Posted by representingpuroresu on 01/09/2010
Since it’s the first Friday of the month (or was by this time) I took in a movie after my usual monthly business was taken care of…tonight I decided to buy into the hype and see what could be the #1 movie ever in terms of box office take before too long. Could James Cameron do it again? While it’s still fresh in my mind here’s my brief review of “Avatar”.
(Note: There are 2D, 3D and IMAX versions of this film. This review is based on the 2D version)
Synopsis: “AVATAR takes us to a spectacular world beyond imagination, where a reluctant hero embarks on an epic adventure, ultimately fighting to save the alien world he has learned to call home. James Cameron, the Oscar-winning director of “Titanic,” first conceived the film 15 years ago, when the means to realize his vision did not exist yet. Now, after four years of production, AVATAR, a live action film with a new generation of special effects, delivers a fully immersive cinematic experience of a new kind, where the revolutionary technology invented to make the film disappears into the emotion of the characters and the sweep of the story.” The storyline: Basically this is about the human race invading the planet Pandora, relatively peaceful but inhabitated by blue-skinned pointy-eared aliens that look human save for the ears and long tails. The main character is Jake Sully, an ex-Marine confined to a wheelchair, who’s recruited for this job in the place of his brother, who was killed shortly before he was to go. Pandora houses valuable minerals that fetch big bucks, but the people won’t let it go that easily. To allow Sully to infiltrate them and make a deal, they develop the Avatars, virtual beings that look like the people but that are controlled from a distance while the subject is in a dream-like state. Since Jake’s brother already had an incredibly expensive Avatar grown for him, he’s able to connect with it using the same DNA code and experience first-hand the joys of Pandora while giving the scientific team, led by Grace Augustine and Norm Spellman, some well-needed protection against the planet’s more hostile forces. On a chance meeting after getting separated from his team, Jake’s Avatar is rescued by Neytiri, a Na’vi princess, who brings him into her tribe in order to give the humans a second chance at relating to this new environment. When word gets out of his increasing time with the alien species, Quaritch enlists Jake to do some reconnaissance for the company, as they’d like to persuade the tribe to move their home before taking more drastic measures to harness the treasure hidden below. Yet as Jake becomes one with the tribe and begins to understand the secrets of Pandora, his conscience is torn between his new adopted world and the wheelchair-bound one awaiting him when the psychic connection to his Avatar is broken. Soon battle lines are drawn and Jake needs to decide which side he will fight on when the time comes. In other words, boy meets alien girl, boy wins over alien girl, boy falls in love with alien girl, yada yada yada.
There is no doubting the visual impressiveness of this film-if it’s CG/3D animation you can’t tell at times. But the old video game credo applies here-great graphics (and sound) alone do not make a great game. The storyline is nothing you really haven’t seen before, ditto the dialogue, and the flow of the storyline is very incohesive. If this were going to be a trilogy right off the bat it would work better, but as perhaps a one-off (I wouldn’t rule out a sequel) this is more TV miniseries material. Another complaint: The film is a bit too long, checking in at 2 1/2 hours. They could’ve easily cut out 20+ minutes of redundant and unnecessary material. Even a couple of decent action sequences (some of the violence is quite graphic at times so be warned) near the end couldn’t save it for me. So in the end you get sucked in by the visuals to cover up a blah storyline-basically, all style but no substance. Overall I liked the graphics and sounds but was very disappointed in the final outcome…I know I’m in the vast minority but I wish I hadn’t gone to see it. If you’ve gotta see it, wait’ll it hits HBO in 2011 or FX sometime in 2012 (yeah, they already secured the basic cable rights).
“Avatar” stars the voices of Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore and Wes Studi among others. Directed by James Cameron. Distributed by 20th Century Fox. 150 minutes. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action violence, some smoking, language and sensuality. The violence at times makes it a strong PG-13, could’ve been enough for a weak R. Not recommended for the under-16 crowd.
Rating (1-10): 4 (Poor).
Recommendation: Skip it. Or wait for TV.