Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gawd, I wish I had a tail

Today I went to see Avatar, and it was so friggin awesome that I totally got a big fat geek-boner the whole 162 minutes! At first I really wanted to hate it, or at least to be indifferent to it. I really wanted to be able to say, really? is that it? that's all they could come up with after 15 years and half a billion dollars? In addition to the big crazy hype I was also pretty concerned about the whole 'mean old humans invading a planet inhabited by a peaceful alien race' angle, which could be played as a heavy-handed post-9/11 analogy. Well, I guess that in a way it sort of is played out that way, with the armed human force being so utterly vicious and the natives so pretty and graceful and pure hearted, not to mention all that big steaming pile of priceless something that's buried under their sacred place, but the thing is, there's so much more to this movie, so much beauty and imagination and emotion that you can't help but be overwhelmed by the sheer greatness of it. Sitting there at the theater, I really did feel that I was witnessing something special. Something that's a complete breakthrough, not just in technology, but in the art of cinematic storytelling. Something that will live on for decades and decades. I've read someone say that he's jealous of the generation that this will be its Star Wars, and I totally agree, but then it got me thinking. What's the Star Wars of my generation? The obvious answer would be The Matrix, but when it came out I was already 19 years old, and to be honest, as cool as The Matrix was, it wasn't really life changing material. Avatar, on the other hand, will definitely shape the young minds of the hordes of prepubescent and teenage dorks who attended today's screening at the Gat theater. Ah, to be young and socially awkward. When I was 13 and wanted to see a 3D movie I had to go all the way to friggin Eurodisney and experience the next best thing to being molested by the King of Pop. Kids these days are so lucky you just wanna reach down their stupid little throats and turn them inside out. Anyway. Everything about the world of Avatar is simply gorgeous. The plant life, the animals and the big blue natives are all so beautiful to look at and painfully real that you completely accept them the entire time, as wondrous and otherworldly as they may seem. It isn't just about technology, the kind that can and does bring all sorts of breathtaking and brightly colored creatures to life in a way I've never seen before. What is truly astonishing is the intensity and emotional depth of the humanoid characters' performances. It's still performance capture, but it makes that Robert Zemeckis crap look like those puppet shows little boys make with their privates: somewhat entertaining, but extremely awkward and wholly unimpressive. It's so convincing that it almost made me cry, more than once, and that usually only happens when there's something seriously wrong with my butt. And the alien love-making scene was pretty awesome too. I totally forgive James Cameron for making that stupid boat movie. Not that I've ever actually seen it. All I know about it is that there's a big boat in it that sinks, and that before it does Leonardo DiCaprio draws Philip Seymour Hoffman naked. I'm not quite sure which one of them had no clothes on. Possibly the both of them. The '90s were weird that way. Anyway. Right after I see Where the Wild Things Are next week (I didn't go this week because it's Hanukkah and Israeli parents are just stupid enough to take their annoying little brats to see it) I'm totally going to see Avatar again. My world has officially been rocked, and by a dude, no less. Sigh. I always knew it was going to happen this way.

Blue sideboob is totally hot

I've read an interview with Mr. Cameron this morning in which he discussed the issue of Avatar's aspect ratio. He said that the 2D prints will be in scope (2.35:1), but the 3D screenings will be in regular 1.78:1, except for theaters that can't handle it, and those will show it in scope. Now, the thing about the Gat theater is that something went wrong when they had a new screen installed about seven years ago, because their screen isn't wide enough to show films in full scope, so they screen them in letterbox format, with black bars on the top and bottom. Well, guess how they screened Avatar today. That's right. As if the screen there isn't small enough as it is. I really do pity anyone who sat farther than the third row. Oh well. I guess that's what gawd had built the Yes Planet megaplex for.

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