A Review of Avatar (2009)

“…you throw a stick in the air around here, it’s gonna land on some sacred… fern, for Christ’s sake!”

This review is in honour of James Horner, the composer of this title and many others.

Avatar is one of the most expensive movies ever made and the highest grossing film of all time (currently). James Cameron’s sci-fi epic advanced movie-making and began a new age for 3D movies. But it is any good?

The story itself is simple, the clichéd undercover character turns to the side he began spying on. The bad guys are easy to dislike and the good guys easy to root for. Sam Worthington, at the time, was an unknown but did exceptionally well playing a paraplegic- It’s not often the main character has a severe disability. Sigourney Weaver makes a great scientist and Michelle Rodriguez plays her usual tough chic role. The rest of the supporting cast are good in their respective, albeit small and unexplored roles. The Colonel’s character, played by Stephan Lang, is the most memorable due to his extremely stereotypical military dialogue and appearance. I would have preferred Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role, it felt like it was written with him in mind, which is not unlikely, as Cameron has partnered with him to great success many times before. Of course he could always fill the shoes (boots) of another military character in the sequel.

Zoe Saldana is often overlooked but her character was the hardest to portray. Becoming Neytiri, the most prominent of the natural Na’vi that the audience see, was a crucial part of the films quality. Of course she did this very well, selling to us, the audience, an alien species we had never before encountered.

James Cameron brought to life an entire planet, complete with wildlife, eco-systems and culture. The flying four-winged dinosaur looking things, the dog like animal that attacks Sully at night, the spiral plants that retract, the tree of memories- all of these things had to be created and none of them felt out of place on Pandora. You feel like you fall in love with the planet, as Sully does. The soundtrack, by James Horner, makes you curious at times and gives certain scenes extra emotional oomph.

The technology the humans use seems not too far fetched, with mechs, space ships and holographic user interface’s. The opening scene in which Jake Sully is in space and awakes from cryo-sleep, is often forgotten but is, in my opinion, one of the best moments of the movie.

The story is predictable, weak even. But that almost doesn’t matter, because the visuals are so real, the world so alive. The theme of dreams is prominent  but relatable. You can show this film to anyone, even people who don’t like sci-fi films, and they’ll be engrossed. No film (maybe bar Gravity) has been as immersive before or since. I was captivated the first time I watched Avatar and I was once again captivated six years later.

Overall Rating: 8.6/10 

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A Review of Avatar (2009)

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