Avatar Directed by: James Cameron Cast: Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi Running Time: 2 hrs 30 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: December 18, 2009
PLOT: In 2154, A marine (Worthington) who is now a paraplegic, goes to the distant planet of Pandora. It's inhabited by the Na'vi, a humanoid race with their own language and culture. The marine and scientists must gain their trust, otherwise it could mean war.
WHO'S IT FOR? Teenage boys, and those who love where 3D technology is going. This isn't a film for old folks.
EXPECTATIONS: I knew a little, and only saw a little of the previews heading into this film. Expectations are an odd thing here because I've been told this should be jaw-dropping and a huge advancement on 3D technology. So if it doesn't accomplish that goal, is it a failure no matter what?
Sam Worthington as Jake Sully: It's good we don't know Worthington extremely well, because it allows us to see him as the avatar. His desire to walk again is the only interesting thing this character has going for him, but that's just a blip on this movie's radar. At some point, suddenly I can't think of him as Worthington and he's channeled his inner Mel Gibson. This takes place even before the Braveheart speech. Score: 5
Sigourney Weaver as Grace: Grace is the head scientist, who has attempted to get in the good graces of the Na'vi. A while ago she attempted to teach them English and more. Her motivations seem to be strictly compassionate and for research, which is odd that she doesn't see the other human's true reason for being there. Her avatar is just creepy looking. It's unsettling to see Weaver depicted as a Na'vi because of how familiar she is to us. Score: 3
Zoe Saldana as Neytiri: As my friend Eric says, they all kind of look like monkey cats. Neytiri is the tough princess who has already been told she's set to marry another. Yup, you can see where this is going. Perhaps it wasn't a good idea to have Neytiri show Jakesully (what they call him) the ways of the Na'vi. Score: 4
Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch: Cliche. Over the top. And it's hard to kill him. I wish it wasn't. Score: 3
Giovanni Ribisi as Parker Selfridge: He's a business man after unobtainium who couldn't possibly understand the Na'vi have anything to offer. It's another one-dimensional character. Score: 3
Michelle Rodriguez as Trudy Chacon: As a pilot, at one point Trudy says, "I didn't sign up for this." Really? Are you sure, because it's odd that everyone else seemed to sign up for this, but you didn't. I guess suddenly a little tribal war paint makes you understand everything. Score: 4
TALKING: By the book. There really isn't one surprise in the story. Cameron tries to throw in some timely events like the economy being poor (Jake can't fix his spine on a military salary). The Na'vi have an interesting way of communicating with all living things by attaching their tentacles. There just isn't anything interesting about what is actually being said. Score: 3
SIGHTS: Glorious. It's one of the best looking, most overly dynamic films I have ever seen. Once we enter the Na'vi world, it's like a Jurassic Park adventure with more guns ... and dragons. It's a great looking alien world. There is one fault, which is the 3D feels uncomfortable in the live action form, but we're rarely there. Score: 9
SOUNDS: It's a poor-man's Jurassic Park. I'll stop with those Park comparisons now. Some of the notes get a little repetitive, but it's big and swoons when needed. Score: 6
BEST SCENE: Because there is some actual joy attached to it, when Jake finally gets his into his avatar Na'vi body, he goes for a run. Something that couldn't be done in his human condition.
ENDING: The final fight will remind you of Aliens, and thanks to a special tree, it's very predictable where this tale ends.
QUESTIONS: So many. In fact, here's a full article on the questions.
REWATCHABILITY: It's 2.5 hours long, and that's just too much for this film. Plus, I don't know how interesting the Na'vi world will be without 3D. I'm one and done on this one.
There are more reasons to skip Avatar than to see it. But seeing it is the thing. It's great looking.
This movie feels exactly like watching your friend play the new exciting video game. At first you love it. You're excited to learn what weapons he'll have, what the levels will look like. Eventually, you get a little bored, and wish you would have gotten to make some of the decisions. The film is far too long since they don't make the case for us to care about any of these characters, and there isn't one interesting twist. Never have I been so visually impressed and thematically disappointed.
See this in 3D or don't see it in the theater at all.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10