So Abby and I went to go see Avatar this weekend. The best description I've heard of it is that it's basically a $100 hamburger: well-crafted, painstakingly presented, thoroughly enjoyable, and at the end of the day, just a hamburger. A really good hamburger. But a hamburger nonetheless.
I didn't see it in 3D because I am done with 3D. I don't need the headache to witness the splendor. I will say this: I liked it. The plot was well-thought-out if not terribly adventurous. The plot twists were all telegraphed fairly early on. The fight scenes were great--Cameron really should do space operas. And the technical achievement of the film cannot be understated: the movie looks incredible. The CG characters emote believably, and the environments and creatures are splendidly real and visceral.
I will complain a little about the writing. The plot-driving McGuffin is a mineral called... wait for it... "unobtainium."
Yeah. Really. Spoken without irony.
There were a few other vocal gaffes: "take it to the next level" and "we're not in Kansas anymore" that were a bit hackneyed, but for the most part the characters were colloquial enough to be believable, if not eloquent.
It's curious to me that this film was released against Oscar hopefuls rather than as a summer blockbuster. I can't help but think that Cameron expects Avatar to be a shoe-in for Best Picture. And he's wrong. Although I wouldn't be too surprised if he managed a nomination.
Anyway, good flick, exciting, 'splody, gorgeous. Is it worth the hype? Probably not. Worth seeing? Well, you could do a lot worse for $10.