Last night I was one of a few 100 people around the UK that got the chance to see about 15mins of footage from James Cameron’s Avatar, in a cinema, in 3D. And first impressions – Wow!
As the showing started, we donned out 3D glasses and were welcomed by a 3D James Cameron. We were then treated to about half a dozen scenes from the first half of the film. The first scene appears to be the main protagonist, the wheelchair bound Jake (played by Sam Worthington), who rolls himself into a briefing, passed a bunch of benches, and towards the sergeant briefing a squad. This may not seem like a lot, but this is the first time i’ve actually seen this 3D technology used in an actual film – I originally saw the ‘new’ style of 3D was about 20yrs ago during The Muppets 3D Show at Disney World in Florida. As impressive as the Muppets were, it wasn’t really designed to show any sort of filmatic impact as such! The depth and detail 3D adds to the picture is quite staggering. I was actually at a viewing in a standard cinema, however some previews where in IMAX, which i can only imagine must have been incredible!
The second scene shows Dr. Augustine (played by Sigourney Weaver) transferring Jakes ‘consciousness’ into his avatar – The avatars in question being giant blue humanoids – Think the lovechild of the golum and a smurf, but grown to 2 times the size of a normal human. The CGI on these creations is extremely impressive. It wasn’t until he stood up and i saw his height, that a actually realised it was CGI, and not an actor in make up. The interaction with the human actors is very impressive.
The next few scenes continue to impress, showing stunning CGI forest environments, and creatures. The last scene shows Jake trying to tame a winged dragon type creature to use as a mount. At one point he gets knocked off the high ledge, and the camera pans over to see him hanging on to the edge. This is an area where the 3D really comes into it’s own, although if you suffer from vertigo, you may want to look away at that point!
My final thoughts – Avatar looks stunning, and seems to use the 3D well, without being overly obvious (i.e. by not going “look over there!” *pointing directly at camera*). As to whether the story is any good, or if the quality of the 3D can be sustained throughout the movie (or without giving the movie goer a headache), remains to be seen. It is a movie that really does need to be seen on the big screen though. I suspect, the bigger the better!