When his brother is killed in a robbery, paraplegic Marine Jake Sully decides to take his place in a mission on the distant world of Pandora. There he learns of greedy corporate figurehead Parker Selfridge's intentions of driving off the native humanoid "Na'vi" in order to mine for the precious material scattered throughout their rich woodland. In exchange for the spinal surgery that will fix his legs, Jake gathers intel for the cooperating military unit spearheaded by gung-ho Colonel Quaritch, while simultaneously attempting to infiltrate the Na'vi people with the use of an "avatar" identity. While Jake begins to bond with the native tribe and quickly falls in love with the beautiful alien Neytiri, the restless Colonel moves forward with his ruthless extermination tactics, forcing the soldier to take a stand - and fight back in an epic battle for the fate of Pandora.
Directed by: James Cameron
. Starring: Sam Worthington
, Zoe Saldana
, Sigourney Weaver
, Stephen Lang
, Michelle Rodriguez
, Giovanni Ribisi
, Joel David Moore
, CCH Pounder
, Wes Studi
, Laz Alonso
, Dileep Rao
, Matt Gerald
, Sean Anthony Moran
. Music by: James Horner
Don't get me wrong, I'm not shoving my opinion down your throats or anything – the great thing about movies is that they're debatable. The problem with Avatar, however, is that James Cameron doesn't want it to be debatable. He wants you to love it – he'd be downright insulted if you didn't like it. Everybody's going to love it because it has everything that makes a movie great – characters, action, and groundbreaking special effects. Whoever doesn't like it is obviously missing something.
For one thing, it's pretentious – not just pretentious, but also incredibly preachy. James Cameron may have a great visual style but he's easily one of the worst directors – if not one of the worst creative entities in the world – when it comes to moralizing in his films. The story was nothing more than a recycled cowboys vs. Indians melodrama in a shallow point to prove that, "humanity is evil, oh my god!" It was pretty much the equivalent of being locked in a room for two and a half hours and having one of your school's environmental awareness club scream at you with stunning special effects. Yeah alright Hollywood, we get it already. Humanity is evil; we get how heartless we are as a human race and how you expect us to shed a tear as we watch our military knock down that giant tree they have at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
By the way, is it bad that I rooted for the humans? Not because I'm a conservative, cold-heard violent warmonger or anything, but just for how preachy Cameron was in showing us the lifestyle of the inhabitants of Pandora. Seriously, I can picture him right now laughing at the thought of his moviegoers walking out of the theatre, invigorated and awed like they just saw a groundbreaking experience that changed their mundane, unfulfilling lives. James Cameron said Avatar would push cinema the same way, "The Jazz Singer" – the first talkie that came out in the 1920's – did. What Cameron fails to realize however is that you don't need all of these flashy gimmicks to reel people movies like fish. If you can see a movie and you can hear a movie, what else do you need? Vibrators built into our chair so he can jerk his audience off in the comfort of their seats? He's already jerked Hollywood off enough by getting them to financing this piece of crap so I guess it's a fair trade when you look at it. At the rate enhancing the film experience is going, the sequel will consist of nothing more than painting moviegoers blue and letting them loose in the woods behind the theatre.
And then there's the fact of the storyline – god, I think this brought cliché to a new level. We're introduced first to Jake Sully, a rough and tough marine who – from the moment we see him – is obviously going to not only be the one to win the heart of the girl but also turn against his people. Ne'ytri (I probably spelled her name wrong but she was a terrible character anyway) was nothing more than a spiritual guru plot device to get the main character to see the light. "Oh god, look at what I was missing out on! Nature is so beautiful! Look at the colors of the wind!" Their relationship was so tacky you could have slapped it on a Hallmark Valentines Day card.
"Alright class, the alien and the boy don't really get along at first. What happens?" "They end up liking each other!" "Oh, that's great – just excellent! And then what happens?" "She ends up saving him and they get married!" "Oh, how wonderful. Maybe you should be a director someday, James! Then there's the archetypal marine antagonists who want to destroy this perfect little utopia because, well, they're just greedy douche bags apparently and that's one of the main flaws with this movie. Characters are either good or bad – they're not developed, they don't grow, they're just kind of cemented there and told to look pretty. Quarich is one of them. He's a bad guy – nothing more. That's not necessarily a bad thing when a movie doesn't take itself seriously, but if you're going to ask me to get into a theatre for two and a half hours to watch your pretentious public service announcement of a film, I kind of want to know where this guy's coming from. All we really get from him is that he's mad with power and wants the, "unobtanium." Yes, that's actually what's it's called. Along with being a Hollywood cash hound, Cameron also thinks he's witty. Bottom line though, I go to movies to see stories and characters. I'm not saying it's the right way to look at things – there's tons of films that are just mindless popcorn fests – but if you're going to try to take yourself seriously, well, at least try to do a little with the characters in between the gratuitous shots of aliens sticking their tentacles into dragons. By the way, if that's also the way they sexually reproduce then isn't that technically bestiality? And damn, is it really that hard to kill someone? Even if he was in a flashy robot suit, that guy Quartich was like a cockroach at the end. He would have given Gaston from Beauty and The Beast a run for his money with the way he was fighting that battle. Or more suitably, Radcliffe from Pocahontas.
I'm suddenly tempted to watch that final fight scene again with that song, "Savages," playing.
So what is it? An debatable movie? An over-hyped movie? Not sure, but it made me want to boycott that new Smurfs movie they're advertising.
Review by EgbertFinchet from the Internet Movie Database.