Was working at home today, and decided at the last minute to cut out for a while to finally catch Avatar at an IMAX showing. This makes the first movie since Shrek (side note: in looking for a link, I saw that there's no BluRay or even widescreen DVD of Shrek. What's up with that?), I think, that I've caught more than once at the theater.
Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed with the screen where I saw it (The Hoffman theater in Alexandria, VA, if anyone's curious. I'd been there before, but not in several years (before they converted Screen 5 to IMAX)). It was a large screen, but not nearly the size that I associate with IMAX. It was probably around a quarter the size of the screens at the Smithsonian. So it wasn't all that much larger than the screen that I originally saw it on (heck, maybe not at all). The sound system was better, but that really isn't enough to justify paying like five bucks extra. Hopefully, this'll hit one of the Smithsonian screens before too long.
Anyway, what hit me. Once again, the maker of the trailer for Lightning Thief should be shot. There was a new trailer for one called 'How to Train Your Dragon'. And that looks really good. We'll see, but that makes two movies for March that I'm looking forward to. Not sure that's ever happened before. In fact, I doubt it.
As far as Avatar is concerned? It was still very enjoyable. It really struck me how saturated the colors were throughout the movie. The music was quite good, and appropriately understated. The thing I mentioned about how out-of-focus elements seemed a bit wonky is only for items that are in front of the focal plane. Things in the background look fine. I don't have anything to add to any of the plot holes previously noted.
I experimented a little bit, and polarized lenses seem to work to let you watch the 3D movie without the 3D effect. I should note that things look very bad, indeed, if you just take the glasses off. And they look pretty weird if you rotate your head sideways. Those make me think that any 3D disc release (Blu-Ray only, one would presume) would need to either include two versions (flat and 3D) or would need to do some compositing within the player so that the effect could be turned off (I can think of several reasons you might want to disable it for a single viewing).
One visual thing that I don't think I noticed the first time was the felinity of the faces of the Na'Vi. It had to do with the noses, particularly in how wide they are and how they meet the forehead, the eyes (their narrow-ness and color), and ears, both the shape and, especially, the placement.
There was some subtle dialog that I didn't make note of, last time. When Jake is first running around in his Avatar, before going to bed he looks at his link point, and Grace remarks, "You'll go blind doing that." Knowing what the link point was, that was pretty funny. Actually, this gets back to something I noted in my first viewing, but forgot to remark on: when they were making love, why didn't they use those links? It seemed obvious that that was the mental union to go with the physical one (well, I've heard about a script with a page deleted from the movie that showed that as the entirety of the act; that doesn't really make sense to me), so I was a bit baffled that they didn't show it.
Remembering Grace's line reminds me of one other issue with that part of the movie. When Jake was running around, he saw fifteen or so avatars. Why do we never see that many afterwards? Especially when they get thrown in jail.
I guess that's really all I have to say about the movie. It was still worth seeing, despite being significantly flawed. And I will probably see it again if a large-screen IMAX theater nearby (read: Smithsonian) gets it. I will certainly buy it on Blu-Ray as well (in 3D, if possible).
Update: I forgot to mention that I watched all the credits this time. I had noticed WETA being mentioned the first time, but hadn't watched long enough to see ILM also mentioned. I wasn't aware that they'd ever worked together. Here and I'd been thinking that this film showed that WETA really was capable of challenging ILM for the title of top special effects house. Well, maybe they are, anyway (honestly, I'm a bit behind on this), but this doesn't show it.
It was also weird to me that only one piece of music was specifically credited. Is it because it was the only actual song?