I saw a fake IMAX presentation of Avatar late this afternoon at the AMC Leows 34th Street, and it played a nudge better than last week’s initial exposure. In part because I was able to better assess and appreciate how the four-act structure works and how it all brilliantly pays off during the final half-hour.
The four acts can be summarized (spoiler whiners are advised to READ NO FURTHER) as (a) Jake Sully’s introduction to the deal and the Na’vi reality — i.e., the opportunity to serve as a military spy through his transformation into a Na’vi body and immersion into the Na’vi culture, and his first adventures going into this process; (b) love and exploration as Jake passes through the rites and passages of becoming a Na’vi, and the blooming of his feelings for Neytiri, his native guide and friend, ending with the line “Jake, what the hell are you doing?”; (c) disappointment, betrayal and downturn as Jake enrages his military boss, Colonel Miles Quaritch, by switching his allegiance to the Na’vi, and then admits to the Na’vi his military mission, which infuriates them as well, followed by brutal military attacks upon the Na’vi that send them scurrying; and (d) Jake’s resolve, forces gathered, Na’vi retaliation, serious payback, love fulfilled and final transformation.
I intend to see Avatar again at the AMC Lincoln Square in the super-sized IMAX theatre on Wednesday. I wasn’t all that satisfied with the look of the Avatar Day reel last August (i.e., digital transferred to film) but Coming Soon’s Ed Douglas saw it there today and was happy. “I think they must have changed to digital because the movie looked just as good if not better on the largest screen possible,” he said.