So I found out a little too late about last week’s free, worldwide IMAX screening of a fifteen minute preview of James Cameron’s upcoming AVATAR (for those who aren’t super nerds, AVATAR is basically Jim’s first movie since TITANIC and will be out this winter in 3D). I tried to get tickets the night before the event but the website told me every theater was totally and completely 100% for sure sold out. Luckily, Darth Mojo correspondent (and 3D stereo whiz kid) Jim Carbonetti was there and kindly offered to share his thoughts on what he saw…
DATELINE – AUGUST 21, 2009, 6pm – Santa Anita iMAX: This is sold out?? The theater was only HALF FULL, contrary to the website stating all showings SOLD OUT. Probably 80 people total, mostly male geeks/fanboys except for maybe 6 shemale fangirls. No one sat toward the front, all toward the back. My seat was 3 rows from the back, centered, about as optimum as possible for the larger-than-standard screen. First, Cameron appears in 3-D to speak about this being just a teaser from the first half of the film only, so no “spoilers”.
I’m calling the film “Dances With BeoWolves”: That’s the sense one gets from the story, dealing with the lead character acclimating and blending into an entirely alien culture. Couple that with the motion capture gag and there you have it. Textures, lighting, and the character animation reminded me of “Gollum” from Lord Of The Rings. Technically great. Certain environments had nifty day-glo fluorescent colors. Live action looked good….although I was noticing some rectification issues with the left and right cameras [no I don’t know what that means either – Mojo]. Also, the fast cutting was a little jarring in 3-D due to the rapid handheld motion and convergence changes.
Lots of hype and big curiosity factor will fill the seats in December. January, who knows….not sure if it will have the broad appeal for all segments of the population like that last little boat picture he made.
Since I didn’t get to the “sold out” screening, I’ve now decided to avoid all trailers and spoilers and plan to walk into the theater as green as possible. Because of this, I didn’t want to look through too many pictures from the movie to fill this post with, so I just grabbed the first few AVATAR images I found. To be honest, I’m a little surprised – I thought this was supposed to be a serious sci-fi movie! These images make it look more like a kid-friendly anime film. I guess we’ll find out in a few months…
Thanks to Carbo for his Johnny-On-The-Spot report. Were you at the preview screening? Let us know what you thought in the comments section!