US (wide): December 18, 2009
Avatar has been considered a new benchmark in modern cinema technology by many critics over the last few weeks. Considering the amount of money put into this movie itís not surprising how it could have achieved this acclaim. James Cameron actually had to spend 2 years just to create the technology which portrays the visually appealing world of Pandora. Iím sure that there were many people lining up to see this movie simply because James Cameron was the man behind it. If you are unaware of his successes you can look to such hits as ĎTitanicí and ĎTerminatorí. Just because this movie had a big director backing it up, it was not my reason for going. I went hoping to experience something different in a movie, something that would separate this movie from its kind - like Star Wars did back in 1977. I had high expectations and hype going into the movie, and Iím glad to say I left having those expectations met.
It was my first time ever seeing a movie in 3D. Iím glad I started the experience with a movie like Avatar. Letís just get the actual cinematography out of the way first shall we? Itís excellent. The world of Pandora is one of the best fictional places Iíve ever experienced on screen. Itís basically a planet filled with a lush environment. Endless forests, beautiful rivers and lakes, colourful plants, inhabitants and best of yet the indigenous race of Naívi. Whoever designed this planet (clearly with the help of James Cameron) is a master of his craft. The whole planet is imaginative and leaves you captivated throughout the entire movie. There was never a time during the movie in which I wasnít visually enthralled. Just simple stuff like the ground glowing underneath the Naíviís footsteps is something you wish happened in real life. Itís easy to get lost into the eye candy.
How does James Cameron use this planet for the movie though, what story revolves around it? Well basically the story is up for a lot of debate. If you are expecting something out of the ordinary then you will be disappointed for sure. This is a classic textbook storyline, it is tried and true and will grasp most of the population for what itís worth. Think Pocahontas and Dancing with Wolves and you will understand exactly how this movie plays out. Personally, I donít think this type of approach was bad for a movie of this caliber. Cameron created an environment to easily sink us into. There is no shame in a simplistic storyline that everyone can enjoy, whether itís been seen or not. I can agree that this movie could have been better if he tweaked the story to be more original and added a mind blowing twist, but for how the story stands I can personally accept and be satisfied with it.
You'll enjoy watching these two on screen
The story is both boosted and hurt by a set of characters that youíll love and hate. The main problem with the cast is the lack of depth most of them have. Youíve got your army general who is a typical American badass, a reluctant Ďpresidentialí type figure who only cares about money, an over the top scientist, a classic unaware but strong willed hero and a loveable heroine. There are more characters but as the movie portrays them youíll hardly care what they have to say. Take for example Norm Spellman, the science nerd. There is really no need for him in the movie, he only explains a few key points during the movie and ultimately ends up being easily forgotten by the end credits. This also applies to Trudy Chacon (played my Michelle Rodriguez). At no point in the movie did I enjoy seeing her on screen. Her character is not explored; we are just lead to believe she wants to be the Ďgoodí guy. While watching the movie she hurts my experience by saying some of the corniest one liners known to man. Sheís not the type of character that can pull it off. Near the end of the movie when she makes her exit you wonít feel bad, thatís for sure.
There are more gripes I have with a few of the other characters, but they are explored more and can be easily forgiven so Iíd rather talk about the great characters and how they drastically improve the story. For one, Jake Sully (the main hero of the story) is an excellent character to be experiencing the story through (even though he is a little cocky). You get to see both sides of the battle, the Indigenous population and his own race of humans. Itís crazy to see how dedicated he was to his own race until he experienced something no other human would have. When we see him get introduced to Neytiri things only pick up and become more enjoyable. Neytiri is the kind of character that compliments the entire story. Like many movies before Avatar there is always the 'typical' damsel which motivates the main character actions (and our own idea's of right and wrong). While the movie does carry on much of a love story it remains highly enjoyable and engrossing. I was so into their experiences together when Jake was not with Neytiri I couldnít wait till theyíd be reunited. Throughout the movie, the most fun you'll have comes when Jake is controlling his Naívi body and you get to experience their culture through his eyes. The movie will quickly and easily sway you to the side of the Naívi, however I do appreciate the firepower and strength the humans display.
Avatar has definitely raised the bar in terms of visual art and creativity. Seeing this movie in 3D is more than just a treat - it will meet and maybe even break your expectations. The depth, colour, creativity and life of Pandora is insane. It is clear that they focused a lot of their efforts into all of the above and it has paid off handsomely. While the story isnít exactly original it does get bonus points for being told with great pacing, likeable characters and enjoyable scenery. As I said earlier some of the characters improve this story while others hurt it. Fortunately we get to see more of the characters we love on screen and can quickly forget about those we donít. The main reason you see a movie is for entertainment and fun. What youíre getting out of avatar will have both weather youíve seen a movie Ďlike thisí before. There are simply too many things to put you in awe as well as blow your mind. You will be entertained by at least one attribute in the movie I can assure you. If you are able see this movie in 3D you will not regret it. Itís one of those movies where every cent you spend is worthwhile.
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Edited by Plasmic Fury, 02 January 2010 - 02:50 PM.