me repeat that for you: I. don’t. care.
Avatar blew me through the back of my seat. And a quick check of the numbers at both rottentomatoes.com and MetaCritic.com overwhelmingly agree – James Cameron set out to make the biggest, baddest, entertainingest movie the world has ever seen, and he pretty much delivered.
Sure we’ve seen variations on various elements of Avatar’s story; there are only so many stories. What matters is that the story is told in a way that resonates with an audience – and let me just tell you, Avatar resonates like mad!
Y’know what else I don’t care about?
I don’t care about Avatar being on Cameron’s mind ever since he was a kid. I don’t care that he wrote a treatment for the film fifteen years ago. I don’t care that he wasn’t sure if the film could be made until he saw Lord of the Rings. I don’t care that even with evolving tech he had to create stuff to make the movie happen. I especially don’t care if Avatar’s final budget comes to over half-a-billion dollars.
Because what matters is the experience. Everything else is secondary to the experience.
Because I was there.
I was on Pandora as Jake Sully [Sam Worthington] learned about the world and its People. I was there, dodging packs of feral doglike creatures; flying Banshees [think pterodactyls with brains and a meaner temper]; letting glowing spores bob in the air around me.
For the better part of two hours, I was on Pandora and it didn’t feel like a gimmick or a trick. Every creature, every plant, every ten-foot tall blue person… real. This is what 3D was meant to be – an immersive experience.
Other reviewers will have revealed the essential details of the story: the relationships; the unique worldview of The People; the Ugly Americans in Space take on the corporation that wants to rape Pandora’s ecology for a mineral that will reboot Earth’s. Good for them.
What I want to convey is this: there is, once again, genuine wonder in your nearby movie house. There is, once again, genuine awe in a motion picture.
Roger Ebert said something that made the blurb in his weekly e-mail review package that resonated for me. He said that seeing Avatar evoked in him the same feelings he had when he saw Star Wars for the first time in 1977.
I know exactly what he meant. If it were possible to give Avatar a grade of A++ without Michelle yelling at me, I’d do it!
Being blown through the back of one’s seat is an exhilarating experience – one I can’t recommend highly enough. So, go see Avatar – but don’t forget to strap in.
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