(Some rough thoughts which I hope I’ll add too and tidy up a bit, but in case I don’t I want to publish them)
Certainly that was quite an experience
Raises the bar in terms of CGI & model believability, there experience was near seamless though they sensibly kept the interaction between live action and the CG world to a minimum.
For me their were only a few areas when it stood out, like when Grace is in the command center trying to get rid of Jack near the beginning. The lighting around her hair seemed wrong. The faces at times in the Oxygen masks or in the battle mechs and the movement of the humans (at times) when in the mechs and the humans in the gang way of the bomber plane towards the end.
On the whole the CGI managed to do something, for me, that many movies with CG elements don’t; capture me and envelop me into the story and the world. To often the effects stand out too much to me (problem of growing up interested in effects, CG, models, Blue/Green screen and reading things like Cinefex) and distract me and spoil the enjoyment. (Spiderman particularly so) Here I believed that it existed, that those mountains really floated in the sky and that those many colourful and wonderful creatures existed. My hat is off to Cameron for that.
I’d love to know how the work was broken up between the companies (Weta, ILM and the many others involved), I guess I’m going to have to get a copy of issue 120 of Cinefex. Certainly all involved should be very proud of what they have achieved, it was an amazing experience and a world I would love to visit.
Yes the plot was ultimately predictable but it was still touching and I found myself welling up a little when they Jack & Grace where “captured”, when everyone banded together to fight back (though very Braveheart / something else) and at the passing of a couple of the characters.
Hopefully one day I will get to see the movie in 3D, I can’t imagine what it must add to the enjoyment of the movie but I can guess a few places where its really used.
The one area where I was disappointed in the movie was the score. Parts of James Horner’s music was lovely and I will likely buy the score CD to enjoy them (though I might wait a bit to see if an expanded set comes out) but on the whole it didn’t complement the majesty we often encountered in the visuals. Noteably for me when we go with Jack into the floating mountains as an Avatar to get his ride and that first flight