Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Avatar: Movie Review

Avatar: Movie Review

Rating: See below
Cast: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi
Director: James Cameron.
It's been a long wait for the world James Cameron - along with WETA - has created for Avatar - and it's finally here.
Sam Worthington is Jake Sully, a paralysed former Marine who takes his dead brother's place on a mission to new world Pandora.
It's there that the Earthlings find themselves in conflict with the planet's indigenous people, the Na'vi (a 10 foot tall, blue skinned cat like spiritual race)
The Earthlings want to get their hands on a rich deposit of unobtainium, a rare mineral which could prevent the energy crisis back on earth.
However, that deposit is slap bang in the middle of the Na'vi's spiritual land - so Sully is sent in (via his own blue skinned Na'vi avatar) to try and see if there's a solution - be it military or negotiation...
So, what can you say about Avatar?
Blessed with superlatives already by critics worldwide (including Peter Jackson at the launch of the Lovely Bones ) and now given Golden Globe nods , it's fair to say Avatar is nothing short of a wondrous cinematic visual experience.
Weta has done such a thrilling job bringing James Cameron's vision to life - lush landscapes bristle with plant life made up of purples, oranges and deep greens. Every attention to detail in the world around the protagonists has been captured - in the early stages of the film, the cameras pan round technology of holographic scanners in a command centre as if it were the norm. The world is set up so quickly that pretty soon you adjust to life on another world.
The stop motion technology used to bring to the Na'vi and the wildlife around them to life also needs to be shouted about - it's game changing in terms of what films can do. And will do from now on. I can guarantee you've never really seen a film like this (other than in your mind's eye when you've been reading certain books) - the Na'vi are a fully formed breathing entity complete with layers of detail and glistening spots in the depths of the jungle.
I really don't have the words to explain how awe inducing it is up on the big screen - this is a film that will remain as an experience in 2D cinema, but will lose its majesty outside of the 3D world where it's brought to life. It's outstanding the level of detail which those behind the camera have gone to (see if you can spot the subtle difference between the Na'vi and the humans' Avatars)
However - yes, I'm sorry to be the bearer of some bad news - there are a few niggles with Avatar.
It's not the most original of stories - the plot (such as it is) is predictable and the usual adage of it being a big blockbuster light on plot does come to mind. All of the actors are good in their roles (although it's a little disheartening to see Zoe Saldana's Neytiri character go from strong warrior to female sidekick - and the marine in charge Colonel Quaritch - played with stereotypical Marine arrogance by Stephen Lang is so one dimensional). Sure, these are the usual complaints about plot, character development etc.
Yet, I'm more than happy to concede that (and even shout about the fact) Avatar is a game changing film and revolutionary - it's raised the bar so high in terms of effects that it'll be a struggle to see anything live up to its standards and the experience.
Granted, this first film is really about showing off the results of the technology - the challenge will come in the stories James Cameron will tell on the world in the sequels.
You really do have to see this on the big screen - and preferably in 3D to fully experience what Cameron - and Richard Taylor's Weta team - wanted you to live through.

Rating: 10/10 for effects and WOW factor - 5/10 for plot

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