Saturday, January 02, 2010


After reading all the hype about the amazing 3D world James Cameron had created I decided to stop rolling my eyes and go see if this is the movie that is going to save Hollywood from the fire pit of oblivion. As the credits were rolling I wasn't quite sure what this movie was going to do to save the film industry but I was sure that James Cameron and Fox were going to walk home with a shitload of money. The film is undeniably gorgeous in it's scope and depth, visually. The planet of Pandora, where our story takes place, is richly detailed from every leaf on the trees to each blade of grass under the native Na'vi's feet. But as you may suspect the story is about as deep and predictable as a self-help book by Dr. Phil.In the distant future a parapalegic war veteran, Jake (Sam Worthington), gets a second chance to walk again. After his twin brother is killed in battle, Jake is asked to take his brother's place in a scientific experiment where he can mentally control a Na'vi called an Avatar. As you might suspect Jake is at first wary of the Native-American like Na'vi but after they take him into the tribe he turns on the hand that feeds him to protect them. Now there are a few eye rolling moments and one of the big ones is the speech by the uber corporate tool Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi). He explains to Jake why they are there to collect a rare mineral called, yes I'm serious, Unobtainium. Everytime Parker says it I cringe, you couldn't have just called it the new oil, or carbontonium. That's a good one. But unobtainium just souds goofy. Not to mention they are never really clear on what this thing really does. I gather that it's used for fuel but it just seems like a red herring to me. Something thrown in there just so the corporation can dig there. Also it would have been nice to get a little backstory on why they had to leave Earth. I think they mention a few times that it's a dark planet plantless and barren. But they don't really drive it home, hence I can't remember, so it feels like a chunk of the story is missing. It's also unfortunate that after all of this time James Cameron is still writing his own scripts. Avatar is littered with bad puns and poor Michelle Rodriguez got stuck with all of them.I enjoyed Zoe Saldana's Na'vi warrior Neytiri. It was also very odd but I found her blue skinned giant alien creature kinda sexy, is that weird? The best parts of the film were the training sequences with the Na'vi. The story was by far Cameron's weak point but the Na'vi and their homeworld are extremely strong. After Jake is brought into the tribe you come to understand their connections to the planet and its inhabitants. How the Na'vi can merge their minds, like in the Matrix, with the native horses or bird creatures. It was truly amazing to watch, especially in 3D. I also enjoyed Sigourney Weaver's crabby but likeable Dr. Grace Augustine, she really held this thing together many times when it felt like things were getting too absurd. It was also fun watching Stephen Lang chew some scenery as the hard ass bastard Colonel Quaritch. The battle sequences were epic and amazing visually. You can see the cash register chiming evertime there is a mighty explosion.Overall it's a fun and enjoyable flick and if you are on the fence about seeing it don't be. You'll get your money's worth especially if you see it in 3D. It's predictable and the story is cliched to the hilt but the Na'vi and the inhabitants of the world of Pandora are the best parts of this movie and they should keep your interest through this rather long epic. In short you have to see this in a theatre. It achieves its goal as a solid popcorn flick, as long as it doesn't get nominated for best screenplay.
Overall Grade: 3 BucketsGrade for 3-D: 5 Buckets

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