Synopsis: Jake, a paraplegic war veteran, is brought to another planet, Pandora, which is inhabited by the Na’vi, where he must get them to relocate in order to harvest their planet resources.
Release Date: November 18, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Action
If a holy entourage consisting of Jesus, the prophet Muhammad, Buddha, Ra, and any other deity went out to catch a midnight showing of “Avatar” even they more than likely declared, “Yahweh!” at one point during the movie. No matter who you are and what you’ve seen before, this is simply a technically and visually impressive film on the grandest scale. The writing, okay, it could use a little work. The siding with the natives storyline has been done in half a dozen Westerns before, the characters are a bit flat, the dialogue is often hokey and obvious, and the go green, anti-Iraq, machine vs. nature messages are pretty high-handed. But who cares! “Avatar” is the extremely rare exception to the rule that story is everything in that the actual experience actually transcends the narrative. Director James Cameron is clearly some kind of wizard straight out of Hogwarts because he manages to bring magic back into the Cineplex. In an age where the average viewer can simply wait four or five months for the high-definition Blu ray or download the movie illegally onto an iPod, here is a film that finally demands you to watch it at the theater multiple times, an experience worth your ten plus dollars. Can’t afford a family trip to Disneyland this year? That’s okay; take everyone to see this film in 3D instead. Watching “Avatar” will completely transport you to another world, it will capture your imagination, and it will reawaken your inner-child, reminding you why you fell in love with going to the movies in the first place.
Go out and watch this movie in 3D now. As my sister put it so profoundly, “It’s like my eyes are on crack!” In 1991, director James Cameron’s “Terminator 2” raised the bar and set a standard for special effects that are still pretty impressive to this day. And now, twelve years after “Titanic”, Cameron completely revolutionizes the 3D going experience. For most films, the 3D effect is simply a gimmick, adding little if anything to the movie itself. In this case however, not only does the 3D help completely immerse the viewer in the epic world of “Avatar”, it demands to be seen in the 3D format and the 3D format alone. Whether it be a long chamber within a space craft or an aerial shot of an island floating thousands of feet in the air, the 3D gives the visuals an epic depth like nothing before. On top of the 3D, Cameron has perfected the motion capture technique, renaming it “performance capture.” Director Robert Zemeckis who’s been obsessed with motion capture in 2004’s “Polar Express”, “Beowulf”, and this year’s “A Christmas Carol” is probably now off in a corner crying somewhere because quite frankly, those effects suck compared to “Avatar.” As a boy in the fifth grade, the first time I saw the dinosaurs in 1993’s “Jurassic Park” I instantly fell in love with the wonder that movies can create. “Avatar” has that kind of power, a spectacle with the ability to amaze and inspire. This film deserves recognition not only for technical achievement of the year, but of the decade.
This movie sports enough bass to literally blow your pants off. Between all of the jets, helicopters, animal roars, screams, machine-gun fire, and explosions, it’s pretty much a miracle to remain fully clothed in the theater. Even the rustling of leaves and trees somehow manages to sound epic. The sound is another perfected dimension that helps the viewer become completely immersed in the “Avatar” world. Just remember to wear a belt.
One or two minutes into the movie and one will already be taken with the scope of space and the deep chambers of the ships. When the audience then sees the alien world Pandora, they are witness to magnificent production design of the highest imagination. Videogamers will be satisfied with the huge mech hangars on the military base, the design of the mech exo-skeletons themselves, and enough variety of firepower to make the NRA squeamish. Nature enthusiasts will drool over the 500 or so plants and creatures inhabiting the planet, Pandora’s thousand feet high trees, and “hallelujah mountains” that literally float in the sky. The planet Pandora is a mix of futuristic warfare, ancient tribal culture, prehistoric jungle, and we wouldn’t want the emerald blue planet in any other way.
Nevermind the fact that the film runs for 160 minutes, that there might be too many thong wearing blue aliens on the screen for some, this film sports more bullets and arrows than any ten films combined. For such a long movie, the viewer is kept entertained with battle after battle, whether it be a ten foot Na’vi wrestling a dinosaur bird, a lion-like creature fighting a mechanized exo-skeleton, or a Na’vi fighting a mech. And just when the viewer might find himself/herself starting to get bored, an epic war of aircrafts vs. flying banshee beast takes place. This is the most ridiculous movie I’ve seen all year, and I mean that as a compliment.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): James Cameron
- Producer(s): James CameronZoe Saldana (Neytiri)
- Screenwriter(s): Sam Worthington (Jake Sully)Sigourney Weaver (Dr. Grace Augustine)Michelle Rodriguez (Trudy Chacon)
- Story: Giovanni Ribisi (Selfridge)
- Cast: John RefouaMauro FioreRick CarterRobert Stromberg
- Cinematographer: BUF
- Production Designer(s): Gentle Giant Studios
- Costume Designer: Hybride Technologies
- Casting Director(s): HydraulxWeta DigitalIndustrial Light & Magic (ILM)
- Music Score: Pixel Liberation Front
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA