Viewed – 22 December 2009  Cinema

It has to be said, the wait for director James Cameron’s next film has been waaaaaay too long.  Having swept the boards at the Oscars with Titanic, and more importantly being responsible for arguably the best sci-fi action movie ever made – Terminator 2: Judgement Day, I went into this with high expectations.  Sort of a throw back to the likes of Aliens and the aforementioned Terminator franchise, but given a personality and story very much its own, this epic fantasy / sci-fi movie places us on the forest world of Pandora, where tall, lithe blue beings known as the Na’Vi inhabit a world full of strange creatures, danger and spirituality.  Then comes along mankind in its usual bull in a china shop way, hell bent of mining the planet for its resources, and to hell with whoever lives there.  Yet thankfully, in amongst the army of gung-ho marines are a bunch of scientists who have developed a technology to artificially grow their own Na’vi, where they can transport the consciousness of a human volunteer, enabling he or she to walk amongst the tribe as one of them.

Sam Worthington plays paraplegic marine Jake Sully, who is drafted into the Avatar programme after his own twin brother is killed in action.  Soon he becomes a Na’vi and his goal is to befriend the tribe and persuade them to move village before the military arrive, whilst at the same time learn about their behaviour for scientific research.  Worthington is joined by Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez, as well as Steven Lang as a trigger happy Colonel.  Worthington carries the film well, but lacks a little presence (especially considering that mostly he’s a big, tall blue dude with a dawky grin), and Weaver is her usual, dependable self.  Yet it’s the performance of Zoe Zaldana as female Na’vi Neytiri who steals the show, and her personality brings the story to life. 

The world of Pandora is so beautifully realised, that it no longer feels like an effects film; the emotion on display from mostly computer generated people is astonishing, and their similarly CGI’d surroundings an incredible achievement, with every minute detail stunningly crafted and breathing with life.  Thankfully Cameron backs up the lush visuals with a decent story full of emotion and substance, but also doesn’t falter on the action, delivering some amazing sequences that made me want to shout out with delite.  It was also interesting to see a movie where we, the humans are the alien invaders, the change in perspective refreshing, and certainly got me thinking about the ruthlessness of mankind.  

So yes, it’s long, your arse will be numb as hell, but I assure you, you won’t be bored for a minute.  The concept alone is worthy of your ticket price, and it’s probably the best looking movie to come out this year – with a professional touch as expected from a director of such acclaim.  So welcome back James Cameron.  You have been missed.

Verdict:  5 /5

9 thoughts on “Avatar

  1. I quite enjoyed Avatar! I kind of suspected it to be all hype, but it really was a great movie. Sigourney Weaver really made it for me. “I need a sample!” 😀


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  3. You’re correct in praising Avatar for its effects, but before you give out 5 stars remember that SFX driven movies will only be swallowed up by the next bigger fish. People remember great movies for things like plot twists and character development, which are timeless; effects can always be outdone and forgotten. Alien has kept an untarnished image as one of the top suspense films of all time, while the action in Cameron’s Aliens is less than impressive to modern moviegoers. Avatar will suffer the same fate.


    • I gave Avatar 5 out of 5 not just for the effects, but because the story pulled me in, the performances (especially Zoe Zaldana and the action, which combined with the effects work, makes this a brilliant movie.) Of course the visuals will be bettered (one day) but the story and the action will still work decades from now. The story borrows from movies like Pocohantas and Dances With Wolves, showing its themes are timeless.


      • I posted a great comnmet earlier on this and now I don’t see it…. darn if I can re create it, but it went something like this…. LOVED all the color of everything…. their skin, the winged dragons?, the flora, the tree’s…….


      • TOTALLY agree man! The film was awesome, and I find it irritating that people talk about how “derivative” it is… all films are influenced by other films/tales.. it’s part of the art form! Incidentally, if you have a sec it would mean a lot if you check out our review parody of Avatar http://moviemangle.tv/avatar/


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