James Cameron's Avatar - World Premiere Impressions
As the dust settles on Leicester Square and I nurse a nagging headache (not 3D related, I hasten to add), it's time to reflect on last night's Avatar World Premiere.
Yes, that's right - yours truly joined James Cameron, Sigourney Weaver, Sam Worthington and the rest of the cast on the distinctly blue red carpet. Well, I say 'joined', but what I really mean is 'froze in star-struck awe', but you know what I mean.
Once I'd recovered we found our seats in the rafters at the back of the Odeon, and if you think the wait at your local cinema is a long one, try a premiere. We sat there for an hour-and-a-half watching Alex 'I can't believe I'm not in an indie band' Zane conduct interviews with the cast, crew and random 'celebrities' that I'd never heard of before.
Finally, after a brief intro from Cameron himself, we donned our 3D specs and the film began, and to cut a long story short; it's epic.
If there was any doubt still remaining that this would be a technological game-changer, allow me to kill it now - Avatar is absolutely stunning. The CGI characters and locations are astonishingly detailed, solid-feeling and realistic, and it all blends entirely believably with the 'real' actors.
It's the computer-generated Avatars and na'vi people who are the real stars, though. Thanks to impeccable detail and truly spot-on animation, particularly in the faces, they are entirely believable.
No previous CGI creations have been able to convey the full range of human emotion like the na'vi do, and this is vital to the believability of the central love story.
So yes, there is a love story, but it's not as pukey or drawn-out as I was expecting, and the abundant, stunning action scenes mean there's more than enough in there for the adrenalin junkie.
Remember, this is a blockbuster, and there are plenty of blockbuster clichés on show, from characters, to plot and pacing. The thing is, it's done so well that you just don't mind. It might not be fine art, but it is terrific fun.
So, should you watch it in 3D? Absolutely, yes! Even right at the back of the cavernous Odeon Leicester Square effects were popping off the screen. I'll admit to involuntarily flinching when a grenade was fired at the screen, but it's also incidental effects, like dust and ember floating through the air, that really stand out. Oh, and the offices and ships that the humans use are full of curved, holographic displays, helping to further enhance the three-dimensionality of the office and cockpit shots.
Of course, the film is so punchy, fast-paced and colourful that it will undoubtedly prove a stunning tester on Blu-ray, but seeing as no-one's likely to have 3D kit at home when the disc comes out, I'd heartily recommend stumping-up for a ticket at the cinema. Besides, whichever way you look at it, this is a milestone in the 3D revolution and deserves to be seen on the biggest screen you can find.