ProsThis movie is long enough to hold your rapt attention. The sound track matches without the annoying overpowering thunder of Cameron's earlier big hit "Titanic." The seamless switching between alien world and base camp, reminded me of the first special effects wonder "The Wizard of Oz." Who can forget the absolute wonder of Dorothy exiting her drab cabin into the techni-color Oz? It was the most startling effect of all time. Avatar makes nod to this earlier movie by transporting our tired, jaded, harried characters from their boring day jobs to magnificent splendor. Sigourney Weaver's "avatar" self reminds us of a little girl in her cuteness, as compared to her cigarette addicted "real" self. Our hero does her one better by regaining the use of his legs, growing stronger, lithe, flexible. His alien princess girlfriend, for all her strangeness, has no trouble matching a humanoid's basic taste for good looks. She's thin, and she wears barely any clothes! Her eyes are large and widely set, cheek bones high, all the classic marks of a working model despite her blue skin and incredible height. We have no trouble imagining what these two good looking youngsters are going to be up to in couple of scenes.
ConsSome of the reviews have complained that compared to the luxe synthetic vibe of the cinematography, the story line itself is thin. Boorish unpaid reviews have hurled adjectives as disparate as "predictable" and "silly." That characters in general do seem to be archetypes in motion: the greedy corporate leader, the gruff scientist, the naif goody goodies against the mean, non-introspective baddie baddies. But Cameron can hardly be blamed for what is true of most of the Sci-Fi genre. From Star Trek in the 1960's to the present we have seen this sort of eternal struggle. If one wishes to research the genre even further back to print, cartoon heroes abound who follow the "underdog" against the evil organization model. I don't think people read Science Fiction or Fantasy looking for the next great complexity. It's more about how we are telling an old story in a new way.
Our characters wander the scenery with the same trepidation as the viewer. At first afraid of what is unfamiliar, wondering if it will kill us (or at least make us sick.) Gradually we warm, with our main character and relax in to the sheer fantastical-ness of out brave new surroundings. Creatures that remind us of horses, bond with us closer than any dressage nag. While dinosaur like reptiles fill the skies. Ferns and flowers so real you imagine yourself smelling them populate the alien planet, making rough the transition back to the more conventionally filmed scenes of the quasi-military base camp.
Full ReviewJames Cameron's innovative new movie is the movie worth seeing this decade. Like Star Wars, before it, this science fiction epic breaks new ground in camera techniques and film editing. Entering the movie theater we were shocked at first by the higher price, due to the three dimensional special effects and necessary glasses. (Note to the unethical: even if you steal your 3-D glasses as some kind of collectible, you still have to pay full price to see the movie a second time.) Glasses wearers need not worry about potential discomfort, the 3-D glasses are large enough to fit over your existing frames.
For those who got sea-sick in last year's darling low budget movie "Paranormal" I can relate. That movie was so annoying even my young friends had trouble making it through to the stomach lurching end. "Avatar" is sweet by comparison. Lush, hypnotic, beautifully filmed the colors pop with creating nausea. Everywhere, it seems there is something to see. No corner of the screen has been ignored. It's truly as if Cameron has taken you to another world and left you there to delight. Conscious of his craft almost the animals and plants come toward you in gentle swaying motions, more natural and acceptable to eye than the hand-held "shaky-camera" technique.
In ClosingIf you see no other movie this decade, see this ground breaking new film. In a year from now it may seem antiquated and slow compared to what happens next, as is so often the way in this industry. But if you see it now, you have it forever as a fond memory. Take your kids, the story is sweet, the violence mostly implied, as with the sex. But don't forget to return those 3-d glasses!