If you want to get a gander at how far film CG technology has moved the "Avatar" ball down the field, go see the new movie, "Gravity." And see it in 3-D (yes, worth the extra $) Co-written, produced, edited and directed by Alfonso Cuaron, it's taken the real human actor /CG technology interface to a whole new level. And, like "Avatar's" James Cameron before him, Cuaron understands that the real key to making 3-D more than just a novelty, is to structure the film so that the audience is invited to step into and stay inside the world he has constructed for them.
And yes, yes, immediately the science nerds checked in. Astrophysicist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson twittered an ongoing stream of "facts," and http://science.time.com/2013/10/01/what-gravity-gets-right-and-wrong-about-space/ chimed in with a long list of interesting corrections. And, yes, yes, the story is pure Hollywood -- a sort of "Ohhhhhh Sh********t" Perils of Pauline" Cute-Plucky-Heroine-Lost-In-Space scenario (And nobody does plucky like Sandra Bullock.)
And, yes, yes, there were some plot lines that got pretty improbable, but nevermind. Just sit back and go with the ride. The story has heart, the one-damned-thing-after-another peril will keep you awake, the CG work will keep your jaw down somewhere near the popcorn-littered aisle floor.
By the end, I found myself haunted by two of the movie's deeper themes: How alien, impossible, lonely, unforgiving and terrifyingly lifeless space is. And how heartbreakingly lovely the earth is. And like the main character, how much I longed to get back "home."