WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS A LIBERAL USE OF SPOILERS FOR MOVIES YOU’VE PROBABLY ALREADY SEEN.
For being such a self-proclaimed pop culture geek, I tend to miss out on a lot of the most widespread phenomenons when they first hit. I still haven’t watched past the second episode of “Lost”. I’ve played, in total, maybe two hours of any of the “Halo” games. I never actually heard a Lady Gaga song until Molly Lewis covered Poker Face.
So it’s not that surprising that before this Monday, I hadn’t gotten around to seeing “Avatar”. In this case, there are two specific reasons I’ve held off so long:
1. I’m just a bit broke, and
2. Unlike certain close friends and frequent collaborators I’ve roomed with for two non-consecutive semesters and one summer in LA, I’m not exactly passionately in love with James Cameron, for reasons I will get into shortly.
But now I’m in Orlando, right across the street from the movie theater that my old friend Rich manages, and he offered me free IMAX 3D tickets. And who am I to say no to an offer like that? So, I finally managed to see “Avatar”.
Before we get into this, I should explain that I haven’t actually been impressed by special effects since…well, probably since I saw “Toy Story” in the movie theater at age 8. Since that moment, I take it for granted that it is possible to get anything on screen. Now, I definitely appreciate the hard work that goes into the effects, but an effect on its own doesn’t get a reaction out of me. The image it creates or its role in the story might be phenomenal, but the mere fact that a computer graphic looks photorealistic doesn’t affect me any more than, say, a photorealistic painting–I appreciate how much effort it took, but it’s not like I’m surprised that it’s possible.
Because of that, while the technological innovations may wow many viewers, my view on “Avatar” lives and dies with the story, the characters, and maaaaaaaybe the action. Using this criteria, I can sum up my review of the film (and, indeed, much of Cameron’s work) in one word: “Calculated”. Continue reading