It was a roundabout trip that led me to my local IMAX for Avatar day. For starters, I'm not a big fan of 'sneak peeks' -- I'm all for teasers and trailers, but I'm a firm believer in going in to a movie with as much as a blank slate as possible, and that's not always easy in this job. But the thing is, I love a cultural phenomenon, and brother -- Avatar is one of 'em. So I decided to put up with stalled servers at Fox and multiple confirmation emails with threats of everything short of a cavity search to watch a 16 minute commercial. Add to the fact that while I admire the technical stylings of James Cameron, I've never counted myself as one of the devoted. So as you can see, I was hardly the perfect audience for his experiment and I went in to that theater with an open mind, but very few expectations.

Now, thankfully, I tend to be little high strung about these things, and so I showed up an hour early with email and ID in hand -- and judging by Elisabeth's experience with Fox flacks, boy am I glad I did. So there I was in my seat, and as I looked around I kept thinking: what was with the half empty theater? After listening to horror stories of line-ups and sold out shows this made no sense to me. So I have to wonder if all that talk of sold out showings were an attempt by Fox to limit 'exposure' of the film (and piracy). Maybe they just wanted to beef up the hype surrounding the event by touting sold out tickets. But if that was their plan, then it might have backfired because to me, a half-empty theater made the movie look like the bloated, over-hyped flick that some detractors were calling it in the first place. That said, after a brief intro from the man himself (and in 3D no less!) it was time to get on with the show.

After the jump: my two cents on what I saw...