Avatar - 3D edition

The past two weeks have been hellish. I've just barely had time to eat and sleep a few hours, I'm shocked that Christmas is next week and the end of the fiscal year is looming.

I dragged home Friday night to find a note from WiseMan - I'm off to see Avatar (Wikipedia entry) with the UsualSuspects. Just then the doorbell rang, and WiseKid was there with CurrentGirlfriend. I asked if they wanted to go to the movies, they said "Sure!", so we wolfed down a slice of bread and high-tailed it to the theater. They always show half an hour of advertising at the start anyway so that you get all your popcorn eaten before the show starts.

We got tickets (expensive, you have to purchase 3D glasses) and found the UsualSuspects, and settled it.

It is wonderful.

Really. I didn't notice that an hour and a half had passed when they cruelly interrupted us during the wonderful love scene to have a break (meaning we could get more beer and popcorn). It went on for another hour, and I was truly enchanted.

Sure, it's a rip-off of a gazillion other films. There are traces of Lord of the Rings, Terminator, Alien, Mulan, Lion King, and who knows what else in there. Who cares. This strange world with bizarre (but logical) physics, fantastical creatures and pointy-eared humanoids (Star Trek?) was fascinating to get to know. The women were also warriors, and the religious elements were nicely woven into the story, contrapointed by the Marine's disdain for this all. The Marines seemed to have had their biceps Photoshopped, but it was very fitting.

I wasn't sure for a while how it was going to end, as I couldn't find a way to twist out of the avatar world, but something corny was indeed found.

I don't know why Grace had to smoke, but I do want one of those transparent mobile boards that you can just grab data off another screen and put on your mobile one for Christmas. Okay, I'll wait until next year if I have to. And if we can figure out how they produced all the electricity needed for all of their toys, we really, really need to start using it now (unless it is plutonium or some such).

The 3D stuff was interesting, polaroid filters are much superior to red/green. I jumped in shock quite a number of times as stuff flew out of the screen at me. This seems to finally be a new way to get people back into the theater - can't easily recreate this sensation at home (yet). And it really thwarts the secret filmers, as you need two projections for this to work, but they are only filming the composite picture.

The motion capture used to produce the film seems fascinating, according to the description on the Wikipedia. We just opened our own motions capture studio a year or so ago, wonder where we can get funding to have one of these toys.

The Na'vi language was designed by a linguist, Paul Frommer. There is already quite a body of information available on it online - from the hyperlinguistic treatment on the Wikipedia to a guest column by Frommer on a blog. I wonder how long it will be before there is a doctoral thesis comparing Na'vi, Klingon, and Elvish.

Update: Avatar won two Golden Globes!

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