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LI 'Avatar' fans excited, but brace for a letdown

A scene from 'Avatar,' written and directed by

A scene from 'Avatar,' written and directed by James Cameron. Credit: Twentieth Century-Fox

Like millions of movie fans around the country, Bob Reyer salivated while watching previews for "Avatar," the James Cameron-directed Hollywood blockbuster anticipated to make a run at box office records this weekend.

Previews have bombarded moviegoers for months, and the buzz has been intense.

But Reyer, a Cameron fan since the "Titanic" director's resume included only "Piranha II," is apprehensive, even as he checks movie schedules for just the right showing.

Reyer asks: Can anything live up to this hype?

"You see these previews of this alien world that really does look pretty fantastic," said Reyer, 53, who owns a Patchogue video store. "But I wonder: 'Did I just see all the good things in this movie?' "

Mike Janson, a Huntington comic book store clerk, has no such concerns. Janson thinks "Avatar's" blend of science fiction and battle epic could rank alongside "Terminator" and "Terminator 2," the Cameron movies he holds in the highest regard.

"It's looking like some classic stuff," said Janson, 31.

"Avatar"-mania has generated profiles of Cameron in The New Yorker and on "60 Minutes." Cameron has also fueled the hype with his own Twitter feed, where a week ago he boasted: "Putting out a retrospective on the decade in film before 'Avatar's' release is hackery and disingenuous."

The real test comes Thursday night at midnight, when "Avatar" opens nationwide. The film has at least three midnight showings on Long Island at theaters in Merrick, Commack and Huntington, according to

Tickets were still available at each theater Wednesday, but a late rush is expected, reps said.

The plot of "Avatar" involves a mission to a far-off moon called Pandora. But the buzz has focused less on story and more on special effects, which critic Roger Ebert called a "technical breakthrough."

Bohemia's Reyer is sure the film will be visually arresting. He just hopes the relentless previews haven't given too much away.

"I'm both anticipating a great film," he said, "and anticipating a letdown."

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