"Avatar" is one of the most expensive movies ever made. This year's most eagerly awaited release cost $237 million to make and another $150 million to market. One of its stars, Sigourney Weaver, described "Avatar" as "like 'Gone with the Wind' in space."
The epic, which runs two hours and 41 minutes, premiered in London to wild applause. But some see Cameron as a vainglorious auteur and seek to puncture his perceived pretension. One anonymous critic claimed the ground-breaking 3D effects in "Avatar" are, I quote, "vomit inducing." Word quickly spread through the blogosphere.
Jimmy Fallon joked on "Late Night" that the prospect of puking made "Avatar" a far from ideal date movie. Not a problem for sci-fi fans, he quipped, who probably struggle to find dates at the best of times.
The day before the film went on general release in the U.S., we went to see it here in London. Would it make me want to barf? There is precedent. When "House of Wax" - Hollywood's first serious attempt at 3D - hit theatres in 1953, some people did hurl in the aisles. But times have changed, technology has changed.
I donned my 3D glasses and took a seat. From the opening seconds, I was totally blown away. I have never seen a 3D movie before, I am not a movie snob or a technology geek. My unsophisticated review: I loved it.
"Avatar" is the story of an injured Marine, transformed into a giant blue alien avatar and sent to a distant planet where he is embroiled in a fight between aliens and humans over natural resources.
I don't think the 3D made me feel anything other than thoroughly impressed. I always feel a bit nauseous at the movies. I eat too much candy and pour too much butter on my popcorn. So my reaction could not be trusted.
In London's movie mecca, Leicester Square, we polled "Avatar" viewers as the crowd spilled out into the cold. They were easy to spot. They all had indentations on the bridges of their nose from those 3D glasses.
We found only one person who claimed feelings of vague 3D-induced nausea. But, she conceded, once she got used to the 3D perspective her stomach soon settled.
One hardcore sci-fi fan confessed that the love story (between the hero and a local alien girl) made him feel slightly queasy. Others did question the plot, but all praised the effects.
From our unscientific poll here in London, Avatar gets a thumbs up. And every viewer we spoke to had managed to keep their lunch down.