It was great to end the year 2009 by being able to catch the movie Avatar in 3D while in Singapore. All the great reviews of the movie pushed me to catch it in 3D. Having watched 2 other animations in 3D, this was still a fresh experience. Because Avatar isn’t just wholly animation/CGI goodness but also comprises of real humans acting. And the 3D truly adds an amazing layer to the film, opening the show with the scene where the soldiers just woke up from their respective capsules upon their arrival at the fantasy land of Pandora. The depth of field in this scene makes the 3D effect pop out and immerses the audience in the movie. Following that, we journey with the protagonist, Jake Sully – a flawed character who has lost the use of his lower limbs, and conveniently regains the ability to walk through his ‘Avatar’. The Avatar was a human invention to ‘look’ like the natives in Pandora so as to persuade the natives to leave their habitat, allowing humans to mine for the expensive minerals underneath their spiritual tree.
The real action begins when Jake Sully enters the Avatar body and undergoes his first mission with Dr. Grace Augustine, head of the ‘Avatar’ program. Unfortunately for Jake, his rashness and unfamiliarity with the ecosystem of Pandora leads him to get separated from Dr. Grace and the other members of his entourage. It was while getting lost and trying to survive the hostile jungle world of Pandora that he obtained help from a female Na’Vi named Neytiri that also happens to be the princess of the Omaticaya clan, one of the largest native groups inhabiting the tree which the humans desires to demolish. Through Neytiri, Jake learns the way of the Na’Vi and Neytiri grows her affection to Jake as he shows courage and sincerity in his actions. But good things don’t last and Jake is forced to choose between the humans and the Na’Vi as the Colonel Miles Quaritch gave Jake a time limit to persuade the Na’Vi’s forced relocation before the demolition trucks moves in.
The story is all fantasy and utilizes storytelling reminiscent of Eragon, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and Chronicles of Narnia. However, to replace what was lacking in storyline, the director engages his audience with a dazzling display of 3D fantasy landscape and greatly satisfying flight and action scenes involving the natural life of the Na’Vi with their surroundings. With a grandiose CGI landscape and majestic fighting scenes, the whole movie comes to life in 3D, and this movie truly shows the extent to which 3D can make a movie much more enjoyable with all the present technologies in film-making. Just for the last point alone, it makes it one of my most memorable movie watching experience for 2009!