In the 22nd century, a paraplegic Marine is dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission, but becomes torn between following orders and protecting an alien civilization.
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Great movie, but I felt like I was watching a modern version of "A man called Horse" or "Dances with Wolves". Not a very original concept, but an excellent format of retelling the same story again. As for visuals nothing compares. However, for 300 million it better be something spectacular. A must see, but lets not praise Cameron for his originality when it comes to writing a script. Let praise him for his vision of a new world.
All the reviews of Avatar I’ve read seem to miss the real value of this visually stunning movie set on the fantastically alive planet of Pandora. While aspects of the plot are predictable, Avatar offers some powerful messages for our time once you scratch beneath the surface.
For those who are not firmly entrenched in our mainstream culture’s cynicism and denial the movie, Avatar, is a powerful opportunity to sharply see and feel our current situation as a species that has lost its way. As we experience the lives of Pandora’s indigenous people our own predicament comes into contrast. We become visible as a species that has become trapped within its own culture and system of domination and control... cut off from what really enlivens us.
It is surprising that a movie with some of the messages of Avatar could even come out of the corporate dominated “homeland” that the USA has become. I wonder how many of the people walking out of the cinema really get it... that we, the consumers (no longer citizens) of industrial civilization are on the side of the baddies in this film. Not just occasionally, randomly bad... not just a few bad eggs such as the cold-hearted leader of the mercenaries on Pandora, Colonel Quaritch... but that our whole way of life is portrayed for what it is... inherently, pathologically insane.
When Quaritch declares “We’ll fight terror with terror.” he is speaking for us. We are the culture which for centuries has crushed all opposition to our vast insatiable resource demands. The Pandora native, Neytiri, speaks of their efforts to enlighten their would-be human “educators” and in one line says it all, “We couldn’t save them from their insanity.”
That the writer and director, James Cameron, was given the freedom to convey his messages is probably due to his prior huge financial successes with Titanic and Terminator II. And, of course, he still had to include the requisite action and romance components for Avatar to receive the US $400 million in funding he needed.
In the movie, the planet itself finally strikes back against the humans attempting to destroy nature for their short-sighted short-term gains. Some may disagree, but I see that there is symbolism intended here. Outside the movie, our own planet will also strike back. Perhaps not in as visually dramatic a way as on Pandora but in even more deadly terms over the time frame of the next 100 years according to the science on climate change. (For those still confused by all the hot air on the subject of climate change read the facts in Poles Apart: Beyond the shouting who’s right about climate change?)
James Cameron is no fool. He could have just made a blockbuster. Instead, he is using one of the few remaining effective means of communicating with the masses in an age of information overload to say “wake up, look at the path we are on and get off it while we still can!” For we are, in fact, facing a perfect storm of six global threats of which climate change is but one.
But unlike in Avatar, we don’t have another planet to flee back to.
Wise Up To The Great Transition
The spoilers I am writing about come from a book called Mid-Flinx (written in the 90's by Alan Dean Foster) but so like Avatar I thought it may have been a movie inspired by the book. As I was sitting through Avatar, I found myself recognizing a lot of the concepts from something I had read before. Had to do some digging but found my old paperback and sure enough a lot of the stuff in Avatar could have been lifted directly from Mid-Flinx. Take away the human controlled Avatar and the rest of the story is insanely like Mid-Flinx a few different creatures but eerily the same. A human lands on a planet where everything in the forest is trying to kill him, found by a green colored alien female who starts to watch over him, teaches him how to survive in this planets jungle without being "disrespectful" to the ecosystem, when animals/natives die returning them to the earth as part of an cycle, being brought before the natives and eventually being accepted by them, the natives having (in Mid-Flinx) an empathic link to a single creature they bond with for life, a large tree where the natives live described in the book exactly like the tree in Avatar, a planet wide mind that exists in everything and links everything, aliens that come to hunt and are destroyed by the planet mind controlling things in the forest and the natives. Even the scene where they jump from the tree and use the large leaves to break their falls has a similarity to a part of the book where they jump off a branch and use a huge leaf to break their fall. I was bothered by these similarities. 1 or 2 similarities I can deal with but this was a bit much for me. Read the book and tell me what you think.
AVATAR has been James Cameron's newest flick and this time he takes us into the world of Pandora. AVATAR is like a shiny new car, it looks great and when you drive it [see it] it's all that you imagined. AVATAR is one heck of a flick and I definatly recommend it. Its got a original, complex story-line and James Cameron definatly knows how to entertain. He may have topped his love-boat flick, TITANIC. Well, I thought it was better than TITANIC, anyway, and that was a great movie too!
Sam Worthington, from TERMINATOR SALVATION, and soon to be in next years remake of CLASH OF THE TITANS plays Jake Sully. Worthington does a remarkable performence and I think that from this he will shine. Signory Weaver also stars in this sci-flick and she does a very strong performence. As for all the other performences, they were well done.
James Cameron brings us amazing visual effects in this one. He creates a whole new world and brings it to life on the big screen. The visual effects are absoutly stunning and something to see. If your planning on seeing AVATAR, I recommend you see it in 3D. The color and texture of the film is pure-genious.
OVERALL, a great, interesting, remarkable sci-fi adventure. Go into the world of PANDORA and witness this amazing work of art. AVATAR is a sci-fi lovers dream and this is just one of the best movies of 2009. See AVATAR, it'll be worth your while.
RUNTIME: 2 HRS 40 MINUTES
DIRECTOR: JAMES CAMERON
CAME OUT: DECEMBER 18th 2009
DATE I SAW THIS: DECEMBER 26th 2009
DATE REVIEWED: DECEMBER 26th 2009
THANKS FOR THE READ!
- THE SCREENWRITER
Oh my gosh, they totally ruined what was one of the most visually awesome movies I have ever seen. How many times did they say 'Mother Earth'. Oh yeah, and of course the military was a bunch of evil, horrible, haters who just couldn't wait to kill everything in it's path. Almost a total waste of time...
Visually stunning - almost an equal to "A Bug's Life" at Disneyland.
But enough of the white liberal guilt already. All the natives are voiced by people of color; really?
Humans can fly light years just to go strip mining; there wasn't anything between here and there; really?
It's a cartoon talking to me - wait, didn't I just see "Up"?
Can't wait to see someone try a filmed reading of the script...they'll need coffee...
At The Movies
Avatar (PG) * * * * *
By ROBERT WALDMAN
You have to be good to pull off a 150 minute movie and enthrall people. Few have the proven track record of a James Cameron (True Lies) to command such respect. Besides having the biggest hit of all time, the acclaimed Titanic director seldom rests on his laurels. Now, after being absent from Hollywood for a number of years Cameron and Twentieth Century Fox unleash Avatar on the world. Small segments of this film were previewed to audiences at select film/comic events over the past year. Expect the world to fall head over heels for this fantasy that is now gripping locals at the Park Theatre, the Empire Studio 12, Colossus and Famous Players Silver City Theatre across B.C.
Worth the wait this spectacular blockbuster shows just how good a writer and director Cameron truly is. Story-wise, this 3-D shot movie concerns a plot involving a mysterious planet inhabited by strange creatures and the humans that literally want to “pillage” the land for their own purposes. Odd isn’t it how this sort of “fictional” film can parallel world events. As world leaders converge on Copenhagen to discuss climate change and the effects of global warming one could say Cameron has beat them all to the punch in a tale that looks at how the human race can inflict untold damage on pristine territory – only land that holds unbelievable promise for the future.
Sent down to weed out the elements and to farm this new territory is former G.I. Jake Skully. Served up in fine fashion by Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation) Skully comes across as a sympathetic character. To descend into the new alien territory Skully and team enter into some medical chamber where they are “bonded” with partner aliens. So on the ground, amidst this indigenous species, Skully winds up in a rather precarious state. After bonding with the locals will he continue his employer’s plan to wrest control of the region or will he in fact turn the other cheek and rebel against his own species? This is the dilemma he faces and this provides the gist for the whole story.
Fantasy runs rampant in Avatar and the imagination here is tremendous to behold. Through special effects that dazzle Cameron truly takes us to a brave new world populated with a new alien form that will keep you riveted to the screen. Apart from Skully the other notable who winds up being “cloned” in this new territory is the team doctor/scientist, Grace. Back for another kick at the can is Sigourney Weaver (Aliens) who is as forceful and blunt as ever as the tough talking woman who at first is suspicious of her new team member but over time decides to “tolerate” him.
You will believe in this new world as unbelievable attention to detail has gone into each and every frame of this trend-setting film. Said to have been ready for filming for years Cameron had to wait until the technology was able to bring forth the new effects and the masses will be starstruck by what he’s achieved here. More importantly, it’s the story that really reels people in and never lets up. Tension abounds in this pressure-cooker of a tale that’s full of love, romance, power trips, double crosses, evil corporate heavyweights and mad generals out to rule the world.
Watch out for the impressive work of Stephen Lang (The Men Who Stare at Goats) who burns fire as the macho Colonel Miles Quaritch. Let’s just say this guy has an itch to inflict pain and leave it at that. Aiding and abetting this loose cannon who believes in the shoot first talk later approach to foreign affairs and diplomacy is site director Peter Selfridge, a selfige man indeed ably presented by Giovanni Ribisi (Pubic Enemies) with considerable gusto and panache. Once the final showdown commences pitting man against nature with humans and aliens piling it on you’ll have little time to catch your breath. Full of brand new creations concerning wildlife and fauna Avatar comes across as being a monumental milestone in creative filmmaking and will spark lots of debates long after its impact has subsided.
Cutting edge special effects combine with an underdog theme that’s new and refreshing to make Avatar the best film of the year and likely on its way to give Titanic a good run for its money when it comes to the popularity sweepstakes. Yes, it may be a touch long, maybe 10-15 minutes but there is so much going on in this movie it truly does take your breath away and will open your senses to a new dimension. Shot in 3-D remember to put on those glasses to catch more of the eye-popping effects. Special symbolism also surfaces in this movie that looks to have some religious/cultural overtones. Smart from start to finish Avatar is a stellar story full of warmth and humanity that collides with brute force in a tale of oppression and survival that’s sure to be long remembered after experiencing this striking vision first hand.
Read more reviews by Robert at www.moviereviewssite.com
This was my first I MAX and 3D movie I have ever seen. I felt like I was there.
The first images jumped out at me and I was laughing inside my self for many minutes,
as the images were right in front of me. At times I reached out to touch the
parts of the images in front of myself.
This movie has changed my image of movie going.
I well never see a 2d again.