I saw the movie Avatar in beautiful 4D. That’s right, a fourth dimension was added by an occasional drop of water coming down from the ceiling of the Neptune Theater. First it was a little tingling on my hand, which I took to be a nerve misfire. Later there was definitely a “plop” of a drop hitting my pants. A few more came down over the course of the movie. Scot, in the seat next to me, got pelted with a couple drops on the head just before we left the theater. How appropriate for a nautical-themed theater.
Leaks, aside, I love the Neptune. Why? (1) It’s run by Landmark, which shows decent films. (2) The concession area up front is shaped like a ship’s bow. (3) Along the edge of the high ceiling are fanciful decorations including bearded Neptune heads, some of which have glowing eyes. (4) Faux stained glass inside:
But getting back to Avatar–that film is one honkin’ chunk of awesome-osity. It’s the new standard by which film/CGI reality must be judged. Just about any fantasy or science fiction story can be made real now, given the resources and imagination. Avatar looks great and it envelopes you in its world of charging, flying, screeching creatures and luminescent plant life. The movie makes it all seem real and plausible.
Problem #1. A by-the-numbers plot. Predictable. Barely sketched out characters. And it becomes obvious that characters who appear frequently but whose personalities are almost non-existent are going to be “red shirts.” Also, the two villains consist of a stereotyped “evil corporation” honcho and a stereotyped hot-headed military man.
Problem #2. The native citizens of Pandora are obviously based on various indigenous peoples of Earth. You see some African tribal elements in their costumes, and bits of other ethnic tribal groups. That’s not the problem. The problem is that it takes a good old American-type white guy to rally and save them. I get tired of that. The film also perpetuates the myth that “primitive” people live in perfect harmony with nature. I’ve touched on this subject before.
All that aside, if I was 12 years old, this movie would take over my world and I’d it watch a dozen times. As an alleged adult, I may see it again some day for its beauty, and I’ll probably paint my skin blue for a few weeks.