Friday, December 18, 2009

Space Opera: Avatar


Watching James Cameron’s Avatar on the largest IMAX 3D digital screen in Asia, at Big Cinemas Wadala, can be a pleasure and a pain at the same time. Funnily enough, the pain and the pleasure stem from the same fact— you are there... with the Na’vis, walking, flying, fighting.

The plot is predictable. A trigger-happy Col Quaritch is pitched as the villain from the onset. Jake Sully, the victim-of-circumstances emerges as the hero. And then there is the familiar love story of Neytiri and Jake. Here your sympathies are reserved for the blue-skinned-10-ft tall creatures. Pandora might just be the place one might want to escape to. On this planet, humans are the aliens. And you share the space of this fantastical land, with the 40’ x 70’ screen making sure that you are in for a joyride, from the moment you take your seat.

You duck when the horrible-half-hippo creature charges. You spill the popcorn when booming sounds from 15000 watt speakers shake you from every possible side. You feel claustrophobic when Jake dives into the sea. And yes, you soar when the beautiful, big, bright-coloured birds take off at unimaginable speed. The merging of the live and computer images are done to perfection...The forest real, the make-up immaculate, the colours crystal-clear, and the glo-lights technologically first-rate. The effects are gorgeously jaw-dropping. And that’s where the pain is, really. You see all of these around, popping out of the screen, jumping at you, taking you down under and high above.

The nausea and headache is almost instant, if you have motion sickness, or hate adventure sports, or are not used to gaming on Xbox. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one to experience sudden heat rushes. I found many taking off their 3D glasses (brand new and extremely tight) and tilt back on their seats. Having said that, Avatar is a film meant to be watched on IMAX 3D. You might shrug away thinking 3D is gimmicky. Indeed it is. But if you watch it in 2D, go ahead watch it in 3D and then again, in IMAX 3D. If gushing is what this is, you’d know why only when ‘you are there’.

In 2D

Perhaps the best thing about watching a 3D film in a 2D screen is that you can effortlessly concentrate on the story and its characters. In a 3D screen, most of the time, you’d be wowed by the super cool effects and might even be lost in them, to the extent that you forget what the story was all about in the first place.

Well, at least I was so utterly taken in by the real-life experience in IMAX 3D that the story didn’t really matter. In 2D, ‘you are not there’ figuratively, you can’t realistically hallucinate creatures are charging at you, or the glowing dust falling on you. Although you remain to be fascinated by the awesome mingling of imagination and technology, you turn your attention to the story for the first time.

It’s a different issue altogether that Avatar is a mumbo-jumbo mix of all the sci-fi movies you might have seen so far. But it delivers in its blending of adventure-action-drama, so much so that you’ll believe your eyes for over-two-hours that the film runs.

Original article: Published HT Cafe, Dec 18, 2009:

-Jayeeta Mazumder


Sarit said...

Nice review. The movie's doing really well, and I'm scared all films will be 3d in the future!

dominic said...

Just wanted to know if IMAX SCREEN WADALA screened it in proper IMAX i.e full dome screen or just a normal flat screen. IMAX 3D actually covers your entire vision and hence is mind boggling. I travelled all the way from pune to watch it and found they just screened it just a larger rectangular screen instead of full dome. Can u please clarify if you saw it in dome format.... Google searches not yielding any result if the IMAX3d at wadala is still functional. Except it says somewhere in 2007 it was converted to conventional.