This is not an original movie. It’s a mishmash other stories and films all about an outsider who becomes a member of a tribe and learns about nature being a warrior. You know, like Dances with Wolves or The New World.
Totally not original…but neither was Star Wars: A New Hope.
Stars Wars was just a mix mash of Flash Gordon, and just about every fantasy story about a farm boy who saves the princess from the black knight.
It’s was the angle and way the story was told, a fresh approach that made Star Wars, and now AVATAR, such good films.
AVATAR is good, very good, and James Cameron just reminded me that he is one of the best on how to craft a bad ass sci-fi spectacle.
After experiencing the inept filmmaking in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, or the empty vessel of a film that was Terminator Salvation this year, the first thing that Cameron did right in Avatar was actually create and develop characters.
Hey! What a novel idea! Not just enjoy the action (which was great) or the amazing designs and visuals, we also get a cast of characters that we can root for…just like in Cameron’s other films.
He created a good and likeable protagonist in Jake Sully. Forget Sam Worthington’s uninteresting Marcus from Terminator, and see the performance he gives in Avatar. His character’s arc from the beginning of the film to the end was very believable and Worthington shows that he can make a good leading man. One of my favorite scenes with Jake is the first time he is using his Avatar. There is such a great bit of joy in his face since this man(a cripple in a wheelchair) is running for the first time in years.
Jake’s relationship with both the humans (Sigourney Weaver’s Grace, Joel David Moore’s Norm and Michelle Rodriguez’s Trudy) and with the Na’vi (Zoe Saldana’s Neytri, C.C.H. Pounder’s Mo’at and Laz Alonso’s Tsu’Tey) was compelling to watch as Cameron expertly paces Jake’s relationship with both groups in the film.
The stand out characters for me in either camps have been Weaver and Saldanna.
It’s great to see Weaver in a Sci-Fi action film and I loved her character Grace, a botanist who has already developed a strong relationship with the Na’Vi.
Saldana does some of the best acting this side of Andy Serkis’s Gollum. I hope people can look past the CGI(even though the CGI work was great) and see that Saldana gives 110% dedication to her character, she’s that good.
Stephen Lang plays Colonel Miles Quaritch, and let me just say that he is a badass. He’s cut from the same tough guy marine mold from other Cameron films, but he’s not a xerox of the soldiers from Aliens or The Abyss. Colonel Quaritch feels like the kind of tough guy would have trained Corporal Hicks and Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn’s characters from Camerons other films) into good soldiers. A great adversary for the Na’Vi.
In terms of the story, as I said in the beginning, yes the film has a formal you’ve might have already seen before.
There are elements of John Carter of Mars, and Dances with Wolves but it’s the added sci-fi and fantasy angel that works for me.
The only real thing I can think of that people will probably give the movie shit for is the almost “Think Green” message thats in the film, but it didn’t bother me.
YES, if you’ve seen more than one Sci-Fi, action, fantasy movie (and most like you have) you will probably guess the major plot points that will happen in this film.
Well good for you…now stop.
Did you watch The Matrix and as soon as someone said “No one has ever survived a fight with an Agent for more the 5 mins” that Neo wouldn’t KICK THE ASS of an Agent at the end?
Did you watch Aliens and didn’t think “Oh that little girl is going to get kidnapped and Ripley has to save her”?
Did you watch The Princess Bride and didn’t know that they find a way to bring Westly back from the dead?
So? Who cares? You went to see Avatar, not an Art house flick! Just kick back and enjoy the ride.
The story is still well told for this genre, and it works despite any minor flaws you could find(and in my opinion there was very few storywise). It doesn’t feel like their insulting your intelligence. It’s a good old-fashioned adventure yarn.
Also give credit to the fact that the filmmakers crafted a fully developed world with a very detailed backstory, and the way they unfold information and exposition was done very well.
“How about the 3D? Is it even worth it?”
Yes. Yes and yes.
This is the best use of 3D I’ve seen in a major movie, and it actually ADDs to the film.
When Jake gets on Pandora for the first time, the 3D actually feels like you in it! Your experience on Pandora is very much like Jake. At first you can’t get over how great it all looks. Eventually, like Jake in his avatar, you get used to it and you don’t even realize your still wearing the damn glasses.
My advice, go into Avatar, not as a movie that will change the way you look at movies, but as it is.
If you love James Cameron, then I have a great feeling that your going to really dig it.
But seriously, go in knowing you’re going to go in for a fun time.
I had a blast, and I can’t wait to return to Pandora again.