In our previous post on "Avatar" we said things such as "we will probably be entertained, but not blown away" and "sounds like it will lead down the typical avenue." Were we right or dead wrong? Actually, we were spot on about our predictions.
The story, written by James Cameron, is pretty typical. It’s easy to accurately predict what's coming next and when it will happen. Just like a single rose for a lady, the classics are timeless for a reason. The story has very traditional pacing and while we would have liked a little more originality, we get enough from the world the story takes place in to fill the gap. "Avatar" feels like a strange blend of "Ferngully," "Aliens," "Last of the Mohicans" and" Tarzan."
Man in his infinite greed has set eyes on Pandora, a planet rich in "unobtanium," a ridiculously named mineral. The problem is the indigenous people called the Na'vi. Much like the white man moving in on the Indians, they are either going to resettle them or wipe them out. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is sent in with an Avatar, a remote-control alien form made from his brother's DNA. He has to infiltrate the Na'vi and learn how to make them move, or how to efficiently wipe them out. Naturally, he meets a blue hottie by the name of Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and you can fill in the lame blanks. It comes down to technology = bad and nature = good. Typical. We didn't see that one coming...
The technology used to make the film works brilliantly, notably to capture and adapt the performances of the actors onto their digital Avatars, hehe. Saldana does an original and heartfelt acting job in spite of being a giant Tarzan-like Smurf. Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, and Stephen Lang provide solid performances. Lang, as Colonel Miles Quaritch, stands out the most even though his character is painfully typical.
One thing we can all be sure of is James Cameron - he embodies what a good Hollywood director should be. He knows how to shoot a film, so that it is entertaining, pretty to look at, but doesn't sacrifice storytelling or character development. Yes, "Avatar" cost a bundle to make, but Cameron manages to get his money's worth from almost every shot.
We watched the 3D version of the film and though it was a bit distracting at the beginning, it's really the version to see if you are going to catch this one in a theater. The beautiful world created here is even better in that extra dimension.
Is "Avatar" one of the top 10 movies of the year? Maybe – but only because it hasn't been a stellar year.
Directed by: James Cameron
Written by: James Cameron
Cast: Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang