Driver's EDitorial #15: Go See Avatar in 3D Imax

by: Brad Sturdivant

It has already started.  Movie critics and fanboys around the internet are already starting to bash AVATAR for a myriad of reasons including “it’s too long”, “it relies too heavily on special effects”, “it has the same story as DANCES WITH WOLVES”, and the list goes on.  I don’t know what’s more frustrating; that people are saying things like this, or that some of these people actually have voices that others listen to.  Perhaps what’s most frustrating is that some people are going to listen to these whiney naysayers and miss out on what is possibly the movie event of the decade.

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I saw a similar thing happen with TITANIC.  I remember seeing it on opening weekend and being blown away by the sheer grandness of the film.  I told everyone that would listen and over the next 30 days or so, everyone was hailing it as an amazing achievement in filmmaking (which it is).  But soon people got sick of TITANIC-mania and couldn’t stomach hearing one more teenage girl swoon over dreamy Leo.  Of course, Cameron yelling “I’m king of the world” during his Oscar speech didn’t help matters.  Even now, I find myself debating with people on whether or not TITANIC was a great film, which was inconceivable in December of 1997. Twelve years later, AVATAR is starting to get the same kind of backlash.

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Over the years, I’ve been accused of being an elitist movie snob by my friends and family because nine times out of ten I will choose a historical drama over a summer blockbuster.  Also, I hate going to the movie theater for a variety of reasons, but it really boils down to the fact that there are too many external factors at your local Cineplex that impede the movie watching experience.  I mention that to set up the point of this article, which is; go see AVATAR in 3D Imax.  Don’t search on the internet for various reviews and don’t get caught up in the backlash the movie is already getting.  Just find the closest Imax theater (I drove 1.5 hours), buy the tickets online and enjoy yourself.  Even if you don’t like movies, you will appreciate the event that is AVATAR.

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Yes, you can pick the movie apart and yes, the plot will feel a little familiar.  But this is hands down the greatest achievement in filmmaking since…well…TITANIC.  James Cameron has created an amazing world and through advanced technology, he has made you (the audience) a part of it.  Some have said this film will be embarrassing in 30 years.  My answer to that?  Maybe so, but it will be respected.  1927’s THE JAZZ SINGER is not considered the greatest “talkie” ever and watching it today is rough, but it’s respected as being ground breaking and for taking cinema into a new world.  Our grandkids will look back at AVATAR and acknowledge it for doing the same thing.

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As much as I love running a movie website and being a part of the online movie community, sometimes I think people lose sight of how great it is to be a movie fan.  I’ll admit that I’ve become bitter and cynical about movies over the years.  Heck, this very column is usually dedicated to complaining about Hollywood.  But AVATAR has reminded me how special movies can be.  For 2.5 hours, I was in a different world, caught up in the events unfolding on a glorious 3D Imax screen and I was happy to be there.  I’m sure later on I’ll take the time to discuss the plot holes or the various mistakes in the film, but for right now, I’m proud to recommend this film to anyone that will listen.

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