Chris and I went out to see Avatar today. We decided to catch a 3D showing, and although a lot of people were at the theater to see Sherlock Holmes, our screening was pretty full, too.
The movie is beautiful, with lots of interesting plants and creatures, many of which glow with eye-popping phosphorescent hues, making every night time scene resemble Mother Nature's biggest rave party. I can definitely see why they made a tie-in video game, because the world is just dying to be explored, what with the wide branches, giant leaves, and floating mountains... actually, at times, it honestly felt like I was watching a video game.
Aside from the marvelous graphics, I found it to be entertaining but not amazing. Even at almost 3 hours long the movie had to jump around a lot in time to fit in everything it wanted to, and at times my mind had to scramble to fill in the blanks. I think it might have worked better as a two-part movie, a la Kill Bill, as it would have allowed more time for character development and backstory.
The action sequences were really intense, and while there's not really any gore, a lot of people and creatures die very violent deaths. This, combined with more exposed native boobs than a year's worth of National Geographic means that this is really not a kid's movie, no matter what McDonald's seems to think. It's a shame, because I think kids would really love the super-colorful and imaginative world of Pandora*, but might be scared by the big battles (my personal feeling is that the boobs won't harm their delicate little psyches, but I'm not big on anti-boob-stigma). It would be nice if in addition to the video game and Happy Meal Toys, they had made a kiddie movie to go with the adult movie.
But really, when you strip away the amazing graphics, the alien world, and the machine-gun laden ships, this is Fern Gully for adults, and the heavy-handed message and black-and-white moral view point is what kept me from being truly in love with it.
*Seriously, enough with the name Pandora, guys. Go mine Greek mythology for some new planet names. I'm sure Borderlands and Avatar aren't the only ones to use it, just the only ones I've encountered. This year.