My impressions after having seen ‘Avatar’ are mixed.

On one hand I am the kind of film viewer who does not run away from entering the film theater and expecting a greater-than-life experience. I also love computer effects and any special effects that extend the cinema experience. From this point of view James Cameron’s film is one of the best that I have seen, maybe second only to Peter Jackson’s last film in the Lord of the Rings series in creating a whole new world of fascinating beauty, in imagining shapes, colors and visual emotions that did not exist before.

I also am a big science fiction fan, I love third degree encounters, and I let easily the small or tall, green or blue aliens move and frighten me. Yet, when judging a science fiction story or film I use the same criteria as when judging any other story or film – the capacity of entertaining, of creating emotion, and of making me think. Here I think ‘Avatar’ is no more than an average movie. Considered beyond the visuals it is no more than a quite banal action film, with stereotype characters (human or alien), with an anti-colonial message that is routine having seen it in scores of films from the Tarzan and John Wayne movies to the latest Iraq films, and with New Age incantations that never convinced me in any film ever.

The 3D genre is not so new. I have actually seen a 3D film festival in a cinematheque a decade ago, and it was made up mainly by action and science fiction films of the 50s. The technology was amazingly similar based on the two colors plastic spectacles. I find it remarkable that film makers took this technique out of the dusty drawers and made it enhance the other new film effects invented since. Films will however be judged by most people by the emotions they generate. My feelings after seeing ‘Avatar’ are that I viewed a fine visual show, but that it was deprived of originality and depth. Despite the 3D visuals a dimension was still missing.