Despite showings of the special 16-minute preview of James Cameron’s Avatar allegedly being sold out across the country, the 6 p.m. screening at the Regal Red Rock this past Friday was barely two-thirds full, the entire first six rows empty. An orderly line, rather than the fan frenzy I expected, greeted me when I arrived, and people filing into the theater were eager but subdued.
The presentation in IMAX 3D opened with two trailers for upcoming animated films (yes, previews before the preview) and then an intro from Cameron himself explaining what we were about to see. The handful of scenes from the movie (which opens December 18) impressed me more than the trailer had, but I’m still concerned about the cutesy look of the aliens (created via motion capture) and the CGI action that lacks weight and substance despite its impressive scope. It’s been 12 years since Cameron made a feature film, and he’s clearly put his all into this one. These snippets, while enticing, still can’t definitively indicate whether it was worth the wait.