Posted by: Doug_Ritter

Avatar - 12/21/09 01:30 PM

We went to see it at IMAX 3D and it was awesome overall and visually stunning. What was most impressive was that the 3D seemed so natural, it just seemed "normal" to be watching it in 3D, no overdone stuff that is so common in 3D movies heretofore to get the 3D point across. As for the movie itself, I was left with the same awestruck feeling I had when I viewed the first Star Wars the day it came out (showing my age...). The world and aliens they have built using CGI are totally believable and incredibly "real," which is a hard thing to accomplish, especially to a jaded viewer.

As for the story line and such, I didn't find it as bad as some reviewers have suggested. It has the usual elements of any good tale, there's nothing particularly new there, but it is well done and masterfully put together and directed. The 2:40 goes by very quickly and I was craving more, even as it ran down to the end. The ending is a bit hokey and simplistic, in much the same way that the original Star Wars was. It is a bit preachy at times, but I expected that and it didn't detract from the experience for me, though it did for my friend who accompanied us, but not so much that he didn't enjoy it in balance.

I will go to see it again, soon. The first time is a bit overwhelming and I want to be able to see more that I missed the first time around. I can count on one hand the number of movies I felt that way about.

All in all, two thumbs up, five stars, whatever. Don't miss it and I recommend you see it in IMAX 3D if you can.
Posted by: Nicodemus

Re: Avatar - 12/21/09 01:32 PM

I'm glad to hear the good review. I'm going to see it today.
Posted by: Russ

Re: Avatar - 12/21/09 01:40 PM

With a review like that coming from a "jaded viewer", I'll put this on my Christmas to-do list. Thanks.
Posted by: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor

Re: Avatar - 12/21/09 02:27 PM

I wasn't too impressed with Cameron's last movie 'Titanic'. 'Titanic' didn't compare well with A Night to Remember from 1958 and in Black and White for example. CGI whether realistic 3-D or not is no substitute for a good story line or script.

Again the same situation with 'Star Wars'. The first three movies (or would that be the last 3 star wars movies) were incredibly annoying because of the ground breaking CGI (still cannot watch any of the CGI star wars movies from beginning to the end) but then again I was brought up on the original Star Trek, UFO , Dr Who , Space 1999 , Blake's Seven etc all of which had terrible special effects.

It is a bit preachy at times

You have really now put me off going to see the movie. wink

Classic Science Fiction has never really needed CGI just a good old story line.

Posted by: Doug_Ritter

Re: Avatar - 12/21/09 03:16 PM

Originally Posted By: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor

It is a bit preachy at times

You have really now put me off going to see the movie. wink

Classic Science Fiction has never really needed CGI just a good old story line.

And most of those story lines are a bit preachy. <g>
Posted by: benjammin

Re: Avatar - 12/21/09 05:48 PM

I went and saw the movie this weekend with my daughter as well, in 3-D. The new 3-D method is far superior to the old color phase system, and it is incredibly stimulating. I saw "The Christmas Carol" in 3-D a couple weeks ago and it seemed a bit overdone, so I would agree with Doug that this was well balanced for 3-D. That said, anyone with a fear of heights is going to have a difficult time watching this movie in 3-D.

Content-wise, it was pretty heavy with propaganda, and I felt a bit on the racist side as well, but that is to be expected. There is a long cast of Native American voices in the mix, and while I won't spoil the plot for anyone (in case you can't figure it out from the commercials and trailers by now), it was still an interesting enough story to keep my attention. Imagine Starship Troopers meets Fern Gully, if you can.

It is a long movie, and except for sucking down the super size soda at the beginning, I would've had no problem sitting through it all.

As with Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, this movie quite easily takes you into a new and exciting world, thanks entirely to the 3-D special effects. I don't imagine I will ever want to see another movie at the theater that isn't in 3-D now.

Now I know what Smurfs look like when they are all grown up...

It was also a bit different to watch a Sci-Fi alien movie with Sigourney Weaver in it where she didn't have the lead role.

I recommend seeing it.
Posted by: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor

Re: Avatar - 12/21/09 06:50 PM

Imagine Starship Troopers meets Fern Gully

It sounds like Avatar doesn't have any of the dark comedy of the classic Starship Troopers then. Avatar may well be amazing visual spectacle, but does the storyline/script make Avatar seem overly sentimental and pompous? Having just watched the Avatar Trailer it just screams cliche, cliche, cliche.


but with GCI grown up Smurfs laugh

I'll now have to go and see the movie though, as it may just be worthwhile. wink

Posted by: Doug_Ritter

Re: Avatar - 12/21/09 07:15 PM

Originally Posted By: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor

I'll now have to go and see the movie though, as it may just be worthwhile. wink

If it helps, there's even a little bit of wilderness survival improvisation in it. <g>
Posted by: MartinFocazio

Re: Avatar - 12/21/09 08:44 PM

Hmmm...I saw it with my son, I give it 2.375 stars out of five. I had a lot of problems with the story, not that it was weak (it was), rather that is was a lot like one of those inane Tom Clancy films where everything comes together just so and "good" vanquishes "evil" in the last 20 minutes. I hate crap like that.

As far as the CG, yes, it's very, very well done, certainly the best CG ever done for a mass market - but I have seen much better stuff elsewhere.

The 3d didn't matter to me - I don't have much in the way of stereo vision.

Posted by: Nicodemus

Re: Avatar - 12/21/09 09:15 PM

I enjoyed the film quite a bit. Having had one of my favorite hiking/camping spots recently paved over in the name of progress, I could easily get into and go along with the plot.

I can't wait to go see it in 3D.

This wasn't the Ewoks versus the Empire. lol
Posted by: sotto

Re: Avatar - 12/22/09 01:01 AM

I saw Avatar for free yesterday. Went to the Imax theatre in Phoenix to see it there, but the little theater manager came out and said to us who were at the end of the IMAX line that they were about 20 glasses short for the IMAX theatre and would we like to be first in to see if for free at their regular theatre 25 mins later. We went for it figuring the experience would be similar and we'd have the pick of the seats. We got primo seats and I'd say the movie raised the bar a couple clicks for all future 3D movies. It was visually quite a spectacle. You would swear you had ashes falling on your lap during the jungle burning scene. All in all, it was awesome, particularly for free.
Posted by: Brangdon

Re: Avatar - 12/28/09 01:16 PM

I enjoyed it at the time, and thought it better than Titanic. Technically it is impressive and the CGI crosses the uncanny valley.

However, I did find the 3D was occasionally gimmicky and distracting. Not as bad as some other films, but, eg, there's a moment when a long gun barrel pokes you in the eye. They need to realise that having ashes fall on your lap does not make it more immersive. Instead it takes you out of the film.

Given that there's a new world to assimilate, perhaps the story needed to be light, at least to start with. I wasn't bored. A lot of my criticism developed when thinking about the film afterwards - but then I hated it. The characters are weak, there are no surprises. It lacks the depth of, say, Terminator 2.

I gather that now they have the computer models, a sequel will be relatively cheap to make, and since this film looks like being commercially successful it's very likely to happen. That could be promising. Maybe they'll put in a decent story, open it out a little like the Matrix sequels. Maybe it will turn out that the Unobtainium (hateful, lazy name) cures a disease billions are suffering from so the Company was mining it for good reasons. Maybe they'll explain where the Na'vi came from (they clearly didn't evolve with the local wildlife - they have the wrong number of arms). Cameron is arguably at his best when doing sequels (eg Aliens 2, Terminator 2).
Posted by: falcon5000

Re: Avatar - 12/28/09 02:23 PM

Just to through my two bits in, I saw it yesterday and was very impressed with the 3d and I didn't think that the plot was that bad and it definitely impressed me. I'm definitely glad I saw it in 3d. 5. Stars on my part being a x marine.
Posted by: benjammin

Re: Avatar - 12/28/09 02:29 PM

I suspect there won't be a sequel. Not unless the Na'vi can come up with a strategic weapon that can be used as a deterrent to a retaliatory strike. Maybe unobtanium has some as yet unknown properties that might help them.

It had to be a pretty simple story line, so that the propaganda would be easily assimilated. I like the dig at the end about how earth had destroyed it's own eco-system, and would be happy to destroy this one as well.

Entertaining, but obvious.
Posted by: tomfaranda

Re: Avatar - 12/28/09 03:09 PM

Yeah, the effects were cool, but the story line was oh so predictable. Also, I thought some of the acting was pretty mediocre (although Sam Worthington as the marine and Sigourney Weaver as the scientist were both good - Sigourney very good).

I'd give it 2 and a half stars out of four. My wife and two teenaged sons both thought it was better than that.

For anyone further interested, here's the review I put up on my own blog - http://tomfaranda.typepad.com/folly/2009/12/avatar-3d-my-take.html

Posted by: raptor

Re: Avatar - 12/28/09 05:55 PM

I havenīt seen the Avatar yet, but for me the movie of the year is probably District 9. Very interesting movie.
Posted by: Compugeek

Re: Avatar - 12/28/09 08:23 PM

Except for how the Na'Vi fire their bows (which you won't even notice if you aren't into archery), I liked it.

I went with the 3D version. I used to get almost migraine-level headaches from 3D but Avatar only gave me a mild one. I never felt that it was used just for the sake of 3D. It greatly enhanced the "depth" of the imagery, and I quickly stopped noticing it. To the point that I even started to duck a flying object once, but it was completely appropriate to the scene.

The CGI is very, very good. I never felt it was "cartoony", and the characters had enough texture to look more like makeup effects than CGI.

Yeah, the story was predictable, but didn't always go where I expected, which was refreshing.

4 stars out of 5, for me.
Posted by: Russ

Re: Avatar - 01/01/10 02:05 AM

There were times when the 3D was very good and other times when it seemed out of proportion; the interior shots of the lab were bad IMO, it's like they kept the same proportion of distance as they did on the exterior shots, so it seemed out of whack. It was realistic when the ash from the fire was falling. I actually tried to dodge one of the missiles. (We were sitting in the middle of a row that was near the center height of the screen -- darn near optimum)

The CGI was great -- I've never seen better. The Na'vi never seemed "cartoony" or fake and the flora and fauna seemed real, even those great rides. That part of the graphics will take home an Oscar.

I kept my 3D eye-wear cause I'm definitely seeing it again.
Posted by: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor

Re: Avatar - 01/12/10 08:10 PM

Anyone else feeling a little depressed but don't know why, perhaps it started after going to the Cinema to watch Avatar. frown whistle


Posted by: Nicodemus

Re: Avatar - 01/12/10 09:15 PM

The same thing happened after Star Wars, but there wasn't an internet for a large amount of people to gather virtually within to post about such things when the first trilogy came along. There were articles written about it though. Recently there was the advent of the Jedi church. Prior to that it happened with "The Lord of the Rings" before it was even put on film.

Google "Browncoats" sometime if you want to see how a relatively small show could inspire people to want to be a part of a fictional Universe.

Certain ideas strike a chord with people and they latch on to it.

The Na'vi are today's Jedi who themselves were Klingons and Elves the day before. It's just the mark of powerful fiction.

I just hope that some of these people decide to take a look around themselves and see the spectacular nature we have here on Plain ol' Earth. grin
Posted by: Nicodemus

Re: Avatar - 01/12/10 09:25 PM

On a side note, someone is going to make a killing on the "Pandora MMO".
Posted by: KenK

Re: Avatar - 01/13/10 01:35 PM

This Saturday I'm going to see Avatar in 3D with a group of special needs kids (young teens) who can be impacted by sensory overload. They've been given an alternative movie that they can go see (at the same theater) but I suspect they'll want to try to see Avatar.

I'm looking forward to it.
Posted by: Todd W

Re: Avatar - 01/14/10 04:14 AM

I saw it in IMAX 3D today and it was great. The movie itself probably not so good by itself, but in IMAX 3d it was awesome.

There was a young girl next to me and she kept jumping, and making sounds, I would not take young people to this movie. The story line may be hard to follow, especially for special needs kids... coupled with it being in 3D it may = lots of talking and questions.
Posted by: haertig

Re: Avatar - 01/14/10 04:31 AM

Do you still wear the special glasses for modern 3D movies?
Posted by: Nicodemus

Re: Avatar - 01/14/10 01:31 PM

Yes, you still have to wear special glasses, but it's not the old Linear Polarized System or the older Red and Blue Lens System. Instead, it's two opposing circularly polarized lenses. Now alternating clockwise and counter-clockwise polarized frames are projected by one projector instead of two linearly polarized frames being projected at once by two separate projectors or both red and blue colors per frame on one projector.
Posted by: EchoingLaugh

Re: Avatar - 01/14/10 03:44 PM

Having seen this movie in 3d, i enjoyed it immensely. There was good and bad aspects. I felt the 3d was good for most of the time, not distracting and an easy immersion experience, but during close ups, mostly in the beginning lab scene, focus was only forefront, the background was fuzzy and unfocused. My eyes don't work that way so i focused on that, drawing my attention to the 3d part. as the movie progressed i stopped noticing and looking for the 3d part, it just was awesome. the story was not original or inspired. Dances with wolves told the same story in a different time. While there is some character development they seem not as encompassing as say the characters in Dances with Wolves. That said, the Special Effects were worth seeing. The story line is bearable, and all in all i would give the movie 4 out of 5 stars. While i think the storyline could have been better developed, it was still enjoyable and worth paying to see in the theater.

The grip bothered me too Compugeek!
Posted by: haertig

Re: Avatar - 01/14/10 05:55 PM

Do those new 3D glasses work well for us near-sighted-bifocaled folks (5.5 diopter nearsighted) who wear prescription eyewear normally? Sorry to take this thread on a bit of a tangent, but I'd like to see this show in 3D if that would work for me. If I must, 2D would be a fallback if the 3D technology doesn't work well for us nearsighted guys.
Posted by: Todd W

Re: Avatar - 01/14/10 06:06 PM

Originally Posted By: haertig
Do those new 3D glasses work well for us near-sighted-bifocaled folks (5.5 diopter nearsighted) who wear prescription eyewear normally? Sorry to take this thread on a bit of a tangent, but I'd like to see this show in 3D if that would work for me. If I must, 2D would be a fallback if the 3D technology doesn't work well for us nearsighted

My old man enjoyed it and had on his glasses under the 3d glasses.

Posted by: Compugeek

Re: Avatar - 01/15/10 02:14 PM

EchoingLaugh: SO glad I'm not the only one . . . .

haertig: I wear progressive bifocals for severe nearsightedness. I used to get almost migraine-level headaches from 3D movies with the old polarized glasses. I came out of Avatar with a very mild headache, one that I didn't even feel a need to take any aspirin for.

The 3D glasses rode in front of my regular glasses just fine. Once I got used to feeling of the extra pair, I forgot they were there.

If you're inclined to see it in 3D, go for it.

Posted by: Todd W

Re: Avatar - 01/16/10 05:30 PM

Anyone seen it in 3d, and also in IMAX 3d? Curious the differences.

I've only see it in IMAX 3D.

Twice now, and the second time for me seemed much quicker, and faced passed... I think it was because I was now trying to absorb everything where-as the first I had to pay attention to the story line too.

If it wasn't soooo costly, and 1hr away I may see it a 3rd in theatre. I leave with a mild headache that lasts about 5 minutes, and then is gone. My wife was almost throwing up though, she gets motion sickness super easy.