That James Cameron is a mother fucker. The dude did it again. For 3 hours of sitting in some semi-comfortable seats, eating beef jerky, listening to a baby cry, and watching blue and now GREEN aliens fight off the bad guy marines…I was enthralled.
This 3D movie made me forget that I was watching 3D. It made me feel like I was actually in the movie. At one point when it was raining in the film, I went to brush some water off of my jeans. I shit you not. Bullets were flying and I felt my head almost flinch out of the way. The lush forests and deep ocean waters looked like you could reach out and touch them. When CG wasn’t involved in the scene (which was very rare) the frame rate was so high that it continued to feel real, meaning it didn’t feel cinematic in that moment. The world-building craft was at it’s highest notch.
Characters were completely fleshed out. You felt for these on-screen blue and green balls of energy. You saw them grow from nothing and become something. We’ve known their mom and dad for the past 13 years. You could identify with their family troubles…to an extent. No one has every pulled on my tail or slapped me with their fin hand, though… that would be a new experience. Their battles were deeply entwined with the gray areas of a moral compass. Sometimes you feel like you’re doing the right thing but everyone tells you otherwise. Sometimes you follow the crowd and you pay the ultimate price for it. Sometimes you risk it for the biscuit, but the biscuit is a little…stale. The main point I’m trying to make is that we’re all trying our best, even these colorful little aliens from Pandora… and their fishy friends.
The culmination of the details to each creature made them feel so surreal. Sure, they were animated in a way that boggles my mind, but it was their uniqueness and purpose that stood out to me. New types of fish, birds, land animals that had a myriad of features that carried as much use as a cat’s whiskers or a jellyfish’s tentacles.…except you’d combine those 2, give it wings, and then it could glide across and above the water like a foil surfer.
The emotional ride that James puts you on makes you root for the good guys and boo the bad guys. When *SPOILER* the good guys die you cry, *SPOILER OVER* when the bad guys die you cheer – not vocally, I may add. Your cinematic neighbors would not appreciate it. Source: I punched a baby. No, not really, but who brings a toddler to a 3 hour movie? Not a good cinematic neighbor, that’s who.
You’re on the edge of your seat during the action scenes, you’re in awe when they explore a new part of Pandora, you’re holding your crotch through the 3 hour run time hoping you won’t soak your favorite jeans, the seat below you, and subsequently the already confusingly sticky floor. There really is something to be said about the movie-going experience…it never really changes. Your snacks are outrageously priced, unless you think that bottled water should sell for $4.50 and that popcorn with fake butter costs a dollar per kernel. There’s always the crying baby. There’s always the really crinkly snack that someone brought in, but forgot their ability to open a plastic bag at home. It’s more of a 2000’s issue that’s come to the surface – but the people playing on their phones or not silencing them. You’re in a theater with live entertainment, you have to play on your phone too? What happened to your attention span?
In fact, we went and saw Louis CK over the weekend too. While he was hilarious, the crowd was horrendous. For a 90 minute show, I think I saw everyone in the theater get up and go to the lobby at least 17 times. Maybe 18. People next to us and in front of us were playing on their phones. In a sea of dark, when a phone lights up it’s wildly distracting and simultaneously astounding that someone would do it. You have one of the BEST performers in the world, one of the most creative minds, in one of the most beautiful theaters and you have to see what your friends are doing on Instagram? What world am I living in? Definitely not Pandora. Going to the movies is a little bit more understandable as James Cameron isn’t a few feat in front of you pouring their creative genius for you to ignore. He’s home. In his billion dollar home using $100’s to wipe his tears. He’ll be okay. But what about the people around you?
Have we, as a culture, started to lose our appreciation for said culture? Do we give a shit about our fellow humans around us anymore? Attention spans have shortened to that of a goldfish and if something is longer than 15 seconds people haven’t the ability to pay attention to it. This amazes me, mostly because the longer and deeper you go into any artistic piece, the more value it holds. We can pick up millions of data points in 15 seconds, but how much beauty can you find in the 15 seconds? How can you even have the time to fathom all the work, heartache, and emotion went into whatever you’re looking at or what you’re hearing or what you’re feeling? Even a YouTube video requires a few minutes of effort.
There’s hope in me, that as we become more and more connected through these tools we call phones, we will start to have more appreciation for our fellow human’s creation…and the appreciation for the appreciation of said human’s creations. If someone is getting lost in a creator’s art, maybe you should try to understand what it is that captivates them? …instead of pulling out your 5 million lumen cell phone and playing candy crush on full volume. Louis CK and James Cameron would thank you. But since you’ll never EVER interact with them, I guess you’ll have to take my word for it.
Avatar was amazing. Go see it.