Lynnea and I saw Avatar last night. So many people had raved about it as the greatest film of our time that I decided to prepare myself for either a terrific movie or a tremendous disappointment.
I think it was around the time that the grizzled marine in a huge mecha suit was knife fighting with the sexy blue alien babe riding on some kind of tiger-monster, that I said to myself "Boy, James Cameron really knows how to pander to nerds, doesn't he? I'm surprised there weren't ninjas in this scene too."
Also, at some point in the middle I whispered, "This is what I want World of Warcraft to be like in the future." In other words, you step into a cryo chamber of some sort, and then you mind control some fantasy character while feeling what is happening to your other body. Obviously these would be simulated sensations, not controlling a real physical entity. But Lynnea pointed out that this is a nerdy gamer's biggest fantasy, right down to what it turns out the main character can do at the very end. (I will not reveal what it is so as not to spoil the movie, but if you apply two seconds of thought to what a "nerdy gamer's biggest fantasy" would be, other than the naughty stuff, I'm sure you can guess it.)
Anyway, I did come away with a very strong certainty that James Cameron does, in fact, play World of Warcraft. And I'm not the only one to notice that the similarities are uncanny. The Na'vi are basically night elves, and if they work hard and become extra powerful then they get to purchase their epic flying mount when they reach level 70.
Let me not say that I didn't enjoy the movie. It was fantastic eye candy, especially if you pay extra to see it in Digital 3D, which we did. The effects were great, and seeing the paralyzed marine enjoying his new powerful body was fun to watch. And stuff blew up, which is always a plus in a huge blockbuster. Maybe it's in my nature to be a bit cynical and find it corny, but that's how James Cameron rolls, right? I mean, I actually liked Titanic, historical inaccuracies and weepy moments and all.
So I'm giving this a thumbs up, this was a good and crazy picture. I'm not willing to say, as Ebert did, that this is a Star Wars for our time. But then, I didn't even think Star Wars was a Star Wars for our time. I don't dress up for conventions, I don't think it is a movie that defined my childhood, it was simply a good flick where fun stuff happened. In the same spirit, I'll give Avatar four out of five stars, maybe four and a half if I'm in a good mood. It was super corny and the whole angle with the Na'vi as Native Americans was a bit heavy handed. But still a cool experience.
There will be fetish conventions based around this, you mark my words. I'll be skipping them. :)