At this point, you probably have spent a few bucks on James Cameron latest opus. I have. Thirty dollars. And I hated it.
The first time I saw Avatar was in 2D in Brockville, ON, opening day. Stripped of 3D quality and digital projection, Avatar is a bore. The patronizing plot about the good savage winning the heart of the kind-hearted invader has been done and better numerous times (Dances with Wolves, The New World.) With the notable exception of Sigourney Weaver' Dr. Augustine, the characters are unoriginal and painfully underdeveloped. The motion-capture animation is impressive, same as the vast array of extraterrestrial life forms, but without something to do, it's just a bit better than a pretty screen saver. Do you want to see properly used CGI characters? Go and watch LOTR: The Two Towers. Gollum has shades the Na'vi can only dream of.
The tree of life? The Fountain used the same idea more successfully a couple of years ago (true, nobody saw that show, but is there, people.)
Cameron, who is responsible for the Avatar script, is a mediocre writer. When Titanic took home eleven Oscars in 1997, the screenplay wasn't even nominated. He had help for Aliens and Terminator and it shows. In fact, Cameron steals from himself and recycles the character roster from Aliens (the hardcore Latina soldier, the duplicitous corporate drone, Ellen Ripley) and wedges it into his Pocahontas redux.
On New Year's Eve, I decided to give Avatar another chance, this time in 3D, in a state-of-the-art screen in Vancouver, BC. It was actually unbearable, the second time around. I fidgeted in my sit during the entire projection. Sure, the colours are pretty and the first half hour the 3D aspect makes the show tolerable, but the novelty wears off very quickly. There are very specific sits in the theatre where Avatar can be fully appreciated (the four sits right in the middle of the room), if you are not in one of those, you are missing out.
There was an emotional weight in Titanic that's entirely missing in Avatar. Did anybody care when (SPOILER ALERT) three of the main characters bit the dust within minutes from each other? It felt like a montage!
Here is hoping I'm not the only one who notices the emperor has no clothes.