Avatar: 3 Dimensions Are Not Enough

30 12 2009

James Cameron’s highly anticipated film, Avatar, hit theatres a few weeks ago.  The web has been abuzz with news about the supposed $500 million budget, possible sequels, the overt anti-war/pro-green message.  It’s the typical noise you’ll find around any huge blockbuster.  With all that hubbub put to the side, here is the breakdown:

The story follows wheelchair-bound Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) on his quest to Pandora, a moon where humans have discovered (and have started mining) precious minerals. Pandora is home to a sentient indigenous population, the Na’vi.  Jake is part of the Avatar Program; he remotely controls a genetically engineered human/Na’vi body in an effort to gain the trust of the natives, making the mining process easier.  Jake falls in love with a Na’vi female and he begins to appreciate the natural land and the natives’ way of life.  Slowly, Jake starts to question the morality of the humans’ presence on Pandora.

The Monkey: This film was beautiful.  You’ve never seen anything like Pandora.  From bioluminescent plants to floating mountains, watching Avatar is the definition of eye candy.  The CGI is the most photo-realistic of any movie to date and the digital 3D (which can often throw CGI into stark contrast with live action) only benefits from the crystal clear projection.  Leaving the theatre, several people could be heard saying, “I want to have an avatar,” or “I wish I could go to Pandora.”  This is a testament to the layered world created in the film, layers that can’t be fully explored, even in 3D.

While some critics complain the film is all spectacle and no substance, I disagree.  The plot is engaging, the characters believable.  The struggle between man and nature is a universal plot structure and helps ground the fantastical visuals of Avatar into reality.

The Weasel: The main bad-guy, Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang) was strikingly two-dimensional.  He ruthlessly attacks the Na’vi, but the audience is never sure why.  With such rich visuals and believable characters, it was a disappointment to see the film’s chief villain so carelessly handled.  What was his motivation?  Why was he so anti-Na’vi?  These questions aren’t answered, or even asked.

Amazing visuals, solid plot…this is a film I’ll gladly see in theatres multiple times.

4.5 Death Stars out of 5

What did you think? Tell me what you liked and didn’t like about Avatar in the comments!

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2 responses

30 12 2009
Cassandra

Can’t wait to see it!!!!

5 01 2010
Cal

I loved it so much I actually saw it in theaters twice…both times in 3D. I would see it again too! This is definitely the reason James Cameron does a movie every ten years…He’s a genius!

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