After Years of Waiting, Avatar is Finally Here, Are You Ready?
by Alex Billington
December 17, 2009
Avatar is "the most evocative and amazing science-fiction movie since Star Wars." At least that's what Steven Spielberg said after seeing it. I was thinking of what to write about tonight, on the eve of the grand debut of James Cameron's Avatar, before everyone around the world has the chance to see it, but there's so much out there it's hard to pick and choose. But there are a few thoughts and questions still on my mind right now. Will it change movies forever? Will it even be a success? One thing I know for certain though, is that most people will love it. Not everyone, but almost everyone who has seen it so far has been blown away.
Don't believe me? Still skeptical about Avatar? Don't think James Cameron pulled it off? Well, if you don't trust Steven Spielberg, how about Roger Ebert, who gave Avatar four stars (out of four) and said in his review: "Avatar is not simply a sensational entertainment, although it is that. It's a technical breakthrough… It is an Event, one of those films you feel you must see to keep up with the conversation… It takes a hell of a lot of nerve for a man to stand up at the Oscarcast and proclaim himself King of the World. James Cameron just got re-elected." Or how about this excerpt from Manohla Dargis' review in the NY Times:
"Few films return us to the lost world of our first cinematic experiences, to that magical moment when movies really were bigger than life (instead of iPhone size), if only because we were children. Movies rarely carry us away, few even try. They entertain and instruct and sometimes enlighten. Some attempt to overwhelm us, but their efforts are usually a matter of volume. What's often missing is awe, something Mr. Cameron has, after an absence from Hollywood, returned to the screen with a vengeance. He hasn't changed cinema, but with blue people and pink blooms he has confirmed its wonder."
If you're still not convinced, or even curious yet, there's plenty more reading material out there. Katey Rich from Cinema Blend wrote up a fun list of the 5 Reasons You Must See Avatar, ending with "it is the movie of the decade." Couldn't agree with her more, on almost all of her five reasons. And Drew McWeeny's review of Avatar on HitFix is also fantastic, with quotes like this: "For now, just believe that one of our most gifted action filmmakers has once again crafted a singular experience, one that MUST be experienced on the best possible screen. Avatar is not a case of empty hype with no payoff." Even he says you won't be let down.
One thing's for sure - Avatar is not going to be a failure. I'm sure the naysayers out there will argue that one, but if you were to go to your local movie theater right now, you'd find every midnight show sold out. And this weekend's shows are almost all sold out nationwide as well. Fandango sent me an email with this stat earlier: "Avatar is outselling Star Trek in advance ticket sales." Pretty impressive considering this is an original idea and not a franchise. Oh and Anne Thompson said (via Twitter) that Avatar got a standing ovation at its Los Angeles premiere this week. Everything I've read indicates that it's set to break records.
I could sit here and point out articles and quotes for you all night, but I've got to get going so I can get a good seat at my own midnight show. I've seen Avatar once, and loved it, and I'm already planning to see it two more times this weekend. I've been a supporter since the beginning and Avatar has been a long time in the making, but it's finally here. Tomorrow the entire world will be able to experience Pandora as James Cameron envisioned it. I hope everyone is planning to see it this weekend too, if only out of curiosity. More importantly, like Ebert said, it's just one of those movies you "must see." So are you ready for Avatar?