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If you haven't seen it in 3D, you haven't seen it.
For those of you who haven't seen Avatar yet, SEE IT.
For those of you who haven't seen it in 3D yet, YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT.
Let me start with what you people already have heard, no doubt, from others: The acting was sub-par, the casting was sub-par, and the plot was horrifyingly predictable. For those of you familiar with James Cameron, however, these things are not newsworthy. He's never been known for his star casting, good scripting, or twist endings. His films are not cerebral at all: it's simply about giving you good action. With the known things down though, let's talk about how this movie is truly remarkable, and why the more serious moviegoers are really talking about it.
Art. Or, more specifically, Cinema, as a form of it. James Cameron, with his CGI-is-the-future philosophy has finally succeeded in proving his theorem, and the playing field of the movie industry has been forever changed. Yes, Avatar was a very large budget film, and not every other film can hope to join the future party, at least not now... but the blockbusters will. There's a whole new dimension of film making to be explored now, and explored it will be.
This movie is about Action. It's very good at it, too. However, a lot of convention is sidestepped in filming it, and new ideas are tested and employed to keep you in the middle of it. It's also about art: the visuals, and the whole world that Avatar creates are exquisitely detailed and layered, woven together in a truly stunning way. Unfortunately, many of the fine background details are lost to the viewer in the true experience. The experience is one of 4 dimensions: the set is built, composure is planned, action is choreographed, and effects are executed through the fourth dimension.
Avatar necessitates that you throw out your previous knowledge and experience regarding 3D movies: until now, they have always been a novelty, some effect tagged on as an afterthought to a CGI animated film "because we can", for the extra dollars it may net in family theatres across the country. Avatar is filmed from the ground up as a "3D" film, and it is exploited in every way possible. Environments and action scenes are chosen for the impact they have, in 3D, on the viewer. This is not the end-all, be-all of 3D movies, in fact they still have a long ways to go... but it's a start -- the FIRST start they've had, and with this innovation, more will follow and the art will be gradually perfected. Expect much more, and eventually much better.
I, for one, will gleefully purchase my copy of the Blu-Ray the day it is released, so I can enjoy the finer artistic side to the movie, and own a piece of the experience... though it's not the real experience: If I see it again in the theatres, it will have to be in 3D, because it's a cinematic experience like no other, for which we will not get another chance once the movie stops showing.
This is my advice to you:
First and foremost, See it, and see it in 3D.
Secondly, if you want to see it again, don't bother with the 2D showings, see it again, in 3D. Yes, the 2D is a different, and unique experience with a better view of the finer details, but you'll get to see all of that once it comes out on DVD and blu-ray anyway, so why bother? See it again in 3D, while you still can.
If you can see it in Imax, do it. Is it worth the $17 ticket? Yes. VERY YES. if you can't see it in Imax, pick the cinema with the biggest screen to sport a capable 3D Imax projector possible, and see it there. If you're going to see it in imax, and aren't going in the middle of a midnight blizzard, ORDER YOUR TICKETS EARLY.
Casting: 5/10 Acting: 6/10 Plot: 6/10 (Shockingly predictable, yet still compelling in an underdog sort of way) Composition: 8/10 (that's a 12/10 on the 2D movie scale--room for improvement, but only because it raised the bar) Visuals: 10/10 (absof***inglutely spectacular) Environment: 8/10 (I'd give it a 10 for Artsy, but it gets a 6 for realism) Action: 9.5/10 (You can't be perfect at everything... but you can be damn near close) Experience: 11/10 (forget I just said that) Technical: 10/10 (and we've just raised the bar)
Overall Score: 8.5/10. Well played, Cameron, well played.
Over the Hedge (2006)
A Rare Gem of Modern Family Comedy
I had to choose between seeing Over the Hedge or Mission Impossible III this week; I chose Over the Hedge, and that is one decision I have not regretted. The movie got off to a somewhat pessimistic start with the introduction to it's ridiculously clichéd and perhaps somewhat stupid central plot device. However, once it took off, neither that nor anything else could slow the movie's momentum, and Vincent, the homicidal plot device, became less and less of a burden to the film's plot and comedy.
Over the hedge has a truly delightful collection of characters, and the rich personalities to match. Together, they form one of the most amusing mildly dysfunctional families ever to hit the screen. The movie was packed with somewhat tongue-in-cheek humor and references even a reference to Citizen Kane was woven hilariously into a scene. The light innuendos and subtle adult humor helped to gear it at least as much toward a mature audience as a young one, though perhaps some of the implied violence pushed the boundaries of the PG rating.
The effects and CG graphics were first-rate Pixar, and the animals' fur was especially well-done.
All told, Over the Hedge was packed with great laughs, and is one of the few movies this summer that is well worth the ticket price. Take the time to go see it if you haven't already.
NetFarce - The Defiling of Good Story
Like many people, I rented this movie as a Clancy fan. I had previously read his book, "NetForce", and was eager to see it on the tube. I now deeply regret my decision to see it at all.
Not only was the movie a complete waste of time, but its plot was filled with more holes than a bullet-riddled SUV on an A-10 target range, and held about as much water. If somebody asks you where some important aspect of a workable plot went, you could simply reply, "it fell into a plot hole," and that would be the end of it.
The entire movie was packed to the gills with bad acting and painfully extreme deviations from what had been the good storyline of the book. Both the original storyline and all the cool action scenes fell into some of the movie's gaping plot holes somewhere in the process of production, and Clancy's interesting and intelligent characters were also conspicuously missing. Neither the plot nor the ending resembled those of the book in any way, and the ever present boredom and disgust of the movie left you emotionally drained to the point where you'd wish all the shallow, no-can-act characters would just hurry up and die.
I don't write this review to simply be critical of this piece of poorly-conceived garbage, but rather as a warning to all the Clancy fans out there still considering seeing this movie. So here's your warning: To the Clancy fan: whether you've read the book or not, if are given the opportunity to watch this movie, don't even think about it. You turn around and you RUN AWAY. Run for your life, and don't look back, or you are likely regret it for the rest of your days.