Our own Morgan Meis in The Smart Set:
In retrospect, it was fitting that I saw James Cameron's new film Avatar at an IMAX 3-D theater in Las Vegas. Las Vegas is not a place for those with any nostalgia for simpler times. In Vegas, reality is something to be fabricated, played with, and reproduced in as many ridiculous ways as someone is willing to pay for. Robert Venturi, the architect who penned the famous postmodern manifesto Learning from Las Vegas, was never a fan of Minimalism or austerity. In response to Mies van der Rohe's architectural dictum “less is more,” Venturi quipped that “less is a bore.”
Likewise, Cameron has never been a prophet of restraint. From Terminator to Titanic, he likes things big, expensive, messy, and new. It was, thus, fully expected when Cameron told Dana Goodyear of The New Yorker that Avatar is, “the most complicated stuff anyone’s ever done.” Cameron's goal, in short, is to completely revolutionize cinema. He also thinks of cinema as largely a visceral and visual thing. Emotional complexity is not his strong suit. He wants people to see something new, like when they first discovered the moving image.