Avatar (James Cameron -2009) A-

Let’s get the not-so-good out of the way first, Cameron is not breaking any new grounds with the Avatar story here. Straight forward three-act action adventure that can fit many a cliche: anti-war message, and un-killable villain, evil corporation, and a very likely love story included.  I doubt any semi-regular movie goer will be surprised by any turn or twist here. Ok done.

Now, this really is a ground breaking film in so many ways. It is brilliant, a lot of fun and one of the best eye-candy I’ve seen since LOTR: The Return of the King. We get a fully fledged and rendered world (Pandora) with amazing plant and animal life and none of it looks “artificial”. The natives of Pandora are so well crafted and believable that I had no problem thinking of them as flesh and blood. That’s how good the CGI is. Just focus on the facial expressions of Neytiri, played by Zoe Saldana, there is no doubt or artificiality here when she is scared, happy or angry (and she sure is angry a lot).  Speaking of Saldana, for an actress who appears on screen only as a 12 foot blue creature with a tail, she is pretty damn awesome and memorable. It  is really admirable how much Cameron pushes the envelop here and sets this action adventure film worlds apart from crap like Transformers. He takes care of the characters. He creates language, religion, customs and just makes sure each one is a unique individual and part of a community. At the same time he pays attention to so much gorgeous detail in this new world with breath-taking colors, topography (floating mountains, anyone?), plants and creatures. The best part is that Pandora and it’s inhabitants blend seamlessly with the humans on set and leave no doubt that they do inhabit the same world. Battle sequences? It should go without saying that they are exceptional and deliver a hell of a good time.

I’m not a big fan of 3D. It ‘s usually gimmicky and distracting. I saw Avatar in 3D and I enjoyed it. Cameron uses it properly in a way that does not quiet call attention to itself and it works. Is it necessary? I don’t really think so and I do not think it is better in 3D than it would be in good old fashioned 2D. In short, the Spectacular -with a big S- Avatar was worth the wait. It is pure film entertainment at its best.


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