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I avoided seeing Avatar for a number of reasons (including Angie and my own first hand experiences) but when I realized it would be leaving our local theater last month to make room for Alice in Wonderland, I thought I should give it a shot. I even declined a screening of Hot Tub Time Machine to give it a chance. With the DVD available this Thursday, I’m ready to talk about it.

I like most of James Cameron’s movies. Although I wasn’t crazy about Titanic, I have to give him credit for showing every recorded death from the event on screen. Unfortunately, Titanic has become something bigger than a movie and that turns a lot people off. The same thing happened to Avatar and I know it was part of what kept me (and Angie) away.

I had heard a lot of mixed reactions going in. I even had people telling me “you have to see it in 3D” or “you have to see it on IMAX in 3D,” so we went whole hog and saw it under the optimal conditions leaving no reason to think it wasn’t what it was supposed to be or any question about what it could have been.

Did it live up to the hype? I think that’s impossible after hearing it touted as the greatest achievement in the history of film. Was is good? I think I can say yes. It wasn’t great, it didn’t change my life, but it was decent.

Was it worth $30 for the two of us? That’s debatable. On one hand, we couldn’t see it on that screen in 3D any other way, so for the experience we had to pay that much. On the merits of the film itself, ignoring the technological marvel that it was, it wasn’t worth more than any other movie.

Coming out of the theater, five things stayed with me:

  1. Michelle Rodriguez in no way hurts this movie.
  2. “Papa Dragon” was perfect as a villain. He was vile, completely unredeemable and played masterfully.
  3. The exposition regarding the central conflict was incredibly heavy handed. “The people with the technology come in to an untouched paradise and want to take what’s under the ground and turn it into a parking lot after having destroyed their own world.” I thought it was a little on the nose until I heard the name for what was under the ground.
  4. Unobtainium. Seriously? Why not just call it “Can’t-get-it-ite”?
  5. I could have done without the 3D arrows. The majority of the movie used the 3D technology brilliantly, but they just couldn’t resist poking at the audience’s eyes in the final scenes.

I won’t be buying the DVD. I don’t know that I’d watch the movie again if the opportunity presented itself. I know for certain that I’m not interested in having 3D in my home. A lot of movies are going this route, but the technology’s just not there yet for any of them. Even Alice in Wonderland looked dank and grey through those glasses.