So I guess I was the last self-proclaimed film geek to see Avatar. Back at the end of July (yes, I’ve been meaning to post about it for that long but haven’t made the time) I watched it on Blu-ray, courtesy of the fine folks at Netflix. Is Avatar the biggest box-office hit of all time because it’s the greatest movie ever? Nah. Honestly, I thought it was just OK. Would I have liked James Cameron’s film more if I had seen it in 3D in the theaters? Maybe, but probably not.
I’m not going to bore anyone with a mundane recap of the plot here. You’ve probably all seen Avatar already anyway. And read plenty of recaps of the story too. Suffice it to say there’s a lot to like about Avatar, but it suffers from similar issues as Titanic. Mainly a little too long, and a below-average screenplay. That’s not to say James Cameron is a bad filmmaker. I love the first two Terminators, and Aliens is awesome. I like The Abyss and True Lies is OK. I even like Titanic, besides the aforementioned negatives. But I feel Avatar didn’t live up to the hype. Now, none of my friends have said it’s the greatest movie ever, but there has to be a handful of people out there who think so, probably more. I just don’t know any of them.
The effects are fantastic. Yeah, you can tell it’s CGI/motion capture in a lot of parts with the Na’vi, but in other parts it looks damn good. The battle scene at the end is borderline spectacular. The sets are ambitiously great (but maybe, as one fellow blogger friend with a hat room has brought up, Pandora and the album art of Roger Dean have a little too much in common). The cinematography is great too. And the Blu-ray disc looks and sounds absolutely incredible.
But…the acting is a bit hammy at times. Yeah, I’m talking to you Giovanni Ribisi and Stephen Lang. (OK, maybe not Stephen Lang because you expect him to be a little hammy. And I did like the stupid thing he did drinking coffee in the cockpit of the battle ship. And he’s a nasty SOB throughout.) The leads are just OK. The Pandorian beasts looked a bit fake at times, but then again they are alien. The story is mildly interesting, and maybe a little silly, but certainly good for techno-geeks. And eco-geeks. And Blue Man Group geeks. OK, maybe not the last group.
So, do I recommend Avatar? Well, it’s certainly worth seeing. Would I see it again? Maybe. Yeah, I guess once more wouldn’t kill me. Would I want to own it though? Eh….