Well, Susie and I went off yesterday afternoon to the fanciest multiplex around and saw Avatar in 3-D [even for seniors it was $8.50 a ticker]. It was an extraordinary experience. The special effects, 3-D and 2-D, are over the top, spectacular, a whole new level of technical achievement. But James Cameron spent so much on them [two hundred million, apparently] that he had no money left to hire a writer. So instead, he recycled every tired old film cliche imaginable. The movie is a mish-mash of Dances With Wolves, Star Wars [the Ewoks against the mechanical walking machines], King Solomon's Mines, Tarzan of the Apes, and even Alien. [Cameron also skimped on star power to save money, so the only recognizable face was Sigourney Weaver, doing a great turn as a cigarette smoking scientist]. After a while, I took to whispering in Susie's ear what was going to come next, and when I had to make a quick trip to the Men's Room, I knew I would not miss anything. It is not nearly as gorgeous a film as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, or the other films of that genre whose names I cannot recall, but which are the most sensually beautiful films I have ever seen. There is a lively debate in the blogosphere about whether the film is a progressive environmentalist tract or a reactionary White Settler putdown of native peoples, but that gives it way too much credit for having a brain.
Oh yes, the best bit of technical shtick was that when you leave the theater, if you forget to put your glasses in a bin, an alarm beeps, like at the library. I kind of liked that.