This is totally a weekend post. There’s nothing at all here to do with business. Just enjoy it. If you haven’t seen Avatar yet, beware spoilers.
Its the ninth weekend for Avatar, and I just paid to go and see Avatar for a second time in the theater. It wasn’t sold out this weekend, but there was a good crowd. The official reason for this visit is that it turns out that my wife liked Avatar enough that she wanted to take her Grandfather to see it. The unofficial reason is that the first time we’d seen it, we’d gotten there so late that we ended up having to watch it from the third row, and I wanted to get a better angle on it before it left theaters, so I was probably going again anyhow, but it was nice to have a more noble excuse. Now, honestly, I can’t think of the last time I’d paid to go see a movie twice in the theater, but as most of you know, this experience is NOT going to repeat itself any time soon on DVD, so its certainly worth it.
Below are a bunch of random thoughts about this movie that I want to just push out there. Some of them came to me after the first viewing, but a number of items only came to me the second time around:
- After seeing this movie the first time, for most of the next week, my brain ‘rendered’ the scenes in my head as 3-D animation. It was weird. I had a very difficult time trying to remember the actual color tones and mood of the film. I remember marveling that everything came out over-saturated and under-rendered in my head, and I’m blaming it squarely on my background in animation.
- Dr. Grace Augustine says early on that she’d “die” to get a sample from the Tree of Souls.
- When I found that linguists were hired to create the Na’vi language, I originally thought to myself, “those guys must have been ecstatic to finally be able to do something with their skills that isn’t boring.” Then I realized that to them, whatever it is linguists do when not creating new languages for movies must not be boring to them, or they wouldn’t do it. You see that? A perfect example of me imposing my own values on someone else.
- I suspect many linguists create their own languages in their free time just for fun, possibly hoping a movie producer will come along and need one ready to go.
- Based on the popularity of this movie, I wonder how long it will be until more people know how to speak Na’vi than Klingon, or even Quenya.
- It isn’t until Jake starts to really transform his mind into an Omaticaya that we finally see his withered legs, to really feel the contrast between who he was and who he’s becoming.
- At this same time, his human body is growing out his hair. When he finally shaves, he leaves his hair long, not high and tight.
- After seeing it twice, I still wouldn’t take my 9 year old daughter to see it. I know she’d enjoy most of it, but I’ll give her a few more years before subjecting her to the kind of violence depicted during the battle. Also, there are a few scenes that are most likely too scary for her. This is, after all, the man who brought us The Terminator, Aliens and Predator.
- While the picture was much too large to really see everything, from the third row I felt much more immersed. At times I truly wanted to use my hands to bat away bugs, debris and the like because they felt very ‘in my face’. From half way back, it was nice, but I felt somewhat removed.
- I still find the name of the precious material being mined on Pandora, unobtainium, to be ridiculously self serving.
- The storytelling is so good that even after I knew everything that was going to happen, I was still on the edge of my seat. Of course, James Cameron did this to me in Titanic as well. Remember the feeling of “maybe it WON’T sink this time”?
- I had tears beginning to well up at certain points both times, but no, I didn’t cry either viewing; for two reasons. First, I’m a guy, and second, this isn’t a Pixar movie.
- The very large man two seats to the left of me apparently felt it WAS a Pixar movie.
- One of the best things about seeing it a second time is that you aren’t so surprised by all of the… surprises, so you get to enjoy the reactions of the people around you. I almost LOL’d at the girls who gasped loudly behind me when at the end, instead of attacking, the Thanator bends to allow Neytiri to ride him.
- Can you buy more comfortable and stylish Real D 3D glasses than what they give you at the theater? If so, can I get a discount on the tickets? I guess I should just be grateful that these ones fit over my regular glasses, and I suppose Wayfarers are retro-trendy?
- I wonder what Sigourney Weaver thinks when she sees herself on-screen, 20 years younger through the miracle of modern technology. Even blue, (especially blue?) she is absolutely stunning and full of vitality. Something about her smile as a Na’vi is captivating.
- It takes 6 years to travel from Earth to Pandora. How long until the Na’vi have to deal with returning humans? 12 if they wait for this first crew to return before sending another ship. 6 if they send reinforcements the moment they realized they lost the planet. Less than six if a ship was on its way simply as a matter of course.
- You’ve heard that they’re planning a sequel, haven’t you? The only reason this might not completely spoil the first movie is that I’ve yet to see James Cameron bomb on a sequel.
- I don’t like that Trudy dies. I don’t like it at all.
- Finally, it dawned on me that in this digital age, Dr. Grace Augustine experiences the ultimate geek death. Since the entire planet has apparently become Eywa, a large and most likely self-aware organic computer/network, Grace is literally uploaded into the web in her last minutes of life. This time Cameron’s Skynet is under the ground.
My wife pointed out that Col. Quaritch seemed very stereotyped to her the second time through. I noticed it the second time around as well, but I pointed out that the first time through, it just worked. From the scars on his head, to his choice of words, down to his (Texas?) drawl, there is no question exactly who this character is. You simply know from the delivery that he is a military man through and through, and whatever part he plays in this movie, it will be handled accordingly. I don’t think she was sold until I reminded her of the opening scene in Star Wars. There is absolutely no doubt that Vader is the bad guy when he enters the scene. He’s the biggest, blackest, baddest dude, and you know he’s the one to beat. The movie is almost 3 hours long, let’s cut the character building and move on with the story, shall we? Sold. Actually, if you watch for it, you will find the same goes for most of the supporting characters. This is not the heaviest of character driven stories.
So, OK. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I hope you get a chance to catch it before it leaves theaters. If you see in on DVD for the first time, while you might get the full story, I honestly feel you’ll only seen part of the movie.