Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I'm going to keep this short and not spoil anything. Partly because I try not to post spoilers anyway, but also because I believe that a large part of my enjoyment of Avatar came from my avoiding all the pre-release hype about it. I watched the trailers, but ran away from all the interviews and extended clips and whatnot. So, if you've managed that too and still haven't seen it yet, I wouldn't want to ruin that for you.
Yes, the plot is predictable. You've seen it before in a billion different movies. But it's not about the plot. Or rather, the plot isn't what makes it great. As you know, there are a limited number of plots in the world anyway. What makes them suck or works of genius is execution. And James Cameron executes the hell out of this thing.
I was totally sucked into the world of Pandora. It's a real place, as far as I'm concerned, and it is wonderful. I never for a second thought about the special effects or what the filmmakers must have done behind-the-scenes to create it.
I also loved all the characters I was supposed to love and hated all the characters I was supposed to hate. In spite of knowing what was going to happen to them, I became deeply invested in the good guys. In fact, knowing what was going to happen to them kept me going on occasion when things looked especially dark.
I guess it's a lot like Titanic that way. My wife Diane is currently watching her way through Kate Winslet's filmography and I'm along for the ride. We just finished Titanic and in spite of my reluctance to see it again, I remembered by the end that I really, truly enjoy that movie. It has its flaws (Winslet certainly did not deserve a Best Actress nomination for it), but even though you know the main story before the opening credits begin, Cameron keeps it interesting and totally sells the ending. He does exactly the same thing with Avatar.
Stephen Spielberg's been quoted as saying about Avatar, "The last time I came out of a movie feeling that way it was the first time I saw Star Wars." I think I agree with him. I want more. I want to go back to Pandora. If nothing else, I at least want a field guide about the place.
Five out of five Amazon cat-women.