Avatar the movie

Get your pitchforks ready people! I’m guessing from people’s reactions last night, not all of you are going to like what I have to say. To begin, yes this is the epic visual masterpiece that you’ve all been waiting for and it succeeds in everything it tries to do (visually).The overall look is stunning beyond belief, the special effects are impeccable, Cameron got me to shed a tear and sit on the edge of my seat… BUT the film isn’t flawless, not by a long shot…

The Players:

The Plot:

Paraplegic war veteran, Jake Sully is brought to another planet called Pandora in place of his brother with the promise of getting his legs back if he helps the government on a mission. Pandora is inhabited by a primitive race called the Na’vi and Jake is sent in to learn their ways so that he can help relocate them and the humans can take over.

The Good:

  • Special Effects: As if you didn’t already expect this. The SFX are impeccable and he uses them well. Instead of just shoving them in your face, he weaves them into the story beautifully, and they come off effortlessly.
  • The Details: Normally in a film like this, you can see a few mistakes here and there, but I didn’t catch any. From Sam Worthington’s tiny legs to the computers within the scenes – every detail was thought out and used as a part of the environment. The best thing that Cameron did was allow for all his hard work to be incorporated into the wide shots without saying “hey look at this.” In allowing everything to be part of a greater whole, Cameron truly created a world of his own, which makes you truly feel as if you’ve been transported into a new world while watching the film.
  • The Acting: To both the actors and director’s credit, the performances came through extremely well. It’s amazing how much of the actors emotions you could see through their Avatar characters. Zoe Saldana gave an especially emotional and strong performance, and you never even saw her real face.
  • Sam Worthington’s Hair: It sounds ridiculous, but this is another detail that really stood out. Normally you’ll notice that an actor is given a hairstyle that they can have throughout the entire film, but Worthington’s hair changed with every time shift in the movie and it always looked completely natural. Yet again, nice touch.

The Mediocre:

  • The Story: Cameron came up with a lot of original ideas for this film, but the story was not one of them. Although it was well put together, clean, and everything played out like clock-work, there was no originality to it. As everyone realized as they were walking out of the theater, the film is Dances with Wolves but with blue cat-like aliens. It’s every video game you’ve ever played, ever steamy-action novel you’ve ever read, every plot line you’ve seen before in a big budget film. Is it well told? Absolutely! But with all the time and money Cameron put into it, I would expect him to tell an old story well. I get that he took a number of risks, so maybe asking for an original story was taking things too far…

The Bad:

  • Early Footage: Although it was fun to see early footage of the film a few months ago, it screws you over in the long run. The first 45 minutes of the film is all about being in awe of the environment. It’s about reacting to everything around you, for the people who have seen the footage the experience isn’t fresh and therefore it doesn’t carry you as much as it should. For those of you who have abstained from any footage, you’ll soon be rewarded.
  • James Horner: I could literally tell you what instruments he was about to use and when (and I did tell the person sitting next to me a few times). The music was signposty, cliched, and sounded exactly like Titanic. Horner and Cameron go together like two peas in a pod and people love their collaborations, just not me. Films that take big risks like to find safety where ever they can, and Horner is their comfort blanket. For me, it was the one big thing in the film that almost took me out of a few amazing moments.
  • Natives Vs. Technology: (Spoiler alert) A white man comes in, learns the ways of a more primitive people, then fucks them over, has a change in heart, and comes back and uses their own ignorance and belief system to make himself a hero. It’s like Thanksgiving all over again! Although this is an old story that we’ve seen many times before and I can’t blame Cameron for coming up with it, is this really a message we want to be spreading and more so, promoting? What about taking responsibility for yourself?

Overall:

If nothing else this is a visual masterpiece and is meant to be seen in IMAX 3-D theaters. It will take you on a ride and blow you away. If you want to avoid some of the problems with it, just make sure to turn your brain off upon arrival and let your senses lead you.

Rating: 8/10

Avatar is in theaters beginning December 18th.

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