Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's More Than a Movie; It's an Experience!

I don't get to go out and see movies very often, so when I do, it's a very exciting event. And I like to choose movies I think (or have heard) are best experienced in a theater versus DVD at home a few months later. You know, like action flicks (The Bourne Ultimatum, Inglorius Basterds) or those with killer special effects. Or, from time to time, when I just can't wait for it to come out on DVD (Juno). Well, last week I saw a movie that was so much more than a movie. It was an experience. You might already know I'm talking about James Cameron's cinematic masterpiece, Avatar.

Interestingly, I hadn't really heard much word-of-mouth feedback from this particular movie. Just some basic praise like "cool" and "really creative" plus a lukewarm"Well, the special effects were good but the story itself was kinda lame." However, from the moment I put on my stylin' 3D glasses and scooted down the crowded row with my husband and 2 oldest sons in tow, I could tell I was in for a treat.
This little flick cost more to make than any other movie to date, several hundred million bucks. Apparently, the $500 million price tag you might have heard about is a tad inflated; but rest assured, it cost a pretty penny. James Cameron (who now has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame) came up with the idea for this movie about 15 years ago and had to wait until technology and resources could catch up with the magnitude of his vision. Then, the movie took over 4 years to produce.
The quality of the film--including the sound effects, music, special effects, acting, and writing--is spell-binding. It's an epic adventure, a love story, a character study, a spiritual journey, and a war--all happening in the fiercely spectacular world of Pandora. It was the most exciting and fun three hours and $8 I've spent in a very long time. I truly felt a part of the movie, and it took me a good fifteen minutes after the credits rolled to catch my breath. Literally.
Avatar is one of my favorite movies EVER! But I also have a special place in my heart for independent films; you know, the ones that might not have $500 million behind them? And that's why I'm so excited that the Sundance Film Festival is going strong here in Utah. On Wednesday night I get to go see happythankyoumoreplease in Ogden. I can't wait!

What are some movies you recommend seeing on the big screen? Have you seen Avatar yet? Are you more of a big blockbuster movie type, or do you prefer indies?


Morgan said...

Hopefully I'll be going to the movie this week in 3D imax. I agree that Avatar will be best seen in theatre, and I've heard very great things about it.

Wendy Toliver said...

Awesome, Morgan! I hope you like it as much as my family and I did.

Nancy Kay Bowden said...

Maybe there has been less buzz about Avatar in certain locations. It was huge here. By the time it had been out a week, my fifteen year old had seen it at the IMAX three times. That's a lot of lawn-mowing money. You'd think James Cameron had bought his tickets the way he was drumming up business. My son did admit, it wasn't quite as exciting the second and third time around.:)

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Wendy! I was surprised it was a love story!

Eleni said...

I'm so glad you liked this movie, I truly enjoyed it very much! Best movies I've seen in a while :P

Wendy Toliver said...

Nancy, wow, three times?! I was surprised about the love story component too--pleasantly surprised.
hi Eleni, thanks for commenting!

I'm actually glad I hadn't heard too much about it before I went so my mind could be wide open. I did, however, not agree with the person who said the story itself was lame b/c I rather enjoyed it.

stephhale said...

The last movie I saw was Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Skequel! ha! The hubby and I just can't get there like we used to. I will definitely check out Avatar on DVD. I have to admit that I probable wouldn't see it at the theatre just because 3D movies always seem to give me a headache.

Cara King said...

I really enjoyed Avatar, too -- I saw it twice. Then again, I do see a lot of movies! I like both big-budget things (I loved last year's Star Trek) and smaller pics (I highly recommend The Hurt Locker, A Serious Man, Moon, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. All from last year, though not all super-recent!)


TinaFerraro said...

I have yet to see Avatar, but really looking forward to it!

Like Steph, I usually see most films on DVD, but I did get out to see It's Complicated this month.

Wendy Toliver said...

Steph, my boys went to see the Chimpmunks movie with their dad and everybody loved it. I'm sad I can't talk anyone into going to see the Princess and the Frog (note to marketing ppl, "Princess" is a great buzz word for girls but a huge buzz KILL for boys)

Cara, can you believe I haven't seen a single one of the movies you mentioned? I'll have to get on that.

And Tina, I wanted to see that one too. I'll see it on DVD I'm sure.

Marley Gibson said...

I really loved this movie and thought it was brilliantly done...but the whole time, I felt like I'd SEEN it before...and then it hit is a TOTAL rip off of DANCES WITH WOLVES only it's set in outer space. Seriously. Cameron needs to hand a check over to Kevin Costner for swiping his plot and characters literally point by point. = )

Heather Davis said...

I'm not one for big blockbuster movies, but everyone I know has loved Avatar. 3D is especially cool, too - I loved Coraline in 3D.