Last night I decided to feel young again so I decided to stay up until 12am and then went to the world premier of James Cameron new film, Avatar. Hailed by critics as the movie that will change all movies, I went all out and saw Avatar in IMAX 3-D. This was a truly remarkable experience. A film, which Cameron (Terminator 2 and Titanic) has been working on for years is supposed to be his life’s best work. I am going to be perfectly honest here. I was a little nervous coming into the film. I have been to some 3-D movies before and overall I am not such a fan. Additionally, I was fearful that the film would be too sci-fi for me and get lost in the grander of the digital creations Cameron had in mind. A gentleman in front of me had a blow up beach ball that the entire audience enjoyed hitting around for the hour we waited in the theater. I was a little worried the Beach ball would be the best part of the night.The film is a true piece of art with arguably some of the greatest special effects ever seen. You realize you are watching digitally enhanced images but the picture is just so beautiful.
Here is a brief summary of the plot. When his brother is killed in battle, paraplegic Marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington- Terminator Salvation) decides to take his place in a mission on the distant world of Pandora. There he learns of greedy corporate figurehead Parker Selfridge's (Giovanni Ribisi) 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 (Stephen Lang), 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 (Zoe Saldana), 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.
Some things to discuss. James Cameron’s World of Pandora. This insanely beautiful planet is only something that we can dream about and Cameron not only brings our dreams to life, he does it in a stunning fashion. The sheer beauty of the world left the entire audience in awe. The use of light, trees, forest, and waterfalls all drew me into this world. Of course seeing this in IMAX 3-D made it that much better. A quick spoiler!!!!!! At one point in the film we are introduced to the Floating Mountains. These are actual mountains that simply float in the sky with waterfalls running off of them and all. I can honestly say that the panoramic view Cameron provides is arguably the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen on film. The creatures, scenery, and design are all beautifully drawn and digitally created.
The story is well written and plays out in a predictable yet entertaining fashion. There is a twofold love story here in the film. The first is that between Jake and Neytiri. As she trains Jake to become one of them, they begin to fall in love with a sense of admiration and respect for one another. The love story is not too overbearing in the film, which is why I actually enjoyed it. The second love story is perhaps the greatest aspect of the film. That is the falling in love between Jake and Pandora. This is also the falling in love between the audience and Pandora. Cameron does a fabulous job at building a slow and steady connection between the character (and his audience) to the native planet. Sitting there in my seat I actually felt like I was falling in love with the planet along with Jake. As the film neared it end I actually want to live on Pandora. This is probably one of best qualities this film provides.
The film runs a long 162 minutes but contains a perfect balance of action, drama, and humor. Worthington plays a worthy hero, as he did in Terminator Salvation and he is helped out by a good cast including Zoe Saldana, his Na’vi love, Sigourney Weaver, the Doctor in charge of the program, and Michelle Rodriguez, a fighter pilot who has a soft spot for the natives.
Slight warning!!! This is definitely a sci-fi film and that should be known going in. It doesn’t always play like a sci-fli but you don’t want to be caught off guard for the moments that do. Another small warning would be that the film is rather long, running at almost 3 hours long. I personally enjoyed the 3-D for this film because it brought the film to life for me but it definitely was a little strenuous having to focus with those big glasses on for the whole film. Overall this film is another must see. Cameron keeps on pumping out blockbusters and this is no exception. When I left the theater at 3am to head home I definitely was not thinking about the beach ball.
Sex: Hinting to and some intense hugging
Violence: intense epic battle sequences and warfare
Language: not a problem
Run time: 162 min
Grade: 4 Stars