REVIEW SUMMARY: Outstanding visual effects and a compelling set of characters help this rather simple sci-fi story deliver a very entertaining experience.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: An evil corporation wants to mine underneath the

sacred village of the indigenous population and will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. In an attempt to negotiate a peaceful resolution, a group of scientists don Avatars, clones of the aliens grafted together with genetic material from the human pilots. The humans pilot these bodies remotely and befriend the natives but are unable to convince them to leave causing the corporation to use military force instead.


PROS: Best visuals in a motion picture, advancing film special effects, reminds many of Star Wars

CONS: Incredibly predictable plot, some dialog is really lame

BOTTOM LINE: This is a must-see film – in 3D – if you’re at all interested in seeing how the future of film (and science fiction in film) will be.

When Star Wars first came out many were suitably amazed at the advancement in special effects it provided. The fact that the plot was relatively simple and the actors mostly unknown was overlooked by many because the experience was so entertaining. For me, Avatar is much like that.

If you decide to see the movie, you must go see this film in 3D. I don’t care if you don’t like the 3D movies you’ve seen so far, or you find it distracting, or any other excuse I’ve seen for why you don’t want to get caught up in the hype. This is the biggest advance in film since sound and color. Don’t believe me? Jeffrey Katzenberg, James Cameron, and Disney are just a few betting their careers and their money on the future of digital 3D movies. There are no gratuitous spears coming at you in Avatar, but instead a total immersion that really adds something to the movie experience. There is a lot going on in this jungle world and I felt the 3D effects made it much more realistic and believable. The insects, the falling ash, the background combat action all work well in 3D.

The film isn’t perfect by any means. The rare mineral the corporation is searching for is called “unobtainium”. It’s frankly embarrassing how lame that name is. It was so bad it was actually distracting in the theater as several of us laughed in disbelief. Might as well have called it “rare-onite” or “can’tgetany-um”. Sheesh. Although, “the force” isn’t exactly an inspired name either this is worse. And the plot is wildly predictable. Do you think maybe the lead character will end up fighting against the evil corporation? Will he and the princess fall in love despite her being promised to the hot-headed warrior? I’m sure you can answer all these without ever seeing the movie. There is one aspect I felt wasn’t a total cliché and that was the symbiotic relationship between the various species of the planet. They all have some kind of sensory organ that connect and allow some feelings to be exchanged between them (including between the aliens and trees.) This connection was at least a pretty interesting idea and this part played a decent part of the plot.

Despite the plot being pretty weak, I felt the characters were surprisingly deep and grow and change throughout. Sure, there are the stock supporting cast. The over-muscled military leader, the profit focused weasel of a corporate exec, and the hot-headed native warrior will all be instantly recognizable. But beyond that the main characters have to expand and grow and make some surprising choices that had them feeling real and compelling to me.

Overall, I recommend you see this movie and see it in 3D. You’ll kick yourself it you don’t.

Filed under: Movies

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