Avatar: Is it a game changer?

Avatar concept artI had an opportunity to go see Avatar (in Real3D) yesterday. It was a fantastic show (check out the official website). It is no surprise that the movie is breaking all kinds of box office records (story). The imagery, animation and visual effects were amazing. Paired with the 3D technology and the movie became more than just a movie – it was an experience. I literally felt as if I were being pulled into the movie. The story was far from original, but it still kept me entertained. If I had to sum it up, I’d say it was a cross between “Dances with Wolves” and “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within” (click here for some alternative directions Cameron could have gone in). That said, the story was great and ultimately delivered a strong message (click here for a great review of Avatar).

As I left the theater, I had a few questions come to mind. James Cameron has delivered a film like none other with Avatar and I wonder if this will change the direction the film industry is headed in (read Kevin Roberts’ review and commentary). Cameron does several things with Avatar that are potential game changers. First, he delivers a timely story with a strong moral message, one that not many people seem to want to take very seriously. Regardless, Cameron makes his point clear – there is a desperate fight at hand to protect our environment and ensure that future generations have a beautiful world to grow up on. Whether you agree with his take on this, what I wonder is will we be seeing more of this type of storytelling out of Hollywood? Will other producers and directors go to such great lengths to deliver socially-aware, moral-driven movies instead of the pointless film making we are all so used to?

Cameron also delivers another innovation and potential game changer. This movie is not just a movie. It is truly an experience. Go see it in Real3D and/or IMAX. This is a film that was created to be a three-hour long thrill ride and it delivers on this in a major way. The big question is whether or not other film makers will go to the same effort? Cameron has redefined the adventure movie genre and I sincerely hope that others will learn from what he has done. Just image if  “Lord of the Rings”, “Star Wars”, or the original “Matrix” had been filmed this way.

What are your thoughts? Do you think Cameron has delivered a game changer? Will Avatar change how we view cinema?

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