January 01, 1970

(20th Century Fox, 162 minutes)






When James Cameron smashed box office records with the now
infamous Titanic, fans eagerly
anticipated what he would do for an encore. A dozen years later, the growing
shift in technology present in movies has drastically shifted and Avatar is
perhaps the best example of this. When James Cameron first set about on his
quest to achieve technical perfection many believed there were no effects that
could do his dream justice. With an army of visual effects technicians backing
him, Cameron once again proved naysayers wrong, demonstrating to the world that
he is the unchallenged king of the cinema.


Despite the gorgeous computer generated scenery and state of
the art motion capture science, Avatar at
its heart is a love story, pitting man against the unknown to create a
multi-layered romance every bit as believable as anything that has come
before.  To Cameron’s credit, he relies
very little on said technology to tell his story, allowing the actors and an
already enchanting script capture the audience. While it’s true the
breathtaking landscapes and fantastical creatures help, it’s the actors who
make the film believable, never allowing themselves to be outshone by their
elongated blue counterparts. Every minute detail of their performance shines
through and is perfectly captured.


The film takes place 150 years in the future; corporations
from Earth have set their eyes on Pandora, a planet that contains a priceless
energy source known as “unobtainium”. Pandora is also home to an alien race
called the Na’vi, 8 feet tall, cat-like creatures sporting human features who
want nothing to do with the humans and their customs. In a break from most
modern sci-fi, the humans are the ones wielding the technologically superior
weaponry, posing a huge threat to the Na’vi and their home.


In order to establish relations with the Na’vi, the “Avatar”
program was created, allowing humans to the link their consciousness to the body
of a cloned Na’vi from the comfort of a metallic shell. Marine Jake Sully (Sam
Worthington) is once such recruit, having been paralyzed in the line of duty;
he signs on in the hopes of being able to regain his legs if successful. Along
with Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver), the two travel into the heart of
the forest, coming into contact with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), the princess of the


At first, Sully’s sole priority is to observe the native
people with the deceit of creating a more peaceful planet. Instead his true
mission is gathering and sending intelligence back to the corporations so that
they can later use it against the Na’vi if need be. Over time Jake grows
accustomed to their ways and finds himself falling in love with Neytiri as she
schools him in the ways of her people. The two join their hearts and become as
one. As Jake finds himself being taken in by the joys of the Na’vi, the
corporate mercenaries sent to retrieve the unobtainium grow restless and
unleash an all out assault on the natives, forcing Jake to choose between his
fellow humans or the Na’vi whom he has grown to love.


Through it all, Cameron injects his own brand of magic,
filling the screen with hypnotic colors and soaring dragons. Using every visual
tool at his disposal, he takes the viewers on a wild finale that is sure to
leave his audience breathless.


On the technical side of things, the Avatar DVD – a 2D release that was synched to arrive in stores on
April 22 in conjunction with Earth Day – fails to do the film justice; while
image and sound quality are spectacular, this is the best example of a
barebones release. The only thing buyers will find here is the film, opening up
the possibility of a potential director’s cut later on down the road. Focusing
on the movie itself, the visuals pack quite the punch and are sure to challenge
even the best home theatre systems. Colors are bright and the image is crisp.
Even in 2D this is a fantastic movie to behold.


After 12 years of dormancy, Cameron unleashed what can only
be referred to as an experience on the film going public. With the success
achieved by Avatar, the question for
James Cameron now becomes: What’s next?




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