Avatar [Movie Review]

(Note: I was fortunate enough to have watched Avatar in 3D but when I saw the 2D trailer I thought it looked much better than what I had seen. My theater is not very good and so your results may vary.)

Epic: Honestly, how could anyone think Avatar wouldn't be epic? From the technology behind the camera's eye to what's going on in front of the audience's eye, the movie is colossal in a way that hasn't been seen for a while in Hollywood. The technomagic first: holy crap, Cameron actually pulled it off. Avatar has hands down the greatest CGI in any movie thus far and I doubt any movies will be able to catch up until (at the earliest) late next year. Luckily the effects aren't so good that it hits that point of Uncanny Valley that creeps the audience out and is so dreadfully feared when making an all CG movie like this one. The fact that the movie was almost entirely filmed in front of a colored background with motion capture suits and the effects were added after filming shows how strong of a vision Cameron had for this movie, and when you see the results on screen you have nothing but respect for the man. Every action sequence trumps the last and even though it isn't a straightforward action flick like the Terminator films, Avatar still ends with an exciting and emotional finale.

Familiar: Despite the levels of grandeur Avatar reaches, the story is the one thing many will find a little bit too familiar. The plot is almost identical to the 'stranger in a strange land' movies and bears a strong resemblance to The Last Samurai and Pocahontas. Although the plot is heavily cliche and predictable, it is still a story told exceptionally well drawing in the audience from the opening moments and never once letting go. Most of the main characters are multidimensional and intriguing, but there are some silly characters like nemesis Colonel Miles Quaritch and Sigourney Weaver's Grace Augustine that make your eyes roll. But Cameron also managed to make the film a lot more exciting thanks to the breathtaking special effects and the monstrous battle scenes. Avatar is unique in the way the famous director has so potently mixed together a story so traditional with special effects so groundbreaking into one of the best movies of the year.

Nerdy: Wow I never realized how much of a nerd Cameron was until Avatar. Sure, the Terminator series was sci-fi heavy but not as much as creating a fully-realized, fictional alien race from scratch and a fictional language to boot. Pandora is the most intricately thought out world ever created in the history of film--and for some reason I thought most people wouldn't like that. While watching the movie I was a little bit worried that maybe Cameron had gone a little bit too technical but luckily he balanced out his imagination with good ol' fashioned spectacle.

Overall - Highly Recommended:
Avatar may not be the most mind-blowing movie ever made, but it has certainly left a permanent mark on film history. The genius of the special effects has been praised from everyone and I fully support that widespread acclaim. The only place Avatar falls a bit short is the utterly predictable, recycled plot but even that is exceptionally well done without needing to be fresh. James Cameron certainly delivered on 10 years of promises and has once again made a film that should not be missed--even if it's not revolutionary.


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