James Cameron has done it again.
For maybe the third time in his career, the immodest Canadian has made "the most expensive movie ever," confident that showmanship never goes out of style.
He was right about "Terminator 2," and he was right about "Titanic," and at this stage it looks more than likely he'll be proved right about "Avatar," too.
Already it feels like an epochal movie, a landmark fantasy film on par with "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Star Wars" and "The Lord of the Rings."
Like those (very different) movies, "Avatar" stretches the bounds of the cinematic imagination. It shows us something we've never seen before: an entire alien world, a new and complex ecosystem rendered in three dimensions with dazzling fluidity and detail.
Avatar is an entertainment to be not just seen but absorbed on a molecular level; it’s as close to a full-body experience as we’ll get until they invent the holo-suits. Cameron aims for sheer wonderment, and he delivers.