20th Century Fox has requested that critics hold their reviews until Avatar opens next week, and I don't believe in biting the hand that feeds you. But I will say this: You have to give James Cameron credit for delivering what he promises.
After all the hype about Avatar's being a revolutionary work that would forever change the way films are made, the trailer released earlier this year suggested something far less radical: A gigantic geekfest.
And that is exactly what Avatar is: A mammoth, kick-ass spectacle about 10-foot tall blue aliens who ride around on giant flying lizards and commune with an entity known as the Tree of Souls. I acknowledge that premise is not going to sound all that appealing to a lot of people (basically, every woman I know; there's just no way this movie is going to come close to Titanic's grosses).
But Cameron - at a point in his career when he could literally make any movie he wanted - went deep and personal and made one from the heart. Whatever you may think of Avatar, you can't accuse Cameron of not dreaming big and taking huge risks.
And although the movie's 3D strained my eyes after two hours, the computer-generated imagery really does trump everything that has come before (the finished film looks much, much better than it did in the trailers). After Titanic, Cameron was King of the World. With Avatar, he is now the undisputed King of All Nerds.