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Year: 2009
Director: James Cameron

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Cast:

Sam Worthington (Jake Sully), Zoe Saldana (Neytiri (as Zoƫ Saldana)), Sigourney Weaver (Grace), Stephen Lang (Colonel Miles Quaritch), Michelle Rodriguez (Trudy Chacon), Giovanni Ribisi (Parker Selfridge), Joel David Moore (Norm Spellman), CCH Pounder (Moat), Wes Studi (Eytukan), Laz Alonso (Tsu'tey), Dileep Rao (Dr. Max Patel), Matt Gerald (Corporal Lyle Wainfleet), Sean Anthony Moran (Private Fike), Jason Whyte (Cryo Vault Med Tech), Scott Lawrence (Venture Star Crew Chief)

Storyline:

When his brother is killed in a robbery, paraplegic Marine Jake Sully decides to take his place in a mission on the distant world of Pandora. There he learns of greedy corporate figurehead Parker Selfridge's intentions of driving off the native humanoid "Na'vi" in order to mine for the precious material scattered throughout their rich woodland. In exchange for the spinal surgery that will fix his legs, Jake gathers intel for the cooperating military unit spearheaded by gung-ho Colonel Quaritch, while simultaneously attempting to infiltrate the Na'vi people with the use of an "avatar" identity. While Jake begins to bond with the native tribe and quickly falls in love with the beautiful alien Neytiri, the restless Colonel moves forward with his ruthless extermination tactics, forcing the soldier to take a stand - and fight back in an epic battle for the fate of Pandora.

Reviews:
benjamin-heckendorn20 December 2009 Warning: Spoilers Let me preface this by saying I am a huge James Cameron fan. I think "Terminator" is a masterpiece of sci-fi and the single best edited film of all time, "Aliens" is easily the best sequel not from the original director and I personally like it a lot more than the original. "Abyss" created an interesting world and was racked with tension, "Terminator 2" is an action tour-de-force and has what I believe the best sound editing/design of all time, "True Lies" is goofy fun, more poignant than most give it credit for with a boffo ending, and finally "Titanic" was far better than anyone expected it to be and has one of the most believable romances in a movie.

So then there was the 12 year wait for "Avatar". No reviews, word of mouth, ticket price or natural disaster would keep me from the midnight IMAX 3D screening. I went with moderate expectations, which the film matched exactly. While this kept me from being disappointed it wasn't a good thing.

Movie fans were on edge because if "Avatar" flops, it'll mean the death of creativity in a remake-happy Hollywood. That's a valid concern but the problem is nothing in "Avatar" is creative whatsoever. It is literally "Dances with Wolves" in space, right down to having a "Wind in his Hair" character as a foil to the "new guy".

As the movie progressed it caused the worst of all bad reactions for me as a viewer - I started thinking about other things. Then I kept thinking "well the end battle is supposed to be awesome".

SPOILER WARNING! (if for some reason you can't guess how this movie ends) End battle comes and the movie switches from being "Dances with Wolves" to Disney's "Atlantis" (but that's unfair since both of those movies contained far, FAR better musical scores) Gunship windows that were impervious to arrows a few scenes ago (to show Na'vi desperation) suddenly become brittle and break easily (to show Na'vi heroism). The battle isn't nearly as long as you'd expect, and nowhere near as epic / engaging as the finale of Return of the King. Finally there's a Robo-suit vs Navi fight and it is admittedly pretty good. Unlike 95% of directors these days Cameron knows enough to pull the camera back and let us SEE the fight. However it's an odd choice to spend millions on 10 foot tall "creatures" and then rarely even have them in the same frame as humans.

And of course there's the obligatory scene where characters are dying in slow motion as Middle Eastern vocal music plays (see Gladiator or Munich) Wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't said to my friend on the way there "How much you wanna bet there's a part where characters die in slow motion over Middle Eastern music?"

As with most movies these days "Avatar" is far too long, glossing over important details (why is Earth dying, what does Unobtainium do, etc) and instead spending time on flight scenes, mystic ceremonies, spirit trees and nature bonding.

Ultimately I just did not care. Since the dawn of cinema Hollywood recycles old ideas every few decades and slaps on a bigger budget / new stars / better effects so you won't notice. I can see re-doing "Ben Hur" with color and sound, but why do we need "Dances with Wolves" with 20 times the budget and blue Native Americans? No amount of impressive visuals, robo-suits, gunship battles, perfect character CGI or Sigorney Weaver can change the fact that I've seen this movie 100 times before. I could even accept the weak story if there were any characters to give a rat's ass about. This film is also dreadfully humorless, a stark contrast to "Titanic" where humor was one of its many surprises.

Regarding 3D... I've seen many films in it now and honestly you don't even notice after the few minutes. It doesn't make the money any better or worse, just more expensive.

Citizen Kane, The Robe, Sound of Music, Jaws, Star Wars, Batman, Toy Story, The Matrix... these movies changed movies. We can say that looking back now. "Avatar" saying it would ahead of time is pure hubris, "unsinkable Titanic"-like poppycock.

But if expensive motion-capture being used to cover up a weak, generic story is the future of cinema then count me out, I'll stick with my PS3. 778 out of 1,124 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink 8/10 After a decade, Cameron sets the avatar of our new generation Misagh13 December 2009 Warning: Spoilers I had the rather intense privilege to view James Cameron's much anticipated $400 million budget return to the directing scene, Avatar, at the Empire Leicester Square in London.

Where to begin! The visuals in this pieces was groundbreaking. He did it with the Terminator series and then Titanic, so one would expect Cameron to deliver... and HE DID! The visual are by far some of the sharpest CGI I have seen. You could almost say that there is a disquiet that follows Cameron's soul, as there is no other possibility of this strong and intensified quality. Its production design and visual effects are both noteworthy and it will get its praise upon official release.

What it was lacking that really should have shaped the movie is its character/story. I was expecting a complex and believable plot, but was left with a movie with mostly strong visuals. What most sci-fi lovers desire is mind-bending philosophies, fantasy and exploration and limitations of our or outer species. If it was not for this factor, I would give this a 9.5 vote.

Avatar will be a success, not only because of Cameron's legacy, but by very intelligent and viral marketing. Avatar have had a powerful marketing technique that assembles other successful blockbusters, such as The Blair Witch project (you all remember it), The Dark Knight (Joker invades the world) and also, the current production The Artifice (the-artifice.com) that is intelligently targeting the market.

Kudos to Cameron, Avatar is one of the (if not The) movie of the year. I could get in trouble for sharing this with you guys so early, so please click Yes on "Was the above

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