The Avatar experience

Joyride warning: This is not for heart patients, people with claustrophobia, migraine problems, or those with any proven record of 3D-o-phobia.

So, I saw Avatar in IMAX 3D. And? Well, it made me want to throw up.

There. I’ve said it. It’s an honest admission, and no matter how hard I try to tell myself that it was the bad popcorn they served at the premier, 3D, the IMAX version at least, doesn’t quite suit me. It’s good to know that a few other film reviews and online posts I read expressed similar opinions. Phew, I am not a wimp, certainly not the only one. Apparently, it’s not such a nauseating experience for everyone. Good for them. That’s Cameron’s target audience. As for me, I prefer my characters to stick to the screen.

But between surges of nausea and double images (without the glasses which I took off for a good portion), it’s kudos to the graphics guys. This is the high point of special effects, with vivid forest scenes, out-of-this world creatures, and some of the most brilliant fight sequences.

That, and the hype that Cameron’s 3D publicity generated (right back to when the 15-minute trailer released), it's a perfect Hollywood formula for BO success. Avatar, as everyone had predicted, is set to be a huge grosser. After all, even if you’re one of those who gets that splitting headache (I fall comfortable into that category), you will discover it only after having bought the ticket. Technology has always been a Hollywood thing (remember Technicolor, or talkies for that matter), and with the first to do it, it often drives collections better than a storyline.

Cameron’s Avatar wouldn’t win an Oscar for original storyline (though one never can be certain). Blue-skinned 10-feet Na’vis (think of the blue-skinned god, Krishna, and that perhaps explains the film’s title) reside on the planet called Pandora. The evil, however, doesn’t reside within, but comes attacking from outside: in the form of humans. The clich├ęd ‘future’ means our own planet is a wasteland and we need new resources. But the iron-pumping baddy chief (Colonel I-can’t-spell-his-name) is not the adorably plump captain of the spaceship in Wall-E. “You have to stay tough,” he says, and does, till he dies in the climax.

Digression: Remember the 'Boss' from Virtual Cop? Yes, that point-and-fire computer game from the last millennia. 'Boss' was the one that fought the final battle and had the longest ‘life-meter’. Pretty much defines the villain of the Hollywood action film.

So, the humans come looking for a mineral called Unobtanium (yes, it remains unobtained), which is highly precious back on Earth. A war ensues, with gunships against bows and arrows. It’s that and the in-between developments—Jake Suly takes on the Na’vi avatar through a virtual reality programme (it’s not Johnny Quest, but similar), learns their ways and eventually fights for them—where Cameron spends his multi million dollars, creating fantastic, dream-like images.

Think Matrix on a hallucinogenic, and then think if something could beat that. As for the director, this is not Titanic, but a throwback to his Aliens and Terminator. Future, big fighting machines, super natural creatures—this is signature Cameron.

No pain, no gain. Guess that holds true. For as I walk out of the theatre, and the normal world comes back into focus, I know I have seen something new, yet glad it’s now over.

Future of animation and what projection technology can be? For sure. The future of all cinema? It’s a heady thought.


Jayeeta Mazumder said...

:) Nicely written, boss!

madhurima said...

to go or not to go ... that is the question

nice write up ... honest too!

madhurima said...

o btw does anyone else think that the creatures look like hollywoodized and glam versions of that stupid creature names Jadoo?

Don't kill me you guys.. it's just a thought :D

saachi said...

hihi :-) We took the safe choice, went to the 2D version... anyway, it's a Pocahontas clone I would add... and I was more impressed by Pocahontas (well I was a lot younger then too) nice review! x!