This was my first IMAX experience, and I can’t remember having a funner time at the movies (with the exception of a few eventful midnight showings). It’s not just the quantum leap it takes with visual effects, it’s the whole new immersive world Cameron creates. Seeing Pandora was not unlike seeing Hogwarts or Middle Earth for the first time, they’re places I want to visit/escape to over and over.
It’s not perfect by any means, but considering how ambitious Avatar is I think it’d be silly to nitpick over some miniscule flaws. It’s really something everyone should see. The 160 minute runtime flew by, and for most part I was completely transfixed, even in awe at times. I do however have to comment on that godawful song that plays over the closing credits. It’s terrible. Just run out the theater when the film ends so it doesn’t have the chance to put a damper on your overall experience.
Also, kudos to Cameron for the strong environmental message reminiscent of Princess Mononoke. As a treehugger, I really appreciated that.
The visual effects were absolutely amazing, and it really needs to be experienced rather than simply watched. Preferably in 3D IMAX. I cannot imagine that the film would be nearly as good if seen on a television screen, or even a regular movie screen. The effects and world were so entirely immersive, it made the real world seem less real when I left the theater. It was amazing to see how flawlessly the animation and real people were integrated, it was entirely believable.
I must say, though, that I had some issues with the plot. The world that was designed for the film was amazing, and the characters were incredibly engaging, but the story, and their little political messages were a bit obnoxious. I approve of the strong environmental message, but it kind of came across as simply attempting to appeal to the current political trends. They made fun of Bush quite a bit, but after the first joke or two, it became a little exasperating (you can only say “Get it done!” so many times.) I was also a little bugged by the glorification of war, but that’s purely personal.
Basically, I was amazed by the first half of the film, but a little disappointing by the second. The building of the world and characters was exceptionally beautiful and engaging, but during the second half I knew exactly what was going to happen, and was not that interested in the war.
And yes, that song at the end of the credits seriously killed the mood!