It is my first time watching 3D through a live action movie. I don’t see them often because it costs $3 extra on top of an already pricy movie ticket. I had seen “Meet the Robinsons” and “Up” in 3D, so I was familiar with how this film would work… I can say now, I was not prepared for the next 2 hours and 42 minutes.
“Avatar” is about a paraplegic Marine, Jake, whom is drafted for a special ambassador program to the planet Pandora. On this otherworldly jungle are the Na’vi, ten-foot tall humanoids, among a host of deadly animals and plant life. Humans are at Pandora to move the Na’vi off of a vein of precious mineral, by peace through ambassadors whom operate the avatars, bodies made with Na’vi and human DNA to allow humans to telepathically “send” their mind/consciousness into these shell bodies. The alternative, should negotiation go bad, is by force of the military industrial complex. After an incident on an incursion through Pandora’s jungles, Jake is separated from his avatar team. A touch of fate lands Jake stuck between his fulfilling his mission and his growing loyalty to the Na’vi…two civilizations hang in the balance on his decisions.
This is a much layered and very engrossing movie. It is an action film. It is a romance film. It is a war film. It is a slapstick comedy. It is an animated movie. It is a commentary on the state of human affairs and a look at the human condition. It reminds me of “Aliens” at some points. It is reminiscent of human history. Oh and there are the best visual effects you will see thus far. James Cameron is back…with a vengeance. Corny, I know.
“Avatar” is definitely a very visual film, and thankfully the visuals are neither extraneous nor distracting. They are complementary and mandatory to the story. The film wouldn’t work without the depth of the world of Pandora from its people and wildlife, religion, language, society, and ecosystem. The great part is that the film makes you care about all of it as much as the characters care about their home. It is a great treat to see so much work put into creating a world essentially.
The majority of the main characters are either Na’vi or the avatar, and most time is spent on Pandora, and well much of the movie is computer generated, but again, not distracting. The actors come through beautifully and are realized as full beings, human or alien. The great thing I learn about characters in film is that they don’t need extensive back story, just to be believable and/or develop as the story goes.
Jake (Sam Worthington) is only character I noticed that undergoes the most change, as he should since the movie also lives and dies on him. Stephen Lang is equal parts hard-boiled and dedicated, as he is somewhat unhinged and hardcore crazy. Zoe Saldana is the heart of the film, being able to present a romantic lead that is not at all nauseating, and represents the indigenous Na’vi through the film. I must say she delivers a true standout performance….again…two for two in blockbuster films in a year, so kudos.
I mentioned “Aliens” earlier… Sigourney Weaver (Ripley-like here) and Michelle Rodriguez…you can’t tell me it doesn’t shout Vasquez from back in the day? LOL! Next is Giovanni Ribisi, who is like Paul Reiser from “Aliens”…the corporate d***head that he and the aforementioned cast are great additions.
James Cameron coming back is well, only good. I don’t think he ever did a bad movie since “The Terminator.” He crafted a film that is the best parts of everything he has ever done, and then injects new effects and makes it kick you around for near three hours. Good times.
Now the fun part…ACTION! Thankfully, the movie is not wall-to-wall action because I think I would have lost my dinner at the sensory overload. There are always things happening in the film. I honestly can tell you that it is better in 3D. Why? Depth of field and the optical illusion to seeing that action happens not only in front of you, but you can see things from afar and it really is far away versus just looking small.
This adventure/romance/drama/action is a tour de force of filmmaking that will set a standard for future films to come, be it they are computer-generated in part, completely, or straight up live action. Though the 3D aspect suits visual action oriented films overall.
Now lets double check on the story. First it is not original. “Dances with Wolves” and “The Last Samurai” comes to mind first. The original aspect of this film is its stellar presentation. Second, history is being reminded of everyone. I saw direct reference to namely Native Americans and their forced removal from lands here in America. I also saw viewpoint on America venturing to harvest valuable minerals for profit, if nothing else. Sound familiar? California Gold Rush. Middle Eastern oil. African conflict diamonds. The list goes on and on. A friend of mine pointed out that I would notice things like this, and to me, it made for a much deeper film than just a fun visual journey.
End opinion. “Avatar” is worth the money, all $13.50 of it to see it in 3D. Bootleg won’t do you the justice of seeing this one. I loved this film and it is one of my favorites of 2009, and also of the past ten years.
C H A M P
S T A T U S !!!!!