I saw Avatar last night. It's pretty much what you expect (superlative graphics, pretty meh story, some wince inducing dialogue). There were several incidences where the CG (especially where creatures were involved) were up to Gollum quality (or maybe even better..)
But here's what fascinated me about the movie: it didn't feel the need to explain things. Most sci-fi falls into the trap of needing to explain things. I'm sure the writer feels like they catering to their geek audience. In reality, that's usually the biggest problem we have with the movie. Their explanation is so far-fetched (or based on ridiculously bad science) that it damages the movie.
Avatar takes a different approach – it gives no explanations at all. There is no pseudo science or exposition about why mountains float on Pandora. Mountains just float on Pandora. Everybody knows that. I found myself enjoying the film more because they didn't explain how the person could control an alien homonculus, they just could.
It's an interesting narrative tool, and it definitely increased my enjoyment of the movie. I didn't spend time thinking "that can't happen" or looking for the (definitely there) problems with science.
It's not a great movie. It is a beautiful one. It's also a movie that doesn't owe you any explanations, and doesn't offer any. I think more sci-fi movies should consider this path.
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