Stop! Don’t skip this post because you didn’t like (or think you won’t like) the 2nd highest grossing movie of all time. There were definitely things I didn’t care about in it, either, but those aren’t why it’s important. It’s important because modern society’s frame of reference has changed. The star of the movie is actually James Cameron, the director, who invented the 3-D camera used to film it, and who created the world (Pandora) in which it is set. His goal, since he was a teenager, has been to “out Starwars” Starwars and in this movie, he may well succeed. This is because Avatar sets the bar higher than any other movie I have ever seen, and by doing that, is changing societal expectations:
- Cameron went to incredible lengths to build the “backstory” for the planet Pandora. In one case, he hired scientists at major universities in CA to build a taxonomy for the plant and animal life (even delving into their genetic code) in order to have a realistic foundation. In another, his team thought through the physics of “floating mountains” (don’t ask- just see the movie) so that they would make sense.
- The 3-D in this movie actually supports the story, instead of getting in the way. After the first few minutes, you forget that it is there– but the impact of everything is greater because it is there.
- The interaction between real and CGI actors is so real it is scary. One of my favorite scenes is near the end when the CGI heroine is holding the real hero in her arms, and it just works.
- The philosophical implication behind the plot line and action are like a fractal image- you keep looking into them, and there is more and more. For instance, what are the implication of the very last second of the movie, and where will it go next? Is this the Holy Grail of a secular eternal life??
Finally- have you ever actually visualized what flying a dragon would be like? No, I don’t mean daydreamed about it, or drawn a picture, or seen a character do it in a video game. I mean, step by step, understand all the parts to actually learning to fly one? See Avatar. Afterwards, you will actually understand the process. The implications of this are awesome. Think of what can be done with 3-D immersive simulations in medicine, warfare, social interaction, gaming, industry, training, etc. etc. For the first time, on a massive worldwide scale, this movie has opened minds to the possibilities.