Monday, December 28, 2009
First of all, without giving away any of the plot, if you haven't already seen it, you should see the movie Avatar and you should see it in a theater with the new 3D technology. Otherwise you might as well wait for it on DVD. Don't worry, this entry isn't going to be a movie review. I just felt it was really cool to be in a theater full of people and to feel the energy of excitement with this new added sensation to the movie going experience was unveiled. I haven't been this impressed since I heard the digital audio of Jurassic Park for the first time or witnessing the special effects of The Matrix. Now that these things have been done to death in every other movie, it's not as cool, but it's fun to see something when it first comes out.
Enough about the actual movie. I had plans to see it on Saturday, but it was sold out. We had to buy tickets for today's (Monday's) showing. The theater was packed. I realize that this is a big movie, but I can't remember a movie that I've seen in the past five years in Japan in which more than a third of the theater was filled. Even for big movies on opening weekend. Avatar has been out for over a week and you still have to buy tickets in advance. I'm not sure if it's a reflection on the movie-going audience here or if it's a reflection on Avatar.
I'm guessing that the movie sensors here had a bit of a dilemma. I've only seen three other films here (Japanese animated film "Ponyo," Japanese dolphin killing movie "The Cove," and Michael Moore documentary "Capitalism: A Love Story") none of which had a many love scenes. (Don't be fooled by the title of the Michael Moore film!) Therefore, I've had to take people's word for it when I hear that movies here get butchered. Any scene with kissing, affection or more sensitive scenes get taken out along with any kind of nudity. According to IMDB, Avatar was given a PG-13 rating for "for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking." The warfare and smoking would pose no problem and probably the language wouldn't be an issue. I'm surprised that the sensuality and the blue, 3-meter-tall alien boobies made it through. They aren't prominent, but I'm willing to bet that if the actors were wearing the exact same costumes without the blue make-up it wouldn't have gotten through. Then again, I haven't seen the movie outside the U.A.E. so maybe some of it did get cut.
While I did enjoy the film as a whole, I had one major annoyance. There were no English subtitles for when the aliens were speaking. I understand that I live in a country in which the predominant language is not English. I could kind of accept it in Japan where less than 0.2% of the population was a native speaker of English but here 80% of the population is foreign. Of that 80%, most don't speak Arabic and most speak English as a second language at least. I'm guessing not many speak the blue alien language, either.