Sunday, April 25, 2010

Avatar, review

Normally, I would put the names of the most recognizable of the names next to the movie title in the title of this blog post (like Avatar, starring Sigourney Weaver) but  I figured everyone would know what I was talking about just by putting the title in.

For those of you that have been in the dark or with your head in the sand, here is the trailer:

This movie came out in 2009 and was written and directed by James Cameron. It stars Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana, Michelle Rodriguez, Sam Worthington and Stephen Lang. The film is set in the year 2154. Humans have discovered Pandora and are mining a precious mineral, unobtanium, from that world. Continued mining, however, threatens the Na'vi, the native, sentient humanoid species that inhabits Pandora. Avatars are the genetically engineered bodies that are used by the scientists to interact with the Na'vi. The movie begins with us learning that Jake Scully (Worthington), who is paralyzed from the waist down, has been selected to replace his brother in working one of the Avatars.  On a mission while he is in the Avatar, he is separated from the group and has to spend the night in Pandora, alone. While doing so, he meets Neytiri (Saldana), a real Na'vi and begins to form bonds with the Na'vi that are threatened when the mining colony seeks to expand into the Na'vi spiritual grounds and culminates with an epic battle.

I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting a whole lot from this movie.  I mean, James Cameron has blockbusters mostly because he knows how to pull on our heartstrings and resolve things in a way that makes things feel "right." So bravo to him for exploiting psychology I guess but, in my opinion, some of the best movies are the movies that don't always resolve in that psychologically fulfilling manner. I found that the story line was really predictable, from the very first moments when you learn that Worthington's paralyzed character is set to become an Avatar and my predictions ended up being correct most of the time - like 99% of the time.  I found myself thinking "here's what's going to happen now" and it did.  The characters weren't very memorable either. For instance, Sigourney Weaver came back to work with Cameron as Dr. Grace Augustine and I saw traces of Ellen Ripley (perhaps Cameron's MOST memorable character).  They were flat and unoriginal and totally not memorable. So in that sense, I wasn't very impressed.

I was very impressed by how the movie looked. It was a beautiful movie to look at. And the effects were literally out of this world (no pun intended). So in that sense, I was drawn in and my attention kept, not because the story was so wonderful but because I literally wanted to see more of what the engineers could come up with. 

This movie, while somewhat entertaining, was not worthy of an Academy Award nod for best movie. Renting may be the way to go, but reserve judgment on whether you could buy it until after you see if you can deal with the predictability.

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