I went to see James Cameron's new movie, Avatar, yesterday, something I've been planning, and trying, to do since the movie was released. Normally I don't bother with seeing movies in 3D, but I've heard so much hype about how much better the technology is that I decided it'd be worth the extra money to see it in that format. (But not all that much extra: while local high-end theaters are charging up to $14 for the 3D version, I saw it in very clean and comfortable surroundings for $6.25, on the po' side of town. Figure an extra dollar for the gas to get there, and I saved enough to see another movie.)
The 3D technology is certainly better than it was decades ago, but it's still no big deal. It only makes a difference for those moments when something on the screen comes directly at the camera, and that isn't very often in Avatar. There was no scene I can think of in this movie that begins to compare with the moment in Jurassic Park when a velociraptor launches himself up toward the air vent where the humans -- and the camera -- are. All in all, I wouldn't pay extra again to see a film in 3D. (I was at Disneyland a few months ago; the 3D they use in some of their shows appears to be exactly the same: good, but not worth much of a premium price.)
Still, for all the fabulous images and beauty in this movie, I predict it will not join the ranks of Timeless Great Films. Its message, its meaning, is essentially a currently-popular political viewpoint; it won't be that long before it seems naive, trite and hackneyed. This gorgeous movie is no Titanic, no Gone With The Wind, not even a Star Wars. At bottom, it's a phenomenally well-crafted piece of money-making entertainment, a technological tour-de-force instead of a classic for the ages. Go. See. Enjoy. Get over it.