Avatar (2009)

avatar_2009_poster
Avatar (2009)
  • Time: 162 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Fantasy
  • Director: James Cameron
  • Cast: Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana

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.

3 reviews

  • I have to start off by saying that this movie was out of this world! Absolutely wonderful! “Avatar” is a must-see movie, innovative, and extraordinary. The special effects were jaw-dropping and the emotions displayed on the characters faces were incredibly detailed. Avatar is not simply a “movie” – it’ s an experience. As Writer/Director, James Cameron deserves high praise for this creation!

  • This movie is perhaps one of the most spectacular I have ever seen. Throughout all three hours or so, I was held spellbound by the scenery, action, and storyline of James Cameron’s dream. I do not think I glanced at my watch once throughout it, and I can honestly say that I didn’t want it to end.

    First: the visual effects were absolutely stunning. James Cameron did not just create a world; he created an entire ecosystem that could be plausible if we didn’t know better. The first time the Na’vi were seen, the person I was with leaned over and asked me if they were costumes or special effects, they were that real. The Hallelujah Mountains looked amazing, and the wildlife, although it would be frightening in real life, was just stunning.

    Second: the themes were great. Although stone-hearted critics may argue that it was unoriginal and a direct copy of other movies, there are very few movies coming out nowadays that you couldn’t say that about. I noted themes in this from several different movies, the most prominent being Dances with Wolves, but that wasn’t the only one. It also took a theme out of real life: people destroying the environment for such petty things as money. The reality of it is one of the most disturbing things in that film.

    Third: the storyline was great. It does have similarities to Dances with Wolves, but there was so much more to it than that that you really could not say they were the same thing. Dances with Wolves did not go into the training nearly as much as this did. There are several others, but I won’t name them all.

    Basically, this film is about as epic as you can get, and shame on all of you who think it was bad because it took themes from other movies and enhanced them. You will never find a movie that doesn’t.

  • There is nothing that has not been said with regards to the return of the king. After twelve years out in the ‘wilderness’ directing deep sea documentaries such as Ghosts Of The Abyss (2003) and Aliens Of The Deep (2005), and pushing the envelope on CG, 3-D, and motion-capture animation technology…

    James “I am king of the world!” Cameron is back to epic feature filmmaking with Avatar, a science-fiction extravaganza of sight and sound that is the brainchild of one of the world’s most technically accomplished filmmakers of the last three decades with an envious filmography that reads The Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986), The Abyss (1989), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), True Lies (1994), and Titanic (1997).

    Directed, written, co-produced, and co-edited by Cameron, Avatar comes with enormous pressure to deliver. With a budget ranging anywhere from US$250M to US$500M (let’s not play the guessing game), it is the most expensive film to date. If there is one filmmaker in the world who can fully justify the use of such an obscene amount of greenbacks, it is Cameron. Every single dollar is put up there on the big screen.

    Avatar is a simple story of war versus peace, human versus alien, a modern species versus an indigenous tribe. It draws influences from numerous films (apart from Cameron’s own), most notably Kevin Costner’s Dances With Wolves (1990), Edward Zwick’s The Last Samurai (2003), and Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke (1997) and Castle In The Sky (1986).

    Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) plays a paraplegic ex-marine who replaces his dead brother by using his custom-made avatar, mind-controlling a three-meter tall alien with blue skin and identifiable human features to blend in with the Na’vi, the indigenous tribe of Pandora, a world of stunning natural beauty.

    The humans or Sky People as unaffectionately called by the Na’vi is hell bent on clearing the forests of Pandora to excavate rocks potentially worth many times more than Avatar’s film budget. Sully finds love in Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), the gorgeous but fearless Na’vi daughter of a tribe head. She slowly warms up to his peaceful intentions, teaching him the ways of her culture. Torn between his race and the Na’vi, Jake must decide on his own destiny.

    Avatar is an entirely original concept pieced together by elements borrowed heavily from other films. The result is a narrative that is fresh but predictable. Many will be familiar with such a story but it is the experience that counts. Cameron delivers a tremendously captivating film experience for all of its 160 minutes.

    Because there is an emotional core formed by the relationship between Jake and Neytiri, the visuals never take center stage. In fact, they only enhance our appreciation of Pandora and our connection toward the Na’vi. There is something at stake here. Who lives and dies matters unlike in Michael Bay’s Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen (2009) or Roland Emmerich’s 2012 (2009).

    Avatar features an outstanding score by James Horner that deserves to be nominated for an Oscar. He captures the magic of Pandora and the thrilling spectacle by alternating between an enchanting soundscape and soaring themes.

    Speaking of Oscars, Avatar will win, hands down, the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, and is likely to be nominated in other technical areas such as sound and cinematography. The big question is will Avatar be a Best Picture nominee? And will James Cameron receive his second directing nomination?

    The major problem I (as a die-hard Cameron fan) have with Avatar is the film’s lack of significant action suspense. Cameron has a reputation for delivering white-knuckle excitement as characterized in films such as Aliens and T2, but this element is sorely lacking here. Because for most parts Avatar is rendered with CGI, the action sequences seem ‘fake’ despite being photorealistic.

    There was a time when Cameron made gritty, realistic, balls-to-the-wall action set-pieces. That time has passed. I still admire Avatar as a film experience. B ut having said that, I feel this is Cameron’s weakest work after True Lies. He retains his crown, but only a CG one.

    GRADE: A- (8.5/10 or 4 stars)
    More reviews: http://www.filmnomenon2.blogspot.sg/

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