HARLEM — The news reports claimed that after sitting through intense scenes of carnage and exploitation, some folks felt extreme depression, and others even harbored suicidal thoughts. But enough about Mets games.
Last night, I finally saw “Avatar,” and it was terrific.
Is it a best picture winner? No. Is it even a great movie? No. Is it an experience? Absolutely. And that’s the most important reason to see it in theaters before it’s too late. For all its flaws, “Avatar” ultimately delivers an old-school, applaud-at-the-end, movie experience that’s become increasingly rare.
The visuals and special effects live up to the hype. Gotta love that 3D.
Sometimes, I raise my guard when going into movies that are so tied to their gadgetry, as if to fight the film’s appeal to suspend reality for awhile. With “Avatar,” I wanted to get swept away, a tribute to its beauty.
I went with a fellow baseball scribe in town, who at the end of the film, declared that Pandora would be “a place I’d use my Marriott Points.” High praise, indeed.
The effects were almost enough to dupe you into forgetting about an unsurprising storyline that’s bolstered by characters plucked from the roster of the Cinematic Stereotype All-Star team.
The movie as a whole felt like a bizarre composite, crudely smashed together to build a story designed to maximize the amazing special effects. The nod to “Dances With Wolves” is apparent. Now, add some spice from Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Pocohantas and Independence Day, and you’ve (kinda) got “Avatar.”
Even the indigenous Na’vi appeared to be a strange blend of elements, the product of an unholy union between lots of female Smurfs and one Manute Bol.
Colonel Miles Quaritch, the evil villain in the film, is a total caricature. He sounded like the WWF early-90s version of the anti-American Sgt. Slaughter, complete with cheesy dialogue. He was so over-the-top that only Vince McMahon could have smiled. I mean, the dude coldly sipped from a cup of coffee as his mercenary army unleashed havoc.
We get it, OK? The guy’s a douchebag. But was there really a need to beat us over the head with it? But that’s a minor point.
Like some of you, I simply hadn’t made time to see “Avatar” in theaters. And the longer time had passed since its release, the more I was resigned to catching it on DVD.
I know now that would have been a terrible mistake. The visuals are truly ground-breaking. Go for the experience.
I promise that you won’t want to off yourself, which is always a nice little bonus.