So I finally went to see the James Cameron behemoth on Sunday night, and in 3D no less. The result was a very entertaining movie and a great showcase for 3D. I wouldn't mind seeing more in the format (They showed a preview for Piranha 3-D before the film, which was only accentuated by seeing a brief glimpse of Richard Dreyfuss. Sadly, his character's name is not Matt Hooper).
And I'm also happy to say that the CGI characters were very realistic and compelling... except for one. You see, the avatar bodies that the humans take control of are half their own DNA and half Na'vi. Of the three main characters that have avatars, our main character Jake Sully has facial characteristics that blend the best. His geekier teammate Norm Spellman also has an avatar that doesn't seem too obviously different from the Na'vi.
And then there's Grace Augustine, played by Sigourney Weaver. Perhaps it's because, of the three actors, she is the most famous and recognizable. Perhaps it's because her old pal Jimmy wanted her avatar to stand out. Whatever the case, of the three, her avatar's face is most nakedly patterned after her own.
This was the only thing that really pulled me out of the film as an immersive experience: Instead of watching a unique character, I was watching some blue mannequin of Sigourney running around the jungle in a Stanford tank top.
Which is not to slight her in any way. The woman is gorgeous, and she has a classically beautiful face. It's just not a face for a Na'vi.