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Avatar (3D)

Complete bastard to rate this, or asses my feelings on it. I enjoyed it, got swept up in parts, but lord it had a lot of weak elements. Elements that would normally lessen my enjoyment a lot more (but mainly didn't, thanks to the novelties of the new tech). Elements that will probably become more pertinent the more the 3D & CGI aspects date.

The 3D itself worked best in scenes like the initial 'dragon' flight, and making the background flora of this alien world seem even realer. Areas where depth wasn't distracting, but a complement. It felt forced and gimmicky at some earlier points tho - forced when fake-seeming defocusing was used (the mic-stand during Sully's logs, for example), & tacky somehow at others (an early stereotype-clash between Weaver & Ribisi made me feel like I was watching a Mark Hamill vid shoehorned into a Wing Commander game. Like low-denominator tat relying on presentation-novelty to elevate it).

The rest of my reservations centre around the 'native green alien' issues & plot. I was slightly uncomfortable with the melange of Native Indian allegory, African-sounding accents & bestial bodies at first. You wend your way into it, thanks to the Sully/Neytiri relationship being affably, if 'avatistically', done ('scuse pun). It's also smoothed over by the worship of all things biological in the film, making 'bestial' the desirable, but that in itself took such an extreme stance as to be risible. I'm a greeny myself, but if the film wants to present a completely idealised version of all things 'eco' (life-systems as Godhead, capable of everything artifical tech can do, but with none of the downsides etc) they should totally embrace the fantasy, not bring us back with cheap Iraq jabs & front-and-centre US-'cleansing'-guilt. (PS, I think both the latter are fine in theory, but didn't work as a whole here). Unless Cameron really thinks trees can compute the storing of souls, it's tipped beyond the silly. (In defence of green-angles here, nature does inspire huge swathes of our novel tech, and is capable of truly miraculous things - from stressed trees sharing nutrients via underground symbiotes to us hairless monkeys mimicking evo-tricks to make a better optic fibre cable - and piping around mind-bending images like these. Cameroon's presentation of guided benevolence destroyed by human rapaciousness is too either/or to reflect those realities though).

There are lots of other quibbles (communications working in the tech-interrupting 'vortex' zone. Prison-break nerds not getting spotted by security. Etc etc.). But hell, in the here and now, this was a blast to watch, and much of the silliness and predictability was still well executed, and made for a streamlined ride.

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(The minuses are almost place-holders for how my estimation might dip as the novelty of the tech advances wear off)