Posted: August 22, 2009 in Movies

I was lucky to score some tickets for the Avatar Imax preview.   They were for the 6 pm Friday showing  at the Regal Pinnacle Cinema 18 and Imax in Knoxville, TN.  I live in Chattanooga which is roughly 90 miles south of Knoxville.   I got there early, about 4:45.   I was the third one in line.    By the time the preview clicked on at a little after 6 pm, the theater was just  half-full.  

The Pinnacles IMAX screen just barely qualifies as an Imax screen.   It is a little bigger than two stories and has just a slight bend at its sides.   I have been to IMAX screens elsewhere that are three stories tall and are fully curved on the sides and on the tops and bottoms. 

The good news about the preview.   The footage was probably from a technical standpoint the most awesome thing I ever seen.    The CGI was just breathtaking and filled with vibrant colors high on blue, gold  and purple.    Three full scenes from the avatar world where shown.     A hunt scene with a creature that looked liked a mutated stegosaurus.  A “horse breaking”  that involved a pterodactyl/dragon looking animal.     And a kissing scene.  They were all moderately suspenseful and filled with the usual 3-D effects: steep drops and objects lunging at the screen.    The clarity of the depth of field was impressive and there was always something interesting to watch in the background, be it huge flock of flying dragons or lush jungle foliage stirring in the breeze.    

The bad news: the acting was pretty much stilted and overwrought.    Some of the action existed to have action for action sake.    Their is a non CGI scene  of a sergeant  orienting a bunch of new soldiers that was pretty much laughable in execution.  I suspect it was a bit of intentional camp.     Another scene had the Avatar version of the Sam
Worthington character break loose from a hospital ward.     It left me cold.  It was so flatly acted and mundanely edited.    It looks like James Cameron has mastery of the the technical but an apprentice view of humanity.   

I left both impressed and unimpressed.    Of course I am going to see it.   I hope it doesn’t succumb to the dummying down that George Lucas gave to the Star Wars prequels.   As far as the preview goes it was a solid B.   My expectations for Avatar were A+ high before and just B+  now.       

  1. Joyce says:

    Well, I pulled up Comic-Con 2009 and found one picture of "Whatever It Is" and still have no idea what Avatar is, besides a machine. I cannot tell if it is like the huge machine we saw at Universal that picked up the car, broke it and set it on fire or if what looks like a car is really its head. What IS Avatar? The caption says, "The latest fighting armor from Avatar." Your Review makes the CGI (Better than Star Trek?) sound like a good reason to see the movie. I believe I will join you. Thank you for another interesting review.

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