You hear the word "spectacular" used a lot in movie reviews these days. Usually its hyperbole. Or an empty term used by a lazy writer. But I can think of no more apt a word than "spectacular" to describe James Cameron's Avatar.
Spectacular is derived from the word, spectacle, which, according to my American Heritage College Dictionary, means, "something of a remarkable and impressive nature" and "a public performance or display, especially one on a large or lavish scale." That's Avatar. It is pure spectacle. It is beautiful and stunning and unlike anything I've ever seen on a movie screen.
That's the only way to really appreciate Avatar, by the way -- at the theater. Don't wait for Blu-Ray, or HBO, or whatever. See it on a BIG screen and in 3D. It's worth it. Really.
Yes, there are many things you can complain about in Avatar: The retread story. The (ironically) two-dimensional villain. The many weak spots in the plot. The thing is, I kinda' expected those things going in. I figured there would be simple narrative with stereotypical characters. But, you know what? The story isn't half-bad and the characters are all well-performed. And while there isn't exactly thematic subtlety in the film, it doesn't hit you over the head with a "message," either. In short, the story does everything it needs to do so that Cameron can showcase his dazzling, awesome, groundbreaking visuals.
I was thoroughly delighted by Avatar. It was worth my money and my time. So much so, in fact, that I'll be going to see it again. Because there aren't too many opportunities these days to sit in a movie theater and see something truly and unquestionably spectacular.
2 weeks ago