Sunday, December 20, 2009

AVATAR... a game-changer indeed

Saw Avatar in Digital 3D on Friday. What a movie! What an experience!
A spell-binding visual treat, I'd call it a must-watch this Xmas.

Been a very long time since a movie created such excitement and anticipation within me. Actually pre-booked our tickets a week in advance. (Could call it the Cameron effect.)

Avatar is James Cameron's magnum opus. He spent 12 years making it. Could hardly wait to see how the animated Na'vi and the entirely CG-ed planet Pandora looked on big screen in 3D.

And all those sneak previews & reviews and blog posts were all screaming 'Go Go Go watch it'. Watch it I had to. Now that I have, here's what I think:

While the storyline is as straight (and uncomplicated) as a Na'vi arrow, it's the visual joy of Avatar that beholds you right through its 3 hour duration.

  • The exquisitely detailed forest (the humungous Home tree, the Sacred tree of Eywa, the enchanting flora, dense bushes and leaves) 
  • The meticulously created characters (the Na'vi tribe, the Avatars and all the wild creatures... wonderfully described in the Pandorapedia) and 
  • The beautifully crafted scenes (the dragon birds (ikran) in flight, the fight sequences, the glorious floating hallejuhah mountains)... 
are sheer eye-candy and a treat to watch in digital 3D.

Much praise for Peter Jackson & Richard Taylor's teams at Weta Digital. The CGI is incredibly seamless. Like never before, the animated characters blend in so smoothly, one can hardly tell they're computer-created. Also, since the Na'vi are not too unlike humans, it's not difficult for viewers to identify with and feel for them.

Once again, James Cameron has succeeded in the art of story-telling. He has masterfully spun a fantasy out of his head and put it out there. Right from the first reel of Avatar, you feel like you're transported to a whole new world. I'm talking complete yet credible suspension of disbelief. And that's the beauty of a simple story well told.

In the final analysis, Avatar (3D) is a game-changer. It's the best thing that's happened in ages for 3D cinema, for good, clean family entertainment, and of course for Weta Digital & James Cameron - the man himself... who has just spawned a new empire of games, toys, memorabilia and lots more to follow.

Bring on the sequel, but first, I'll be seeing Avatar again... can't pay the movie a bigger compliment than that.