Written and Directed By: James Cameron
Staring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Giovanni Ribisi, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Joel Moore, Wes Studi, CCH Pounder, and Laz Alonso
Everything is backwards now, like out there is the true world and in here is the dream. -Jake Sully
No one in the universe has the imagination of James Cameron, and if they do, they don’t have the ability to convey it into the world of film. Not like he does. Avatar was the best film of 2009, and one of the best films to come out this entire decade. Suck on that you haters. You’ll eat up what’s been fed with a smile on your face, because it’s that damn good. Avatar is unlike any movie I have ever seen. Cameron takes a simple, almost cliche story, and makes it an authentic tale about two races, two people, and the world that lives and breathes around them. The fairyland of Pandora becomes a reality and you as a viewer are lucky enough to have been invited to see it through the eyes of Jake Sully.
Jake Sully, a paralyzed marine, learns his twin brother has been murdered. As it turns out his brother is a scientific genius and has been preparing for an excursion to the planet of “Pandora” to transfer his conscious to an Avatar, the body of the native humanoid “Na’vi”, the planets original occupants. When are soon privy to the knowledge that it’s not just a scientific exploration, but a military program with the intent to mine the precious material scattered throughout their rich woodland. Jake is asked by his military commander to find any Intel that would help them infiltrate the precious land, and force them off. Colonel Quaritch offers Sully the surgery to return his legs to him in return, but Sully has begun to understand the Na’vi, and more so he has begun to develop an affection for Neytiri , who has been teaching him the ways of their people and land. An epic battle is eminent, but the trip to get there is gripping.
There are political points of view tossed in on occasion, and for once a very loud distaste for the military that surprised me considering some of Cameron’s past films, but clearly the once idealistic vision of military being our “hero’s” is not present in this film. But thinking on films like “The Abyss” I realized he has explored the good and the bad of military for decades. Either way, whatever your stance may be, his point of view is clear, but it doesn’t muddle or distract from anything in the story. Even with the negative points of view, he still makes the Space Marines kick ass. The Mecha warriors will have you salivating. It’s Ripley gone gun crazy.
Yes, Pandora may have been artificial, but you become so absorbed in it, that you are one with the illusion. It so clearly blurs reality and fantasy that it becomes a real world that you’ve simply traveled to for three hours. For the first time I understand 3D as it was meant to be seen, and Cameron withWeta (Lord Of The Rings FX genius’s) fulfilled and surpassed any expectation that he and his most respected colleagues have been bragging about for a year. Will this change the way movies are made? For James Cameron it will. Everyone else can try and catch up.
The only part that wasn’t fully strong was the plot itself. Cameron, who I can usually count on for awesome one liners, and pretty strong willed dialogue wasn’t as remarkable as I anticipated, though still entertaining, just wasn’t particularly noteworthy. There were moments where you could find yourself mentally noting what was coming next, or predictions about epic moments, but that didn’t take away from the pleasure of getting there. Where the story lacked in strength or even originality it fully compensated for with it’s characters and utterly insane visual effects.
If Sam Worthington isn’t a household name after this movie, I don’t know what it will take to make it one. He was the best part of Terminator Salvation and is also staring in the upcoming remake “Clash Of The Titans”. In spite of all the brilliant other points of Avatar, it was a success because he was the right guy for the role. Handsome, but with eyes opening his soul to you, he was all the charisma and energy this film needed. Another piece of new and different. Coupled with ZoeSaldana as Neytiri , who completely blew me away with her performance through the special effects. Unlike Worthington, we never see her human face, and don’t need to. Her character, her voice, and her movement was remarkably expressive and unique. Grounding this massive film was the talents ofSigourney Weaver. Her face was a welcome each time she was on screen. With subtle strength she played perfectly against Sully’s over enthusiastic childlike behavior. Her character went by the name of Grace, and it suited her role with perfect reflection.
The characters themselves are so passionate and yet tangible. The ability to connect with them and follow Jake Sully on his journey felt like we were learning right with him, which was more or less the likely intent, especially since the beginning shows his pro-military goals. TheNa’vi not only had to convince Sully, but the audience as well. When things do start to go off the wire you are personal invested in a desire for vindication. By the end we understand why the characters made the choices that they did. It wasn’t bullshit. It was real.
Time was nothing in Avatar. It was a journey through an unexplored realm that had for ten years only existed in the mind of James Cameron. The characters, Pandora itself, and Sully’s journey to understand it was riveting. Avatar was the most beautiful, gorgeous, wonderful film I have ever had the pleasure of looking at. The colors, the fantasy, the imagination stirred something in me. This is the reason I go to the movies. Every once in a great while I get to see something that is more than even the great things I’ve seen before, something special, something that makes me appreciate the movies for the art it can be instead of the money making industry it usually is. I thank James Cameron for being the idealistic perfectionist that he is. For being uncompromising in his art, and making movies the way he feels they should be seen. Avatar is a masterpiece.