Avatar (2009)


This movie is a mediocre James Cameron film, which is still pretty good. When it was first released, the film went on too become the highest grossing film of all time. While the film is good, I feel like there was quite a bit of unwarranted praise heaped on this film. People were suggesting it was the best film ever made, and the film is good, but it’s not the best ever. This film also convinced movie studios that films could make more money if shown in 3D. I hate 3D movies, so for that reason alone, I struggle to really love this film like do other Cameron films like The Terminator or Aliens.

The plot for this film is not very original. I’ve heard it described as Dances With Wolves in space, and it’s not far wrong. Sam Worthington plays a cripple former Marine called Jake Sully. He is sent to the planet Pandora to use his dead twin brother’s avatar. His brother was a scientist who had a body created (an avatar) so he could interact with the alien species native to Pandora called the Navi. When Jake’s brother dies, his avatar is useless to everyone but his twin brother as it is designed to interact only with him. Jake has the best shot of using this avatar and making sure the millions spent creating it are not wasted. Jake starts using the avatar, becoming a bodyguard for the other scientists. The military leader of the human contingent on Pandora is wary of the Navi race and is looking for any excuse to wipe them out. He asks Jake to gather intel on the Navi in exchange for Jake getting his crippled legs back. To make a long story short, Sully starts to like the Navi especially the Princess Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and turns on the humans to help them.

This is a really pretty film. One of the highlights of is the wonderful alien cinematography of the planet Pandora. The effects are amazing too. The Navi race are all played by human actors, but onscreen look like giant blue catlike creatures. The actors features are definitely noticeable too, it’s an amazing technological achievement.

This film is good. The amazing effects somewhat make up for an unoriginal story. This film doesn’t resonate with me like other James Cameron directed movies, but even a middle of the range Cameron film is still better than most others.

Rating: B

This is the only movie in our collection we are intentionally skipping (despite Ben’s begging that we do the same for A.I.). Firstly, we just watched it about a couple months ago, and this isn’t a movie I can watch that often. Secondly, the only two times we’ve watched this movie something big has happened. The first time was in the theater, and happened to be one of me and Ben’s first dates. The second time we were at home, and we received a phone call from the real estate office that we had just purchased our first home. We’re now convinced that if we sit through the entire movie again we’ll end up having a baby nine months later. So we’ll save our next viewing for a couple years at least.

As sentimental as this movie has become for me and my husband, I don’t think it’s that great. Sure, I was impressed by the animation and seeing it in 3D, but the story itself is really generic. It’s the same basic plot as Out of Africa, Dances With Wolves, and Australia, only set in the future. Not that reusing plots is necessarily a bad thing, but I just wasn’t as drawn in to this iteration as I have been with others.

A lot of praise and accolades were heaped on Avatar, and I think many were undeserved. However, it is a stunningly beautiful film, even in 2D on a home television screen. The performances are great, especially Sigourney Weaver, who you’d think I’d be sick of already, but she’s great in everything. Does this equal the “greatest movie ever made?” I don’t think so, but it’s certainly good. Definitely better than Titanic. And thankfully this one didn’t win an undeserved Best Picture Oscar.

Rating: B

One thought on “Avatar (2009)

  1. Pingback: The Last Samurai (2003) | From The Abyss to Zoolander

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