Thursday, January 14, 2010

Avatar: Cameron Delivers Again!

Film: Avatar

Starring: Sam Worthington (Terminator: Salvation), Sigourney Weaver (Alien), Joel Moore (Dodgeball)

U.S. Release: 2009

Director: James Cameron (Titanic, Terminator)

Genre: Action

Runtime: 162 Minutes

I realize as I write this that I'm a little behind on this one, and many of you have probably already seen and formed an opinion about James Cameron's action adventure Avatar. Well going into the film (almost a month after it's nationwide release), I knew all the back stories. The legendary Cameron had spent over a decade in Hollywood trying to get this movie made but such an expensive budget scared off all of the major studios. And after finally being able to cross all the t's and dot all the i's, Cameron would return to the screen with his first masterpiece since 1997's Titanic. I mean come on now, it's James Cameron! And if you aren't aware of how huge of a director he is just go watch season 2 and 3 of Entourage to catch up.

So I bought my pretzel bites and pink lemonade and walked up the ramp and into the IMAX 3-D theatre in King of Prussia. To be perfectly honest, I was a skeptic going in. It's a rare feat for a movie to withstand such a hyped release. Avatar was up against no easy task.

Avatar takes place in the future, 2154 to be exact. A human civilization has found a huge supply of a priceless rock on the mystic planet Pandora. The only problem is the planet is inhabited by an intelligent humanoid race known as the Na'vi. These Na'vi have their own culture and language and they aren't about to give up their majestic planet and its resources to the humans. A young paraplegic marine named Jake Sully (Worthington) is brought in by the humans to operate an AVATAR and infiltrate the Na'vi civilization. An AVATAR uses a human mind to operate a remote controlled body of the Na'vi race. As Jake begins to be welcomed in by the inhabitants and learn about their culture, he second guesses the purpose of his mission.

Avatar is an adventure to say the least. Cameron tells us the story of a magical planet and the interesting Na'vi which occupy it. Behind the amazing CGI effects and the aura of Pandora (excuse my rhyming), Avatar portrays a deeper meaning. He showed the inhumanity of our flawed species and did so quite effectively. But Cameron's masterpiece isn't just taking a shot at the greed prevalent in our society, he shows the compassion we as humans can feel. That right there is why Avatar is a must see film and why Cameron is one of the most "sure thing" directors alive.

About 20 minutes into the film I found myself questioning the validity of Sam Worthington as the lead role in Cameron's picture. However, as the film progresses, so does Worthington's character. The rest of the cast gave adequate performances, but nothing worthy of an Oscar. The true beauty of Avatar lies in the utopia of Pandora that Cameron was able to create and portray to the audience. You find yourself falling in love with the planet and the Na'vi people who call it home. I would easily recommend this movie to everyone as a film you need to at least see once. Kudos to Mr. Cameron on another fine feature.
Watch Avatar if you enjoyed: The original Star Wars (Episode IV: A New Hope). The Characters in Avatar aren't as memorable, but the film is revolutionary much like the George Lucas classic was in its time.

Stars: 3 stars out of 4.

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