It’s hard to have a decade’s perspective on a picture I saw twice, just two weeks ago, and didn’t feel strongly about on first viewing. But if Avatar has the liberating impact on movie technology that I suspect it will, it richly deserves the last spot on this list. Neither a fantasy rendition of Disney World’s Animal Kingdom nor a megabudget version of Ferngully, the film creates a total environmental experience. It’s as totally fabricated a landscape as the Speed Racer ovals, and much more enticing for viewers. They don’t just visit the Pandora rainforest; like the movie’s paraplegic hero Jake, they find their legs and are quickly at home there. Conservatives may decry the tree-hugger sentiments in a war movie where U.S. soldiers are the enemy; liberals may wonder why a white American should be the savior of the physically and ethically superior blue Pandorans. But for a sensational, seductive movie immersion, Avatar has it all over James Cameron’s last blockbuster. This one really is titanic.
Next Talk to Her (2002)