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amore eroma » Movies, Movies - Action, Movies - SciFi » AVATAR



AVATAR (2009)
Directed by James Cameron

( As always, this is a spoiler free review. )

As of December 2009, with an estimated budget of US $230,000,000, this is the most expensive movie ever made. And it’s all worth it!

I have not felt this way about a movie in a long time. I sat in my seat at the IMAX theater in San Francisco’s Metreon complex slack jawed and wide eyed as the movie began and remained that way for the whole of the film.

This film was a magical wonderland for me. It succeeded in transporting me up and away from everything – suspension of disbelief complete and mind fully sunk into the word Cameron and several heavy hitter F/X houses managed to create for us all to enjoy. And enjoy I did. This movie blew me away on many levels and while I didn’t find it to be a perfect film, it was well worth the price of admission. Easily the best film I have seen in many years.

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is a Marine with a mission – to help talk some sense into the indigenous people creatures of Pandora with the help of his body avatar. Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) has little to no faith in him, but he manages to make things work. Enter Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) daughter of the tribal leaders, Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi) money obsessed corporate puppet and Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) military madman and you have a party.

Have we seen it before? Sure. But never done like this.

40% live action and 60% photo-realistic CGI, high end motion capture technology makes 3D creature come to life on the screen in an amazing way. I watched the film and forgot about the 3D aspect almost immediately. It was fun seeing the real actors reflected in their 3D counterparts as well. Facial features and actions translated beautifully to the 3D “puppets” and the performances were reflected to an almost eerie perfection.

avatarThe film project was supposed to come on the heals of Titanic, but the 3D tech just wasn’t up to the standards Cameron wanted. After seeing Gollum in the Rings Trilogy, Cameron thought that the tech was up to the challenge and decided to try it all again. When I think about the scope and work involved in this movie, it blows my mind. The movies creature effects, future tech vehicles, world creation and integration raises the bar for anything we see from here on out.

The story was familiar, but well done. The “Bad” want something from the “Good” and are willing to do anything it takes to get it. The “Good” need to fight for their own survival both physically and culturally. This plot could have been a silly snooze fest, but it wasn’t. It was a fun and interesting venture and was presented well. The “Bad” tend to get a little cartoony at one point and removed me from the film (“Let ‘em find another tree to live in!” :::evil laugh:::) but I managed to get through it and back into the movie relatively unscathed.

All in all, this film will go down as a “masterpiece”– sitting along side the likes of Star Wars and E.T.  With a domestic total of $73,000,000 as of Dec. 20, 2009 a mere few days after it’s release, it’s well on its way to making it’s money back.

AVATAR was an amazing trip for me. It made me feel like a kid again – wide eyed with a renewed sense of wonder and excitement. Amazing.

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5 Responses to "AVATAR"

  1. Francis says:

    Nice review. I agree with just about everything you said. I enjoyed the film, but in the end I have to give it 4 (maybe 4.5) out of 5 stars, based mostly on the stunning visuals. The story left me a little bit on the empty side, though that’s my jaded, movie-veteran side talking. I dunno! The plot and pacing will please most people and put a lot of butts in the seats. I just wish, I guess, that the film could have just stayed with life on Pandora. It was plenty hazardous there without some trite “capitalism run amok” plot driver. I mean, did we really have to do the amazingly evil military industrial complex thing? The fetishistic boom-kaboom-Ooorah! thing was fun to a certain extent, but has been done to death and I am weary of seeing the natives (ala Native Americans) getting wiped out just so that we in the audience can feel something. Weren’t we already feeling something when exploring Pandora via our own avatar, the main character?

    Meh. I am nitpicking. It’s not like I won’t recommend it to everyone I know!

  2. Francis says:

    Whew! I just watched the trailer again and yes, I WILL see it in the theater at least once more. What a neat looking movie.

  3. malcolm says:

    I see where you’re going with that and agree for the most part. I thought that there could have been some great morality play things going on here. What if there was something on Pandora that would save lives on Earth? THAT would stir stuff up a bit. Lives on one planet for another.
    However, I’m rolling off seeing NEW MOON and MEN WHO waste a perfectly awesome cast by staring AT GOATS, so this was SUPER amazing! :)

  4. Francis says:

    New Moon! Haha….just empty your brain before you go in and you will have a better time. Like the first one, I can see the appeal, but for old vets like ourselves New Moon is a seat squirmer.

    Goats looks fun to me.

    I LIKE your idea of bringing Earth’s well-being into play. It’s only a small twist, but still would have been better than what Cameron went with. Besides, isn’t it better when it is HARD to pick a side? I mean, wasn’t one of nice things about Sleepless In Seattle the fact that for once the boyfriend, Bill Pullman, wasn’t some odious prick, and that Hanks was just the better fit for old Meg? Ok, weak example.
    But you see what I mean, I think. It just could have been more fun.

    Good news is that Basterds is now (or soon?) available for home consumption!

  5. malcolm says:

    On a brief side note – New Moon was a script nightmare. Twilight worked and New Moon was a snoozer. Indigo liked it because….well…it was really made for her, not for her 40 year old father! :)
    BASTERDS! Yes….that was made for me. 2 disk special edition! http://bit.ly/62tmXs

    And yes, it’s always more fun for me when it’s a little less cut and dry. I’ve found that life is like this more often than not. It’s not always a clear issue of good v. evil. Another example to add to yours – Gundam anime. Most of the series shows both sides and how each thinks they are in the right. Makes it way more interesting.

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