Halfatar

Last night I saw half of Avatar. I don’t mean that I turned up late, or walked out halfway through, I mean that I saw it in 2D. Not that I didn’t try to see it in 3D. I bought a ticket online for a showing before Christmas but snow and ice made it too dangerous to drive to the only cinema showing it in 3D, out on the edge of town. Last night a friend and I arranged to go see it but when we came to book tickets it was sold out. Rather than postpone yet again we said “Sod it, let’s just see it in 2d”.

So, impressive? Oh yes. Some of the best CGI ever, amazingly expressive and realistic characters, an involving (if fairly simple) story, and some thrilling action scenes, my favourites being anything involving the banshees. A couple of grumbles:

1) What’s the big deal about Sam Worthington? I mean, he’s perfectly adequate here in a fairly undemanding role, but he’s hardly an exciting actor. He’s being hyped as the next big thing but I really can’t imagine anyone saying “Hey, let’s go see the new Sam Worthington movie!” Zoe Saldana, on the other hand, gives an excellent performance as Neytiri, full of passion, energy and charm.

2) Michelle Rodriguez’s character (such as it is) is very obviously there just to fill a plot hole, and Quaritch is an excessively cartoonish villain.

Did I miss out by not seeing it in 3D? Possibly. I’m not entirely convinced about 3D on the whole, and I certainly don’t buy any of this “One day all movies will be 3D” nonsense. On the other hand I appreciate that, like any technique, it can add to the experience when done well. I haven’t entirely ruled out going back to see Avatar in 3D at some point. Considering that, at the time of writing, it’s the second highest grossing film ever (after less than a month on release!), I’m sure it’ll be in cinemas for a while yet. One thing I’m still not sure about: which half of Avatar did I see? Right eye or left eye? When converting a 3D film to 2D do they just pick one side, or do they go through shot by shot to decide which of the two images is better? I haven’t found the answer by googling, so please tell me if you know.