If you Google “Avatar” and “sick,” you can expect to see somewhere around 21 million hits. Make that 21 million and one after this. Not being a fan of lining up and then being subjected to a battle of wills with the person beside me over who owns rights to the shared arm rest between the seats, I tend to wait out the crowds on a new flick and venture out once the herd is moving on to the next big thing and the situation is a little more relaxed. Yesterday, my wife and I finally took the kids to see Avatar. My thoughts on the movie? Pretty good, but the vomit kind of ruined the ambiance.
It’s Sunday evening and I feel like I’m hung over. Which would be fine if I’d earned the hangover, but I was too busy on Saturday night to get up to any shenanigans. I’ll lay the blame for this one square in the laps of James Cameron and the Hollywood suits who feel the need to push the 3-D experience in an effort to get more people away from their big screen and Blu-ray players and back to paying for tickets in movie theaters. I have a visual impairment that makes 3-D kind of iffy in terms of its effectiveness and I suspect it’s that lack of full immersion that left me feeling only hung over when I’m usually the one who’s predisposed toward full blown motion sickness. My three kids and wife, all fans of amusement park rides that make me ill just to watch, left Avatar feeling nauseous. My wife and daughter had to make one run for fresh air and my wife spent the last hour of the movie with an emptied soda cup held at the ready (she made it without incident, but as of this writing has spent the past two hours in bed with a hot water bottle and the covers pulled over her head). A person directly in front of us threw up all over himself about halfway in, which only added to the fun. And there’s nothing like trying to figure out where that gurgling effect fits into a spectacular CGI flying sequence (did I miss the babbling brook?) only to realize it’s the sound of someone in the audience tossing their Junior Mints. I saw a number of people making for the exit during the movie at a rate that suggested something more than a casual stroll to search out more popcorn.
I realize that only a small percentage of those 21 million Google hits are reports of nausea from watching Avatar (the majority are probably using “sick” to describe the movie as being extraordinarily cool), but the issue of 3-D films inducing nausea in some people doesn’t seem to be going away. When the theater charged extra for 3-D films like Avatar, I assumed it was to cover the cost of handing out the special glasses and paying for compatible projectors, but now I can’t help but think that it might actually be going toward extra mops, sawdust and steam cleaners. The pushing of plastic popcorn containers at the concession has me a little suspicious as well. Here’s a suggestion: since they’re so into tie-ins, how about a likeness of Mr. Creosote adorning those high capacity, heavy duty popcorn buckets?
I liked Avatar well enough (and pretty much agree with Ken’s review), but I really can’t wait until it comes out on Blu-ray so I can watch the film at home and really enjoy it.