The movie was awesome. The 3D takes about 15 minutes to adjust to in your brain, but once you stop thinking about it, it just blows you away. The flying scenes in particular were exciting and visceral in a way that put you on the back of a Ikran and reminded me why I love to fly so much now.
Neville Page designed the Mountain Banshees, and it's worth going to the movie just to see the scenes where our hero must climb up into the floating mountains to find and bond with his mount.
The kids loved the movie and the messages and have not stopped babbling about all the themes since.
Don't listen to the haters, it's a work of art and is thoroughly enjoyable. Cameron created an entire world, right down to the fauna and the bugs, and every frame is full of detail and imagination. I particularly loved the trees and flowers and the third and fourth level of activity going on as the characters talk. There's plants that zoop down into the ground if you so much as touch them (with an amazingly satisfying whoop noise) and willowy trees that reach out to touch you if you draw near. Bugs that have wings that force them to spin around dizzily, their little eyes saying, "Oh dear, hear we go again." Every step through the forest creates a bioluminescent reaction in the moss and footsteps linger for a second or two, like in wet sand. The world is fully realized.
I just loved it.
Make sure you find a theater near you that has "Real3D" as that's the best projector and screen you can see it on. I'll check it out in Imax later this week and report my experience with that, but I was afraid it would be too hard to make out what was happening on the giant dome.
Loved seeing Sigourney Weaver in a leading roll - she's never looked better. Sam Worthington did a great job. But really the film belongs to Zoe Saldana - she was wonderful. Horner's score was a bit derivative of his earlier themes, I kept waiting for Enya to join in for the Titanic love song - but that's like criticizing Santa Claus for always wearing red: you know what you're going to get with Horner, and perhaps it will grow on me.
The message starts out simple - and that seems to be all the movie's critics can latch onto - but there are layers of themes and questions asked inside the broader picture. Alexander, who is seven, came out of the film and started talking about how both sides learned lessons, and how you never give up even when you think you've lost everything.
The ideas of whether the "dream walkers" are real creatures, and do they have a soul - and in what body does that soul reside? Those were interesting to me. The concept that the whole planet was interconnected in ways that we must only dream about - or try to re-create via social media and internet - was fascinating.