Saw it yesterday (regular theater 3D version, not IMAX) and thought it was excellent. Think Dances with Wolves with aliens instead of Indians.
The animation was excellent (astounding, really) except for a couple of scenes where characters are climbing something. I don’t know what it is about CGI effects and climbing. They almost always look totally fake. Usually it seems like the climbing characters suddenly weigh one-tenth of what they normally do. Despite that, it’s worth checking out for the animation alone, IMHO.
The military tech, and there’s a lot of it, is pretty interesting. It’s all got a very ‘real’ feel to it. The tactics the troops use is straight out of Braveheart, but it makes for a good show.
The 3D was pretty good, even for Murdoc and his dodgy left eye which limits his perception of such things. Someday, and it won’t be long, I think people are going to look at movies as they exist today and wonder why we bothered watching such flat-looking stuff.
Story/plot-wise, it’s 100% predictable. Unless you’ve seen Dances with Wolves, in which case it’s 125% predictable. Not bad, though, and there are some really good moments. Just don’t go in expecting a deep, original storyline. This is an animated sci-fi movie about aliens and space soldiers on a different planet. Go in expecting a solid 2:40 of entertainment, and you shouldn’t be disappointed.
Unfortunately, Cameron apparently couldn’t resist taking a number of potshots at the invasion of Iraq. While I choose to ignore some of the elements of the basic premise as overt political statements and accept them as storytelling, a few lines of dialogue are there to make sure everyone realizes how wrong “preemptive” and “shock and awe” and a few other things are.
Fortunately, like most times when someone works hard to get those things in, it sounds like someone worked hard to get those things in. It ends up coming off like dialogue written and directed by George Lucas. ([hint] That ain’t exactly a compliment [/hint])
Anyway, go check it out. Ignore the hamfisted attempts at profound political commentary and enjoy it. We don’t go see many movies in the theater, maybe three or four per year, but I’ll be going to check this out at least one more time.