Went and saw this last night. During the car ride home, one of the first things that we commented on was that the bad guys in this movie are Republican. As I was falling asleep, I was trying to figure out what made Avatar such a great movie amidst the little things that bothered me.

Reader beware! Spoilers ahead!

The story was predictable. I don’t think there was a moment in the movie where the next step wasn’t obvious — I think the only part where I couldn’t see where the movie was going was when the military leader decided to “fight terror with terror” (Oh, hi, Republicans!). The big plot points get foreshadowed, like taming the Toruk or the final transfer between Jake and his avatar.

The CGI was extremely well done, but still looked like CGI. It’s funny, when I saw the first trailer of this movie, I shrugged it off because I thought that it looked too CGI and not real enough. And after seeing the movie, I feel like I wasn’t wrong — the movie had this disconnect between the human and the CGI. Take the moment when Jake (as a human) and Neytiri are united; it’s a well done blend of live action and CGI, but the disconnect was still prominent. The Na’vi were very well done, they were very expressive and well animated — but they just did not feel real. I’m not really sure what it would take to make it more real, but now I feel like I’m being overly critical. On a more positive note, all of the environments were gorgeous and lush and the animation was extremely smooth. All of the action was very easy to follow, too.

I skimmed the Wikipedia article on the movie, and saw that Cameron had used some of the designs from the Avatar video game for the movie itself, which is really cool, in my opinion. But at the same time, Linda made the comment that a lot of it looked like a video game, and I have to agree. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing for both video games or movies, but there were a few “hm…” moments were I could totally see the scene as being in a video game. For example, the final battle against Jake and the military leader would totally be riddled with quick time events.

I really enjoyed the 3D in this movie too. At first, the effect is a little jarring; but once you figure out where to focus, everything just takes on this additional depth that makes all the environments seem that much more elaborate. My favorite scene was probably the opening scene in the VA where all of the patients are coming out of cryo-sleep in zero-gravity. My only complaint, however, is that by watching it in 3D you’re forced to focus where the director wants you to focus. There were many times throughout the movie where I wanted to look at something else, but couldn’t because of the 3D.

Writing this post, I realize that all of my complaints are very minor — I wouldn’t hesitate to give Avatar a 5/5. It’s a spectacular movie with a gripping (though predictable) story and amazing visuals.