If you look hard enough you can find negative reviews of James Cameron's Avatar, and I suppose some of the notes about cliches and obtrusiveness of theme are not inaccurate. For me, the sheer joy of Avatar as a moviegoing experience outweighs any of that, however.
It wasn't a scene of flying creatures that wowed me most. It's a long movie, and 3D had already become part of the landscape by the point the first mountain banshee appeared.
The subtle 3D use in a scene in which a crippled Marine is extricated from a cryogenic chamber piqued my imagination first and foremost. With floating orderlies and depth of field, it made the world on the big screen a little different than anything I'd seen before. That's really what's needed in our universe if the movie going experience is to be more than a marketing campaign for Blu-Ray sales.
It really felt like I'd been sucked into the universe of science fiction novels where zero G was a norm.
Flying creatures, jungle landscapes, spiritual indigenous humanoids and rampaging monster dogs only supplemented the experience.
They are really cool, though. It was like being in a fully imagined Edgar Rice Burroughs universe. It's clear James Cameron really did draw on all of the books and movies he experienced as a kid in crafting Avatar as he said in his Studio 360 interview.
It's a wonderous amalgamation, and as Roger Ebert states it's worth seeing if you can get to a theater to be part of the conversation.
I think it's good when we have an occasion for shared dreams, and if something gets us off the sofa, well that's staving off the couch potato universe of WALL-E a little longer isn't it?