Avatar screened last night in London for members of the press and US screenings started this morning. I saw the film first thing today, and embargo keeps me from saying anything about it. Twitter has been fairly quiet, with those who’ve seen it abiding by the embargo so far.
But some UK outlets don’t care as much about the embargo, and there is already a full-fledged review in The Sun and some useful comments in The Guardian.
The Sun’s ‘review’ is typical for the paper — thin and shallow. But it is quite exuberant. “The final battle scene is 20 minutes long and absolutely mind-blowing,” the paper says. “It is overwhelming, and that is because you are emotionally tied up in the characters and the story.”
The Guardian is more interested in preserving the embargo, but does pass along a couple of rumor-busting notes that are very much worth paying attention to: “And there have been a lot of rumours…Rumours that the 3D effects were making people nauseous. Rumours that the film, two hours and 40 minutes long, was a complete car crash.The Guardian can reveal that the last two are untrue. The film does not make you feel sick and it is not a disaster.”
And Alex Billington from FirstShowing said over Twitter: “James Cameron is a freakin’ genius! I can’t say much but wow, I loved it. Avatar was phenomenal, pretty much blew me away,” before adding “I can’t answer any questions guys but I can say I loved it. Also saw Neill Blomkamp at our screening, he loved it too. :)” while Ed Douglas from ComingSoon says, “I’ll take my chances with Fox legal…. Avatar was amazing, I loved it!”
Currently, the review embargo isn’t set to lift until the film’s opening day (Friday, the 18th) which, in this case may be counter-productive. Judging by what I overheard after the screening, you can expect to see reviews that run from cautiously positive to rather enthusiastic. One would think that might provide a little boost to the movie.
Here are some more Twitter reactions:
@petershall: “The AVATAR buzz is an understatement. That movie was unbelievable.”
@chasewhale: “Just finished AVATAR. Special effects were top notch. The movie ran a little long for my likings but I liked it!”
@comingsoonnet” “Okay, about Avatar?…. WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW! Unbelievable… amazing.”
@MikePereira21: Was blown away by Avatar! For 150 minutes, I was a kid again. Thank you James Cameron! BTW, the groundbreaking 3D was mindblowing.”
@rejects: “I’m not supposed to talk about Avatar… That said, it was a spectacular experience. Like nothing I’ve seen before.”
@markwalters74: “Just saw AVATAR. Not allowed to talk about it yet. Not allowed to say how it’s an amazing visual feast, or that Jimmy C’s still got the gift.”
@dmann11: “Holy effing crap!!! Avatar was FREAKING AWESOME KICK ASS SWEET!!!!!”
@TheGate: “For the record ‘Avatar’ was worth the $400 million, and no it is not even remotely “vomit inducing”.
Avatar ........................ tweetless. Just tweetless in the best possible way.
Karishma_K1: Just came from the AVATAR premiere... You have to see it..... A truely awesome film!
adamenglish1985: Just went to the Avatar premiere, was amazing! Bit long but the story and special effects were INCREDIBLE!!! Almost choked up at the end....
JonTT: Avatar = outstanding. Really. Truly. See it. Soon.
iamBenLyons: Just left AVATAR premiere. Wow...
@NancyWiretap: Just out of Avatar premiere in London. V, V impressive!
@sizemore: On my way home to review Avatar for TWITCH. Short version: book your IMAX tickets. Details to follow.
@IdiotDrivers: Omg avatar is awsome!!!!!!!!'!!!!
@bamcat: All the good things you hear about Avatar are true. It was visually stunning and for being close to 3-hours long it flew by.
@bxchen: Just got back from a critic screening of Avatar. It was awesome.
@Suparn: the first review of AVATAR is out via....twitter!!!:) 3 word review 'holy *beep* *beep*'.........gonna be one hellva ride eeehhaaaaaaaaaaaww
@unahealy: Avatar was amazing! incredible special effects and a wonderful love story!
1 more pardy poopah:
Avatar: just seen screening: CGI 11/10, story/characterisation 4/10. Catch the the story of the tech behind it) in next week's show.
France & Germany being rebels and stuff
HOLLYWOODREPORTER, EMPIRE, TIMESONLINE AND INDEPENDENT ADD THEIR RATINGS AND REVIEWS
www.bluray-vision.de does not understand the meaning of the word embargo and gives a detailed review and a 9/10 rating.
French site www.excessif.com also reviews and gives it a 5 star rating.
EMPIRE gives Avatar (3D) a 5/5 rating
It’s been twelve years since Titanic, but the King of the World has returned with a flawed but fantastic tour de force that, taken on its merits as a film, especially in two dimensions, warrants four stars. However, if you can wrap a pair of 3D glasses round your peepers, this becomes a transcendent, full-on five-star experience that's the closest we'll ever come to setting foot on a strange new world. Just don’t leave it so long next time, eh, Jim?
Read HOLLYWOODREPORTER'S detailed review here
TIMESONLINE rates Avatar 4/5
Will the film match Titanic’s gigantic box office haul of $1.8 billion. Possibly not. The soppy, soggy doomed love story of Jack and Rose hit a particular chord with audiences. But I would be very surprised if James Cameron didn’t have another sizable hit on his hands
INDEPENDENT rates avatar 4/5
It would be easy to assume Cameron drew inspiration from other films of the same ilk but to generalise like that does Avatar, and Cameron a disservice. For starters, one assumes that he was developing Avatar while other seminal films of the past decade were still on the slate. There are shades of detail, and of background – the nuances of the language the native Na'vi speak; the realisation of the animal inhabitants; the history of the clan – which all reinforce the impression that you get from any film that you know has taken 15 years to make: it is a real labour of love. What's more, his decision to make Avatar in 3D was a risky one – and it's paid off in spades. As with most 3D films, less is more. Surprisingly, for a film this rich in action and this beautiful to watch, Cameron doesn't overegg the 3D-ness of it all, which makes those moments, when they come, even more of a joy to watch.
However, that's not to say that 130 minutes in 3D isn't sometimes overwhelming. Glasses were being taken off, and eyes rubbed for brief intervals around the cinema. Whether this is simply a product of an audience unused to watching movies in this way, rather than a flaw in the production, will remain to be seen as 3D becomes more and more commonplace.
What Avatar does mark is a new breed. A new breed of action film, a new hero in Sam Worthington (who delivers a much more believable, and compelling performance than previous outings) and a new cinematic experience. For every cliche – every colonel telling his troops that they're "not in Kansas anymore", every fight beginning with trash talk like "Let's dance", there are myriad moments of beauty and of poignancy. And the final battle is worth the price of your 3D glasses alone.
France & Germany, you in danger girl
GO TO THE SOURCES TO READ FULL REVIEWS, BUT BEWARE OF SPOILERS
UPDATE: according to this guy the embargo has been lifted, reviews are up!
UPDATE 2: Rotten Tomatoes rating is up!