James Cameron’s Avatar
With all the hype surrounding James Cameron’s Avatar we set off to see the movie slightly nervous about how it was going to stack up.
Set on the visually stunning moon of Pandorra Avatar takes the viewer on a discovery of this mysterious world, and its inhabitants the Na’vi, through the eyes and narration of the main character, Jake Sully.
Jake, an ex-marine bound to a wheel chair, is given a new lease of life replacing his brothers role on Pandorra. From the start he is out to prove a he has limitless ability and courage, while many others doubt he has anything to offer. Humans have inhabited Pandorra with two very separate agendas, science and commerce, and from the outset of the first scenes on the moon its very clear the two don’t see eye to eye.
The scientists have discovered a way to genetically create Avatars, which are hybrid native Na’Vi mixed with human DNA. These Avatars are then connected via some form of synaptic link to the Drivers, to which Jake has now become. Their goal is to discover the world and understand it.
The commercial side of the human operation does not care much for the locals, and is very driven by the rich resources in the moon. Backed by their own private security force, their goal is to keep the shareholders happy and rich at all costs.
The story then unfolds as Jake engages the Na’Vi and starts to learn their ways. Both Scientists and Business men alike encourage Jake to pursue this learning, however for two very different agendas. But i wont spoil anymore of the story line. There is however a very heavy leaning towards how the environment plays apart in this tale, with a number of jabs at the current treatment of earth.
But really there is probably only one criticism you will find with the movie. James Cameron uses some very familiar movie story formulas, and there should be no surprises here for the audience. But this should be a minor criticism, cause it works. The story keeps you engaged the whole way. And its not because of the special effects or 3D elements.
Before the movie started i wondered if the 3D effects would be over the top, but they are not. The initial scenes in the movie will make you gasp. They set a new standard in 3D entertainment. But they become part of the movie experience.
The real star of the whole experience is Pandorra with its stunning scenery. I believe you could watch this movie over and over and over again and still find something new in the scenery. Its densely packed but not totally overwhelming. Its detailed and i found it hard to spot where the real life elements ended and the CG elements started.
3D plays a huge part in the movie, but its not ‘spears in your face’ tacky. Its used with incredible effect in even the most generic scenes, and really brings Pandorra to life.
And if your worried about the Computer Generated blue people, dont. The rendering is exquisite and they capture the emotion of each character very very well.
I loved this movie. It would probably be my movie of the year, easily. I was entertained, was not disappointed (even with all the hype) and pleased that the special effects didn’t override the general story, but supported it solidly. I cannot over state how stunning Pandorra was, and felt the scenery was even more stunning than the 3D technology.
The review I went to had a number of New Zealand’s top talent, and to steal a Twitter quote of Rhys Darby (one of the many present at this screening)
“Just seen Avatar. Remember that feeling you got as a kid, the first time you saw star wars? I just got it again but ten fold. Jaw dropping..”
Yeah.. I fully agree and see this as this generations Star Wars. James Cameron has set a very high bar in story telling in the new 3D movie age, and cements his place on the podium for BIG screen entertainment. I would recommend you go now and buy a ticket to see this at a 3D cinema. While its a keeper on the Blueray shelf, you want to see this on the big screen.
While it does have some heavy criticism on the formulaic storyline, this should not hinder the experience at all, I’m giving this Full Marks for being simply a fantastically stunning adventure.
Reviewed by: Skip Parker
Rating: [M] Contains battle violence
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang
Directed by: James Cameron
Genre: Thriller, Science Fiction, Adventure, Action
Duration: 2hr 41mins