I'm going to see Avatar in just over two hours. My expectations for this film have been all over the map, and I think I've finally set them reasonably. Based on what I've heard about the film's budget and the technical aspects of its creation, I believe it is going to be a technical masterwork -- state-of-the-art everything, with great cinematography, great editing, seamless special effects, and very immersive 3D and sound. I expect the story to be moving, but decidedly unoriginal. Let's face it, if you've read lots of science fiction it is unlikely that Avatar is going to break new ground. And for a film that may be costing the studio upwards of $300 million, it's probably best that they don't break new ground on the story. They're taking enough risks with the new technology. Which isn't to say it'll be a bad story. I expect to enjoy it, but also to recall at least one or two better tellings of the same general tale, the same morality play. For most audience members, however, this will feel brand new and wonderful. I'll let you know later today, or perhaps tomorrow if I set my expectations appropriately.