Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Review: Avatar

Grade: A+

Avatar is James Cameron's latest epic. It is about a group of humans that go to a distant planet known as Pandora. They are there to mine an extremely valuable mineral. Only problem is, there is an indigenous humanoid race known as the Na'vi living right on top of the largest deposit of this mineral and they are not willing to move. A Paraplegic marine's twin brother died. He was in the Avatar program and they now need him to take his brothers place. In the Avatar program, with the use of technology, they put his mind in the body of a Na'vi/human hybrid. His job is to gain the trust of the people and then try to convince them to move. When he realizes they will never move a gung-ho colonel decides to wage war against the Na'vi in order to force them out. The marine now feels more at home with the Na'vi then he ever did at home on Earth and decides to help them fight back.

This movie was amazing. It is no wonder that it took so long to be made. This is the first movie that director James Cameron (Terminator 2, Titanic) has made since the critically acclaimed Titanic. I had faith that this movie would be good because the last time he created, wrote and directed something we got the Terminator. Cameron definitely did his research for this movie. The world of Pandora is beautiful. During the day it is a far reaching rain forest full of life. At night it becomes a bioluminescent paradise. The entire planet seems to work on a massive scale of symbiosis with connecting roots and these weird tentacle type things that all the creatures and the Na'vi seem to have that connect their minds together. The whole world lights up and takes your breath away. He also had a linguist come in and help him create an entire language that the Na'vi speak.

The effects in this movie are mind blowing. It really looks like James Cameron took a camera to another plant to shoot a movie. It is no wonder that it's been in post production for over two years to work on those effects. If this movie doesn't sweep the technical categories at the Oscars this year, then somebody is bribing the academy quite well. Every aspect of this movie's scenery and sound was awe inspiring. It made me wish that this were a real world that I could go to. I saw it on IMAX 3D, the way Cameron had really intended it to be seen, and it was so worth it. I'm not the biggest fan of 3D but this was something else. The 3D and IMAX really made you feel like you were there. It was beautiful.

The story was fantastic. It is very reminiscent of the story of John Smith and Pocahontas. A story about a man who goes to a foreign land and tries to connect with the locals and falls in love the girl assigned to show him their ways. In fact, the whole movie seems to reflect the story of the settling of America. The local people are extremely in touch with nature and cohabitate with it. The new people who come and try to offer them things they don't want so they just end up using force to get the natives out of the way. It's all very familiar but Cameron did it so well that I was completely absorbed into every aspect of the movie. You really connect and feel for the main characters and the Na'vi people. It is a very emotional movie at times. It has a run time of two hours and forty minutes but it seemed to be over so quickly because of how much fun it is to watch.

The cast was so perfect. Relative new comer, and sci-fi's new poster boy, Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation) played the lead role of the paraplegic Jake Sully. Worthington did a fantastic job with this role. He is really going to go far if he keeps performances like this up. You connect with Jake Sully on so many levels because of him. Zoe Saldana (Star Trek, Vantage Point) plays the role of Neytiri, a Na'vi who shows Jake the way of her people. Saldana did a great job and her career is going to go places as well. Sigourney Weaver (Alien, Galaxy Quest) plays the role of Dr. Grace Augustine, the head of the Avatar program. Weaver was great, her character, while never accepted by the Na'vi, loved the Na'vi culture and everything about their world. Stephen Lang (The Men Who Stare At Goats, Public Enemies) plays the role of Colonel Miles Quaritch, a man who has no sympathy for the planet of the local people and only wants to help the corpration mine their precious mineral by any means necessary. Lang was great as the trigger happy Colonel. The cast also includes Giovanni Ribisi, Michelle Rodriguez, Joel Moore, CCH Pounder and Laz Alanso.

This movie is amazing and mind blowing. This movie is really one of those must sees. I know that it's sci-fi and many people might not want to see it because of that, but this is a quality movie that can be enjoyed by everybody. Granted, this movie isn't quite groundbreaking on the level that Battleship Potemkin was like many people kept implying that it was, but it is still like nothing you've ever seen before. I really can't recommend this movie enough. Go see it and go see it in IMAX 3D if you can, you won't be disappointed.

Great quote: "Everything is backwards now, like out there is the real world and in here is the dream."

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