Aug 29, 2009

[Movies] Avatar Day Preview

PhotonQ-AVATARImage by PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE via Flickr

August 21, 2009 was declared to be Avatar Day by James Cameron, who's directing this particular film. The main purpose of Avatar Day was to mark the official release of the movie's trailer along with special screenings at IMAX theaters around the world of less than 20 minutes of footage from the new movie.

Locally, we got to celebrate our own version of Avatar Day on August 24, 2009 at the IMAX theater at SM North Edsa, and yours truly was one of the lucky geeks who got to catch the screening along with other geeks from the New Worlds Alliance and Fandom Live!

Admittedly, the animation quality was top-notch and Cameron's utilization of the IMAX 3D format was beyond anything I had seen in a long time. I mean seriously, he managed to create true depth of field in the shots and sequences presented to us that really made one feel like they were truly immersed in the environment.

The universe presented in James Cameron's Avatar is a vibrant, colorful and rich world indeed. The creatures have drawn influence from some of the best and the brightest from the realms of science fiction and fantasy and it certainly looks like something I could get into. Plus there's the harsh industrial military side to things that certainly reminds one of The Matrix in terms of look and feel.

However we do need to temper our expectations when it comes to this movie - James Cameron has been raving about his radically new CGI engine and while the animation was clean, it didn't seem all that landmark. We've seen stunning CGI animation in movies like Beowulf and of course Final Fantasy: Spirits Within and Advent Children, so that's not a new thing. The fact that Cameron chose to showcase this new technology using computer-generated aliens (the blue-skinned avatars) seemed like a bit of a cop out since we didn't get to experience how well the technology could possibly render your average human.

The story is also something to be of concern about. The scenes presented paint a picture similar to the world of FernGully or even the whole civilized world meeting the "natives" that was addressed in the story of Pocahontas. The fact that we're comparing the story of this big budget science fiction film with animated feature films is a bit discomforting and I'm worried we're going to end up being really dumbed down when the movie comes out.

Still, Avatar Day was successful in convincing me to see this movie when it does come out in December. More so, I'm pretty convinced that the only way to truly enjoy this movie is to watch it at an IMAX theater, in order to fully appreciate what this movie has to offer.

Avatar is scheduled for release on Deceber 18, 2009. That means locally, we'll have just a week to catch it before the Metro Manila Film Festival starts and takes over all the theaters with the usual drivel we get every year.

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