Avatar review

Jared Widman ('10)/ For Eastside

Sure, we’ve all heard the story.  A man from a race of imperialists has a prolonged stay with a native “uncivilized” population for whatever reason – either for research or because he is captured or perhaps even by accident.  The man then becomes “one of the gang,” probably falls in love, and rebels against his own kind.  So far you’ve probably been thinking Pocahontas, or Dances With Wolves or The Last Samurai, but James Cameron’s Avatar is much different – it’s in space.

And, that’s pretty much where the differences end.  It’s the same exact trite, overused and irrelevant (we’re pretty much done colonizing by now; it’s too little too late, James Cameron) plot as those other movies I’ve mentioned.  This time: With aliens!  Well intentioned, of course, but the plot’s overuse makes any seemingly risky attributes (human race: evil?) ultimately fairly safe and insignificant.

On the bright side, while the basic premise was dull and unoriginal, the script was far from it.  There really was never a dull moment in the action, the dialogue was as believable as it could be, and all facets of the Navi (humanoid alien life form) culture were well sculpted and compelling to boot.  James Cameron put a lot of work (nearly 12 years!) into this script, and it shows.  Of course, there were a few major and minor plot holes, but that is to be expected from a popular science fiction film, a recommended suspension of disbelief should be kept near at all times while watching this movie.

The acting all around was pretty solid, except for Sigourney Weaver who really just dropped the ball. I really couldn’t get a feel for her character (Dr. Grace Augustine), and she was all over the place with her acting.  Sam Worthington, who coincidentally (or not) last starred in a Terminator film not associated with Avatar (and Terminator) director James Cameron, performed wonderfully as marine Jake Sully in both human and alien form.  Other than that, I’ve got nothing really to say about the acting or characters except that BBEG* Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) looks suspiciously like Chip Hazard, the evil toy from Small Soldiers.

Finally, the best aspect of the film – THE SPECIAL EFFECTS. Holy mother of pearl, were they terrific.  The special effects in this movie, or more accurately, the CGI, was the most polished awesomeness I’ve ever seen in a movie.  The design of the planet Pandora was incredible, and everything looked so real.  The creatures, the Navi, the backgrounds, it was like it was really there in front of me.  I saw this movie (in 3-D, no less, though the IMAX was sold out) strictly because of the visuals alone, and I was not disappointed in the least.  I would suggest seeing this movie in 3-D at the least, or in IMAX if you can… otherwise it isn’t worth seeing Avatar at all.

Though the CGI was fantastic, a huge letdown for the visuals presented itself in the editing.  I swear, whoever edited this film must have really not wanted the audience to actually see the visuals, because there was a new shot every 3-5 seconds.  There would be something extremely beautiful on the screen, and 2 seconds later it would be gone and something different would be on the screen.  The longest amount of time without shifting between shots could not have been more than 10 seconds.  The editor must have had ADD or something.  The cinematography was terrible, too.  It’s sad, but most of the cuts could have been replaced by simple camera techniques such as zooming in, or moving.

All in all, Avatar was a bland, yet entertaining film with no relevant ideas and a highly idealistic ending.  Not much to say about it except for the excellent CGI which was all but destroyed for the viewer by the slicing and dicing in the editing room and extremely simplistic camerawork.

*Big Bad Evil Guy

courtesy of moviecarpet.com
courtesy of moviecarpet.com

 

Rating: 2 out of 5

Rating System:

1: Is Independence Day

2: I did not like it.

3: I liked it.

4: I loved it. 

5: Score of the Gods

 

 

 

 

 

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