Friday, December 18, 2009

Avatar Will Be Cameron's Next Masterpiece

Sci-fi fans can rejoice, James Cameron has unveiled his long anticipated blockbuster. A decade in the making, a CGI spectacular that will insure success all over this globe. "Avatar" should surpass Titanic in domestic gross. The movie will be a success because of the legacy of Cameron himself, this project has so much going for it, that it will have at least one thing for everyone that watches it. The running time is a little extreme at just over hours thirty minutes, but the first ninety minutes moves at a pace that will captivate everyone as we are introduced to Pandora, a world of luscious foliage and violent creatures. What most sci-fi lovers desire are fantasy and exploration and Avatar delivers.

The movie is set in the year 2154 and stars Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), as an ex-marine, bound to a wheel chair. He is recruited to fulfil his brothers slot in a major project on the planet Pandora, He agrees because he believes in the motto "once a marine, always a marine". The project involves Jake taking over an Avatar to try to find a way to get the people of Pandora, called the Na'vi, to relocate peacefully. The Na'vi race are a blue skinned species that are very tall, with long tails that they use to communicate with other creatures. The Na'vi people live in a small village that just happens to be over a huge deposit of a valuable mineral called unobtainium. The reason why the relationship between the Na'vi and the humans has become so hostile, that they even need Marines on site is never explained. The controllers go into a chamber and then can take over the body of an avatar. Jake using his avatar Goes into the forest, where he is chased by a wild beast and left behind. He is saved later that night by Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) who reluctantly takes him back to her village, where he is not really a welcome sight to her people.

Of course Jake is told that the company bottom line means more to the investors than any bad press, Jake is also told he will have enough time to convince the Na'vi to peacefully relocate, but the company wants the mineral more then they care about the Na'vi. Several of the scientist on Pandora try to convince the Na'vi to move as well, Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) even tried to teach the Na'vi English. The Marine unit is lead by Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) who is gung ho for the "shock and awe" part of the negotiations to begin. Each day as Jake gets closer to being accepted into the village the man running the show, Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi) is growing inpatient for results.

When the second half of the movie kicks in, the movie turns from a compelling story to just another war picture, it becomes an alien Apocalypse Now, reminiscent of a Vietnam era movie and even brings to mind Dances with Wolves, where the lone man who reunites the clans to defeat the evil empire. When the epic battle takes place, and from the start we knew it would, the marines attack in fly ships and on the ground. The Na'vi join Jake as he tries to push back the marines, Jake is also joined by Marine helicopter pilot Trudy Chacon (Michelle Rodriguez) as the final battle takes place. When the inevitable battle between Jake and Colonel Quaritch takes place, Jake faces Quaritch in full battle gear that brings to mind the loader in the Aliens movie.

The ending won't come as much of a surprise to anyone, Cameron gives us the classic Hollywood ending setting up what may become the next big franchise. Cameron gives us a bit of everything, the CGI brings us into the Na'vi village and showcases a brilliant use of color and special effects. The plants appear to come to life in the 3D format, and this movie is being shown in several formats, I can't recommend enough seeing this film in one of the 3D formats. There is the standard format and an even better HD 3D format. The IMAX screen has it's own special 3D that has to be seen to be believed. The standard 3D format brings the images to life, the HD3D format brings them into your lap while the IMAX format takes you into Pandora and sets you free to explore.

I give Avatar a 3 and on my avoidance scale a 0, what ever format you choose to witness this grand masterpiece, you wont be disappointed. The special effects in any of the formats will blow you away, the fact that Cameron took over a decade to get his dream onto the silver screen shows his desire for his craft. Avatar is an exceptionally well crafted movie. The revolutionary 3D graphics will be long talked about. The running time may have a few people asking was it really all necessary? My short answer is Hell Yes.

Avatar is rated PG-13 for Intense Epic Battle Sequences and Warfare, Sensuality, Language and some Smoking
Running time is 2 hrs. 43 mins.

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