Director James Cameron's new 3-D technology is stunning, a far cry from what I remember as a kid. Cameron showed restraint, applying the realism as much to lush plantlife than toothy animals. In the words of Roger Ebert, Cameron doesn't "promiscuously violate the fourth wall" unnecessarily.
Sure, the story isn't wholly original and employs a bit of the conventional Hollywood paradigm in terms of its narrative arc and resolution. But it's not an empty shell either for just cool special effects.
I think this will go down in film history as a pioneering film, not just for its expense and technical groundbreaking.
I recommend seeing this film while it's on the big screen.