Posted: December 28, 2009 in Uncategorized

In director James Cameron’s new science fiction epic, a greedy corporation wants to strip mine a distant planet for a valuable mineral. However, the native population known as the Na’vi are proving an obstacle and science attempts to come to the rescue by creating avatars, genetically grown lookalikes of the Na’vi that are piloted by humans using neural links. Into this role comes the hero, Jake Sulley (Sam Worthington): can he befriend the Na’vi and produce a peaceful solution before the military forces supporting the corporation blast them aside?

I saw this last night and the only word I can think of to describe it is “amazing”. Cameron spent four years and anything north of $230 million to make the movie and every bit of the effort comes through in what must be one of the greatest cinematic spectacles ever. Much of the visual impact of the movie comes through the excellent use of 3D technology: for the first time, it feels not like a gimmicky add on but rather a natural enhancement which draws the viewer further in to the world displayed on screen. Adding to this immersive experience is the CGI, which is taken to a whole new level as it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between it and “real world” actors and models. It actually has to be seen to be believed, it’s that good. Cameron (who also did Titanic, Aliens and Terminator) has perfected the art of using advances in technology to provide entertainment of the highest order, and Avatar is another triumphant example of this.

Though the entertainment provided by the film is a complete package, the star of the show is really the alien world and the way it is portrayed. The plot is competent enough, if somewhat predictable and not very original (I had some weird Aliens flashbacks as the Sigourney Weaver character argued with the company representative about ethics) – think Dances with Wolves and The Last Samurai in a science fiction setting with a healthy dose of “green” and you’ve pretty much got the whole thing. Generally, the acting was good enough to move things along without being a distraction in any way. Cameron can do relationships quite well (think of the Terminator and John Connor in T2, or Ripley and Newt in Aliens) and in this instance the interplay between Sulley and Neytiri, the Na’vi female tasked with his training and integration, came across well. Once we’d been well soaked in this and the alien world and all its magic, the scene was set for the inevitable grand clash at the end, but it’s a testimony to the skill of the movie maker that it didn’t overwhelm everything that had gone before.

On a final note, I know that a “normal” 2D version has been produced, but I really think you’d be losing half of the effect if that’s all you saw. This is entertainment to be savoured, so pay the extra and make sure you see the full 3D version. You won’t regret it for an instant.

  1. Grant says:

    Agreed – 3D was worth the experience.

    It will be a good movie even without the 3D – but the 3D makes it a special movie.

    We really enjoyed it as a family – some dodgy theology – but also some good lessons in there too.

    • veethree says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, you mirrored my thoughts. Some are talking about it introducing a paradigm shift in the use of 3D technology, so now I’m waiting for the introduction of 3D televisions!

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