As expected, the Avatar reviews sprouted everywhere overnight, and from what I've seen, they are all raves. I've only scanned a few, but Variety's decidedly non-geeky Todd McCarthy calls it "a film of universal appeal that just about everyone who ever goes to the movies will need to see". The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt says "James Cameron has proven his point. He is king of the world."
And even the perpetually cranky, CGI-hating Jeffrey Wells is over the moon for Avatar. "You could call it a kind of visual opera -- a forest-primeval symphonic naturalist hard-on movie that technically knocks you flat, coheres emotionally, isn't afraid to be silly or simplistic, delivers visual CG wonder like nothing I've ever seen before (really) and pays off like a gotterdammerung Apocalypse Now meets Tarzan meets the best-special-effects-flick-you've-ever-seen insanity ride."
What is most exciting about Avatar to me - what makes it a bonafide event movie, as opposed to another Batman or Harry Potter picture - is that it promises to show me something completely new and fresh done on a gigantic, budget-busting scale. The fact that it was directed by James Cameron doesn't hurt, either. I haven't exactly been counting down the days until I saw Avatar, but I woke up officially psyched this morning.
I've already seen most of the big holiday films, and practically every one has been a disappointment. Here's hoping Cameron can rescue the season. I'll find out in three hours.