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Film Review: Avatar (2009)

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Disabled Marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) travels to planet Pandora to become an avatar, ingratiate himself with the natives and help Americans mine lucrative unobtainium. But he finds himself in an interstellar conflict after falling for Na’vi warrior Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). James Cameron writes and directs this Golden Globe-winning CGI odyssey that has broken box office records. Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang co-star.


Since this film’s release in 2009, it may be an understatement mentioning the shear volume of sales and rave reviews this film has received. Upon this review we find the summer block buster finally available as a DVD release for home viewers. Director James Cameron of “Titanic”, “Terminator” and others fame knocks our socks off with another hit that really passes thru alot of genres in its presentation. Action, scifi, Fantasy, and certainly Adventure …Avatar almost feels like the modern day Star Wars meets Jumanji meets ET kind of picture. Complete with phenomenal special effects by largely the team at Stan Winston FX company “Avatar” is a great story and visual treat for viewers. I confess to taking my time getting to this one. Mainly I think due to the oversaturated blue horse faced looking creatures that kind of felt a bit too cheesy star-warsy to my personal tastes.

Though these blue giants are only a portion of the creatures, environment and look and feel to this film. “Avatar” refers to the technology in place in the modern epic that uses science to reproduce living, walking breathing organic bodies that are mind controlled by the host subject controlling them from within a chamber. Essentially you can experience being one of these creatures, take on its look and participate in the real world while you brain controls it from afar. The subject lies dormant until they log out of the avatar.

Our main star Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), find himself literally thrown into the world of Pandora and its odd inhabitants when his brother is killed in combat. A marine himself, Jake is asked to take his place seeing that his DNA is of similar makeup and that the avatar created is extremely expensive. Jake crippled from the waist down finds new life in his transformation that allows him to walk again as a imitation Na’vi. He is quickly accepted into the alien tribe due to his almost interest and difference of character than his scientist colleagues. It is here where he meets Neytiri and quickly develops a shared respect for each other. This respect becomes more than they expected as the 2 fall in love. All the while Jake as his avatar tries to win the respect of thru tribe by taking on all the necessary challenges he needs to prove his manhood and ability to conform to the culture.

The goal of the humans though is ultimately the prize unobtainium that exists below the Na’vi’s home base.

The epic adventure finds Jake becoming accustomed to his avatar and the lifestyle of the Na’vi. As he learns their ways, he also learns the purity of the tribe and its special relationship with nature. The military though wants nothing to do with these creatures and only to rape the land of its resources so that they can bring it back to the now dying planet of Earth. When Jake takes a stand, the forces retaliate using all there available weapons. Though while they threaten the existence of the tribe, the planet has other plans for the humans who threaten it.

“Avatar” excels in its CGI and life action animations that blend seamlessly. The color palette with its mixed blues and rich greenish glowing accents provide an unbelievable beauty that accents this lush and detailed planet. Such is the detail that you will quickly forget that most of what you are seeing is computer generated. At the heart of this film is a sort of culture, good vs evil and common values whether alien or not. The main actors are comprised of Sam Worthington as Jake, Zoe Saldana as Neytiri and Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Grace Augustine. Stephen Lang pays the opposition hard nosed militant jar head leader Colonel Miles Quaritch.

The cgi used cleverly mixes the real appearance of the actors who become avatars through out the movie. Viewers might also catch on to the subtext of afterlife…as the hosts travel thru tunnels to reach their avatar, as the bodies are used but still seperate from the spirit and mind and from the incinations of the 3rd act. Avatar provides a rich viewing experience and leaves a feel good story in the hearts viewers. The film clocks in at 2 hours and 48 minutes which is similar in line with some of James Cameron’s previous films. Though as always the experience is a great reward for film lovers and fans of fantasy cinema.

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