Sunday, December 20, 2009

You are not in Kansas anymore. You are on Pandora, ladies and gentleman.

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

It seems everyone and their grandma is seeing this movie and almost everyone and their grandma loved this movie. Maybe not the 5 star experience that James Cameron was hoping for but plenty of 4-4 1/2 stars to go around. Either way its critically acclaimed, mostly loved by all and called a stepping stone for modern movie technology. Its being heralded as the Star Wars of the 21st century or the biggest innovation in movies ever. The hype machine for this movie was so high that it almost blew New Moon out of the water. Almost...

James Cameron has been working on this movie for years and years now. The man behind the first two Terminator movies, the critically acclaimed Aliens, the Abyss (a guilty favorite of mine), True Lies and Titanic has released his first new movie in 12 years. Loved by many and hated by the same amount this former geek turned film director has made some of the best. He has a nasty temper and is a bit of a pretentious jackass but his work is brilliant. He has won plenty of Oscars and other awards now and even had the gall to shout "I'm king of the world" when he won Best Director for Titanic. Since then he's been re-writing and tweaking his Magnum Opus Avatar until the technology could catch up to his imagination. What is this final product: A remake of Dances With SPAAACCCEEE!!

Clocking in at a staggering 161 minutes long Avatar is one that you need not but the large Coke for. I opted not to see it in 3D for one reason: its a gimmick.

3D has always been a silly gimmick to me. Ever since I can remember I have never liked it. It always hurt my eyes and never really wowed me when it worked. Even at Disneyland with the Honey I Shrunk the Audience in 3D thing I couldn't get into it. The wind on my legs simulating rats was more intense than what was on the screen. And I don't understand why its coming back now! It was big in the 80s for some reason but it was never really liked all that much except for a few cool effects at the time. In the 90s people focused more on the movie and less on the gimmick with not that many 3D movies coming out. In the 2ks though (the 2000s) there has been a surge of new 3D movies with a lot of movies coming out with at least the option of 3D. The first 3D movie I saw was the subpar Spy Kids 3. Some of the effects were cool but lackluster overall. And no TV show or any movie, in my opinion, has ever blew me away or even interested me if it was in 3D.

But I digress. I did not see it in 3D. Before I tell you the story let me jump to the question that everyone has: how are the visuals? In my opinion they are stunning. They really are. I'm surprised at how much was CGI (like 60%) but it was really quite beautiful. The scenery on the planet Pandora is lush, bright and colorful and looks as realistic as CGI can. The same goes with the Na'vi/Avatars. They all look beautiful and quite realistic and almost like real humans or real creatures. But there is that animated-ness that goes along with all CGI heavy films.

Onto the story: have you seen Dances with Wolves? Or how about Fern Gully? If you answered yes to one or both of them then you have your story. But if you answered no then here is a BRIEF description: humans want Unobtanium, it is located on a planet called Pandora, they can't breathe the air so they create avatar beings so they blend in with the native Na'vi people. Things don't go well.

There is a lot of talking and a lot of description/explanation in this movie so I don't really want to bore you with the whole plot because that would be a post and a half.

The acting is wonderful in this movie, even if the plot and dialogue are a bit uninspired. Giovanni Ribisi is a great corporate head, Sam Worthington plays a great protagonist, and Sigourney Weaver is great as well. The acting overall is quite solid and well done. The same goes for the action. Although there isn't a LOT of action, the last half an hour or so are extremely exciting to watch.

Overall its a good movie. Not a great movie or a groundbreaking movie but its still a good movie. Well acted, well designed and great special effects. The story is a bit uninspired but still good anyway. I recommend this one for sci-fi fans who can sit in place for a while.



  1. It was a pretty cool flick in 3D. The U.S. military cliches were a bit too much.

  2. What did you think of Zoe Saldana? I mean she's practically the female lead and just because her character is CGI she barely gets any recognition. And I found the film to be groundbreaking, technology-wise, but I'm not a fan of losing actors to avatars.