Yes, but is it in 3D???

Avatar grossed $77 million domestically in its opening weekend.

This is the question I can see coming out of the mouths of both consumers and studio chiefs with equal frequency in the next couple of years.  It has been with a growing sense of alarm that studios and distributors have watched the home theater and home video market grow by leaps and bounds, during the past few years and soon thereafter, it occurred to filmmaker James Cameron that he needed to be part of the solution to give movie-goers ‘an experience they could only get in theaters.’

And with this month’s release of ‘Avatar,’ Cameron’s highly touted science-fiction epic in 3D, the staggering numbers for its opening weekend are already giving evidence that for a well-done film, the effective usage of 3D can surpass a soft economy.

As for the movie itself, the film certainly delivers on a visual and technical level.  It’s by far the best 3D film I’ve ever seen and for that alone, it’s definitely worth catching in the theater and in 3D.  Hopefully, they will be able to package at least a portion of that experience for the home video market.  The effects, creatures, and landscapes are all stunning, but the story feels a bit like a re-tread.  It didn’t ruin the experience by far, but there probably could have been a bit more tweaking of the story to give it a more original feeling.

The performances were all par for the course… especially entertaining was Giovanni Ribisi’s turn as a corporate tool.  Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver both turned in effective performances and Zoe Saldana was especially successful, even in CGI-alien form.  Michelle Rodriguez felt a bit wasted in the pilot’s role she inhabited, though the villain of the piece, Stephen Lang, is effective without being memorable.

With the coming onslaught of 3D movies, ‘Avatar’ is an effective opening salvo on the movie-going public and is without a doubt a worthwhile entry into Cameron’s legacy of films.

As for 3D, it certainly appears as though the studios and filmmakers have embraced 3D as a new mode of drawing crowds back into theaters.  I’m actually kind of looking forward to it.

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~ by Carlos Tovar on December 23, 2009.

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