December 18th, 2009
12:45 PM ET

'Avatar': I am a geek, and I endorse this movie

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Let me start this by saying I am a geek. In fact, I am an uber-geek and someone who loves everything that is geeky in the world!

With that in mind, I was so sick and tired of hearing about "Avatar." I was sick and tired of being told how cool it was going to be, how it was going to change movies, how it would change the way I would watch movies. I started to feel like I was being told that if I did not like this movie, I was not a good geek but some poser geek - or maybe not a geek at all.

So why did I get in line at 11:15 p.m. Thursday to wait my turn to go in and see "Avatar" at 12:01 a.m. Friday? Because I am a geek, and that is what we do, right?

Let's start with a quick synopsis of the move (just in case you have not read a magazine, watched TV or used the Internet): “The story of an ex-Marine who finds himself thrust into hostilities on an alien planet filled with exotic life forms. As an Avatar, a human mind in an alien body, he finds himself torn between two worlds, in a desperate fight for his own survival and that of the indigenous people. More than 10 years in the making.” (rottentomatoes.com)

So how was it?

It was fantastic.

I could not get enough of the world we were thrust into. The world that I knew was 100 percent computer-generated, but after the first 15 minutes, I forgot or just did not care. It was so real - so incredible - that I felt like I was there.

If you saw the original "Matrix" in the theater and remember the scene when Trinity stopped in midair for the first time, you get how I felt when we descended onto the planet for the first time.

The acting had its flaws, and the music left a lot to be desired, but the action - the story - was so much deeper than I thought. I really thought it was just going to be the usual "we want what they have, so we kill them to get it" stuff - and it was - but it was told to us so, so much better than we have seen it before.

Yes, the action at times made me a little queasy, but I never felt sick. (There were some in the theater who had to get up and run out at certain junctures.)

Yes, some of the dialogue could have come from a bad sci–fi video game.

But is that why you went to this movie? Again, I have to ask: Did you see the effects? WOW!

Will this movie stand the test of time? Heck, no - and most non sci-fi/geek fans will walk out wanting their money back. For everything I loved about this movie, it's by far not perfect. But that said, I still think it's incredible.

I will say: Do not judge this by the trailers. It is so much more and so much better than what we saw. This is a movie that needs to be seen on a large screen - and by seen, I mean experienced in the way only a movie of this size can be.

As I write this, at almost 4 a.m. Friday, I am going to end by asking: So who wants to go see it again?

Repeat iReporter Adriana Maxwell of Marietta, Georgia saw “Avatar” last night and was quite impressed with it. She says the 3-D effects were the most seamless she has ever seen within a live action film read her review.

Editor’s note: Topher Kohan is the search engine optimization (SEO) coordinator for CNN.com, a “Star Wars” aficionado, a tech dork and an all-around good guy. (No, really, he is — just ask him.)

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Filed under: movies

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Ozzi

    Yay! Sigourney Weaver is back! Yay!

    December 23, 2009 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. serena

    OMG!!! My boyfriend thinks the same with me. We met online at an interesting site called ...*** PLUSFLIRT ___CooooooooM***...nice place for BBW & BHW to interact with each other. Maybe you wanna check out or tell your friends.

    December 22, 2009 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sandra Chung

    @Bob, if you think Delgo looks 'exactly like' Avatar, I suggest an eye exam.

    December 22, 2009 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sandra Chung

    I saw this movie, IMAX 3D, and would do so again. And hope that when it comes out, I will have a way to view it 3D at home.

    December 22, 2009 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    I had to sit in the front row at the iMax due to arriving late. Not good. I kept getting dizzy and at times it was difficult to see what was going on. I recommend the movie and thought it was great, but, do yourself a favor: get there early and don't even think about sitting in the first ten rows.

    December 22, 2009 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. IcyNeko

    While it's easy to say that the villains are too cookie-cutter, the fact of the matter is that history has proven with multiple cultures that when people are overrun with greed, they become the same cookie cutter villains we see everywhere.

    December 22, 2009 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mason

    The movie was really well done. I think its a fantastic Christmas gift to sci-fi fans everywhere! Thanks so much Mr. Cameron.

    December 21, 2009 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Montano

    I am a middle aged man. Quite frankly my life is full of the drudgery of everyday labor and responsibilities, with few chances for romance or adventures besides the beach and some hiking.

    Avatar made me feel young again

    When I type those words I speak of the sense of utter wonder I felt from the vast vistas to the mecha-humans. The childlike freedom and danger of the Na'vi, the bloated greed of our own souls, and the undeniable strength that comes from fighting for a goal you truly believe in. I cannot express just how deeply the movie affected me. The plot is simple and straightforward, but told in such a way, like poetry, that it did not fail to touch this old battered heart. I saw it both in 2D and 3D. To see this movie on 2D is to deprive yourself of the magnificence of its 3D extravaganza.

    December 21, 2009 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Debra R

    This is one geek who is not interested....

    December 21, 2009 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. robbie

    Folks how do I say this without sounding like even a bigger geek then our fellow blogger above. " This movie simply Rocks!" I dont think I will ever see a movie which can match this experience. The only way to enjoy this movie further would be the day they make holographic suits and allow you to interact with the movie..yeah Im a geek!

    I will watch this movie for a second time and of course in 3D again. Bear in mind I live in germany and to watch this flick in an American Cinema costs almost 15 Euro, roughly 22 dollars. This Movie was worth every cent. I fell in love with it..really awesome..WOW!

    Thank you for the experience James Cameron. Truly, Thank you.

    December 21, 2009 at 6:12 am | Report abuse |
  11. Gary

    I just went and saw Avatar in 3D. This movie is a absolute game-changer for summer blockbusters and the theater going experience in general. Right up there with Jaws, and Star Wars. I felt like I was witness to a historical moment in the future of movies. I haven't been this excited after seeing a movie since I saw Star Wars in the theater for the first time as a kid. Wow factor 10

    December 21, 2009 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  12. barrysegal

    Well, just got back from this unbelievable popcorn munching movie

    I have seen in years. I'm a senior and when you view a movie that pins

    you to your seat because of the 3-d effect and continuous action.

    This may start a new trend of the super movies we've been waiting for

    since the Ten Commandments by Cecil d\De Mille.

    December 20, 2009 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tom Woolf

    Philip – keep in mind that the military that was on that planet was comprised of hired guns. This was not the equivalent of the US Army in Iraq, but Blackwater. Quite frankly, Blackwater has earned their bad rep by their horrid actions in Iraq (they even changed their name to try to escape that rep) – and those actions were reflected in the paramilitary in Avatar. As to the humanity of the corporate folks – at least those characters showed some remorse when seeing the horror that resulted from their decisions.

    There was definitely an overload of the Na'vi living as one with their world -but at least Cameron writes in a logical reason for it (the plugging in of Na'vi to animals, and electromagnetic communications between living things and the planet).

    "Dances with Wolves" with aliens (or in outer space) is pretty much the gist of the movie. But it was a good story, told well, with kick-arse effects. Every once in a while I would take the 3D glasses off to watch the 2D screen, just to be able to put them back on and be amazed again at the 3D effects.

    December 20, 2009 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joan

    I am neither a geek, a male, nor in the targeted age group – and I enjoyed this movie thoroughly!!

    December 20, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jamie

    Phil,

    It is true that complex characters and situations are what we should get in movies these days. However, sometimes the effect of an art piece requires that certain complexities are forgone. Statements like "Going in with the military to forcibly extract profit is wrong" are contrived, but often do not hit home in America. "Avatar" makes it plain and simple: Black Water – BAD. Companies acting like Haliburton did in Iraq – BAD. The message was hammered home by way of captivating visuals and a familiar plot line.

    Perhaps you should have watched the trailer first. It contains all you need to figure out nearly every element of the plot. If you go into a movie that is +95% CG expecting fantastic storyline, deep character development, and nuanced and human characters, you need to step back. I think we should be happy (I know I was overjoyed) that there were strong themes practically slapping the audience in the face the entire movie! How often does a massive-budget, sci-fi movie like this come along that nearly EVERYONE will see? Your favorite indie might be great, deep, etc., but it won't get a message out to the public like this kind of blockbuster.

    December 20, 2009 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  16. Jose Maria (Madrid-spain)

    Curiously, I have not read a single comment from american reviewers speaking about an essential message in the movie that, no doubt, will be clearly transmmitted to people like Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and Correa: euroamericans, afroamericans, asiamericans, go out of the continent because this is OUR LAND! you are living and exploiting OUR PANDORA since five centuries ago!!

    ouch...euh... Im european, and I have no doubt this movie will play in this direction in the mind of hundreds of millions from Bering to Fuego land.

    December 20, 2009 at 5:59 am | Report abuse |
  17. Matthew

    Really really amazing. Totally surreal. Can't wait to see it again and I can't snap out of the world I saw. One of my favorite movies of all time.

    December 20, 2009 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  18. Lazer007

    i love AVATAR!!!!...it is us 1 million years from now we will eve to a new understanding of how to live on a world we almost killed ..we have to learn we will be come AVATAR'S ..so it is written so shall it be done!!!.

    December 20, 2009 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  19. Bob

    There's some animated film called Delgo that looks exactly like Avatar. I can't believe they seem so similar and nobody has said anything about it. Wierd.

    http://img.denihilation.com/delgovatar.html

    December 19, 2009 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  20. bart

    I agree with you Stephane. This movie goes beyond just sci-fi. (I'm sure even conservationists will find something to think about.)
    Philip, I think you missed the whole moral aspect of the story vis a vis the morality of conflict, greed and conduct between two or more species sharing the same space and resources.

    December 19, 2009 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  21. michael

    Hi Phil,

    What movie did you see? Mine was a whole lot better than yours! Sorry for your bad experience. It's a simple story, one that we have seen before. That doesn't mean it's bad. It's the presentation that makes the experience truly extraordinary. If you are looking for a small Indie film, you won't find it here. What you will find is a bar that has been raised considerably higher for all that follow in making films with a huge scope.

    December 19, 2009 at 3:07 am | Report abuse |
  22. Stephane

    I disagree strongly with your statement "and most non sci-fi/geek fans will walk out wanting their money back.". This movie, at it's core, it a fantasy/love story and has very little to do with any actual sci-fi. It is a story that will resonate with many people outside of what I suspect you believe is its core audience. Whether it's the visuals, the adventure or the romance, a lot of people are going to walk out of this movie very satisfied. I think, like Titanic, it's the 20-30 something male audience that will reject this movie the most (as a group with obvious individual exceptions) for it being centered on a lvoe story and being liberal in its views.

    December 19, 2009 at 3:02 am | Report abuse |
  23. philip

    I think the movie completely dropped the ball on making the indigenous people simpathetic and the humans cookie-cutter bad guys. The plot (yes some people who go to movies like to be engaged in story) also suffered from tired hackneyed dialogues and predictable outcomes. I would have liked the natives to be a little less sympathetic and the humans just a little more well...human (miltary types included).
    A director like Cameron has a special opportunity to not only show us a realistic alien world and a lot of eye-candy, but to use this medium as a platform to engage moviegoers in serious debate about moral dilemnas. This he did not do. But hey, the kids will love it (yawn).
    In the 22nd century people will look back at these megabudget movies as sad reminders of our excess(500 million dollars!!?) and ever-increasing need to detach ourselves from the human, personal element in narrative storytelling.
    Long live independent cinema!

    December 18, 2009 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Auggie

    I agree completely. The real world just seems 2D to me now that I've seen Pandora in IMAX 3D. Good lord, what a ride!!

    December 18, 2009 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |

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