A prominent Irish journalist and friend of mine has just come from the world premier in London of "Avatar," the new James Cameron film being released Dec. 18.
He called me excitedly to say it is "the greatest film ever made." Some claim, especially from a member of the media who is not easy to impress.
The story is set on the planet of Pandora, where the Navi - ten-foot creatures with tails and blue skin - cohabit he planet with all sorts of other weird, wonderful and scary creatures.
There happens to be valuable minerals on the planet too, which attracts the interest of humans (of course!). However, humans cannot breathe on Pandora, but high tech shenanigans mean that a human/Navi hybrid (the Avatar) a living breathing being, can survive on the planet and infiltrate the local tribe.
The plot revolves an American soldier who is paralyzed, but who has full use of his limbs in his Avatar form. He befriends the Navi, and eventually sides with them to fight off evil humans who want to destroy the planet for the minerals. Normally, this would hardly appeal to me, or indeed to my friend.
Now I'm not so sure. However, he says the special effects are unbelievable, out of this world, incredible, the greatest ever. They make up for every flaw in the film and then some.
You have to see it just for the impact of the special effects, he told me. I am quoting him here: "This is as big a breakthrough as Technicolor, the apple advertisement in 1984,as high definition television." Wow.
Both he and I loved 'Titanic,' which Cameron famously directed, for the Irish subtext and movie, the stunning recreation and the sheer historic feel of the film. Never mind the soppy love story.
Avatar he says is even better. It is the greatest use of 3D he has ever seen and the Navi/Avatars, or whatever they are, seem to literally float off the screen into the astonished audience.
Sam Worthington, the young Australian actor who plays the injured soldier, steals the movie, my friend says, although Sigourney Weaver − who I have loved ever since The Year of Living Dangerously' − has a great role to play too.
So there you have it − I will have to go and see it so. As for my friend, he is getting tickets for friends and family for a special Christmas gift. “Better than Santa Claus,” he said to me as he hung up. We'll see.