Monday, December 21, 2009

Avatar: A Winner

The Hollywood hype for James Cameron’s new movie “Avatar” started months ago. He hasn’t done anything “big” since “Titanic” 12 years ago, but movie fans loved his work on science fiction adventure films like Aliens and a couple of the Terminator movies.

So, when the buzz started about Cameron doing a hugely expensive sci-fi film to be released in late 2009, movie fans started salivating. Rumor was that he had essentially an unlimited budget, and that he was going to set a new standard for CGI - computer generated imagery.

When the trailers for the movie began appearing a couple months ago, the deep-voiced announcer said Avatar would “change the movies forever”. I’m not sure if Avatar has changed movies forever, but it’s sure set a new standard for movies of this sort.

I saw it late Friday morning at Marcus Point Cinema, on the Ultra-Screen. I decided NOT to see it in 3-D, because I think most of the 3-D stuff out there today still hasn’t moved past the gimmicky stage. I wanted to see Avatar on a big screen to see if the CGI was really that much better. The 3-D would be distracting to me.

My son took his girlfriend to see it in 3-D yesterday afternoon…to the tune of 37 bucks….but said it was well worth it, and suggested that I go back and see it in 3-D.

Suffice it to say, Avatar does not disappoint.

It’s long, with a run-time of two hours and forty minutes, but it doesn’t drag. The plot keeps moving forward. The story-line is formulaic: evil militaristic humans versus peaceful forest-dwelling aliens, but there are enough twists and turns to keep you interested.

The integration of actual digital photographic images with the computer-generated images is astoundingly good, better than anything I’ve ever seen before. Cameron really has moved the industry forward with this movie, and set a new standard.

The opening sequence, aboard a space-ship about to arrive at the strange and distant planet called Pandora, and the establishing shots inside the nerve-center at the human base of operations on the planet, will amaze you with high-tech wizardry.

The final battle scene, a long sequence which seems to be a combination of Star Wars, Apocalypse Now, Aliens, Jurassic Park, and Terminator, is extremely well-done and a fitting climax to the movie.

The blizzard back east will probably hold down the total money-take of the film’s opening weekend, which seems to be the scorecard by which all movies are measured these days, but the word-of-mouth is going to be good and it will make a lot of money. Opening weekend worldwide was around 250 million dollars.

One more thing - the new “memory foam” seats at the Marcus Point Cinema are a pleasant addition. From the coming attractions to the end credits, your butt will be in the seat for the better part of three hours, and it’s a lot easier to take with the new seats.

Now, if Marcus could just catch up to Star Cinema in Fitchburg and add reclining seats….

1 comment:

  1. "... better part of three hours ..." Jeez. I had not thought about this in a while, but I remember the last "Big Ticket" movie I sat through in a theater. Here's today's understatement: I'm not much of a movie-goer. I've watched a few minor flicks from one of those flip-up seats. But the last main attraction? Ha! You were there, too! The first 20 minutes had the camera focused on a motorcycle parked on cobblestones. Need another clue? Alec Guinness played an Arab prince. Yep. That was the last one. Nothing against Hollywood. It's just that if I could care less, I would. I cannot fathom forking over 37 bucks to watch a movie.