I saw it last night.
I went to a late, late, late show (for me.) This meant no 5:35 or 6:55 a.m. ferry to town for yoga this morning, so considering that fact, you know I really wanted to see it. The UA cinemas at Times Square are sort of old school, but one thing is for sure, the aircon works a treat. I froze my ass off. But I actually didn’t think about it too much until I re-entered reality and walked outside to find normal temperatures. Whatever may be said about the movie, one thing is for sure… it is a full-on immersion experience. I am not sure why I waited so long to see it, likely the logistics and the length of the movie had much to do with it, but I knew I had to see it before we have the annual Oscar party at my place this weekend.
So, nine Academy Award nominations, four Golden Globe nods and two wins, eight BAFTA potential wins coming away with only two (I have some thoughts on this), and the NY Film Critics Online, Critic’s Choice, Broadcast Film Critics, among others have all noted the film for everything from directing to technical merit, though none for the acting. That speaks to the BAFTA performance I think, and it is probably fair play. This film has been a ginormous money-maker and in typical Cameron form, it has a lot of the standard features of a commercial epic. This does not include stellar acting, though it does include good-looking people. And I say this without the slightest hint of disappointment, I do not see Cameron’s movies to be astounded by thespian prowess, I see them for the sheer scale of audio and visual ass-kicking.
And here, Avatar delivers.
3-D is so much fun, and this 3-d experience was particularly impressive. I especially liked how the ewya and other smaller ethereal things floated out at the audience. The concept of the planet Pandora was also visual euphoria with the colors and the sparkles and the texture. It reminded me of what the Atlantis Casino in Reno must be aiming for, and also a long ago evening spent in the Wizard of Oz themed bar at the MGM Grand in Vegas when it used to be like a munchkin forest. Suffice it all to say, it is reminiscent of certain experiences one may have had that one does not want to necessarily detail in a public forum. It will leave you a bit agog, and my eyes got tired because I realized in several instances I was forgetting to blink.
With regard to the plot… I thought there were a couple of holes… but again, I am not sure that is the point, and I definitely enjoyed the human race in the role of the antagonist. [It is like a bog old “Duh” moment.] And what of the acting? Well, exactly. And as above, who cares. It is not like you were really all that unsure of the outcome. It’s like when I was waiting in line to see Titanic way back when and we were joking aloud about how the film ends, “I mean, the ship’s gonna sink, right?” And this woman behind us got all upset. Wait, did she not realize? Oops. For her. I was a little disappointed that it has to be the human/Na’vi who saves the day and tames the wild beast and wins the hot (I think) girl and all that. But it couldn’t really go any other way, could it? I mean then it would just be like Fantasia or something… visual masterpiece where you leave wondering what everyone in the place was smoking. I think you have got to keep certain elements a little simpler when you are going so full-bore for another. It is like balance in fashion: if you wear denim on the top, you would never wear it on the bottom at the same time would you? No, I did not think so. Or in make up: Dark eyes – light lips, and vice versa. It’s standard.
Cameron’s message about appreciating the environment lest we end up totally fucked like the humans of 2145 in the film is significant, and probably most people will glean this aspect. The more subtle suggestions touching on things like interconnectivity, even elements of quantum physics like entanglement and coherence, were much more interesting to me. Those are things that I believe in (does that make them true – quién sabe) and so they are the things I took away from the story of Avatar. As far as it being an Oscar winner for the Best Picture? That will really depend on one’s interpretation of the word “picture.” If it is about the visual imagery, I think Cameron gets the win. If it is a more global context, like meaning, and synthesis and plot development… not so much. I have a feeling though, that the Academy will come down to dinero. I mean, what other reason could there be for including ten pictures in the Best Picture category this year, with the full knowledge that they are definitely NOT all Best Pictures.
I did read that Cameron planned to do two sequels to Avatar if it was successful. The success question has been answered. Shame about the addiction to sequels, it would be so nice to let something stand alone these days. I believe Avatar could do that just fine.