Every review and pre-release bit of advertising for this film promised a spectacle. Avatar did not disappoint. Especially in 3d.
First, the story:
Jake Sully is a marine in a wheelchair. His brother is killed and Jake gets the chance to take his place in a program where his brain can control an avatar. The film begins with his arrival at the unbelievably lush green and generally wonderful-looking planet Pandora and he is shown how to control the avatar. He obviously enjoys being an avatar as he can run around and do athletic stuff. Eventually he infiltrates the local population who are called the Na’vi. They are tall, blue, hard to kill and strangely attractive.
As he bonds with the Na’vi in his avatar body, he is also learning about a plot by the evil humans when he wakes up to his human existence. The majority of the humans are evil scumbags – half are working for the greedy ‘Company’, who want to exploit all the natural resources, and the other half are violent gung-ho kill-em-all booyah marine types with sensible haircuts and mega-cool weapons.
Eventually Jake falls in love with Neytiri, a native lass. Who can blame him? She stunning and limber and wears practically nothing. He also realises that all the humans – bar Sigourney Weaver, a couple of scientists, and a feisty hot pilot (Michelle Rodriguez) – are so awful they are almost stereotypes. He sides with the Na’vi and there is a brilliant war.
I didn’t really need to tell you the plot as you can probably work out everything that is going to happen from the trailer.
Most critics have loved this film for its sheer spectacle and wow-factor. They are correct. They have also occasionally criticized it for having a weak plot. I think people are missing the point here. The film is amazing to look at, has no boring bits, and a story and characters that I liked enough for me not to feel it detracted from the film in any way. I found myself empathizing with the Na’vi and hating the humans. Especially at certain destructive parts. I got involved with the people and the story.
I think critics and certain insecure cinema snobs should realise that people go to see certain films for different reasons. If you want to taut gripping plot that twists and turns – see a thriller. If you want heart-wrenching drama, watch a harrowing film about the holocaust or a chick-flick where someone dies really slowly for half of the movie. If you want shallow meaningless action with no story and crap characters – Michael Bay will sort you out. If you want action that is well directed, has good likeable characters, flawless sequences and moments that remind you why you like the cinema – then James Cameron is the man. (and Peter Jackson.)
The world of Pandora is staggeringly beautiful and believable. The 3d technology invented for this film really adds to that. The kit that the humans use is huge and impressive. The creatures that the Na’vi ride around on are similarly awe inspiring. The battles are incredible.
I like all sorts of films. Even romantic comedies. To put this film in a category is fairly easy. It is one of those films that made me happy to be in a cinema. You are drawn into a world and see a spectacle that you haven’t seen before. When the 3d kicks in and the film begins I felt like I had done on very few occasions – the original Star Wars (when I was about 6), Aliens, the Matrix, and Lord of the Rings are a few. Watch the trailer, see if you like it, and expect more of that.
In summary – I fucking loved it and haven’t seen anything like it in years. If you have any imagination or sense of wonder you will probably like it too. If not, stick to your soaps and celebrity mags.