Friday, August 21, 2009

That Avatar Thing

I feel like I should mention my trip to "Avatar Day" this afternoon. Walking into the cinema we got given an Avatar card thingy (way to use that vocabulary, Glenn!) to hang around our necks and as we proceeded into the IMAX theatre at Melbourne Museum we got given popcorn and a drink. That proved good indeed because I was a bit peckish at that stage. Apparently fries from Maccas does nothing to satiate one's hunger.

We sat in the cinema for around 30 minutes listening to a continuous loop of what I assume was James Horner's original score and staring at an image of Avatar on the massive IMAX screen. If it was indeed the score then chalk it down as one of the strongest contenders of the year. Just the brief five minute snippet they played was amazing. We had these gaudy glasses to wear that did not fit at all on my ears and I hope these were just temporary and not the final version.

After a brief introduction by a 20th Century Fox spokesperson and James Cameron himself (on screen, naturally) they started the clips. About six in total and they each got progressively longer. The 3D in the first couple of live action scenes was quite astounding. They really did have that "you're in the scene" feel to them. Once the Sam Worthington character becomes his "avatar" I did indeed feel a twang of Jar Jar Binks, but I was surprised by how quickly I adjusted to the oddness. Especially once he (and Sigourney Weaver in her avatar) arrive on Pandora it felt much more natural.

They showed one scene in particular that truly blew me away. It's a night time sequence in which the forests of Pandora light up in a sort of glow-in-the-dark light show and it is a wonder a behold. Those colours! I am quite positive that I have never witnessed those colours before. Ever. So beautiful and on the big screen (the really big screen) they just made me ache. Stunning.

Another major setpiece was shown featuring Worthington's avatar attempting to rein in a dragon-like creature and then flying it around the planet. Quite a solid sequence that really showed off the 3D. Speaking of the 3D, however, there are still issues. Because the entire film is 3D (not just individual scenes or things being thrown out at the audience) I think I noticed a bit of an issue. Characters running around and such didn't look as entirely convincing as I perhaps should. And the use of foreground and background focus meant that you ended up with a big blurry spot right in your face from time to time. We'll see how that aspect turns out when the film is released 17 December (and 18 December in the US).

Overall though I was mightily impressed. Can't wait for December! Pictures were courtesy of My New Plaid Pants.


Anonymous said...

WHAT! It was in Melbourne as well.....crap

DEZMOND said...

Oh, now I really want to see AVATAR. Nice on-the-spot review :)