Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Avatar Experience

Avatar


By Frank Warren
The UFO Chronicles
12-31-09


"If Clapton is God To Guitar, Then Cameron is Surely God To Film-Making!"
     My better half and I decided to wade through the crowds yesterday and see James Cameron's latest offering; we invoked our senior privileges and after the gray-hair discount (as well as it being a matinee), we paid $20.50 for the two of us.

Giving the "Avatar experience" it's due is no easy task, and certainly won't be done here by me with this brief compendium.

Clapton is GodWith that in mind, there can be no better example of how gifted an artist that James Cameron is with his latest work; I can't help but think back to the graffiti that was attributed to Eric Clapton in the '60's which plainly stated, "CLAPTON IS GOD!" If Clapton is god to guitar, then Cameron is surely god to filmmaking!

As Cameron has done in the past, he takes the simplest form of a story line at it's core, and then sculpts it. He adds intricacy via the subplots, and no doubt different people will walk away with different themes of the film.

We arrived very early to the showing in order to avoid a long line; turns out everyone else had the same plan. After all the commercials, trailers etc., played through, a notice appeared on screen to put on our 3-d glasses; at that moment I told my wife I wish I had brought along the camera to take a shot of the audience with their peepers on (with the memory of similar shots from audiences of the '50's dancing in my head).

I mention this because that initial thought gave cause for me to periodically heed the audience throughout the movie; because of the holidays, the kids are out of school and the patrons were made up of mostly families; it's safe to say that more then half the group were children. Aside from one instance, "no one" left their respective seats; there was no squirming; no talking and no horseplay--everyone was on the planet Pandora!

A good movie for me is one that can evoke emotion, whether that be ire, fear, a tear or laughter. Accordingly, it takes me away for a bit; it envelops me . . . absorbs me, or I it. This film did that and so much more!!

My wife and I always bring a book with us when we arrive early for a matinee; in this instance, I brought Shostak's, "Confessions of An Alien Hunter." In the forward, Dr. Frank Drake in part writes, ". . . our signals of today are very different from the signals of 40 years ago . . .. If technology can change in 40 years, how much can it change in thousands or millions of years?"

In the aftermath of the film, Drake's comment melded with the "Avatar Experience," in the sense that it reminded me that we are indeed in the 21st century! As Cameron has done in the past, he does with Avatar--he raises the bar in film-making, and gives fledging film-makers something to ascribe to. Dare I say that his work will precipitate a paradigm shift in how films are presented in the near future!

With the new 3-D equipment that was actually made for the film, Cameron not only introduces a new genre of film-making, or perhaps a completely "revamped" version of old film-making (as 3-D movies are as almost as old as the art itself is), he brings new tech to the table.


I'd say, after about 15 or 20 minutes into the show, one forgets that it is in fact a 3-D film at all; you're simply there! You've walked through the looking glass, and in this instance you're in, or on Pandora!

After the show, my wife and I went out to eat, and I commented to her, that it's a shame that the children of today will be calloused to the "magic" that is to be experienced with Avatar. The irony of course, is our parents and elders no doubt thought the same things with other seemingly magical technologies of the day as perceived through their eyes.

The point is, it was an astounding "visual/audio experience!" At the same time however, "it is" a good old fashion film, with all the aspects attached therein that makes it such!

I can't imagine anyone being disappointed in experiencing this wonderous, groundbreaking example of filmmaking, and I look forward to seeing it again!

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