There is a famous clip of David Lynch lambasting anyone who believes that watching a movie at home (or even worse, on their phone) is somehow similar to seeing it in a theater. Of course, the American auteur is 100% right - with caveats. Roger Ebert often argues that the living room experience can far surpass the local Cineplex, given an owner’s desire to dial down the projector lamp and amp up the profit/discomfort margin. He too is 100% right - with caveats. Indeed, what both men fail to realize is that, in rare instances, a movie can be a must see big screen given as well as a highly effective small screen curiosity. They are not necessarily incompatible ideas, just ones that are as infrequent as they are fascinating. Such an exception is James Cameron’s megabuck masterpiece, Avatar.
With it’s arrival on Blu-ray this past week (22 April, 2010), now is as good a time as any to discuss the movie’s make-up, it obvious flaws, how easily it overcomes and even corrects them, and why experiencing the movie in IMAX 3D - or any other theatrical version - does not mean you can’t enjoy the film on the high-def format, and visa versa. Indeed, Avatar is one of the most versatile entertainments ever conceived, a big idea epic that also excels in the smaller, more detailed moments. It’s eye candy of a type so amazing and monumental that you rarely get tired of consuming it, and yet it is also overflowing with enough valid food for thought value that you’re not only satiated on the sugary visual treats.