I went into Avatar with low expectations. I expected the story to be unoriginal and 3D to be annoying. The funny thing I wasn’t wrong. However it turns out if you take off the shelf ideas and mix them together, like a good DJ set, it doesn’t matter. 3D is annoying or rather would be annoying for most films, but for blockbuster Sci-Fi or animated tales it has it’s place. I can happily see myself going to see maybe a film a year in 3D (Tron Legacy in 2010).
Avatar is essentially a gaia anime story combined with Dances with Wolves. It’s what you would get if you got the Macross team (Macross Zero) or Bones (Eureka 7) to develop a Ghibli film (Laputa) for the western market. This is no bad thing as I loved all of the above and frankly if it opens peoples minds enough, maybe a western friendly anime series might *just* get their interest.
3D is not the saviour of Cinema. It is as it was every other time, a gimmick. The 2009/10 version is a more polished gimmick, but it is still what it was before; interesting for a few key niches, but at best unnecessary at worst distracting for anything else. My only worry is that Hollywood will strip mine the 3D Sci-Fi/animated tale blockbusters until even the hint of space or a pixar-like film will have people running for the hills. This could do major damage to genres I enjoy.
As for 3D at home, anyone who invests in that is an idiot of emperors’ new clothes level.