There’s only one film with which I can make an appropriate comparison to ‘Avatar’: ‘The Jazz Singer.’ Yes, the 1927 film starring Al Jolson. Why is an 80 year old film relevant now? ‘The Jazz Singer’ was the first feature-length film featuring sound; yes, it was the first ‘talkie.’ It was revolutionary. It showcased the future of cinema. ‘Avatar’ is such a film. It’s revolutionary in a way that can only be experienced firsthand. Yes, I have seen the future of cinema: it’s 3D. And I can only implore everyone reading this to experience what I have.
Let me get this out of the way first: yes, ‘Avatar’ is ‘Dances With Wolves’ meets ‘Fern Gully’ set in space. Yes, the characters don’t have that much depth to them. It doesn’t matter. The world that director James Cameron has created is incredibly lush, and vivid with detail. To be perfectly honest, I can’t express in a few words the detail put into making the planet known as Pandora. Just rest assured that the long time (12 years since Cameron’s last film) and large budget (it’s reportedly the largest budget in film history) doesn’t go to waste. The meticulous detail and investment in technology is evident on screen.
Still, the best way to describe ‘Avatar’ is to point out what makes great movies great: they transport you into the world on the screen. For two hours (give or take), you aren’t sitting in a movie theatre or sitting at home in front of a big screen, you’re taken to a different place, or different time (or both). For two and a half hours Friday evening, I wasn’t sitting in a theatre. I was on Pandora with the rest of the Na’vi. And I won’t be forgetting it.+4