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James Cameron's Avatar
James Cameron's Avatar



James Cameron's Avatar


Title: Avatar
Science Fiction
Sub-genre: Corporate/Military
Media: Movie

James Cameron
Written By: James Cameron
am Worthington, Zoe Saldana,
    Sigourny Weaver, Joel Moore
    Giovanni Ribisi, Michelle Rodrigues
    Laz Alonso, Wes Studi, ...

    Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation

12/18/2009 (USA)
162 minutes
Rating:  "PG-13" for intense warfare,
     sensuality, language and smoking..
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Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Reviewed for by,
"Danielle Ackley-McPhail"

Stunning. There is no other word. Though there was little surprise going into the theatre that Avatar was going to be big-screen, big-budget eye candy--thanks to commercial after endorsement commercial before it even released--none of the advance glimpses did more than to give a teasing taste of what was in store. But don't let that be a negative influence on your opinion of the film, it is not all flash and glitter. Yes, this is an effects movie, yes they probably spent more on digital artistry than they did on the on-screen talents, judging by the after-movie credits, but there is little question that all involved delivered no less than their very best, which was considerable.

In a moment of extreme misfortune a scientist involved with the Avatar program loses his life, leaving behind a twin brother, Jake Sully, as the only person genetically compatible with the costly Avatar created for him. Sully is a disabled marine with absolutely no scientific training. Though feeling out of his depth, this opportunity gives him purpose his current life lacks, a chance to be useful, to move again without the pitying gazes of those around him or the aid of a wheelchair. To do something worth while. Sully has a lot to learn about the world he is entering, both the world of science and the world of Pandora and its indigenous inhabitants, the Na'vi, a sapient race echoing the existence, and fate, of the Native Americans, the Aborigines and African tribes of the third world.

Sully has always wanted something worth fighthing for, he unexpectedly finds it as he is ordered to immerse himself into the Na'vi culture, becoming one of them, learning their ways and what drives them. What he learns is their values, which sharply conflict with his other orders: convince the Na'vi to move away from their home, which is located directly over a massive mineral deposit the corporation is there to mine.

The viewer will find the depiction of Pandora enchanting and vibrant in comparison to the harsher reality of the corporate compound, it is all the more impactful filtered through the awe and joy of Sully, feeling whole and mobile for the first time in a very long time. This beauty and wonder contrasts all the more drastically once the conflict begins and Sully's sympathies are skewed by close contact and all he learns. It isn't just about a man going native, but of honor and justice and taking a stand against what is wrong. The transformation of this character from self-pity to selflessness is moving. Though the storyline can be predicable at times, this is not a mark against the film, but rather a following of the logical story path. Make no mistake, this is an epic that will live long past it's box-office glory.

The only thing perhaps to be marked on the negative side is that the antagonist in this film is the military, again, a logical choice and realistically depicted in regards to their role in the movie, but perhaps unsettling and conflicting for the viewer, particularly those with a military background.

If you can see this movie in the theatres, by all means you want to, but even on the small screen, it should more than impress.

Score: 9 out of 10

Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Reprinted by permission of the author.

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