All Things 3-D Come & See All The New Fantastic Things: In 3-D http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d <![CDATA[ Ambitious Effort That Fails to Fully Launch]]>  
Fly Me to the Moon had all of the makings of a blockbuster hit: A pretty decent budget of $25-mil, a solid vocal cast, a US & Canadian theatrical release including IMAX, and believe it or not, so scientifically solid was the piece that it arrived to theme parks the world over as an attraction (the film was shown minus a subplot involving Russian flies trying to sabotage the US space mission) and as the inspiration behind a 13-minute ride at several Six Flags locations!
 
Sadly what all of this does not reveal is that the film itself feels fairly flat and uninspired despite some real attempts at Pixar-level creativity scattered about.  But we’ll get to all that, let’s take a look at the facts first.
 
Fly Me to the Moon was released theatrically in January of 2008 and came to DVD the following December as both a 2D and 3D release (but not modern 3D mind you, think blue and red lensed paper framed glasses style- of which 2 pairs are included in the 3D DVD release).  It comes in at a runtime of 85-minutes and wears a G (general audience) rating.  Having raked in over $41-million, it is considered a commercial success despite being considered a critical failure.  It also boasts the distinction of being the first animated feature film designed for 3D (DreamWorks would later run with this concept through a series of shorts involving its marquee characters from the Shrek and Monsters Vs. Aliens franchises).
 
Written by Domonic Paris and directed by Ben Stassen, the film involves a threesome of Floridian houseflies stowing away on the iconic Apollo 11 moon mission.  To be honest when the film opens, the viewer almost gets the feeling they’re in for a slightly more sophisticated incarnation of Space Chimps with characters copied and pasted from A Bug’s Life but as the film wears on, it becomes clear that what I just described would be far more enjoyable than what’s actually there.  The three main characters are typical kid archetypes from just about any children’s movie: Nat (Trevor Gagnon), who admires his grandpa’s (Christopher Lloyd) war stories, the brainy one IQ (Philip Bolden) and the fat, lazy one Scooter (David Gore).  The trio constructs a small rocket out of junk they collected but Nat convinces the gang that the only way to get to the moon would be to hitch a ride on the Apollo 11, which just so happens to be about to launch from nearby Cape Canaveral.
 
As much as I’d like to tell you that my summary there omits all of the character and charm that makes computer generated features so enduring, the fact of the matter is that’s really it- just like that.  The rest of the film consists only of unnecessary dialog segments, a weak subplot whereby some jealous Russian flies get word of the US being the first to put man (and flies) on the moon and do their best to sabotage things and a fight sequence that fails to create any sense of tension.  In fact the film’s greatest weakness (aside from a complete lack of comic relief) could be its absence of conflict from which to advance the plot.  Rather than create a situation that holds the viewer’s attention because they absolutely must know how things will resolve, what you get here is essentially a succession of set-ups that pay-off with iconic images of the first man to walk on the moon.  It’s a lot like watching archival footage of the actual mission with a few cute little bugs drawn in the corner of the frames.  Sure it’s important stuff for its historical impact but not exactly riveting entertainment.
 
Additionally the flies themselves become a bit of a tough sell because unlike other (much better developed) bug flicks like A Bug’s Life, Antz or The Bee Movie, you have some cartoony critters (the flies) mixed with near photo-realistic and scientifically accurate renderings of other insects (like a spider for example).   Plus it’s never made clear if the humans in the film are able to hear/ understand the pint sized adventurers as there is a scene that makes reference to the fact that they may be able to but it never provides evidence conclusively.  It sounds silly, sure but let’s be honest here: Had Neil Armstrong discovered an English-speaking housefly in a tiny spacesuit on his shoulder at Mission Control, it’s possible the whole moon mission would have taken the back seat to this discovery!  In case you think I’m picking nits here, do keep in mind that Buzz Aldrin himself makes an appearance at the film’s conclusion to remind viewers that no flies were actually present during the Apollo 11 mission.   So much for suspension of disbelief.
 
All in all, the film doesn’t commit major crimes so much as it simply doesn’t do anything to make it worth recommending.  Its main appeal surely lies in the fact that’s nearly scientifically accurate to teach the younger kids about the actual Apollo 11 mission and space travel in general.  Of course the down side is that what has been created by the movie for entertainment’s sake is either abrasive (Russia can’t be too happy with their representation here) or inaccurate to the point that a real astronaut has to come on and tell us that it didn’t happen… In other words, use it as a teaching tool at your own discretion.
 
Finally there’s the 3D gimmick to consider.  Yes the illusion that junk is popping off the screen is preserved fairly well here but that is assuming you are one of the individuals willing and able to wear the included 3D glasses for the duration of the film because to everyone else in the room, the colors and textures are going to look terrible.  Of course the DVD menu does offer the option of running it in the much more watchable 2D presentation hence making the 3D gimmick rather useless as a whole.
 
Recommended only as a rental if all the top tier CG pieces you’ve been looking for are unavailable.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Fly_Me_to_the_Moon-59-1436346-236581-Ambitious_Effort_That_Fails_to_Fully_Launch.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Fly_Me_to_the_Moon-59-1436346-236581-Ambitious_Effort_That_Fails_to_Fully_Launch.html Sun, 26 May 2013 07:09:05 +0000
<![CDATA[ What part of "final destination" don't they understand?]]>
"The Final Destination" presents its audiences with an unpleasantly stupid experience that will bore even the most tolerable of horror fans. It was not made for anyone who actually admires the genre, and it's so filled with CGI gore that you can't even call it stylistic. It's the first of the "Final Destination" films to be presented in 3D, but that should only make you want to avoid it more, more, and more.

And of course it was directed by David R. Ellis; the same man who screwed with a good idea by making "Final Destination 2", and ruining a good time by sitting in the director's chair that was attached to "Snakes on a Plane". This guy must be a joke, because he can't make even the silliest kind of movie fun. But then again, I haven't seen "Cellular".

Oh, what's the point of even TELLING you what the movie is about? You KNOW what the premise is: death has a plan for survivors of the many accidents that it causes, and people get killed off by the concept of death itself one-by-one...by one. That's been the formula of the last three films, and the fourth flick is no different. Actually; yeah it is. I thought that the first film and its second sequel, "Final Destination 3", were at least fun popcorn flicks. "Final Destination 2" wasn't bad, but it lacked the humor of the other two and resembles this one the more-and-more I think about it.

The film opens with a race-car collision; causing an explosion. People are killed, but of course, there are those fortunate enough to escape. And as always, there's one character with the ability to predict these events; thus he can save his friends, and he does. I don't see why he would; they're all obnoxious and stupid, kind of like him. So much for a hero, hero.

Death kills people by taking their eye out with rocks that are hit by the blades of lawnmowers. People also die from getting sucked into drains in the pool, falling bathtubs, and even by their own trucks. Goody, goody, goody!

I suppose some people do enjoy this filth. That's why there's a fifth "Final Destination" movie coming out fairly soon, and that's why this was made. Here is a film made without craft, and while it certainly WANTS to entertain, it doesn't. I couldn't stand how many things the filmmakers, writers, and editors got wrong. Did they think this was cool? Did they think this was hip? I guess they did. But this did not need to be made, thus making it unnecessary; and bad, bad, bad.

Do not go in expecting to have fun. Do not go in because the movie has a cool poster (with a skull on it to scream "boo"). Lastly, don't see it because you think you'll be wowed by the 3D effects; because you won't be. If you're smart, you'll save yourself the boredom and yawns that come with this film free of charge. I'm lucky I didn't spend a penny to see it; because that would have been money wasted. I like my horror movies suspenseful, well-made, and fun. This is not a horror movie. This isn't even torture porn, death porn, or whatever you want to call it. This is, quite frankly, shit; and it's the kind that only David R. Ellis could possibly make.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Final_Destination-59-1436330-211395-What_part_of_final_destination_don_t_they.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Final_Destination-59-1436330-211395-What_part_of_final_destination_don_t_they.html Fri, 12 Aug 2011 13:48:33 +0000
<![CDATA[ All flash and no substance. It sickens me. 21%]]>
PLOT

For a movie with so much time and money spent on it, I was really disappointed with the fact that Avatar's plot is nothing more than a sci-fi themed CGI wankfest interpretation of Pocahontas and Dances with Wolves. The film is set in the year 2154, when humans are mining a precious mineral called unobtanium on Pandora, a lush moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri star system. The expansion of the mining colony threatens the continued existence of a local tribe of Na'vi--a sentient humanoid species indigenous to Pandora. A paraplegic Marine named Jake Sully is sent to spy on the Na'vi with an artificial Na'vi body referred to as an Avatar. However, Jake has a change of heart and helps the Na'vi fight. In other words, it can be broken down into the following simple structure.

"Bad guys send in spy disguised as one of the good guys to get information about them as to conveniently subjugate them, but spy has change of heart and helps the good guys fight bad guys."

Sounds just like the previously mentioned movies. If you watched a lot of movies, you can predict exactly what's going to happen as the movie progresses because this movie doing something original will throw off its balance in a fashion similar to a rhinoceros trying to give a blue whale and a prairie dog a piggyback ride while riding a unicycle. It has the predictable romantic development with the main male and female leads, the numerous "deus ex machina" actions done solely for the convenience of the plot and characters, and so much other predictable and corny traits that make this movie such a bore. A fine example of one of these many "deus ex machina" moments has to be when Jake (in Avatar form) manages to heavily damage a giant gunship with the Colonel (main bad guy) and as the gunship is falling down, the Colonel dons an armed mecha suit and just barely gets out of the plummeting gunship. Of course, this has to happen because if it didn't, we wouldn't get that mandatory yet predictable "awesome epic showdown" between the hero and the villain. In fact, my sister-in-law verbally predicted the said showdown as the Colonel was escaping the gunship.

CHARACTERS

Another nail in Avatar's coffin was the characters. I didn't care about any of them because they were all so stereotypical and flat. Sully was the "uncertain main lead," Grace was the "concerned ultra-smart scientist," and the Colonel was the "tough guy 'lets kill everything' army man," and Neytiri is the "sexy, smart, and benevolent native-type princess." None of them were interesting and morally speaking, were all one-sided. I HATE this because I find it so cliche and simple to belt out. I would have preferred that the characters had more complexity to their beliefs and reasoning, but we don't get that here.

THEMES

Adding themes to movies can enhance them greatly, but if they're obvious and one-sided, they add next to no value to the film. And in Avatar's case, the themes and social commentary are one-sided and obvious. It sickens me as to how people are bleating about how "great" Avatar's message is about imperialism and destroying the environment. Though when you take the movie's theme about being environmentally conscious into consideration, it's extremely laughable because its one-dimensional nature brings it on the level of such one-sided slop like Ferngully, Wall-E, Captain Planet, and On Deadly Ground. While I'm personally not against taking measures to benefit the environment, I cringe at the whole "lets live in harmony with nature and take down technological progress" notion because I doubt that people will easily give up the technology that's essential to their lives (such as houses, computers, and cars) for the sake of benefiting the environment. At least with Princess Mononoke, it displayed the ecology message in a more realistic and complex manner. The messages about imperialism and militarism aren't any better because they too, are so obvious and one-sided. Of course, corporations with mercenary aid taking over other chunks of land is certainly a detestable thing, but the reasoning for it is so tacky and unrealistic. The only reasoning behind these heinous actions is that "the corporation needs a profit." What about the fact that this movie hints that Earth is low on natural resources and needs to power its civilization? Or how about people working in the energy industry needing a paycheck to feed their families? Of course, it has to be this simple and dumbed-down because if there was any complexity to these issues, mainstream audiences would be confused and the movie wouldn't have generated the unbelievably huge profit it got.

APPEARANCE

The only thing Avatar has going for it is the outstanding special effects and CGI used in the movie. Indeed, the imagery is unbelievable, and it's pretty obvious as to where a huge chunk of Avatar's $500 million budget went. I personally loved the military vehicles and weapons displayed in this movie because of the fact that I have an interest in military technology and the fact that while the vehicles and weapons were indeed futuristic, their appearances and functions were still largely based off current military technology. Everything else looked fabulous as well since every little detail hasn't been skimped on any object, animate or inanimate. However, I must scorn the idealistic physiques of the Na'vi because all of them looked like humanoid cat alien supermodels. Would a little physical diversity be too much to ask for? I guess it was another way for Cameron to show how the Na'vi have life down to a "T" as compared to those oh-so-evil humans.

FINAL WORD

If you want James Cameron's prime films, go check out Aliens and the first two Terminator movies instead of this (if you haven't already). If you want the best sci-fi/action film of 2009, go check out District 9 instead of Avatar because D9, while a little overrated, has much more believable and interesting characters with much cooler action scenes with more subtle, believable messages about humanity. D9 also had some good special effects to boot, almost as good as those in Avatar. With all of this good stuff, you might wonder how big D9's budget was. District 9's budget was $32 million, less than 1/15th of Avatar's. Just comes to show that you don't need to spend half a billion dollars to make a worthwhile movie, you just need interesting characters with engaging plots. Now if only James Cameron believed in those principles again, which made most of his films in the 80's and early 90's the classics people remember them as.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-209819-All_flash_and_no_substance_It_sickens_me_21_.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-209819-All_flash_and_no_substance_It_sickens_me_21_.html Mon, 4 Jul 2011 23:32:28 +0000
<![CDATA[ The 3D Revolution has begun... 2nd time is the charm for Nintendo.]]>
Pros:
-3D Effect on Screen works well, is adjustable (can switch to 2D anytime) looks great, and without needing of 3D glasses.
-Color saturation, Contrast, and Frame rate are good on the 3D screen.
-Ability to take (and view) 3D Photos right out of the box.
-Included 2GB SD card for game saves, and the fact that it uses standard SD cards is great!
-Great paint job and build quality seems good.
-Built in Wifi.
-Stereo Speakers are loud, sound decent, and add depth to the experience.
-Included Charging Dock


Cons:
-No games, Demos (or movies) included.
-Limited viewing angle means that you have to keep the 3DS still and keep your head still for 3D viewing to work.
-Price is little high.
-Screen resolution could be better... especially in this age of 'retina screens' & 'Super Amoled Screen' resolutions.
-The 3D cameras on the unit are low resolution... so it limits the 3D Photo quality.
-No Included Internet Browser? There's no excuse for this... especially when there is built in Wifi. Hopefully they fix this with a future firmware upgrade.


Conclusion:
The 3D effect on this screen definitely has the "WOW" factor. Imagine if the graphics on the current SONY PSP could be seen in glorious 3D... without the aid of 3D glasses. That's how I would describe how the 3D looks on the Nintendo 3DS. It's impressive enough that it no longer can be judged as a 'gimmick' because it helps to immerse the gamer deeper into the experience of the game. Sure, there is the option to switch to 2D mode but I think my point is that once you see the games in 3D, you won't want to switch back to 2D. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is that I felt that the screen resolution could be better. Overall though, I am impressed with this 3D portable gaming console... the first of it's kind. But no matter how good a gaming console is, it's success will hinge upon how good the 3D games that are made for it are. I'm hoping that the artists & programmers work hard to create good games because the hardware is sound. I'm very curious to see how 3D Movies would look on this screen too... so let's hope that they will offer some titles to download soon, or at least thinking of that future possibility.


Other Thoughts: I think this product is important because it's success will herald a new age of 3D devices which use similar (no glasses required) technology. For example, 3D Cell-Phone Screens, 3D Cameras, and 3D TVs. YES! :)]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/video_game/UserReview-Nintendo_3DS-59-1724204-204916-The_3D_Revolution_has_begun_2nd_time_is_the.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/video_game/UserReview-Nintendo_3DS-59-1724204-204916-The_3D_Revolution_has_begun_2nd_time_is_the.html Wed, 30 Mar 2011 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ A Beloved Racing Classic.... in Glorious 3D.]]>
Pros:
-Good 3D graphics, color, and frame-rate.
-The landscape is diverse and interesting elements are integrated like diversity of tunnels, textures, objects.
-Good variety of custom paint color and paint designs available.
-The paint and reflections (of background elements) on the car looks great.
-Beloved classic levels are there and have new interesting elements.

Cons:
-Races aren't very challenging. It's too easy to get first place in the beginning levels.
-Moire patterns in the background can be very distracting and makes it hard to see what's coming ahead.
-The comments of the girl announcer are annoying... even though she has a cute voice. But if you've played past versions of this game, you're probably used to it.
-Not enough camera angle options for use during the race.

Conclusion:

Overall, I'm happy with this game and am enjoying going through the classic favorite landscapes in 3D. If you are into racing games in general, I think you'd probably enjoy this game too. It is known for the beauty and diversity of it's landscape and fun of drifting. It is quite an experience to drive through this small scenic 3D window which you hold in your hands. It's the kind of racing game that is simple and engaging enough that anybody can just pick it up and enjoy car races without any instructions. That's what' makes this a 'classic'.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/video_game/UserReview-Ridge_Racer_3DS-59-1724203-204915-A_Beloved_Racing_Classic_in_Glorious_3D_.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/video_game/UserReview-Ridge_Racer_3DS-59-1724203-204915-A_Beloved_Racing_Classic_in_Glorious_3D_.html Wed, 30 Mar 2011 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Avatar... beating out Titanic]]> Avatar hit theaters this past weekend. While opening weekend raked in an estimated $77 million in domestic ticket sales and an additional $159 million in ticket sales in 106 countries overseas -- excluding Japan and China who are still to come. This weekend Avatar did reach the #9 spot for All Time Worldwide Opening Records and the #2 spot for Top December Opening Weekend Records. However, some reports have come in saying that the blizzard that hit the east coast caused ticket sales to take a hit, but my Saturday experience at the theater proved otherwise.

I remember being bombarded by phone calls last week with several people asking me if it was worth going to see Avatar in theaters. I had heard mixed reviews regarding the film, with people commenting that it will be strictly eye candy with no substance in storyline and I felt compelled to share what I had heard. Even as I received a handful of calls on opening day from my father asking if it was something that he would understand, I still felt the need to share the mixed feelings I had quickly developed over the weeks leading up to its release. I was surprised that later in the day I had a voicemail waiting for me, practically screaming at me, that I had to go see the film this weekend. My father, who is of the older movie go-er generation, does not see eye to eye with me when it comes to movies as he is interested in the more intellectual and "family fun" style of films where as I enjoy blood, guts and insane amounts of action. To hear that he thought the movie was "awesome" and actually ended up using the word about a dozen times in a conversation that followed, I felt compelled to go out this opening weekend to see if it was really as good as he though. So Saturday morning, making plans with my movie date for the evening, I purchased tickets online to avoid at least one line and then ventured out into the first blizzard of the season.

Arriving at the theater 45 minutes before showtime, I stood in line feeling like a complete film geek, excited just to see what the film would look like since I had little expectations for there being a good storyline. My date for the evening seemed less than excited, standing in line in a bit of a stooper and neutral to everything that was going on. After finding seats in what was a much smaller screen that I was expecting the trailer began to roll. Unfortunately none of the trailers really stuck out, but once advised to put on our 3D glasses I sat in aw and awaiting what was about to happen.

With a running time of 2 hours and 40 minutes, I never once felt a lull or dramatic drop in the pace of the film. It held and captivated my attention for the entire screening and watching in 'RealD' you truly do get an experience unlike any other. I have watched plenty of other 3D shows and films with the classic red and blue glasses that give you such a horrible headache you seriously wonder why you ever bother to watch anything in 3D, but the translucent RealD glasses give you the 3rd dimension without the pain. From the opening scene straight through to the end, I fought the urge to reach out and "touch" the beautiful world of Pandora that James Cameron introduced us to. The world of Pandora is a beautiful place both in theory, vision and story, and no matter how fantastic the fantasy level became everything remained grounded in reality. From the space crafts the humans use travel in to the alien planet, to the military vehicles and weapons, to the plants, creatures and people of Pandora each element hints are reality. Nothing strayed too far from the line of what "could be".

As for the story, I was surprised by the level of depth it held. It was not your basic sci-fi/fantasy story, and it left me considering what under lying statements Mr. Cameron was making about our current standing globally. The story was thought provoking and left me thinking about social and political commentary that could be picked up and hinted at in some aspect or another. The film is visually out of this world, and the story will hold your attention for the entire running time. By the time you are ready to walk out of the theater, you will not feel like you have been sitting through a 3 hr film, unless you just downed a large coke.

If you are an Aliens fan, see if you catch the homage James Camera slips in. See if you can find the "Titanic moment". This film is a must see. Even if you do not enjoy the story, I guarentee that you will not be disappointed by the visual effects. Although, as my movie date said, the Na'vi's skin may be a little distracting, but all in all the film is worth the sitting time. You will love Sam Worthington's performance, both in the flesh and CGI. You will enjoy the grace and beauty of Zoe Saldana as her dance background adds to the Na'vi. Her movements are truly those of a trained ballerina and it made watching her leaping through the trees and during battle that much more amazing. The Na'vi, in their looks, movements, beliefs, and soul truly are amazing characters. Even the wonderful Sigourney Weaver will amaze you with the heart and soul of her character. Michelle Rodriguez players her typical "badass" self. She is just as much a fighter as she is in every other role she has played and it's fun to watch her keeping up with the "big boys" when it comes to a gun fight. Stephen Lang is that guy you will recognize but may not recall his name at the end of the film, but his performance as Colonel Miles Quaritch is everything you could ever want. And Joel Moore just makes you love him even more with each character he plays in his blooming career.

So if you want a film that will pull you right into the story and picture, check out Avatar.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-204625-Avatar_beating_out_Titanic.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-204625-Avatar_beating_out_Titanic.html Fri, 25 Mar 2011 18:26:53 +0000
<![CDATA[ Superb picture quality, black level, contrast, and 3D looks great!]]>
Overall performance:

I've now had the TV for about 2 weeks and it has met all of my expectations. The contrast ratio (black level) on this TV (which is 5,000,000 to 1) is astounding.
When the scene has black bars on the sides, it is hard to tell where the frame of the TV and the glass screen starts when all the lights are out. It's that dark!
The many default settings such as vivid, Cinema, standard... plus the fact that you can change all the settings to your preference is great. It will even allow you to change the color spectrum to different levels of warm or cool according to your preference. Of course, you can change setttings like color saturation, contrast, brightness...etc to your liking too. The image quality on this TV (once you calibrate it) is amazing. If you have HD programming, you will be very impressed. Blu-ray movies look even better than they did in the theaters.

3D image quality:

The 3D viewing experience on this TV was much better than I had anticipated. It's pretty amazing, actually. I bought the Ultimate Avatar Panasonic 3D bundle which included 2 sets of glasses and the movie Avatar in 3D. Some things that I noticed was that the image was a tiny bit darker than without the glasses. But the TV is smart enough to bump up the luminosity in 3D mode to compensate for this. Overall this slight darkening of the scene didn't take away from the experience at all. The frame rate in 3D is really good. The TV refreshes 60 frames total so that each eye gets 30 frames per second. This is the frame-rate for normal video so your eye doesn't notice any blurring at all. I did notice some minimal ghosting affects for some scenes in 3D. This occurs at the edges of objects sometimes. I'm not sure if this was due to the way the video itself was encoded, or if it was from the TV or glasses. I tend to think it is from the video itself because the ghosting only occurs in certain scenes and is repeated in those scenes if you rewind and play it over. At any rate, it occurred very rarely and I've read that it occurs on every 3D TV. It didn't detract from my 3D experience because 95 percent of the scenes looked perfect! My only complaint was that I thought they should have included at least one pair of free 3D glasses and one 3D movie (or 3D Demo) with the TV. I feel that if everyone had a chance to see how great the 3D looks on this TV, they would definitely buy more glasses and more 3D Blu-rays in the future. I bought my 3D Avatar Bundle on Ebay...which seems to have better prices. I noticed that the price here for the 3D Avatar bundle can flucuate from week to week by quite a wide range. Please remember that in order to watch 3D Blu-ray movies you must have a 3D compatible Blu-ray Player (like the Sony PS3 with updated firmware) and Panasonic brand 3D glasses. 3D glasses from other brands will not work.

Conclusion:
If you're looking for a great looking TV that has superb 2D and 3D image quality for an affordable price, I think that this TV is pretty hard to beat. Prepare to spend a few more hundred dollars on 3D glasses and 3D Blu-ray movies though. This may seem like a lot... but the 3D experience really is worth the extra money you have to pay. The 3D picture on this TV display is simply amazing.



Now, if you are still on the fence about whether to choose a Plasma or LCD TV, here's my two cents on the matter:

Plasma VS LCD:

Plasmas:

Pros:
-Better Contrast, Deeper Blacks
-Displays more colors than LCDs can (Over 1 Billion colors)
-More Affordable
-More realistic (wamer) color... for example, skin tones look perfect with the right settings. Colors look more vibrant
-Faster frame-rate. This also matters when it comes to displaying 3D better (faster frame-rate equals smoother picture)
-Superb viewing angle... TV looks great from every angle no matter where you sit.

Cons:
-Uses more electricity than LCD and can produce more heat than LCD while in use.
-TVs are thicker and heavier than LCDs.
-Screens (on average) are not quite as bright (light output) as LCDs.


LCDs:

Pros:
-Light and Thin Screens are easier to mount.
-Produces more light than average Plasmas.
-Uses less energy than plasma.

Cons:
-Usually more expensive than plasma.
-LCDs are Backlit... which means that the black-level/contrast aren't as great as Plasma due to light leakage. Blacks look 'dark gray' with lights out.
-Screen does can't produce as many colors as Plasma.
-Frame rate isn't as quick. This produces a 'blurring' effect during fast moving scenes. This can affect quality of 3D images too.
-Some LCDs still do not have wide viewing angles. This means viewing images from the side affects image quality.


As you can see, there are definitely Pros and Cons to both kinds of TV sets. I went with Plasma because in my opinion, Plasmas produce superior image quality and are even cheaper than LCDs. There are many that would argue with me... but I will base this opinion on the facts. The fact is that Plasmas can produce many more colors than LCDs can, and have a higher contrast ratio than LCDs. Contrast Ratio is the measurement of how dark the blacks can get relative to how bright the whites can get. The technology also inherently produces higher frame-rates and have wider viewing areas than LCD. Although as time goes by, I think the image quality of these two TV technologies get closer to eachother. If you prefer the image quality on LCDs, that's perfectly understandable.

Please understand that this review is only my opinion... so please don't post a million comments on this review about how great LCDs are. Instead, you should write your own review about how great your LCD TV is ;) Yes, I admit that I am a bit biased about Plasmas... But it's mostly because of the Pros and Cons I listed above.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/product/UserReview-Panasonic_VIERA_TC_P50GT25_50_inch_1080p_3D_Plasma_HDTV_Black-59-1724207-204919-Superb_picture_quality_black_level_contrast_and.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/product/UserReview-Panasonic_VIERA_TC_P50GT25_50_inch_1080p_3D_Plasma_HDTV_Black-59-1724207-204919-Superb_picture_quality_black_level_contrast_and.html Wed, 23 Mar 2011 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Monsters vs Aliens]]>
Monsters vs Aliens is about Susan Murphy, who gets hit by a meteor on her wedding day and turns into the 50 ft tall Ginormica. She is promptly imprisoned at Area 51 where she meets all sorts of crazy monsters. There's Insectosaurus, The Missing Link, Dr. Cockroach, and B.O.B, who are all wonderful, memorable characters. Their prison sentence is expired when the government needs them to fight a giant robot sent by an alien ship to extract the quantonium in Susan's body. This brings up the dilemma of defeating the alien and saving the city, as well as Susan facing not living a normal life.

The film has great memorable characters voiced by a fantastic voice cast. This movie is also different because it has a female main character with male sidekicks, whereas not a lot of movies do that nowadays. The male sidekicks are much more fun and much more funny than Susan herself, but that doesn't make her any less entertaining and likeable as a protagonist. The film also has a very funny villain and funny supporting characters, including Kiefer Sutherland as W.R. Monger and Stephen Colbert as the President. That being said, the film has a fantastic voice cast and they all play their parts wonderfully, especially the main monsters and the villain. The main monsters are voiced by:

Susan- Reese Witherspoon
Link- Will Arnett
B.O.B- Seth Rogen
and Dr. Cockroach- Hugh Laurie

They are all fantastic in their roles and so is Rainn Wilson as Gallaxhar, the villain. However, that's all that can be said for the voicework and the characterization, so I'll move on. The movie is hilarious and entertaining from beginning to end and it will entertain adults as well as children. It is certainly made for children, but if you are a parent and your child asks you if you can rent this movie, you won't have to cringe in fear. In fact, if you grew up watching stuff like Mystery Science Theatre, you'll love it because even though I didn't, I got most of the references.

This was also the first movie I saw in 3D, and it actually had some very impressive usage of the technology. I am not totally against 3D, by the way. I think that it can be done right, but most of the time it isn't. However, this film made great usage of 3D and I actually saw it twice in 3D. Even without 3D, the animation was spectacular and some of the best that Dreamworks has ever done.

This film was just terribly entertaining, and I think that it is very underappreciated and should be watched more often. I am not totally against Dreamworks even though they have produced some less than spectacular titles. However, their new projects look promising and I really love this one, being my second favourite to date. I would definitely give my recommendation and say that this is a great rental for a rainy day.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Monsters_vs_Aliens-59-1652682-203980-Monsters_vs_Aliens.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Monsters_vs_Aliens-59-1652682-203980-Monsters_vs_Aliens.html Tue, 15 Mar 2011 23:39:13 +0000
<![CDATA[ Avatar: A Stand-in for an SF movie]]> Karen went with me and we opted for the non-Imax 3D version.

I don't know what Roger Ebert was thinking - maybe invites to some nice parties or something - but I certainly did not leave the theater "feeling the same way I did after seeing Star Wars".

No comparison, in fact. Star Wars blew me away. True, I was much younger then, but.

I was even younger when I left the theater after watching 2001: A Space Odyssey and that blew me away too.

Both of those films did something that Avatar did not and can not do. They presented things we'd never seen before on the big screen. (Kubrick's zero-grav scenes had special effects folks scratching their heads for months. Star Wars did the same.)

Avatar does not show us things we've never seen before - it shows us a better version of things we've already seen.

(I think it will take the introduction of the first immersive 3D/holographic 360 surround film to show us "something new".)

On the other hand, better was gorgeous!

The Na'vi are most certainly not attenuated smurfs, the mechs are mechs, the airships impressive if not aerodynamic and Pandora is truly a lush Eden with eye candy stretching off to the horizon in every direction.

I strongly suspect that each and every one of the plants we're shown in all of their phosphorescent glory are either real plants or ones that existed on our planet at one time (on land or beneath the sea). If I'm wrong, I'm wrong, but if not, it was a neat trick to show them as alien botany and point an accusatory finger right back at every (ignorant) member of the audience.

Story? Holes galore, ranging from the mildly stunning (arrows that bounce off bullet proof plastic one time and penetrate to deadly effect when they need to the next) to Yet More Stupid Military Tactics (realism sacrificed to visual impact) to show-stopping fact that if it weren't for bad writing, there'd be no story at all.

In some respects this doesn't matter. Cameron goes for heart-string tugging and plucks them quite effectively. You're meant to care about the Na'vi and their world and to hate (most of) the humans, and you do.

You're given time to experience the wonder of Pandora (even if some of it is physically impossible but then again, who doesn't want to see real floating mountains? Take that Sir Hillary!) and a lot of it made me want to go there and walk through that jungle, even if I'd be too stupid to live and would fall prey to indigenous life forms within the first couple of minutes.

(Peggy: the biology makes NO sense, unless you can believe that hexapedal, quadrapedal and bipedal creatures would evolve side-by-side within the same ecosystem and so far as flying creatures being used as mounts for 12 foot tall blue elfs, well, we won't even go there...)

The film was peppered with homages to other Cameron offerings and numerous, numerous SF flicks:  I'd have to have a DVD version of the flick I could study for quite some hours to even begin to catalog them, but they are most assuredly there.

So far as ripping off SF stories - absolutely.  Cameron has obviously learned his lesson since some prior missteps in this regard (I can just imagine one of the money men saying "no lawsuits this time, John"), so where borrowed, the concepts and plots are surrounded by so much other stuff that while it is clear to an aficionado where this, that or the other thing came from, it would be impossible to prove derivation or to find a smoking gun.  Off the top of my head I'd add Slan and the Pern stories to the mix of stories that have already been identified.

(My problem with this issue is that yes, SF writers borrow from each other all the time, or answer one high concept with another riff that plays off the same idea, but they're all contributing to the collective pool.  Film takes these things, adds nothing to the pool and fixes, forevermore, a particular image that becomes associated with the trope(s).  I'd have been more than mollified if Cameron had stuck in an acknowledgment to the entire genre at the end of the flick - not one admitting influence by any particular author or work but something along the lines of "if not for the nearly 100 years of SF literature that precedes me and the works I've enjoyed since childhood, there would have been no Avatar.  Thanks for all the great stories"; at least it would give some a thing or two to think about.  Though that's probably too much to expect, especially from director types who are supposedly all about their egos being tied up with their 'creativity'.)

I also have to mention that about two years ago I noted here that I was waiting for the first true multi-media event to take place, one in which the movie is released at the same time as the book, as the game, as the animated tv show, as the plush toys, audio book & etc., etc., and I'm fairly pleased with my own prognostication that the marketing of Avatar has seen the realization of a good portion of that concept (yes, I'll take credit.  Directors are not the only ones who's egos are tied up with their creativity).

I doubt that doing so was part of the "plan" - much more likely that it was done out of necessity to recoup the investment, but there it is nonetheless.  If Avatar makes a profit (huge as it looks to be), the opportunity to release other properties in a multi-medium fashion can only be enhanced.

Avatar is well worth seeing and is pretty much going to become one of those cultural touchstones (like 2001 & Star Wars):  you can't call yourself a 'fan' unless you've seen it, legions of new fans will be born/created by the experience.  Unfortunately - sigh - I think it is also the movie that has put the final nail in the coffin of the argument between story over visual experience, with 'the experience' having won.

How long do you think it's going to be before we start seeing "films" that are nothing more than travelogues of interesting and fantastical worlds?  Not long if Avatar has the influence I think it is going to.

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-202357-Avatar_A_Stand_in_for_an_SF_movie.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-202357-Avatar_A_Stand_in_for_an_SF_movie.html Sun, 27 Feb 2011 16:53:40 +0000
<![CDATA[ Hooray for Hollywood: Computer effects - 100; clichés - 80; story - 3; cost - don't ask]]> Avatar.
 
This is one of the most beautiful movies you'll ever hope to see. The planet Pandora is amazingly realized, from the mountains in the sky, and I mean in the sky, to the milkweed fuzzballs that drift and give hope. Tens of millions of dollars created a CGF (Computer Generated Flatulence) movie so detailed that our delight in the flora and fauna and the skill of director Cameron in keeping the story moving mask the fact that there isn't much story. I'd worry about a place where the laws of physics don't seem to work. We’ve already learned that attempts to turn humans into carrot-eating members of PETA have been a flop.
 
All these quibbles are hardly worth bothering about. I was left with the impression that the story is unimportant; it was merely the Hollywood hook on which Cameron could hang all those amazing, gorgeous, swooping, leaping, tumble-off-a-cliff-and-come-up-flying computer-generated effects. It would have made a difference if we'd had a story with a tale to tell, not just the tired clichés from Hollywood that man continues to scrape off mountaintops, that war is bad, that killing for food is worse, and that mankind really must stop littering. Avatar is fun, but whatever ideas it seems to want us to know are as conventional as a movie producer's ego. What is so discouraging is the amount of money spent on Avatar. That’s the shame of our popular culture.
 
Like Cameron's Titanic, I suspect that Avatar will decline in interest and significance as time and repeat viewing go by. Still, while I wouldn't want to sit through all of Titanic again, I'm always ready to watch the old tub go down.
 
And I can't help wishing I’d had two per cent of Avatar’s gross.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-202132-Hooray_for_Hollywood_Computer_effects_100_.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-202132-Hooray_for_Hollywood_Computer_effects_100_.html Wed, 23 Feb 2011 05:17:34 +0000
<![CDATA[ Thats Right I Didn't like this movie]]> http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-201935-Thats_Right_I_Didn_t_like_this_movie.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-201935-Thats_Right_I_Didn_t_like_this_movie.html Mon, 21 Feb 2011 10:23:08 +0000 <![CDATA[Nintendo 3DS Quick Tip by zephyr2050]]> http://www.lunch.com/Destructoid/reviews/video_game_console/UserReview-Nintendo_3DS-673-1444293-197158.html http://www.lunch.com/Destructoid/reviews/video_game_console/UserReview-Nintendo_3DS-673-1444293-197158.html Thu, 16 Dec 2010 17:43:09 +0000 <![CDATA[ A Worthwhile trip to Pandora, courtesy of James Cameron]]> *** out of ****

James Cameron knows how to build hype. He also knows how to spend money very well. “Avatar” is the result of how Cameron spends his time and money, being a technical masterpiece but none the less a terribly familiar trip. Sure, it’s very engaging. Sure, it looks pretty. But when watching it, I noticed that everything Cameron shows or does is something that has been done before. Some of his choices often result in “Avatar” being very predictable and lacking the human emotion of a life-time, but it’s an entertaining, thrilling film overall. It’s unforgettable only because of the advance in technology that it presents. It indeed does break the mold, but then again so did Peter Jackson’s “King Kong”, which got a lot less recognition for its technical beauty. I guess “Avatar” just looks prettier to some. Thankfully I still like pretty things. Otherwise, I would have been bored out of my mind. However, I cannot truly imagine a sane human being to be bored by such a visually stunning film. Only the heartless will be uninspired. And I mean it when I say that. This is a genuinely well directed film that is far from the masterpiece that some will claim it is. Most people just simply don’t know how to look at the film correctly, resulting in the “easy” opinion: It’s a perfect movie. But “Avatar” is not a perfect movie. James Cameron has never made a perfect movie, to say the least. And I expect that he never will. Although I’m not a big fan of his works, I praise “Avatar” for looking finer than any film out there. I also praise Cameron for making Two Hours and Forty Minutes feel like a mere Hour and a Half. It goes by pretty damn fast. Thank god for speedy story-telling.

“Avatar” begins with a sense of wondrous originality. It stays original for quite some time, but alas is becomes a clone of “Dances with Wolves”. It can’t be called a direct ripoff of “Wolves”, but it feels awfully similar. So enjoy the originality while it lasts. And then enjoy the less original aspects of the plot. Ex-Marine, handicapped Jake Sully is called in to the planet of Pandora after his brother is unexpectedly killed. The planet of Pandora is inhabited by blue, impish beings called “Na’vi” as well as other creatures. Each one of these creatures is most likely dangerous, and the Na’vi themselves aren’t exactly easy kills. Sully is asked to participate in the “Avatar Program”. This program/operation is meant to place marines/ex-marines in the shoes of a Na’vi via an avatar body. Sully agrees, since temptations are thrown at him (if he succeeds, he gets his legs back) like the forceful bullets of his “allies”. Jake goes in willingly, and experiences the world of Pandora first hand. On the first day, he battles resident creatures of Pandora and befriends the locals. His first encounter with the natives is that of Neytiri, a female Na’vi. They form a strong bond, and Jake agrees to plunge further into the world of the natives in order to gather information. All goes wrong when Jake’s relationship with the natives grows a bit too strong, and soon he must pick a side. Unfortunately, the “forces” who were presumably on his side want to go in and directly kill the Na’vi for their own greedy pleasures. In the end, Cameron seems to be depicting a familiar concept: Humans are often cruel, greedy, and careless of their often violent actions. The story is easily copying “Dances with Wolves”, but it’s not a terribly bad tale none the less. It is entertaining and mostly absorbing due to Cameron’s more-so original universe that he’d been working on for much longer (than the actual plot). The creatures are nice looking, but the characters don’t always feel much fleshed out. But at least Cameron does the job right. “Avatar” looks very pretty. That’s all that the job really called for.

Ah, Sam Worthington. I’m not really that fond of him. He plays the hero, Jake Sully, pretty decently. I can’t say that it’s a star turn for him, and it’s not a particularly good performance. But I will admit that there was something likable about the way Worthington portrays his character and almost proves himself worthy. Maybe someday he’ll actually do it. Maybe someday, I’ll stop hating him. But not yet. Zoe Saldana gets herself Na’vi-fied and is shot entirely with motion capture technology. Needless to say, Saldana is still as mediocre as ever. Sometimes, she can be quite annoying, but at other times she can serve a damn good purpose. Sigourney Weaver is as lovely (and pleasant) as ever. It’s good to see her return to the world of James Cameron. Dileep Rao is as awesome as always (goddamn it, I’m waiting on a lead role for him!), and Giovanni Ribisi is as decent as ever. Nothing too new here. Some good talents here, and some more decent ones there. I can’t say I was particularly surprised. But at least James Cameron can give me hope that maybe Sam Worthington will actually do some real acting one of these days.

“Avatar” is yet another visually stunning effort from James Cameron. He always knows how to keep the audience hooked with CGI, and it often seems as if Cameron knows his audience well. He is an intelligent director because he seems to know pop culture like the back of his hand. He can almost instantly summon the “new thing in filmmaking” like that, although it always takes time for him to shoot it, create it, and distribute it. He likes taking his time, clearly. “Avatar” is abundant with lots of colors and flowers as well as creatures and blue monkey people. There is not a dull moment within the film, and it’s constantly entertaining throughout. The world of Pandora is very, very lush with life and color. The film just never stops looking beautiful. The film could be said to be “well shot”, since as far as editing and cinematography goes, this is on the top of the list for sure. The music in the film is pretty decent, although the Leona Lewis song essentially ruined it. Therefore, the end credits made me very, very depressed. All and all, “Avatar” has enough CGI and action sequences to appeal to a large crowd. Some will criticize it because they have the unfortunate inability to sit through a two and a half hour film, and others will choose to dislike it simply to be “different”. I can’t say I consider the film to be a landmark, but it was very good none the less. It’s genuine entertainment that never lets go of its grasp on the audience. It’s a film that most people will enjoy out of pure awe.

James Cameron’s newest film is a visual wonder indeed. Not so much a narrative tale of powerful proportions, but a very much watchable, entertaining trip to Pandora. It’s one of a kind in its own way, although it should not be considered flawless. It has a damn good ways to go, as does every James Cameron film. It’s not necessarily moving entertainment, although at some moments, I was oddly touched. The themes of the film were very strong in some instances, although much weaker in others. Overall, I was pretty satisfied with the experience. This is a high budget epic that really works. It’s yet another example of an easy way to get rich with all the money that you have. Cameron once again proves that you can have CGI, you can have semi-good actors, but you can’t always be King of the World. That’s damn right.

 

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http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-193624-A_Worthwhile_trip_to_Pandora_courtesy_of_James.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-193624-A_Worthwhile_trip_to_Pandora_courtesy_of_James.html Fri, 12 Nov 2010 23:49:36 +0000
<![CDATA[ Monstrous Hype Meets Most Expectations]]>

While it isn’t oft publicized, Pixar and DreamWorks have quite a little game of swapping going on that basically started right from the beginning.  Need evidence? Well you know Pixar’s Toy Story and DreamWorks had a remarkably similar film in Small Soldiers.  DreamWorks had Antz and Pixar A Bug’s Life.  Pixar had Finding Nemo, DreamWorks Shark Tale and so on and so forth.  Pixar led the monster genre with Monsters Inc. but DreamWorks had even bigger ambitions in mind when they decided to enter the game in 2009.

Monsters are good science fiction fun but then again so are aliens.  Rather than choose between the two, DreamWorks wisely opted to pit them against each other in a plot that works way better than the title insinuates possible.  The big gag surrounding this one in its theatrical debut was that it was DreamWorks’ first 3D motion picture (a trend that has been slowly gaining momentum of late).  Of course my encounter with this one was limited to the realm of high definition LED display and the power of the BluRay so I cannot comment on the 3D effects in this critique.

The story tells of typical California girl Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) is unwittingly clobbered on her wedding day by a meteor full of mysterious space gunk.  The encounter results in her growing to 49-feet-11-inches tall.

As is expected in a 1950s B-movie spoof, the military jumps into action and captures the freshly mutated girl and transports her to a covert government compound where she is renamed Ginormica.

The confused and abused gentle giant finds herself placed in confinement with a ragtag group of Monsters: the brilliant insect/ mad scientist Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D. (Hugh Laurie); a fish man thawed mid evolution named The Missing Link (Will Arnet); the gelatinous and indestructible B.O.B. (Seth Rogen); and a 350-foot grub known only as Insectosaurus.

Their confinement & governmental study is cut short, however, when a deadly alien robot lands on Earth and begins wreaking havoc upon the planet. In a moment of desperation, the president thanks in no small part to the persuasion of General WR Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) decides to enlist the motley crew of Monsters to combat the Alien Robot and save the world from imminent destruction.

On the surface, it’s a pretty decent plot and honestly, the potential for depth or layered plot structure are certainly secondary considerations to the primary goal of presenting really, really impressive visuals and near-constant stabs at humor.  The latter has much to do with the cast even over the writing as it was the adlibbing of Seth Rogen, Will Arnet and Hugh Laurie that manage to inspire the giggles over the in-your-face gags and comedic setups.

The textures, lighting, and rendering are simply stellar throughout (again even discounting the 3D experience) and hold up still even in this ever-advancing industry.  The pacing is fairly consistent if a bit more plodding than what is considered standard fair in the kid-friendly computer animated feature film game.  In fact, with a runtime of 94-minutes, the sensation that it’s a bit longer than most films of the sort is no mere illusion.

However, the film comes up a little short in the area of providing the sheer cleverness commonly found in the top entries to the CG-game.  It’s got enough humorous moments and visual charm to make the experience rewarding regardless, but the potential for absolute greatness is frequently apparent.

In all Monsters Versus Aliens follows the formula that most of DreamWorks’ heavily hyped (exception Kung-Fu Panda and the Shreks) films in that a bit of structure inconsistency takes away from what could be a true top contender.  It’s good fun, awesome to behold, and offers up some genuine hilarity at times.  At the end of the day, that’s a resume strong enough even for a monster.

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http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Monsters_vs_Aliens-59-1652682-192932-Monstrous_Hype_Meets_Most_Expectations.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Monsters_vs_Aliens-59-1652682-192932-Monstrous_Hype_Meets_Most_Expectations.html Sun, 31 Oct 2010 10:27:30 +0000
<![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by webstyler]]> http://www.lunch.com/The_dreams/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-263-1432541-192906.html http://www.lunch.com/The_dreams/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-263-1432541-192906.html Sat, 30 Oct 2010 21:50:59 +0000 <![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by Butterfly1961]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-171832.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-171832.html Sat, 2 Oct 2010 07:03:40 +0000 <![CDATA[ Graphics great!]]> graphics but  I felt it was still lacking in the story line and the choice of some of the actors they used in my opinion. The lead characters were convincing and moving at some points. An example of this would of been when the tree was burning . You could almost feel the emotions the characters were feeling through the life like graphics and emotions used. It kinda reminded me of the EA games Sims 2 graphics but on a much bigger scale, lol. I felt the ending seemed to rushed and choppy from how intense the movie was up until he road in on the giant beast.. after that it seemed to get stretched out.  It was enjoyable to watch once; but not again for a very long time. I want to see what they have in store for a sequel to this however, hopefully they will put  more thought into it.]]> http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-106367-Graphics_great_.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-106367-Graphics_great_.html Wed, 11 Aug 2010 22:25:41 +0000 <![CDATA[ AWESOME- The word of the wise]]>  

 

 

Cameron has outdone himself making over a ton of money off this miraculous and well-made movie. Cameron was supposed to make this film back in 1996, but due to technological deficits, he didn't make it. I'm glad he didn't because what they made out of this film was just amazing.  The start of Avatar is breathtaking, as James Horner’s tribal music rises over a 3-D planet seen from above, all mist and tree tops. Like George Lucas with the Star Wars universe, Cameron and his designers have imagined all the flora, fauna, creatures and tribal cultures of Pandora, which glows iridescent at night, much like the deep oceans Cameron has explored in his 3D science docs. It’s hard to believe that this world is entirely CG.Cameron is a master at quick efficient storytelling. You know that every detail is thought-out and will pay off down the line. Yes, we see those giant robotic amp suits in action, as well as spears and bow and arrows. Deep in the jungle, unseen Neytiri aims one at avatar Sully, who was chased into the rain forest by a vicious viper wolf, but she pulls back when a glowing white wood sprite alights on her arrow. A sign. “They are the seeds of the sacred tree, very pure spirits,” she tells Sully, and decides to take him to her family. They accept him into their tribe and teach him their ways.

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http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-101074-AWESOME_The_word_of_the_wise.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-101074-AWESOME_The_word_of_the_wise.html Mon, 9 Aug 2010 12:55:35 +0000
<![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by gotmilk]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-86481.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-86481.html Thu, 5 Aug 2010 17:57:45 +0000 <![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by bmcintire4]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-73516.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-73516.html Wed, 28 Jul 2010 16:59:13 +0000 <![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-67682.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-67682.html Sat, 24 Jul 2010 07:05:30 +0000 <![CDATA[ 3D Version is Better]]> http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-67552-3D_Version_is_Better.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-67552-3D_Version_is_Better.html Thu, 22 Jul 2010 22:39:32 +0000 <![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by AustinArtaud]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-67444.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-67444.html Wed, 21 Jul 2010 23:52:34 +0000 <![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by JaseSea]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-67233.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-67233.html Tue, 20 Jul 2010 22:16:10 +0000 <![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by Jennifer1]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-66714.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-66714.html Sat, 17 Jul 2010 02:36:25 +0000 <![CDATA[ Why this movies is worth going to see or rent!]]> I recently got to watch this movie from renting at my local Redbox machine. I mean for 1$ to see a movie you cannot beat that price. Anyway onto my review this movie shows so much to us in terms of loving on another and greed. In this movie basically a hurt soilder is asked to become an Avatar so he can learn how to get in with the natives as they call them.
I think in general you shoul see this movie kids would love it. It shows so many things to you without watching it yourself you would never know. I do not want to give away the whole movie but let me tell you this movie is worth your time to watch!

 

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-66709-Why_this_movies_is_worth_going_to_see_or_rent_.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-66709-Why_this_movies_is_worth_going_to_see_or_rent_.html Sat, 17 Jul 2010 01:43:41 +0000
<![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by GiovanniSodi]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-66354.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-66354.html Thu, 15 Jul 2010 05:52:35 +0000 <![CDATA[ Ok]]> I didn't get the chance to see this one in theaters, but I bought it of DVD. When I first watched it, I thought it was the greatest movie that I had ever seen. Upon later "inspection" I noticed some similarities between Avatar's plot line and another popular movie's plot. Pocahontas is the story of a Native girl who is living a happy and normal life until a soldier comes to take her land away from her, but in the process they fall in love. Avatar follows this same story line. Don't get me wrong, the special effects in Avatar are as epic as they get, but the plot is played out.

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-66320-Ok.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-66320-Ok.html Thu, 15 Jul 2010 04:12:20 +0000
<![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by CDubs7717]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-66014.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-66014.html Tue, 13 Jul 2010 22:43:59 +0000 <![CDATA[ Good Flick! Graphics and story working together to make this an awesome film.]]> What Pompted You to write a Review?
I really enjoyed the movie
 

How was the Plot, Acting, Direction?
The plot was deep, looking at environment and military force. 
 

Were You ENTERTAINED?

Yes!  Completely!

Did It Fulfill Expectations? Hype Level?

Yes!

Did a Movie Trailer Establish a HYPE?

Yes

Is This Movie Mainstream Or Pretty Obscure?

Mainstream

Let Your Senses and Imagination Go Wild!

 

Above all, Establish Your Star Rating 1-5 Or 1-10?

I gave it a 5

Define what the Star rating mean to you...

It is an overall feeling of the movie.  Good or bad

How would you recommend the movie?

Seeing it on a Hi-Def TV and in Blue Ray was incredible. 

Be Free and Run Wild with your review!

 

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-65907-Good_Flick_Graphics_and_story_working_together_to.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-65907-Good_Flick_Graphics_and_story_working_together_to.html Tue, 13 Jul 2010 19:33:59 +0000
<![CDATA[ Avatar has brought the future to our doorstep, and we'll be wondering why the door was ever closed.]]> Titanic set sail 10 years ago, and 2. During that span of 10 years, James Cameron developed the 3D technology required to make this movie and designed to revolutionize movies as we know them. There were many who were skeptical, wondering whether Cameron would keep his promise of changing the way we watch movies. Let me tell you, Avatar lives up to the hype. This movie was as groundbreaking as it can possibly get. Cameron has created a magical world that gets you completely immersed into it, and you will feel like you are really in the movie. "Avatar" is not a movie you watch, its a movie you experience.

The story revolves around a paraplegic ex-Marine named Jake Sully (Sam Worthington). His twin brother dies, and Jake is called upon to be his replacement in the Avatar program on the planet Pandora. This is a program in which surrogate bodies are grown from human DNA mixed with the DNA of the native population, the Na'vi. Humans participating in the program are capable of remotely controlling their Avatar bodies. While some scientists hope to use these Avatars to interact with and learn from the Na'vi, the corporate big shots and military leaders have completely different agendas.

I should probably address the biggest criticism that this movie has been getting. Yes, it's a very cliche plot. If you've seen Pocahontas or Dances with Wolves, then you already know Avatar's story. However, that is not the point of this movie. It's necessarily what is happening in the story that captures your attention and tugs on your heartstrings, but how it's unfolding. This is James Cameron's version of a classic story, and he makes you forget that what you're seeing is something that you've already seen. It feels like a totally new experience, and I think that's an amazing accomplishment.

The thing that will really pull you into this movie is the 3D. This is not the gimmicky and lame 3D that you might have seen in other movies. Every single detail in the environment is 3D, and it sucks you in right from the very first frame. I truly felt like I was standing there on the planet. Describing it in words is almost impossible; you have to see it for yourself.

And speaking of environments, let me just give James Cameron even more praise for how much effort he put into creating Pandora. He puts in the most intrinsic detail into making this planet, rfrom the gargantuan flying creatures to the tiniest bio-luminescent blades of grass. The visual effects in Avatar are guaranteed to take your breath away. Just a heads up: by the time you're done watching this movie, your life is going to seem pretty darn boring in comparison.

For action junkies, this movie provides many tremendous action sequences, especially the battle in the third act. The weaponry and explosives provided by the military in this film make for some epic fight scenes and explosions that are guaranteed to get your blood pumping. However, aside from the action, the movie is still very much a love story. This is a legitimate romance movie. The chemistry between Jake Sully and Neytiri feels very genuine and Cameron does an excellent job of engaging you in their relationship. Chances are, by the end of the movie you'll be truly worrying about what their fate will be.

Did Cameron keep his promise and will movies really change after this? I'll be damned if they didn't. There's not a doubt in my mind that this new format is going to catch on. It's going to be an impatient wait for me, because it could take 2-5 years before we see more movies utilize this technology, but James Cameron succeeded in breaking the boundaries and changes our perception on how we see movies. Going to a movie is no longer going to be sitting in a big room watching a screen. It's going to be a completely engrossing experience where the people in the audience are honest-to-goodness believing that they are going through the story with the characters.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-65717-Avatar_has_brought_the_future_to_our_doorstep_and.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-65717-Avatar_has_brought_the_future_to_our_doorstep_and.html Mon, 12 Jul 2010 22:34:33 +0000
<![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by Magick1]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-63192.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-63192.html Thu, 1 Jul 2010 19:50:49 +0000 <![CDATA[ I KNOW I AM LATE TO REVIEWING THIS BUT...I MUST SAY THE VISUALS BUMP THIS 3 STAR STORY UP TO 4]]> On the upper half of the poster are the faces of a man and a female blue alien with yellow eyes, with a giant planet and a moon in the background and the text at the top: "From the director of Terminator 2 and Titanic". Below is a dragon-like animal flying across a landscape with floating mountains at sunset; helicopter-like aircraft are seen in the distant background. The title "James Cameron's Avatar", film credits and the release date appear at the bottom.

AVATAR

I finally came across this film and finally felt the need to see it [I say finally like it was yesterday, it has been a while since I watched this, of course I watched this when it was released, anyway], I knew it had been overly hyped and had a feeling I would not like it. So when I finally decided to get it I can honestly say that while I did like it is far from the greatest film ever. Of course like any one will tell you visually it is a stunning film, you should have seen this in theaters. Of course on DVD and Blu Ray this film still looks amazing but the theatrical experience is where it was at. Still there are bad and good with this film although I really wanted this to be a 5 star classic. With that said this fails in my opinion to reach that legendary status as a whole, visually thought the film will of course go down in history.

I am sure you all know the story since I am very late to the party in reviewing this, but here it goes any way. The place is Pandora and Pandora is absolutely amazing, it is a very beautiful place with amazing creatures. One of the these so called creatures is the local human like inhabitants the Na'vi, a peaceful people who are one with there environment and planet. But the humans that are "visiting" the planet to study it are planning on running these people off so they can drill, of course they are not happy about that. In comes a paralyzed Marine named Jake Sully who is replacing his now deceased brother in a project that may help lower tensions between the two peoples. He is enlisted into the Avatar project in which he can control the body of a Na'vi like body in order to interact with them. But his military superior Colonel Quaritch and over all boss Parker Selfridge want him to gather Intel for their own purposes.

As the story would go he would meet and come to respect the native people and even fall in love with one of them, ala Pocahontas. And that is what I was thinking throughout this entire movie, not that it was a bad thing. I remember watching this with my bro and both us were thinking where have we seen this before, and then there it was, Pocahontas. Later in the film all we could think of was FernGully if you can believe that, once again not that this is a bad thing. The retelling of every story ever is basically what every movie is these days since original material is getting harder for some filmmakers to come with. I think the only reason that it was such a big deal with this film [people have said this film as stole from every story I can think of] is because it was such a huge film.

Now I may catch some heat for this but this film is not a classic in my opinion, visually yes but as far as everything else I don't think so. Which brings me to the visuals, this film is stunning and is wonderful to look at. From the animation cgi all the way to the vibrant colors all of the place. The land, creatures, and animals all look astonishing and on that level this film is great. James Cameron knows what he wants and did a great job with this film, sure to me the story could have been more original but honestly that is such a small thing because, well, the film was very entertaining. Cameron did a great job with this film but dare I say I liked his ex wife's film "The Hurt Locker" even more. Yes I said it, it is out there, let the hate come.

Now like I said the story is very familiar but lets get past that for a second and just take it for what it is, good. The story is the classic outsider getting in with the group and falling for one of the members. So with that said it is a nice tale of one people learning to respect the others cultures, yes I know it sounds like another very famous movie. With all that aside the performances are what you would expect from a big [huge] budget blockbuster film. All are good in this movie but none to most are not award worthy in my opinion which is normally the case with these type of films. Of course that may be because the visuals of this film were so strong it overshadowed everything else about the film. Sam Worthington is very good here in the lead as Jake Sully as is Giovanni Ribisi, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang [show stealer maybe], Joel Moore and the always great Michelle Rodriguez, all are good, some are voice acting.

Now the themes of the movie are many depending on who is watching the film and their take on it. The most prominent ones I have heard are people's belief in technology over faith and religion, this is the one I think is most likely. Of course there is also the human's destruction of the planet and the environment, I can see that in this film as well. And then there is the thing about this being a metaphor for America invading other countries during the war, this is the least likely in my opinion. What the case and I am sure Cameron has said what the theme truly is but let us once again move on.

Over all this is a very entertaining movie that cost a lot, and made a lot [even more thanks to the 3-D experience]. Is this a fun movie that people should just turn the brain off and enjoy, yes. Is this film a classic, in my opinion no, but I can see how some can make the case for it. The last thing I want to say or ask is this, am I wrong for rooting for the humans to crush the Na'vi and the traders to the human race [sorry Michelle]. My brother an I [who admittedly usually root for the so called "bad guys"] found our selves right in front of every one cheering when the Marines were blowing them away. In any movie of humans vs other I am a member of "team people" like Joe Rogan would say, I wanted the people to win. Well maybe not if the Na'vi represented religion over technology, then I have to go for them. Oh man I am confused, some one help me!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-23962-I_KNOW_I_AM_LATE_TO_REVIEWING_THIS_BUT_I_MUST.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-23962-I_KNOW_I_AM_LATE_TO_REVIEWING_THIS_BUT_I_MUST.html Wed, 23 Jun 2010 10:11:04 +0000
<![CDATA[ A Missed Opportunity...]]> The recent blockbuster, "Avatar" has gained loads of attention with regard to its brilliant blend of fantasy and reality.  Through surreal graphics and a provocative storyline, the film kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.  I was so enthralled that I completely forgot about the clunky, expensive, 3-D glasses donned on my face!  Nevertheless, as much as I enjoyed the screening,  I left feeling disappointed with the ending.

As a professional conflict resolution specialist, I'm always interested in how pop culture (movies, music, etc.) deals with conflict.  In the case of Avatar, I felt that the apparent wisdom and interconnectedness of the indigenous population was undermined by the ending.  Instead of depicting the triumph of the victors through an approach worthy of their apparent level of collective enlightenment, such as nonviolent resistance or diplomacy, the writers resorted to the cliche of victory through overwhelming force.  What a lost opportunity!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-22957-A_Missed_Opportunity_.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-22957-A_Missed_Opportunity_.html Sat, 5 Jun 2010 16:46:25 +0000
<![CDATA[ I Really Enjoyed This]]>
The story focuses around Susan Murphy (Witherspoon) who's hit by a meteorite and is mutated and grows to about 50 feet tall. As a result she is captured and kept in a secret government facility with other monsters; B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), Dr. Cockroach Phd (Hugh Laurie) the missing link (Will Amett) and a giant grub known as insectasaurus. These are kept under lock and key by General W.R. Monger (get it?, voiced by Keifer Sutherland). Meanwhile, in space, an alien known as Galaxar (Rainn Wilson), wants the energy that made Susan a giant and to do it, he's going to send his giant, indestructible robots to do his dirty work.

It really was enjoyable with the typically stupid but brilliant humour that many have come to expect from films of this kind. The message here is to be comfortable in your own skin and recognise your own potential even if, to some, you might be a "monster" or a "freak" what really matters is what you think of yourself and what you know you're capable of achieving, and it's a message that I really like. Although the typical friendship message is still there, this resonated above the others and I just thoroughly enjoyed this film.

The animation is superb as you would expect and the voicing wonderful, especially for Keifer Sutherland and the fantastic Hugh Laurie. Definitely a family friendly movie that can be enjoyed by everyone.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Monsters_vs_Aliens-59-1652682-203524-I_Really_Enjoyed_This.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Monsters_vs_Aliens-59-1652682-203524-I_Really_Enjoyed_This.html Wed, 26 May 2010 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> http://www.lunch.com/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-150-1432541-56690.html http://www.lunch.com/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-150-1432541-56690.html Tue, 11 May 2010 01:37:58 +0000 <![CDATA[ Epic Brilliance Not Seen Before]]>
The story focuses around Corporal Jake Sully, a crippled ex-marine called in to take part in the Avatar program as a replacement for his twin brother. This program puts him in the body of a Na'vi which are the native sapient humanoids of the Earth-like moon of the planet Polyphemus, Pandora. The human military are on this planet to mine a rare but valuable mineral called unobtanium and it is Jake's and the other members of the Avatar team to try and convince the Na'vi to leave their village to allow the humans to mine for the mineral. However, the Na'vi's relationship with nature is much more than just living side by side, their is a connection that humans cannot understand until they become one of them and Jake finds out the hard way, that his native species aren't the moral beings he thought they were.

One thing I will say first of all is that this certainly a piece of artistic imagination with the creation of a whole new world and new species and have a great detail of information surrounding the creatures, plants and planet of this film. The character distinction between the Na'vi and Humans is something a little too familiar that some, more politically minded people, may find a tad uncomfortable as it's a blatant and tough reflection of the imperialists invading the native countries of a so-called savage race. Consider the British invasion and colonisation of America and the pillaging of the land of the native Americans, or even the British Empire as a whole and its war with the native African Zulu tribes. Up until even the 1930s we were still calling the native African tribes savages and using this rhetoric as a way of taking their land in the name of democracy and freedom. Perhaps I'm looking too much into it, but I found this to be a stark finger pointing at those who hold such opinions and may even be applied to the current "war" in Afghanistan and Iraq as many would question the real motives of being in these countries.

The acting is splendid to say the least. Sam Rockwell does brilliantly as the main protagonist of the film in both his human and Na'vi form. Sigourney Weaver also plays an excellent hard ass scientist role and makes the film that little bit more entertaining. The Na'vi characters such as Zoe Saldana as Neytiri are brilliantly done and were created through a motion capture technique which is why the movement and behaviour of these creatures comes across so well on screen. By far though, the best character in this movie is the main antagonist Colonel Miles Quaritch played by Stephen Lang. He's the stereotypical army man; loyal to his code and his country and has total disregard for all those who associate themselves with the "enemy". He's cruel and sadistic and by far the most entertaining of all the cast.

The planet is beautiful and the characters complex and interesting. However, I only wish that the story was the same as it felt so shallow and typical, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. Watch it, you'll love it.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-21788-Epic_Brilliance_Not_Seen_Before.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-21788-Epic_Brilliance_Not_Seen_Before.html Mon, 10 May 2010 14:59:32 +0000
<![CDATA[ I really enjoyed this.]]>
The story focuses around Susan Murphy (Witherspoon) who's hit by a meteorite and is mutated and grows to about 50 feet tall. As a result she is captured and kept in a secret government facility with other monsters; B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), Dr. Cockroach Phd (Hugh Laurie) the missing link (Will Amett) and a giant grub known as insectasaurus. These are kept under lock and key by General W.R. Monger (get it?, voiced by Keifer Sutherland). Meanwhile, in space, an alien known as Galaxar (Rainn Wilson), wants the energy that made Susan a giant and to do it, he's going to send his giant, indestructible robots to do his dirty work.

It really was enjoyable with the typically stupid but brilliant humour that many have come to expect from films of this kind. The message here is to be comfortable in your own skin and recognise your own potential even if, to some, you might be a "monster" or a "freak" what really matters is what you think of yourself and what you know you're capable of achieving, and it's a message that I really like. Although the typical friendship message is still there, this resonated above the others and I just thoroughly enjoyed this film.

The animation is superb as you would expect and the voicing wonderful, especially for Keifer Sutherland and the fantastic Hugh Laurie. Definitely a family friendly movie that can be enjoyed by everyone.

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Monsters_vs_Aliens-59-1652682-21717-I_really_enjoyed_this_.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Monsters_vs_Aliens-59-1652682-21717-I_really_enjoyed_this_.html Fri, 7 May 2010 20:54:06 +0000
<![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by Lopez15]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-56535.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-56535.html Tue, 4 May 2010 01:09:08 +0000 <![CDATA[ A Visual Masterpiece Laced With Classic Storytelling Themes]]> Let me come clean right up front here, so opposed to the hype surrounding Avatar was I that I literally refused to stand in line with the drones that flocked to the theatres a few months back.  Friends of mine went down one by one, succumbing to the propaganda, the rave reviews, the hoopla but alas I was steadfast in my resolve.  Hype, or so I’ve concluded throughout the years, is a film destroyer.  It has the capacity for raising expectations beyond what’s achievable and, after all, unmet expectations is simply another way of saying disappointment.  With the exultation surrounding 2009’s Avatar, I feared there was only one place for it go in my appraisal and you can be sure my having held out for so long before finally giving the film a chance was an abstention laced with ambition of discrediting those critics before me who were haplessly tripping over themselves with admiration.

After all, I reasoned, computer generated imagery is essentially the bane to modern visual storytelling and you would be hard pressed to find a movie more dependent upon it than this one.  I am the stick-in-the-mud who will always take the original Star Wars trilogy over the more recent one, Star Trek II The Wrath of Kahn over the 2009 retooling, 1981’s Clash of the Titans over the CG-heavy remake and Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings over… oh wait, so there is one example of technology-laced filmmaking that has managed to rival my definition of “classic” visual storytelling.

It turns out my plans of disputing Avatar’s unrivaled ambitions were very short lived indeed and I shouldn’t be all that surprised either.  This is James Cameron after all, the man who brought the world The Terminator, Aliens and Titanic.  It seems like about once a decade, Cameron becomes inspired enough to remind everyone in Hollywood how it’s done.  Perhaps his greatest ability, aside from having an uncanny knack for telling stories that capture the very highest highs and lowest lows of the human condition, is his knack of suppressing the temptation to simply harness the latest techniques in filmmaking, but rather to surpass them even if it means reinventing the very process itself.  But before I get ahead of myself here, let’s take a moment to review the hard facts.

Tracing its development roots as far back as 1994, when Cameron wrote an 80-page treatment for the film, Avatar is set in the year 2154, when humans are mining an abundant mineral called unobtanium on Pandora, a lush natural satellite of a gas giant (Polyphemus) in the Alpha Centauri star system.

Though officially budgeted at $237 million, estimates put the actual cost of the project closer to a little over $300 million in production alone, with some additional $150 million for promotion. It premiered in London on December 10, 2009, and was released theatrically overseas on December 16 and in North America on December 18 where it immediately began breaking several box office records.  It went on to become highest-grossing film of all time in North America and worldwide, stealing the title away from Cameron’s own Titanic, which had held the records for the 12-years prior.

Avatar was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, of which it captured three: Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, and Best Art Direction.

According to Cameron himself, the film is composed of 60% computer-generated elements coupled to 40% live action, and makes use of traditional motion capture miniatures (models) as well.  Work on the film had been delayed since the mid-1990s if effort to allow filmmaking techniques to reach the necessary degree of advancement to adequately portray the project’s unique vision. Since photorealistic computer-generated character models were an absolute necessity, Cameron integrated new motion-capture animation technologies he had been developing in the 14 months leading up to December 2006.  Among these was an improved method of capturing facial expressions, whereby the actors wore custom made skull caps fitted with a camera positioned directly in front of the actors' faces at all times; their facial expressions and eye movements were then transmitted to directly to the computers for animation layering.

Additionally numerous reference cameras were implemented to provide the digital artists multiple angles of each and every performance so as to provide unprecedented shadow effects and reflected light between digital elements.

So even in taking into account all of the inconceivable digital techniques required to make the film possible at all, a budget that could make Bill Gates sweat, a roster of production talent with credits predating the use of panoramic lenses, and some of Hollywood’s brightest up and comers and most revered veteran actors alike, what is the Avatar experience like?  It’s surprisingly impressive and I’m not referring to the superfluous visuals alone either.  Michael Bay has certainly proven to the world that eye candy alone does not a good film make.

Avatar opens with Sam Worthington’s character, Jake Sully’s narration; an appropriately drab tone that hints to the conflict within him that will later become the core of this grand tale.  There are undeniable homage cues that fans of Cameron’s Aliens will certainly recognize in the early sequences especially; long distance space travel with cryogenic suspension, a rigid and heartless military, a greedy corporation behind the financing of the operation and so on.  In fact, now that I think on it, there are even mechanized loaders present and Sigourney Weaver to boot!  All that’s inexplicably missing is Bill Paxton.

Believe it or not, a strong argument could be made that Avatar is in fact simply the inverse of Aliens- In that both tales work from the idea of human beings forcefully annihilating an alien race on their own turf.  Aliens does so with the human’s best interest in the foreground, Avatar tells the same story, only this time from the point of view of the victims.

The undertaking by which Cameron manages to switch the viewer’s loyalty from his fellow humans to the indigenous inhabitants of the alien world Pandora is nothing shy of genius.  Much of the film’s 162-minute runtime establishes momentum to accomplish this feat.  Rather than “force feed” the good guys and the bad guys here, Cameron approaches the tale by presenting the opposing points of view pretty evenly and simply steps back to allow the viewer to decide who is right in the debate.  In the end, and certainly a forgivable trait, the conflict becomes a bit more black & white. The hope of course is that by then the viewer will have chosen sides with the same conviction that drives Jake Sully. 

It would be impossible to skate through this critique without mentioning the highly publicized visuals.  And while I am doing all I can to avoid heaping praise on an already mountainous pile, the truth is that the visuals deserve a lot of the credit for taking what boils down to a typical tale of imperialism, oppression, and suspension of rights (that in many spots plays out eerily similar like events from our own history books) and turns it into an ethereal experience that isn’t soon forgotten.  For not only was the production crew charged with the arduous task of showing in intricate detail an entirely fictional world, they had to create an entire race of inhabitants that though more animalistic than human beings, were every bit as human as we ourselves (and perhaps more so at times).

Failing to inspire viewer sympathy for these primal Pandorans could very well have been the kiss of death for the entire picture but such concerns are futile as Cameron and company nail the objective a hundred times over by the film’s conclusion.  Chalk it up to a combination of solid casting and lessons learned from classic animated films from the likes of Disney, the digital animation process here uses oversized eyes and near-caricature-like overly exaggerated features of the character models to ensure the complete and utter inescapability of the viewer’s emotional surrender.

Further tying the prose together is the patented James Cameron love story; a bittersweet poignant whimsy that somehow manages to break down the emotional walls of even the most impassive (and skeptical) of viewers.  And with that comes an indescribable feeling of tension throughout the entire experience in simply knowing that Cameron is no stranger to concluding his works with the death of characters you come to know and love in the name of timeless artistic tragedy.  Throughout the film I found myself struggling to maintain a level of emotional detachment out of sheer remembrance of Kyle Reese, young Newt, and a very popsicle-like Jack Dawson.

The scoring is, as is perhaps expected from a film of such high-class production value, top notch as well.  James Horner’s soaring composures take the visuals to new heights (sometimes almost literally) while introducing a sort of tribal rhythmic tone to the formula that is ineffably appropriate.  While it presents no danger of dethroning John William’s Star Wars theme as the most whistle-able tune of all time, there is little debate to the fact that Avatar’s soundtrack will likely adorn the CD-players of countless folks who, until now, wouldn’t have considered themselves the movie soundtrack type.

So in all, would I be so brash as to suggest Avatar as a film that would appeal to nearly everyone? Surprisingly, perhaps.  A self admitted science fiction aficionado, I came in with high expectations of Avatar’s highly publicized alleged revolution of the genre.  While it wouldn’t be considered hard science precisely, there is just enough space travel and mecha usage to keep my brood satisfied.  Action junkies will surely find much to love here in this firefight-heavy roller coaster ride and even the emotional-set will likely clamber to the Na'vi ’s portrayal in earnest (box of tissues at the ready). 

In fact I could go as far as to say it’s rare indeed for a film to come along with such universal appeal but then again to do so would be to discount Cameron’s rich and extensive catalog of titles up until this one.  The man who made the world fear Schwarzenegger, admire Sigourney and cry for that kid from Growing Pains has somehow managed to raise the bar again, this time with twelve-foot tall blue skinned aliens and a story that offers irrefutable testament to the fact that no matter how jaded the world around us becomes, the human heart was, is, and will forever be one driven by love.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-21401-A_Visual_Masterpiece_Laced_With_Classic.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-21401-A_Visual_Masterpiece_Laced_With_Classic.html Wed, 28 Apr 2010 03:20:16 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Nintendo 3DS is Ready For Pre-Order, here are more details on the Nintendo 3DS system]]> Amazon.com for $249 US dollars. Since Nintendo's press release last year, more details of this portable 3D game system has been released.  I want to give a quick over-view of what you can expect of the new 3DS system.

I think that the most exciting thing about this portable 3D gaming system is the fact that it will display 3D graphics, photo, and videos in 3D without the need of any special equipment (like for example 3D glasses). You will be able to see the 3D effects with your naked eyes.  If this system can do this well, it could revolutionize the 3D market and open doors for many future 3D products and technologies. For example, Nintendo is talking about releasing 3D hollywood movies on the device ....which will naturally be viewable in 3D. 

But displaying things in 3D is only half the trick.... the Nintendo 3DS will also allow you to take 3D photos using it's integrated 2-Camera system. I would think that it should also let you take 3D videos, but I'm not sure if they will include this feature right off the bat.  The system actually has 3 cameras.  2 of which are used to capture 3D images while the 3rd faces the user and is located above the top LCD screen. The cameras resolutions are all .3MP or 640X480 pixels.

The design of the 3DS is very similar to the Nintendo DS and DSi systems that precede it.  Also, it will be (backwards) compatible with the older Nintendo DS/DSi games.   It has two screens.... one is the 3D screen while the other is 2D touchscreen.  The 3D screen has a resolution of 800x240 pixels but will effectively display 400x240 resolution 3D images. 

The 3DS will also support (2.4Ghz 802.11) Wi-fi connectivity, have an internal accelerometer/gyroscope (which detects tilt) and a slider that lets you control the 'intensity' of the 3D effect to your liking.  There's also an option to turn the 3D effects off.   The brains of the system is a custom designed graphics processor called the PICA200.  No details of the design or speed of this chip has been release yet.

The Nintendo 3DS is currently available (for pre-order)  in 'cosmo black' and 'aqua blue'. 

It is difficult to say whether the 3DS will be a big success or a big flop (I'm not even going to mention Nintendo's first 3D gaming system attempt :) at this point.  But as a 3D fan, I'm really hoping that it will be a huge success.  Playing true 3D stereoscopic games has always been a hope and dream of mine.  I'm hoping that Nintendo did it's homework this time around and designed an amazing portable 3D gaming system.   Only time will tell, but I'm betting on Nintendo to deliver... and I really respect them for taking the huge risk/challenge head-on.  Here's to more devices which feature 3D screens without the need of 3D glasses! 

Cheers! :)]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/video_game_console/UserReview-Nintendo_3DS-59-1444293-21006-The_Nintendo_3DS_is_Ready_For_Pre_Order_here_are.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/video_game_console/UserReview-Nintendo_3DS-59-1444293-21006-The_Nintendo_3DS_is_Ready_For_Pre_Order_here_are.html Fri, 16 Apr 2010 06:13:08 +0000
<![CDATA[ A Camera that Shoots & Displays 3D Photos and Video? Yeah, you heard that right!]]>
Anyways, back to the camera.  The camera isn't some prototype that will never be manufactured, it's actually already out on the market and has been available since last year.  Here are some of it's specifications (for all those Geeks out there... yeah, you know who you are)

Model name:  FinePix REAL 3D W1
MegaPixels:    10 MP
Optical Zoom: 3X
Storage:  SD and SDHC cards plus internal memory (42mb)
Price:  $550 to $600

Wanna know more? Check out FujiFilms site at: http://www.fujifilm.com/products/3d/camera/f...dw1/features/index.html

Conclusion:
Although I commend Fujifilm for their pioneering technology and actually putting a camera like this on the market, I've heard that the reviews for this camera aren't so fantastic. As with any new technology, there are bugs and details to iron out.  Also, the high retail price doesn't quite make this camera a viable option for most households.  However, I feel that this camera marks a very important milestone in technology and will pave the way for similar (but superior) cameras that will ulitmately rule the future of 3D Photography.  This camera gives us a great glimpse into the near future of Photography... but at the same time, I don't think 2D Photography will dissappear.  The sames goes for 2D TV.  Not everyone will embrace 3D tech, but I think it's safe to say that if the technology is done right that a majority of people would love to shot 3D Photos and Video.  Imagine seeing photos & videos of  your wedding in 3D? ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/d/UserReview-FinePix_Real_3D_W1-59-1444291-21005-A_Camera_that_Shoots_Displays_3D_Photos_and.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/d/UserReview-FinePix_Real_3D_W1-59-1444291-21005-A_Camera_that_Shoots_Displays_3D_Photos_and.html Fri, 16 Apr 2010 05:56:24 +0000
<![CDATA[ Excellent FUN For the Whole Family...NO 'CUTESY' Joke!]]>
Sure, most of us ‘animation fans’ associate CGI animation with animation giant Pixar. But don’t forget, Dreamworks animation also had some success with “Shrek” so Pixar isn’t exactly the lone success in CGI animation. “Monsters Vs. Aliens” is an animated comedy with enough tools to keep the young and old entertained. It has enough comedic gags and sci-fi tributes to entertain the mature audience with cool colorful, fluid animation and action to entertain kids of all ages.
 
Susan (voiced by Reese Witherspoon) is hit by a meteor on her wedding day. As a result Susan grows to 50 feet tall, her hair becomes silver and gains super strength. Seen as a menace, the government actually has a secret organization led by General Warren R. Monger (Keifer Sutherland) that keeps “monsters” of this kind under lock and key. In this secret installation, Susan is dubbed Ginormica and befriends a fish man called the missing link (Will Arnet), Bob (Seth Rogan), mad scientist Doc Cockroach (Hugh Laurie) and huge bug Insectoaurus (Conrad Vernon). Susan however still wishes to reunite with her fiancé Derek (Paul Rudd). One day, the quintet is sent into battle against an alien force set to invade the earth led by Galaxhar (Rainn Wilson) and the odd group finds that their powers are limited only by a lack of self-confidence.

         A scene from "Monsters vs. Aliens."

                           Reese Witherspoon as Ginormica and Rainn Wilson as Gallaxhar in "Monsters vs. Aliens."
 
The direction and script by Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon is quite brisk and easy to get into. The film isn’t trying to overreach with its premise and keeps things simple while giving tribute to certain sci-fi classics such as “The Fly”, “The Blob”, “Creature”, “Attack of the 50 ft. Woman” and “Mothra”; even “Close Encounters of the Third Kind“. The film exudes this cheerful and fun aura as it presents situations that utilize the scenes in a quirky but clever atmosphere as we see certain sci-fi and war situations that please fans of sci-fi movies. The film is also very colorful and full of slapstick comedy that spark the action scenes. The film’s formula is very simple, keep the movie at a brisk pace while avoiding the expected traditional dramatic trappings that plagued animated movies for years. 

  Susan (Reese Witherspoon), toothy Insectosaurus, Dr. Cockroach, Missing Link and B.O.B. from "Monsters vs. Aliens." 

The film is still a buddy flick at its core but what made “Monsters vs. Aliens” an attention-getter for me is the way that it rounded its characters with dimensions that give it its emotions. The movie is definitely trying to keep the sensibilities of a cartoon, while keeping some shots simple. The animation is very smooth and fluid as it complements each scene and sometimes exaggerate to enhance the angles of the story. I guess what I liked about the film is the fact that it tried to pitch an adult theme as to what makes a monster; these guys are often just misunderstood and sometimes looks don’t make a monster but the way one acts do make one a monster. Maybe not horrible in appearance, but still a monster.
 
The cast is quite pleasing (though I thought the villain wasn’t exactly the best) and you can just feel that they are having a ball voice-acting the film’s characters. Witherspoon took center stage as to be expected and I liked the way that she managed to express her character and is a great persona of empowerment. I thought Seth Rogan was the film’s best source of humor as the one who has no ‘brains’ but is smart in a different way. The five leads just manages to take over the film by livening the script with witless behavior and innocent heroism. I would like to mention the quirky President Hathaway (played Stephen Colbert) who appears to be based on the Stephen Colbert persona in “the Colbert Report”. 

               Seth Rogen as B.O.B., Will Arnett as The Missing Link and Hugh Laurie as Dr. Cockroach, Ph.d. in "Monsters Vs. Aliens."
 
 I guess if “Monsters Vs. Aliens” had a flaw it would be that it tried a little too hard to be “cutesy” that it almost made me puke (kidding) and its simplicity may well be its strength but it also proves to be its weakness. The film did divert from its tone on some scenes and it almost fell to the trappings of animated movies. But once it gets solid ground, “Monsters Vs. Aliens” is one REAL enjoyable ride that manages to pull off a silly adventure that is simple yet embraced in raw clever and energetic style that just made me smile as much as an animated film ever could.
 
Highly Recommended! [4+ Out of 5 Stars]

This Review is a Lunch.com Exclusive

 
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Monsters_vs_Aliens-59-1652682-19926-Excellent_FUN_For_the_Whole_Family_NO_CUTESY_.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Monsters_vs_Aliens-59-1652682-19926-Excellent_FUN_For_the_Whole_Family_NO_CUTESY_.html Wed, 17 Mar 2010 05:34:32 +0000
<![CDATA[ I See You, Avatar]]>
I was waiting to write this review for a while because I had only seen it in 3D. I was utterly amazed because it was the first 3D movie I had ever seen. I wanted to go straight home and write a review giving it a +5 rating. Upon talking with others who had seen the movie and reading various criticisms and analyzes of the film, I began to doubt my initial reaction. Was I letting the CGI effects and the 3D elements hype the movie to a level it didn't deserve? So, I was determined to watch it again but this time in plain 2D. Even without all the "razzle dazzle" provided by the 3D glasses, I was truly enamored not only by the CGI effects, which are creatively and tastefully made, but more importantly by the characters, story, plot, and music. I did notice aspects of the film that annoyed me, hence dropping my rating by one point, but overall I stuck to my initial reaction--the film deserves the hype.

First, the setting of the movie is utterly stupendous. The creation of the world Pandora in outer space gave me hope that real life does exist in other galaxies and planets. Wouldn't it be marvelous to travel to someplace originally so innocent and untouched by humanity's technical machines? I also appreciated that their world wasn't so different from Earth's before humans "civilized" the wild. For example, there are flying creatures called Ikrans (or the mythic phoenix like Toruk) that reminded me of pterodactyls from our prehistoric age, Pa'li, similar to our horses, and thanators, which reminded me of rottweilers. At one point Jake Sully (played by Sam Worthington) prays to Eywa, the Na'vi's god, to search one of the character's memories in order to understand that his former people, the humans, do not live in a green world like this anymore. It's all metal. Moments like this made it easy to not only be amazed by this beautiful world but able to relate to the struggle of its peoples.

Another aspect about the fictional world Cameron created which caught my attention, and probably every viewers' notice, is the specific and unique ecology to Pandora. Their world is all about the connections (physical, spiritual, emotional, mental); everything survives through these connections regardless of whether it's plant, animal, or humanoid. Pandora is not just the setting of Avatar--it's a religious philosophy. It's the ideal lifestyle. Pandora teaches the viewer to coexist harmoniously with nature and different peoples rather than trying to dominate and exploit them.

Next, all the characters whether heroes, villains, or supporting were very compelling and well played. Sam Worthington, our protagonist, is an ex-military paraplegic. It's not common to see a physically disabled individual as a hero, especially if she or he were formerly military. Thus, his character immediately caught my attention. I wanted him to find new meaning to his life and to show both the military and science personnel that he wasn't useless. With my second viewing of the movie, I noticed more scenes about his legs, such as the thrill when he first enters the avatar and his disappointments when he returns to his useless shell of a body. It was difficult to understand how he feels because I've never been in a situation where I couldn't use my legs. However, these life experiences and weaknesses allow him to add much to the Avatar project. The female hero Neytiri, played by Zoe Saldana, is truly his equal, and she has to be. The movie wouldn't have been as good without her and not because we would have lost the romance. The Na'vi peoples need their own heroes. As a viewer, I do not want to see an outsider come in and tell the people how to save themselves. I want their own warriors to have equal control of the situations through their ideas and feelings. There are countless points where Neytiri refuses to take Jake's shit and leaves him during key points of the film. She has her own mind and could be ruthless when it was necessary to protect herself and her peoples. In fact, there were countless moments when I felt like this was a Beauty and the Beast parody where our Beauty, Neytiri, teaches our Beast, Jake Sully, how not to be such a monster (or in his case a moron).

The villain Colonel Quaritch was played by Stephen Lang. He truly was a diabolical bastard that I couldn't help but hate. There is no shred of redemption to his character. He represented all that can be wrong about the military, especially when taken to its extreme. And remember, not all marines are like Colonel Quaritch, as Jake Sully explains in the very beginning of the film. Outside of Earth, the marines and other military are hired as mercenaries for global/universal corporations. Cameron remembers this and juxtaposes the angry and cold-hearted villain with an interesting female military pilot named Trudy Chacon played by Michelle Rodriguez. First, I appreciated a female perspective in the military. Secondly, even though she had qualms about the mission on Pandora, she was as tough as the colonel. She was just as ruthless and kills to protect the good and innocence that is inherent in Pandora and its people. Both Colonel Quaritch and Trudy Chacon complement and contrast not only each other but the military force hired by Administrator Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi) and the RDA corporation. Out of the easily identified villains, Parker is the only one that initially hesitates about the course of actions on the planet, which makes sense since he is leading the project and could lose millions. However, there isn't much depth to his character nor were his qualms about what takes place ever fully explored or developed.

A nice and refreshing focus of the movie are the scientific personnel who are researching the Na'vi and heading the Avatar project. These people are funded under the RDA corporation (for whatever reasons) and are the moral consciousness of the film. The most intriguing character was Dr. Grace Augustine played by Sigourney Weaver. She was as important a role in Jake's transformation as Neytiri (both who acted as teachers--one to nature and culture and the other to science). Again, she isn't your traditional doctor. She gets in peoples faces, especially Colonel Quaritch and Parker Selfridge when they both mess up her research and are making the wrong moral choices. She is all about learning and understanding the Na'vi. It was especially interesting to see a scientific professional that believes in a higher power or god, in this case Eywa. Too often scientists are pigeonholed in the media as being atheists who are trying to disprove the existence of God. Norm Spellman (played by Joel Moore) was another attribute to the film because of the passion he adds to his profession and, thus, to the film. Even though he is trained to be a purely research scientist, he is willing to physically fight for what he believes in.

The final characters I want to comment on are some of the Na'vi supporting characters. First, there are Neytiri's parents: Eytukan (Wes Studi) and Mo'at (C. C. H. Pounder). Eytukan is the leader of the Omaticaya tribe and his life mate is their spiritual leader. Though they are supporting roles, they deliver scenes full of emotion and passion. C. C. H. Pounder was especially compelling for her believable performances that had tears welling up in my eyes throughout the movie. She is an extremely important supporting female character because she is on the other end of the spectrum for strong female roles. She is not a warrior, but she is strong of heart, belief, and conviction. She is the softer, more feminine side of the females in the movie, and yet she is still a wise leader of her tribe. She shows that there are all types of ways to fight a war, and just like Dr. Augustine, she uses understanding and compassion to win her battles. A final key player is Tsu'tey, played by Laz Alonso, who is Jake's biggest rival both for the affections of Neytiri and being respected as one of the Omaticaya tribe. Tsu'tey and Jake are great characters to juxtapose next to each other because they are essentially one and the same--strong hearted warriors. They were just raised differently. It's interesting to watch their relationship develop even though its not taken to as deep or fully a level as it could have been. 

This finally brings us to the story and plot, which many people have said is flawed. To some degree, I agree with their sentiments. This is not an original story. Even though I have never seen Dances with Wolves, I have seen countless other films and read books that remind me of this very story, such as The Last Samurai, Dragonriders of Pern (book), Ferngully, and Princess Mononoke (to name a few). To be completely honest, I think it's extremely difficult if not near impossible to come up with truly unique ideas that haven't been created or expressed in some form. Humans have been around for too many creating things and ideas that entire time. Instead, what makes stories and films stand out to me these days are the styles, approaches, and ways themes are represented in a new manner. What makes Avatar so strong is the fact that Cameron took all these aspects into consideration when making his film. Hell, he started to develop his story in 1994 and even created an unique language for the film starting in 2005. The last time I can recall something being done on such a large scale was Gene Roddenberry's vision of Star Trek and the Klingon language. Cameron was trying to achieve a different approach to an age old story of imperialism, and he does that with slight changes, including the already mentioned lead physically disabled star of the movie. The approach and style of the film was easily made different with the CGI affects, which were not used in Princess Mononoke or Dances with Wolves.

Regarding the themes of the movies, there are an immense number to choose from (some more compelling or interesting than others):

  • Love and hope can conquer all adversity, especially when working with your family and friends.
  • Love blinds us to our differences.
  • Love and understanding changes our natures and personalities to be something better (curing the madness).
  • We are all interconnected with each other (plants and animals included) to the world and universe at large.
  • Humans have a propensity to fear the unknown.
  • Multi-million dollar corporations, such as RDA, will stop at nothing to earn more money and power.
  • Greed and superiority over those we consider inferior is inherent in our natures.
  • Corporations still colonize other worlds and peoples to rape and pillage their natural resources (especially when their own source has been depleted).
  • When we open our minds to other cultures, we can learn to coexist.
  • We have a choice to dissent against evil even when it's in charge.
  • "When one life ends, another begins."
  • Scientists can be as kick-ass as the military.
  • Nerds are our future!
  • If we don't stop the destruction of nature, there won't be any innocent beauty left.

These are only a few of the themes and motifs mentioned in the film. Of course there are comparisons to be made to the decimation of the indigenous peoples of America when European settlers took over their lands. These same comparisons can be made to the war in Iraq and the treatment of their peoples as well. In the end, it's an age old message that I cannot get enough of simply because it's a mistake humans repeat throughout history. We have not learned our lessons. We still fear those who are different instead of celebrating those differences. It's sad, but this type of genocidal brutality occurs all around our world. If we ever get tired of hearing this message, or in this case seeing it transported to the big screen, then I fear there is no hope for our world. We need to approach life and peoples with compassion and understanding--emotions highlighted in the film.

To balance all the "thinking moments" of the film, Cameron includes tons of fast-paced action and fighting scenes, especially in the battles between the Na'vi and the military. These shots are essential parts of the film not just because it keeps us from feeling preached to but because they are the true visualizations of the horrors of war. It allows us to connect not only with the science fiction/fantasy element of the film but our own bloody histories of appropriation and slavery.

The camera angles in this film were extremely important. I agree with other reviewers who claim that it was easy to forget some of the CGI effects (most noticeable with the Na'vi peoples themselves). When there were close ups of Neytiri, I could see the actress behind the blue, cat-like exterior. In fact, I felt that way with a lot of the characters. These affects were achieved through the specially designed cameras that allowed facial expressions of the actors and actresses to be captured digitally. Then, the animators used these clips when creating the CGI scenes. The similarities are uncanny! Many of the nature shots were featured with close-range and long-distance cameras. The expanded shots of the planet, such as the floating islands (also known as Hallelujah Mountains), were amazing! In fact, these mountains were inspired by the real Chinese Huang Shan mountain ranges. The long range shots were the most important for the 3D affects--it allowed the world to come to life and jump off the screen.

As far as some of the names are concerned, such as Pandora and Avatar, there are indeed many significances to them, but not in an extremely apparent sense. First off, Pandora is not the woman we recall from Greek mythology. She is not the "downfall" of humanity unleashing everything that is evil in life, such as greed, avarice, lust, and anger (to name a few emotions that escaped her jar). In Cameron's retelling of the myth, Pandora is Neytiri--and she is fighting to keep all these bad things away from her people and her world. She is a warrior goddess that uses her strength both in heart and mind to keep the lid on the ever troublesome jar. Personally, I enjoyed this new interpretation because it embraces modern day feminist theory. Similarly, the word Avatar has a meaning that people who don't understand the Hindu religion wouldn't know. According to Wikipedia, "in Hinduism, Avatar refers to a deliberate descent of a Deity from heaven to earth, and is mostly translated into English as 'incarnation,' but more accurately as 'appearance' or 'manifestation.' This realization changes my perception of Jake Sully and the reasons behind Eywa's marking him as someone special--he is a manifestation of their deity. He is sent there for a specific purpose--to help save the people, especially if you consider Jake Sully's role as being one of Vishnu's avatars, who often come back to the world to bring dharma (righteousness, social, and comic order) back to the world. An often quoted passage that represents the purpose behind an avatar is as follows:

Whenever righteousness wanes and unrighteousness increases I send myself forth.
In order to protect the good and punish the wicked,
In order to make a firm foundation for righteousness,
I come into being age after age. (The Bhagavad Gita, 4.7-8)
 

There are references in the film that supports this belief of an Avatar coming into being age after age to protect Eywa's people, most noticeable explained by Neytiri when she is telling the story about her great great grandfather and a previous Toruk that he rides.

The last major element to the film was the music. James Horner did a fantastic job, which was to be expected considering his past successes with such films as Braveheart, Apollo 13, Glory, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and A Beautiful Mind. My favorite musical moments were when the Na'vi are intertwined in front of the Sacred Tree of Souls. The chanting reminded me of the live production of The Lion King. There were some especially heart-wrenching musical scenes during the battles and subsequent deaths. I was tearing up both because of the horrors that were happening and the music that fit the tensions of the moment. The only song that felt out of place was Leona Lewis' "I See You," which was written by James Horner and Simon Franglen. Luckily, it was placed at the most appropriate part of the film--the end credits. Having such strong and obvious lyrics during the actual film would have soured my experience on Pandora. It had to be pure instrumental music! There was already too much going on to include lyrics.

This finally brings me to the negative aspects of the film and the reason I rated it a 4 rather than a 5. First off, Jake Sully's internal monologues were overdone as the movie progressed. At the beginning, he has a lot of important things to say, especially when setting up the back story. One of the most memorable quotes he says early on is: "When one life ends, another begins," which is brought full-circle by the end of the film. However, his monologues quickly began to interrupt the action and flow of the film. They didn't add important details, such as the part when he asks "What are you doing" in regards to his relationship with Neytiri. It was obvious by his expression that he wasn't sure what he was doing. It was not necessary to spoon-feed the audience his thoughts. If Cameron had cut out 70% of the unnecessary monologues, I'm sure he could have shortened the film by at least 15 minutes if not more.

I was also disappointed with certain things that happened at the end of the movie that ruined the character flaws and developments of some of my favorites. I am unable to expand on these details further, though, because it will spoil  the movie for those who have not viewed it.

However, this is not the main reason I was a bit disappointed with the film. In fact when I first learned about its production, it became extremely important and compelling for me simply because of the content matter. I study postcolonial theory in my literature classes, and I saw much of what I've learned expressed visually in this movie. Unfortunately, I saw a lot that I disapproved of. I get sick and tired of seeing a white man come into an indigenous population in order to save them from his own Anglo society. Why can't the indigenous peoples win their battles and wars with their peoples? Why do they need a white man to take charge? In fact, there are many heroes that have fought the colonization of their peoples--think of Cochise, Crazy Horse, and Geronimo, to name a few from Native American history. Often, it feels as if white people appropriate another culture's history in order to redeem themselves for past wrongs, the "white man's guilt." Yes, the Anglo society has done shitty things to numerous groups of minority peoples, and they often try to excuse many of those actions as things of the past or create reasons for them, such as war mentality. You can't wash away your guilt with a simple "I'm sorry" or by giving the people you decimated a little bit of reservation land. Instead, scenarios are created in which the white man is not the villain but instead becomes the savior, as is the case in Avatar. These fictional situations do not wash away white man's guilt. Nothing will. Some hurts and pains are timeless. They are something you live with in order to learn to be better. Therein lies the problem--I don't think we as a nation have learned this message because we are still perpetuating the same evils to this day. It's disheartening to see this type of history constantly repeat itself.

Racism, genocide, hatred, exploitation--they all continue to affect and change our world for the worse. Yet, many white people think they have paid for these crimes or, at the very least, should not be held accountable for others' mistakes and prejudices. The excuse is often--I don't participate in that type of behavior. The problem lies in the fact that racism is institutionalized in our very way of life. You participate in it even if you don't realize you are. I studied a woman in one of my cultural studies classes named Beverly Tatum that had an analogy that explained how this type of behavior works: "I sometimes visualize the ongoing cycle of racism as a moving walkway at the airport. Active racist behavior is equivalent to walking fast on the conveyor belt. The person engaged in active racist behavior has identified with the ideology of our White supremacist system and is moving with it. Passive racist behavior is equivalent to standing still on the walkway. No overt effort is being made, but the conveyor belt moves the bystanders along to the same destination as those who are actively walking. But unless they are walking actively in the opposite direction at a speed faster than the conveyor belt - unless they are actively anti-racist - they will find themselves carried along with the others." Basically, Cameron is on this conveyor belt. He created a movie that featured the traditional white male who saves the helpless "savages." Cameron perpetuated the dominant myth of our society: That only a white man with the technological knowledge can win such a war. A more unique and honest adaptation would have been told solely through Neytiri's eyes. She would have been the hero of her tribe. She would have led the Na'vi to freedom from their oppressors. Jake Sully would have been following her lead rather than being the leader.


Upon further reflection, I decided that the movie was not a simple case of appropriation and racism. I didn't feel that the Na'vi were helpless and needed the white people to help fight their battle. In fact, they go against Jake's wishes and fight the "Sky People" despite his and Grace's numerous warnings. Pandora is their home; they refuses to let someone else drive them away no matter the cost to their peoples. There are many heroes and other tribes that join the Omaticaya's battle. In fact, I saw this movie as encouraging groups of indigenous nations to come together to fight a common colonial evil rather than letting the outsiders divide and conquer from within. By having the 15+ tribes come together, they actually stood a chance against the overwhelming "oomph" of white technology. Finally, if you look at the meaning of the word Avatar and the idea that Jake Sully was sent by their own god to save her people, well, you can't argue with god's chosen one...no matter who or what they look like. Still, Neytiri stood out as the true hero of the film because she is the one who finds Eywa's avatar. She is Jake's protector and teacher. Her role in the film and in Jake's development  (as well as the slight twist in the ending) is only comparable with Grace's character.

In the end, this is an amazing and well planned creative piece of film. I recommend it to lovers of science fiction, fantasy, action, adventure, and of course romance. It's appropriate for the age group recommended and maybe even younger depending upon what your child is learning in their history classes (and what video games they play). Regardless of whether you see it in 3D, IMAX, or regular 2D, you will enjoy the film. Personally, I think it's a matter of preference with only slight differences provided by the 3D enhanced scenes. The messages and themes of the movie translate through any screen. Overall, this movie is not only purely entertaining but a historical lesson for the world.

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-19389-I_See_You_Avatar.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-19389-I_See_You_Avatar.html Tue, 9 Mar 2010 00:36:12 +0000
<![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by devora]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-54254.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-54254.html Thu, 4 Mar 2010 04:16:55 +0000 <![CDATA[ Great Ride & Groundbreaking Movie!]]>
My main take-aways:
  • This will be the Star Wars for my young daughter's generation.
  • I wanted to BECOME one of the native Na'vi people.  You just want to fly right into the film and never leave.  This is just what a great entertaining blockbuster movie should do, right?
  • I wasn't bored for one second of this long film, in fact it flew by and I loved every minute of it.
  • There were a few hokey / typical lines, but they were so far outweighed by the immersive visual experience that it was totally inconsequential. 
  • The themes of love and hope resonate and are delightful.  They're also heavily contrasted by the shame of the human race's propensety toward our shameless superiority complex and greed. 

Put plainly, I thought Avatar was everything a movie should be.  It felt like a ride. Just pure entertainment.  I'd heard the plot was predictable, and it was.  But it really didn't matter.  I was reminded of the first time I saw the Matrix.  The experience of your eyes, ears, and mind taking in material that you've never seen before is pretty rare and unique in this life. Particularly for those of us without the luxury to travel the world. So, from that perspective this movie was firing on all cylanders, imo. 

I'm not a huge sci-fi buff or fan for that matter, and I'm sure there are some very consistent themes and visuals from within the genre.  But for me, I found myself with my mouth gaping open TWICE during this film. Thank god those giant 3D glasses prevented anyone from having the peripheral vision to witness my gawking : )

Most compelling moment:
The scene where the entire race of natives are physcially linked together, surrounding the tree of life.  I was left really struck with wonderment at how much of our potential we waste, by not working together in concert.  To join collective energy and power like that ... well, I can't even comprehend what good we could be capable of.  Left me considering why exactly we're so bent on plugging along on our isolated and independent paths, rather than as a united, intertwined people.

Tip
See this in IMAX 3D!!  It's still in theaters as of the last week of Feb, and I imagine will remain for a bit longer.  It really is the only way it was intended to be seen, and you're sort of forgoing a major part of the experience to see it any other way.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-19062-Great_Ride_Groundbreaking_Movie_.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-19062-Great_Ride_Groundbreaking_Movie_.html Mon, 1 Mar 2010 05:27:51 +0000
<![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by lyssachttr]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-54027.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-13-1432541-54027.html Mon, 22 Feb 2010 05:36:23 +0000 <![CDATA[ Toy Story Midway Mania Is Disney World's Hottest Attraction]]> Toy-Story-Midway-Mania

If you have visited Walt Disney World in the last year, there is one easy answer as to what new attraction has the longest lines.

The answer: Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios

This attraction involves shooting targets to earn points, but this is way more than the Magic Kingdom's Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin.

Let me start at the beginning:
The outside of the building is awesome. They have done a wonderful job of bringing the feel of the Toy Story Movies to Disney's Hollywood Studios. They have populated the outside of the building and ride queue area with toys to make you feel that you have shrunk down to toy size and are walking through Andy's room. They topped themselves by adding the most advanced audioanimatronic character that has ever been built - Mr. Potatohead. The amazing fact is that they did this just for the ride queue!

The ride itself is even more impressive. You have a pull activated shooter that shoots virtual items that change depending upon the scene that you are in.  You move through 5 different scenes to test your skills in the various midway style games.  The 3-D glasses that you wear make the action all the more exciting.

The goal of the game is to earn as many points as you can and complete against your friends and family for bragging rights.

Watch this short video from Disney Parks to get a sense of what it is like inside the ride:


It really is amazing and it is designed so that guests of all ages can enjoy it, thus the long lines. It has a great fun factor for all. You should check it out, whether you are good at video games or not.

If you have plans to visit Disney World soon, this should definitely be on your must see list of attractions. I would definitely recommend heading directly to this attraction when you enter the park in order to get a FastPass. It is not uncommon for the FastPasses to all be given out for the day before noon and the stand-by line to be well over an hour.

Summary

This attraction has it all: incredible theming, a pre-ride queue with the most advanced audio-animatronic figure ever created, a game based ride that is fun for all ages and challenges even the best video game players, & it is an attraction that you want to experience again and again!

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/d/UserReview-Toy_Story_Midway_Mania-59-1438557-18695-Toy_Story_Midway_Mania_Is_Disney_World_s_Hottest.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/d/UserReview-Toy_Story_Midway_Mania-59-1438557-18695-Toy_Story_Midway_Mania_Is_Disney_World_s_Hottest.html Mon, 22 Feb 2010 02:24:59 +0000
<![CDATA[ Avatar OFF THE HOOK!!!]]>

WOW! Cameron takes the special effects, CGI and film industry to a new level. The special effects in this film are just off the hook, high speed-low drag, awesome! I am a fan of movies and I have never seen any special effects or CGI the likes of Avatar 3D. It’s worth seeing at the theater just for the 3-D special effects.

 

The Movie, The plot & 3-D Theater Experience

I have seen several 3-D movies over the years but nothing like Avatar. The scenery and creativity are something to see. The planet that Avatar takes place on is Pandora. This planet is lush green with a huge jungle and rain forest mixture. The jungle canopy, ferns and trees are enormous! The trees two thousand feet high and three hundred feet across! Everything is huge in Pandora. It’s also a magical place filled with lots of life and fluorescent plant life. A beautiful planet teeming with; wildlife, plant life, tribes of indigenous intelligent beings and natural resources. One of the natural resources on Pandora is a rare metal worth twenty million per kilo, enter man kind and the evil human race.

 

Minor Spoiler Alert

As you can tell I was clearly impressed by the special effects featured in Avatar. I was completely bummed out by the plot {Being raised in the north-west, I grew up in a logging family in the timber industry. After the timber industry was shut down many of us went into the military}. After seeing the movie I left feeling a bit like the anti-Christ. The evil loggers ripping the forest down for the precious metals. They are supported by the evil Army and Marines. Mankind is no good, especially loggers and soldiers. The storyline was shallow and left me disappointed. A strange twist of events lands a paralyzed Marine (Cpl Sully) in a unique position as an Avatar operator. When his mind is transferred into the Avatar body he is a deadly mobile marine again. His job is to infiltrate the indigenous tribe in get intelligence. This way if the natives don’t leave their home where the main deposits are located the military can take them out. Simple enough plan but like every other plan it doesn’t go very well. Cpl. Sully falls in love with the chiefs daughter. He also realizes that these beings are loving, intelligent, righteous and decent beings. These people won’t leave their homes and the industrial machinery is on it’s way! How can these primitive beings survive the onslaught of the high-tech and powerful weaponry of these evil earthlings?

 

Conclusion

I have mixed feelings about Avatar. Humanity is rough around the edges but were not all power hungry, murdering planet wreckers. I guess most viewers wouldn’t mind the indiscretions against the soldiers or loggers / miners but it left a bad taste in my mouth. That being said you won’t find a movie with better special effects period. The art and visual aspects of the film are spectacular and most definitely worth seeing! The acting in the film is fair. Sam Worthington aced his role as the paraplegic Avatar. Stephen Lang also stepped up to his role as the hard core Marine Recon killing colonel. He played his role well and as usual gives a good performance. The directing is also ground breaking. It’s hard to tell where the computer generated graphics start or stop and it blends in well with the scenes shot in Hawaii. As far as the 3-D work goes I have never seen better! The film is nearly three hours long and I wasn’t bored with it for one minute, that’s rare. I never grew tired of the visual bonanza. I have to recommend this movie because of the parts I liked.

 

Written & Directed by James Cameron

Sam Worthington as Marine Corporal Jake Sully

Zoe Saldana as Neytiri

Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Grace Augustine

Steven Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch

Michelle Rodriguez as (Chopper Pilot) Trudy Chacon

Run time: 2 hours 42 minutes

Rated [PG-13] for violent battle scenes

Thanks for the read,

©Joe McMaster / 2010

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http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-17986-Avatar_OFF_THE_HOOK_.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-17986-Avatar_OFF_THE_HOOK_.html Sun, 7 Feb 2010 01:45:14 +0000
<![CDATA[ Nothing hurts more then a script swung by a heavy hand.]]>
Heres the story:  Earth has landed on the aptly named Planet Pandora (a box that once you open releases nothing but problems) a beautiful world that is littered with Unobtanium (oil) that a greedy and thick headed corporation wants because Earth (US) has a weak economy and the military will use force to get it if the locals inhabitants (Arabs) seen as savages refuse to relocate so that the Unobtanium can be obtained.  Corporate weasels are in charge and talk thinly about how the inhabitants have been taught the english language and other Earth customs (Do I need to spell that out to ANYONE?) in an attempt to communicate they're intentions better.  A final measure brings in a crippled Marine to inhabit the body of a cloned alien via a computer so that he may interact better with the locals and go undercover.  His first mission out doesn't go smoothly and he becomes involved with a tribe of the locals and taught their ways.  While the Military sees this as an Anthroplogical goldmine, they don't see that the Marine is slowly slipping away from his roots and becomming one with the people.  Kinda like Dian Fossey from Gorilla's in the Mist which had Sigourney Weaver- and HEY there she is, playing a scientist who doesn't like her work perverted in the way that it is for the dummys in charge.  Refreshing.

I'm coming down on this movie cause it doesn't take half a brain to see what the movie is REALLY about and if it sounded like I was spoon feeding you, well thats what the movie is doing.  It's telling you, your too stupid to figure out the greater picture in either the movie or the real world so we'll dress it up for you.

Characters aren't even all that interesting or are type cast.  Stiff and gruff Sarge, dimwit corporate schill who only cares about money, the strict scientist, warrior girl, hell Wes Studi is the voice of the lead alien warrior.  Kinda like Last of the Mohicans, right?

So why not a lower score?  Simple, the movie LOOKS AMAZING!  Yes I am rating a movie that is Fern Gully, Dances with Wolves and current world events (read recycled) on a basis of the incredible visuals.  It looks great even in a regular movie theater.  I haven't seen it in IMAX or in 3D but even a regular theater looks spectacular.  I heard that this new 3D process is being a new format that Cameron is championing along with George Lucas for new film making techniques.  Something tells me that much like Lucas, Cameron took his eye off the ball and made sure the film looked phenominal with the story secondary.  That brings me to the next piece.

Why not a HIGHER score?  Even simpler, because this is JAMES CAMERON we're talking about.  The guy who has given us some of the most classic action movies, helped pioneer visual effects (and is doing that here) AND was able to write some subtle messages into his past movies with Aliens having one about corporate greed and Terminator 2 as an anti nuke/nuclear war warning isn't doing anything with his story this time that we haven't either seen before or said subtler elsewhere.  Really I came out of the movie saying: 
OKAY CAMERON, THE US DOESN'T BELONG IN THE MIDDLE EAST!!!  I GET IT!!!! 
WE ARE THE ALIENS TRESPASSING, GOT THAT TOO!!!!

Movies in the past have taken real world problems into space before to better analyse issues and to take a better look at them, hell my favorite Star Trek movie, The Undiscovered Country was an analog for the collapse of the cold war but THAT movie, at least didn't talk down to me and let me figure things out for myself.  Avatar looks wonderful but anyone with even the slightest grasp of sociology can make heads and tails of Avatar and it's message.


SERIOUSLY...unobtanium?!   Should just be called, "no oil for you."]]>
http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-17805-Nothing_hurts_more_then_a_script_swung_by_a_heavy.html http://www.lunch.com/allthings3d/reviews/movie/UserReview-Avatar_2009_film_-59-1432541-17805-Nothing_hurts_more_then_a_script_swung_by_a_heavy.html Tue, 2 Feb 2010 03:22:17 +0000