Last night I saw the movie Avatar in 3D with a group of friends. My prediction is that the movie will be very successful at the box office and will be nominated for many awards and win a substantial number of them.
Does this mean I think it is a great movie? No. I do not think it is a great movie. It is a good movie. It is an OK movie. But it is not a great movie.
Much of the script is formulaic. To often I was able to predict the next five minutes of the movie because it was so predictable. Having a bit more nuance and sophistication in the story development and nuance would have gone a long way in improving the film. And some things were simply silly; having the character Dr. Grace Augustine played by Sigourney Weaver smoking a cigarette in 2154 was a very bad choice. It just appeared as a clumsy attempt to do character development on the quick and it fails.
The story of the movie is a mashup of the typical "educated moderns do not understand spiritual nature of the world" and the "exploitation of the earth" and "cowboy joins native tribe". Each one of these has potential and a mashup of all three has potential but Avatar just did not reach its full potential. Much of the movie seemed like it was overlooking potential sources of interesting issues to explore so to build up to a big battle of good guys (humans) versus bad guys (planet natives). In the group of people with whom I saw the movie one person summed it up as being for "11 and 12 year old kids" so it should be viewed that way; although some others felt the movie was much better. And maybe I was expecting too much. Particularly when many adults seem to have the mental maturity of a 12 year old.
I will say a good word about the production in general and the 3D in particular. I was able to watch the movie without eye strain using the supplied 3D glasses. The integration of live action and animation worked well. At a technical level I was extremely impressed by the movie.
So in conclusion I suggest seeing the movie in 3D. You will likely enjoy the 3D experience and will be able to decide how you feel about the movie.