Official Avatar ImageThis week I went to the cinema to watch the film Avatar (IMDb), and it had such an effect I felt that I had to do a review here on my blog.

I haven’t actually been to the cinema in a few years now as I felt the price was too steep for quality that I can reproduce at home with my high definition TV and Sky HD or Blu-Ray on the Playstation 3. I know this means that I have to wait a while to see the latest films but I am very patient so this does not bother me.

Anyway this was a film that I have been looking forward to for a while and with the added draw of 3D, which I cannot reproduce at home, I thought this would be worth checking out at the cinema.

As for the film then, Whoa! It was amazing. Not so sure about the 3D aspect of it though…

Storyline

James Cameron’s latest epic, Avatar, is set way into the future on a faraway world called Pandora.

Having ravaged our home planet, there are references to there being no greenery left on Earth, we humans have come across Pandora and found it contained a rare mineral called Unobtainium which is in huge demand back home. So naturally they try to take advantage of the situation and start mining the mineral.

There is a abundance of local wildlife including a humanoid population called the Na’vi. To begin with there is a concerted effort to placate the Na’vi population but it isn’t going so well and so there is a heavy military presence to help secure the mining teams.

To try and communicate on a more level playing fiels the idea of the “Avatar” bas born. These Avatars are bodies created using both Na’vi and Human DNA, grown in a lab, which can then be controlled by their human counterpart via a sort of virtual reality type deal. Think of a first person shooter style concept, but obviously a lot more advanced.

These Avatars are all controlled by scientists but one of the scientists dies back on Earth before he got to go to Pandora. Luckily he has a twin brother, a paraplegic ex-marine, who should also be able to control his Avatar, enter Jake Sully.

As the scientists have failed to gain the respect of the Na’vi people Jake takes on the responsibility. He is given the task of gaining their trust and asking them to move from their home, which happens to be on a large deposit of Unobtainium, before the drilling commences.

While learning the ways of the Na’vi, Jake falls in love with his teacher, Neytiri (pictured with Jake’s Avatar above).

When the mining company realises the aliens have no intention of leaving their home they take matters into their own hands. This forces Jake to fight back as one of the Na’vi and a war entails that will decide the fate of Pandora.

Effects

This is obviously the main part of the film, the special effects. And they are pretty special.

The Na’vi characters are very believable and you can definitely see the their human counterpart in their facial features. Along with the glowing plant life, lushly forested landscapes, the amazing array of creatures and absolutely stunning scenery the overall effect is simply staggering.

Technology has obviously improved over time but this is the best computer generated effects I have ever seen. At no stage at all did I think that bit doesn’t look right, which is so often the case with many films.

To be honest I am still a little bit in awe at how realistic the whole thing looked.

3D

So how does a feature length film look in 3D?

The overall effect is reasonably good. Most of the scenes had some 3D element which brings the action out towards you a bit. The picture was very crisp and clear which hasn’t always been my experience with previous attempts at 3D and with the new polarised glasses there are no horrible colour casts like there used to be with the red and green lenses.

There were only a couple of times when things seemed a bit out of focus and I had to concentrate on some of the subtitles, for example, to bring them back into focus.

I am by no means sure but I think because the 3D effect adds depth to the images you have to adjust your focus in and out a bit to see different parts of the screen. This is no big deal but it seems to put an extra strain on my eyes. By the time the film was over I was starting to get a bit of a headache and I actually felt a bit uncomfortable driving straight afterwards as my sight felt a little blurry for a couple of minutes. This was nothing serious though and didn’t detract from the viewing experience at all.

I haven’t seen the 2D version yet but my personal thoughts are that it may be even better as you should be able to see the whole picture at the same time rather than focusing in and out.

At the moment 3D seems to being pushed in a big way but I have no plan on buying into it. I still feel it is a bit of a gimmick and as it gave me a bit of a headache I will probably steer clear, for now at least.

I would love to hear other peoples view on the 3D versus 2D debate.

Conclusion

This film certainly pulled me in. It all felt real even though a lot of it is obviously computer generated content.

I felt totally immersed in the action and came out with a brief feeling that I would really love to visit Pandora, before reality hit home again as I got in the car to drive home.

That is quite an impressive feat for a science fiction film that at first impression is so heavy on the fiction.

As you can probably guess by now I loved it and would recommend it to everyone. Whether the film is better in 3D, well not sure yet as I haven’t seen the 2D version but certainly wouldn’t run out to see another film in 3D.

This is definitely something I intend to get on Blu-Ray to add to my collection…

Image: © All rights reserved OfficialAvatarMovie

3 comments

Shirley

Very good if i had not already seen it I would be rushing to watch it.

Gary

Only thing I’ve seen in 3D is part of a Panto in Plymouth! Made me jump initially but got used to it after a while. Possibly still a bit gimmicky at the moment but I think in 2-3 years, 3D films will become the norm at the cinema, although hopefully, the storyline will take preference over 3D effects. Might take longer to transfer to the home due to cost but will eventually happen.
Haven’t seen Avatar yet as I live in Spain and my Spanish isn’t good enough yet to understand a full length film so I will have to wait until it comes out on DVD. Hopefully, by then, we will have bought a bigger TV to enjoy it on!

    Pete O'Shea

    Hey Crompty, good to hear from you mate. What do you think of my little blog then?

    Good to see some comments starting to come in.

    As for the film then definitely watch it when you get a chance. I loved it.

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