ming movie reviews

in about 100 words or less

Avatar (2009)

US 162m, Colour 3D
Director: James Cameron; Cast: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore, C. C. H. Pounder, Wes Studi, Laz Alonso, Sigourney Weaver

avatarAvatar is a science fiction adventure film that is based on a tired premise that is filled with predictable and clichéd characters. Despite these limitations, it remains a fascinating movie owing to some of the most stunning visual effects ever seen on film. Unfortunately, the visual effects and cinematography also suffer from being filmed and projected in 3D, a process which is woefully out-dated and which served only to distract from the film’s most interesting qualities. While some of the 3D effects were impressive in deep focus shots, the foreground in-your-face effects remained no less a gimmick now as they were when they were first introduced in film (Klaus Ming January 2010).


6 comments on “Avatar (2009)

  1. Greta

    I’ve been contemplating the movie for the past few days as to
    whether or not I liked it. Overall, the answer is yes,
    and wow, there’s some really neat things in there. But my
    hesitation comes in that I wasn’t able to leave the theatre
    saying a single “Wow! That was GREAT!!” I think the reason is
    that the movie has so many layers (both visually and
    figuratively) that individually distract you and require
    critique, that they don’t come together as a cohesive
    “GREAT” whole. Here’s what I found I was left having to
    think about:

    1) The Story – We’ve seen the story and the characters
    before on a general level – White guy goes to live with
    the natives/becomes a native. You’ve got your Indian
    princess, the jealous warrior boyfriend and his back up
    gang, the father who leads and knows best, the wise old
    woman, etc., and on the white side you’ve got the macho
    military guy etc., meh…ok, nothing original there (but
    see below for the unique stuff).

    2) The 3D – the entire movie is in 3d – the most I’ve
    ever seen, and wow, it really is neat, until you start
    looking beyond what you’re suppose to. The director has
    dictated what you, the viewer has to be looking at at
    any particular moment, and the rest is irrelevant, and
    thus out of focus. So at very few times can you see an
    entire frame in focus. There’s a really good discussion
    of the merits of a 3D movie here (I didn’t have the
    headaches though, just the distraction).

    Having said that, after your eyes adjust and your brain
    adjusts and you accept that you must look “here” for
    the effects to work, you can lose yourself into the

    3) The World Cameron creates – ok, so where the story
    premise isn’t original, the new creatures and the
    visual world is new, and that I think is the strength
    of the film. There are some really neat concepts in the
    Avatars, the creatures created, their size and body
    abilities, the world around them, the colours used etc.
    You can really get lost in it, and here I think is where
    some of the 3d helps to enhance the experience.

    4) The CG used – tied into #3 is the fact that as a
    viewer you are also processing the sheer amount of
    work that had to go into this film – there’s some
    really fantastic work here, and there’s many times
    you aren’t entirely sure where live and CG come
    together. It’s pretty seamless. No wonder it cost
    so much money.

    So, in a nutshell, the 3D is good, but often distracting
    at times, and the story is okay, but really, we have seen
    it before, but there’s a really neat world and great visuals.

    That’s why all together, it never really came together as
    ONE great experience for me.

    I definitely would be willing to see it again in 2d or
    in the ultra 3d experience of Imax.

  2. klausming

    Thanks for the interesting reply. I agree on most counts with your review and would certainly give this another chance at an IMAX theater. Like Star Wars, Avatar is becoming a landmark in pop-culture, and it’s viewing is an event which should not be missed. Despite it’s success, I still don’t see 3D technology as it exists becoming the standard in film.

  3. klausming

    I saw Avatar for a second time this past weekend and admit that I enjoyed it a lot more than the first time around. It was a lot less distracting owing to the fact that the left 1/3 of the screen was not blurred by an out of focus projector at Empire Theatres in St. John’s.

    It’ll be interesting to see how it looks in 2D once it is released for home consumption on DVD and Blu-Ray. I’m expecting that the few people who didn’t see it in theater will wonder what all the fuss was about.

  4. Pingback: Oscar Predictions and Winners…for 2009 « MiNG Movie Reviews

  5. Derrick

    Average movie. Worth a look. Could use a 2 hour edit. Its one of those things that the only real lasting thing its going to give people is images of used 5 dollar copy bins for the next 3 years.

  6. Klaus

    I watched Avatar in 2D on Blu-ray last night (the Director’s Cut) – which was entirely better experience than my two theatre experiences. My initial crappy theatre experience was a big factor in my frustration with this movie.

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This entry was posted on 01/09/2010 by in 1001+, 2000s, All and tagged .
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