Glossy graphics, 3-D effects a winning formula

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Glossy graphics, 3-D effects a winning formula

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A scene from James Cameron’s ‘Avatar.’. Provided by Fox Korea

The James Cameron film “Avatar” has created quite a buzz here. According to the CJ CGV multiplex chain, seats for IMAX theaters screening the movie in 3-D in Seoul - one in Yongsang and another in Wangsimni - were nearly sold out for the entire week last week.

The situation is similar for regular 3-D screens, where 80 percent of the seats are filled compared to 70 percent for 2-D screens, CJ CGV said. As of Dec. 25, the total number of people in Korea who have seen the film surpassed three million.

Film industry experts had anticipated that Avatar would entice local audiences to embrace 3-D films, and they were right. The film has drawn a diverse range of people to the 3-D screens. Parents with children were spotted at one screening, along with a number of senior citizens, and they all seemed to enjoy it.

The story line for the movie, set in 2154, is quite simple. Former marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), who is paralyzed from the waist down, goes to the planet Pandora to join the military and a team of scientists who are trying to extract a mineral buried beneath trees that are sacred to the indigenous Na’vi population. Sully was commissioned to inhabit an Avatar body, a remotely controlled hybrid genetically engineered from human and Na’vi DNA, to infiltrate the alien community. He succeeds in winning the trust of the Na’vi but in the process, he falls in love with a female native named Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and starts to question where he belongs. After the military starts destroying the forest, he sides with the Na’vi in a war against his own people.

In a way, the Na’vi seem to represent the Native American population while the humans represent the Europeans, a suggestion that is underlined by the Native American ornaments worn by the Na’vi.

The most captivating 3-D effects were in a scene in which the Avatar characters enter the forest. The graphic plants actually seemed to be blowing in the wind. And the gigantic birds that fly around the mountains are just amazing. The battle scenes at the end are also really stunning. The computer graphics and real-life scenes are mixed so well that it’s hard to tell the difference between them.

The film is over two hours long but I completely lost track of time when I was watching it. When it was over, I wanted to see it again.

The production budget was over $250 million to make, according to some reports. Now I know where all the money went.


By Limb Jae-un [jbiz91@joongang.co.kr]


Avatar

Sci-fi / English

162 min.

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