I took the opportunity of being back in Berlin for a few days to hop into a 3D showing of Avatar, even though I didn’t have particularly high expectations of the movie. But, as so many others, I decided to watch it to see how 3D cinema is done today and what its potentials might be. It was good to have watched the movie without expecting much from the storyline, the politics, or the characters, because all of these were extremely … flat. Rarely did I go to the cinema to see a movie where the characters lacked any kind of plausible background, the entire plot line was completely clear and without any interesting twists from beginning to end. Well, you could say that this complete lack of surprises was a surprise in itself, but that would be carrying things a bit too far. But, maybe there was one surprise: at one point I felt an emotional involvement even though I was really annoyed on an intellectual level. Maybe this is a hint at how one could see the movie when one does not wear several layers of aesthetic and intellectual doubts – at least I talked to a few people from completely non-academic backgrounds who enjoyed this movie tremendously and really thought that it was a very moving experience.
So back to the original motivation of watching this movie: getting an impression about the 3D thingy. First off, I am not one of those who like to sit in one of the back seats of a cinema, watching from a distance. For me, immersion is a treat. This went fairly ok with the 3D stuff too, but I think it might make watching a bit more difficult because I found myself watching at some detail of the scenery for a bit too long from time to time, thus running the risk of missing ‘the big picture’. But apart from that, I thought that they did a good job with using 3D for this movie. The special effects were nice and sometimes the landscapes were really interesting and beautiful and it was fun to explore them visually. This really adds a new quality to the aesthetics of the movie and can be used for much more than action-related effects. It will be nice to see how this is going to be used in movies that are exciting and touching – I do have some hopes for the next Pixar flick in this regard.
And one last remark: With the strong focus on bodily performance and sensations, I really felt uneasy about the way in which handicaps / handicapped people were portrayed. Instead of ditching the “crippled” body as practically worthless and only frustrating, it would have been much nicer to look the potentials that life in a wheelchair (or any other handicap) has to offer. Instead, this movie took a strong evolutionist/survival of the fittest turn. The use of all kinds of machines was portrayed as a sign of impotence – only the pure body, the handmade bow, and the symbiotic animal were worth anything. And aging or decay? Where were they? We see one dead body, which carries sign of old age, but what do the wonderful nature-bound, and always perfectly performing aliens do when they get old? *sigh*
IMDb entry | Trailer