The year is 2154 and humans are mining for a material called unobtanium on the planet Pandora. The mining and planned expansion threatens the existence of the local people, Na’vi, human-like beings are gigantic and blue, but very human in thoughts, feelings and actions. The film title refers to genetically created beings that are part human part Na’vi and they are used/controlled by a team of researchers to interact with the natives of Pandora. Jake Sully (Terminator Salvation) operates an Avatar in place of his brother and soon becomes close with the Na’vi people, his mission is to make peace with them, little did Jack realize that his feelings and compassion would extend further than he could possibly imagine. Little did he realize he would become one with his…Avatar.
Well there is this little film you may have heard about, by a little move studio you may have heard (20th Century Fox) about by a small-time movie Director (James Cameron) who could use some promotion so I was right there and willing to help with my review! In actuality, Avatar is humungous as you well know, and with very good reason. I’m writing this review for people like me who aren’t so into fantasy and was hesitant to see Avatar myself even though I usually love James Cameron films. From Titanic to True Lies, the Terminator films, Aliens and Abyss I’ve always loved his films.
First off, the visuals have to be commented on because this film is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The colors are the most vibrant colors that are so rich they pop off the screen. James Cameron somehow tops himself, Titanic being the biggest movie of all-time for twelve years and now it’s in 2nd place for a very good reason. The visuals in Avatar make Titanic look like one of the very first silent movies that make Grindhouse films look top-notch in comparison. Cinematography by Mauro Fiore is simply breathtaking even when you are taken away from the vibrant colors of the Na’vi people and into the world of the humans, there is a crisp, clean look that is startling to behold, perfect detail everywhere. Action scenes retain the perfect details and do not lose you with too-quick action but it is timed just right for the average viewer to follow. I get the impression that all the time Cameron spent in the deep ocean studying life & artifacts that the beauty rubbed off on him. Plants and interesting looking life forms look just like some of the creatures he filmed in the deep ocean where they glow in the dark and have unique shapes. I think Cameron grew to really respect and admire these life-forms which is why he put similar creatures in Avatar. This is the definite movie to show off your Blu-ray player, HDTV and entertainment system to your friends and family.
James Cameron’s (Terminator, T2, Titanic) story is perfectly crafted. You wouldn’t think you could relate to blue people on a different world in the far future, but Cameron makes you feel more like them than the humans in the film. There is something to say about humanity and Cameron is a masterful storyteller as much as he is a master director. The opening scene might seem familiar if you saw Aliens with the humans landing on LV426, as there is a similar landing here, but the visuals are light-years better, no exaggeration. Cameron manages to top himself time and time again with this film, and the story is no different than the other aspects of Cameron’s work on Avatar. It truly is a top-notch story that is multi-layered with meaning and content. There are parallels between what happens in the film and what happens in real-life here on earth. In fact, Cameron manages to tell an all-too-true story that connects with what is going on with the oil spill in the southern coast of the United States. Cameron proves with his story here that he is always ahead of his time while also being with the times.
Avatar’s cast is excellent, each actor/actress filling their role to perfection, which is usually the case in Cameron’s movies. Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation) shows tremendous growth here and that he can be much more than an action star he‘s the main character you identify with and Sam does a great job at first being a jerk, but then sympathizing with the Na‘vi people. Sigourney Weaver (Alien series, Ghostbusters) shows that despite all the years her and Cameron make magic together. Stephen Lang (The Proposal) as Colonel Miles Quaritch plays the villain who wants to obliterate the Na’vi people and destroy their land so they can obtain the rich mineral. Michelle Rodriguez (upcoming Machete) plays beautiful Trudy Chacon who is a combat pilot. Giovanni Ribisi (Saving Private Ryan) as Parker Selfridge the corporate administrator in charge of the mining operation. He does a great job as a secondary villain.
Now I am not blind to the backlash that is a little popular when it comes to Avatar, mostly among the movie geeks who like to complain about everything even movies they like & love. When a movie is this huge it will have it’s haters, like Titanic did. I think a lot of it is due to jealousy, maybe a bit of rebelliousness against the hype, which is understandable. However, if you’ve seen the movie you know the hype is well-deserved. This is the biggest movie of all-time for a reason, not just the promotion or the beautiful, stunning visuals or the great story-telling, Avatar earns it’s place because of the whole package. Some people might like to pigeon-hole it as being all visuals and no story, obviously those people just don’t get it. You have to give this movie time and pay attention and re-watch this movie because there are layers of meaning here that relate to the real-world and our problems.
While I’m not big on movies with messages (they tend to be boring) Avatar entertains while also spreading it’s message about man, the damage he does to the planet and the fact that trees, plants and animals are also life and as important as the rest of us. Avatar goes above and beyond to entertain and spread the message. Some people might not like it based on that or if they feel they can’t relate to the film, but even a skeptic like myself was able to see the film for what it was: a wonderfully entertaining film that has loads of depth, story and meaning. A perfect example of this is when Jake Sully who is busy trying to become one of the Na’vi people realizes the beauty of their culture, plant life and animals and also realizes that the men who was working for intended to do away with it all. His fight for his new people is no less important than their fight for survival and protecting their precious home-land.
This Blu-ray release comes with no extras, but future releases will be having 3-D versions and loads of extras.
Overall, Avatar is a great movie. A must-see and a must-own. You might be a little reluctant to see this like I was because of the blue people and all of that non-sense in my head that made me wait so long to finally see this great film, but honestly I was won over big-time by this movie. The story is as great as the visuals, all you need to do is free your mind up and enjoy. Avatar gets my Highest Recommendation!
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