Expectations Sky-High for Cameron's 'Avatar'
James Cameron's hot new 3-D fantasy-adventure film "Avatar" brought rave reviews from opening-day audiences Friday at the Sandhills Cinema 10, where it is showing on two screens.
Cameron returned from a 12-year hiatus away from the film world with this $300 million, 162-minute science-fiction epic, with expectations around the entertainment business running sky-high. "Avatar" is Cameron's first film since "Titanic," which made $600 million and has remained the highest grossing movie of all time for 12 years.
Nationally, "Avatar" grossed more than $3 million between the midnight showings and Friday morning, said The Hollywood Reporter, an entertainment news Web site. There is talk of a billion-dollar gross.
"It was something that I've never seen before in a film," Josh Bockery said on his way out of the local theater. He and other viewers said they were happy with the film overall, mentioning the special effects as most appealing.
The film has similarities to Cameron's last epic, as both are well over two hours long and deal with themes of love, death and being an outsider. "Avatar" takes place in 2154 on the planet Pandora as occupation forces from Earth encounter 10-foot blue aliens.
One of the aspects that excited audiences was the three-dimensional enhancement of the film. The theater provided glasses for the audience, at $3 a pair added on to the ticket price, and the audience got to experience the film with more of a real-life feel to it.
"The 3-D effect was different than any I've seen," Bockery said. "I've seen, you know, 'Toy Story' and stuff like that in 3-D. ... But the way (Cameron) used the 3-D as more than just a camera, it was something really different."
Russell Sunderland agreed.
"Sometimes I wanted just to reach out and, you know, swat some of the animated characters out of the sky," he said, adding that he felt this would make the film even more intriguing to audiences than "Titanic" was, and that it will make it even more successful.
"I liked the imagination of it," said local viewer Jane Pajak. "The plot was somewhat predictable, but that's OK. I thought it was amazing the way James Cameron pulled it all together and stepped on the edge and made it a reality."
Viewers who were coming in for the next showing of the movie said they were excited to see it, hoping for good special effects more than anything else. "The graphics are supposed to be the best, off the chart," said Tony Hill, who was on his way to see the movie.
Audience members had different reasons for coming to see the movie, ranging from the special effects to the mere fact that James Cameron had directed it.
"I'm not real big on fantasy movies," said Cackie Jones, "But I came to see this one because I've heard so much about it."
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