Monday, December 21, 2009

Amazing Avatar Lives Up to the Hype

How good is Avatar? So good that I managed to sit through the entire experience (three hours, factoring in the previews of coming attractions)  without visiting the men's room.  For a man of a certain age, that's really something.  I can't think of a movie I've seen since passing the half-century mark nearly six years ago that wasn't interrupted by at least one hurried trip to the john. 

The hype around Avatar has, of course, been incredible.  As my daughter Amy recently posted on Facebook, "You can't sneeze lately without someone handing you an Avatar tissue." But the film more than lives up to the hype, and delivers a movie-going experience that's unlike any I've had in a lifetime of movie-going.

My previous and only other 3-D movie experience was the 1983 turkey Jaws 3-D, the most memorable part of which was turning around in my seat to see rows of movie-goers in those ridiculous white cardboard 3-D glasses.  (The new ones are far less silly, looking a bit like retro Ray-Ban knock-offs.

While it's true that Avatar's storyline offers few surprises, the movie  is nevertheless wildly entertaining. The visual experience is so stunning that I spent most of the film with my face frozen in a astonished grin. I've seen SFX spectaculars before; this is something entirely different. The combination of the 3-D technology, incredibly detailed computer-generated effects, and Cameron's "performance capture" system all but eliminates the "virtual" from virtual reality.

The overall experience was so compelling that any thought of giving in to the urgent need to pee was out of the question.

Speaking of questions, I have one: In the film, the Na'vi characters have three fingers and a thumb on each hand, while character Jake Sully's Na'vi Avatar appears to have a more human four fingers and thumb arrangement. What's up with that?

Weekend Report: ‘Avatar’ Soars in Debut - Box Office Mojo
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