It’s made over a billion dollars, so chances are all of you reading this have already seen Avatar, and you have your opinions on it. I’m not even going to try and change your opinion, because I’ve talked Avatar enough to know people are really passionate about their opinions. However this column is about movies we’re thankful for, so luckily I don’t need to change opinions.
I love Avatar. Like, I really love that movie. I’ve seen it a ton of times, and every time it’s on cable I will watch it. It is a groundbreaking movie that uses some of the greatest special effects ever. You can not like Avatar, but I’ll argue till I pass out that it is one of the most important movies of the past 20 years. That brings me to the first reason I’m so thankful for Avatar, which is that I was aware enough at the time to realize how important it was while it was still in theaters. I remember seeing it for the first time, when night comes and the entire jungle lights up. I just looked around, awestruck. I saw it on an IMAX 3-D screen and was just floored with what movies were now able to do. I fell in love with the characters, and watching Neytiri flying around, I wanted nothing more than every single thing I saw on screen to be real. I have never had up to that point (nor since) that type of reaction to a movie.
However, seeing Avatar in theaters isn’t the only reason I’m thankful for it; it’s also who I saw it with. I had been dating my wife for a few months at that point, and, as my mother calls it, I’d reached the “Shit or get off the pot” time in a relationship. It was my mother’s poetic way of saying you need to make a decision if you’re all in on the relationship, or if you’re going to go your separate ways. Let me be clear, I wasn’t contemplating breaking up with my then girlfriend. I loved her, but it was that time where I found myself really examining if this was who I wanted to stay with. I saw Avatar all those times, and I saw it with my wife. Not only was what was on the screen totally entrancing, but I got to experience it with someone who was as equally caught up and enthralled by the experience. I couldn’t get enough of it, and neither could she. I look back on that time, and while there are plenty of things that made me realize she was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, I’d be lying if I said sitting in those theaters watching Avatar together wasn’t one of those reasons.
Now I know I sound like Bill Paxton in Tombstone rattling on about how lucky a guy he is, so I’ll stop and get back on subject. What does this have to do with Avatar? Well, if you were to go back and chronologically listen to every F This Movie! podcast, you’d start with Avatar (and not because it starts with A). I’m thoroughly convinced that this site would still exist without Avatar, but the facts are that it was the first. It brought me, and all of us, this site. I was a friend, then I was a fan, and now I get to F with the rest of the people here at this great community we all get to be a part of. I wish I could personify the muse that inhabited James Cameron and led to Avatar just so I could give it a hug.