Easily one of the most talked about films this year, James Cameron returns after a 12 year break with the ground breaking Avatar. Did it live up to the hype? It sure did! Watching Avatar is like watching some wonderful dream, the visuals are probably some of the best I have ever seen in film, and in 3-D it is nothing short of spectacular.
So what exactly is Avatar about? It is about the planet Pandora, the native people there the Na'vi live in harmony and are at odds with the humans. You see the humans want to mine a mineral and the biggest source of the mineral is where a big group of Na'vi live. A paraplegic marine (Sam Worthington) befriends the Na'vi using an Avatar (A body grown which he can operate which is a Na'vi so he can interact with them ect) and learns about them and their way of life. Of course things get complicated ... and you'll know exactly where the film is headed.
Let's get the cons out of the way first, and there isn't a lot to actually fault with Avatar. My issue with this film lies with the script. It is not overly original, you've seen this story before and while there are original elements there, the basic structure is nothing new. You'll know exactly what is going to happen, there just aren't any surprises. It would have been nice if there was an unpredictable element there. The dialogue is extremely cheesy at times, a problem I had with Titanic. Now I really enjoy Titanic a lot, but my issues with that are the same here. Bad dialogue, cheesy stuff, a bit of a weak love story although in Avatar it works much better and is more convincing. And with Titanic I thought DiCaprio and Winslet were rather weak in their roles, however that wasn't the case here with our leads which I am happy to report. It'd have been nice if we got better dialogue and less cheese but Cameron did not learn from his past mistakes. It didn't ruin the film for me or anything, but it did bring it down a notch. Certain characters were totally cliqued but thanks to some good acting it didn't come off too badly. One issue I had, this is set way in the future, so why is one of the main characters smoking? That was just silly and dumb and it felt really out of place.
Now to the pros, we'll start with the acting. Sam Worthington was the perfect choice for our lead Jake Sully, he's so charismatic and just so damn charming and handsome. He worked so well and despite his Australia accent coming through from time to time he was great. Stephen Lang made for the perfect bad ass Colonel, he really brought his A game and definitely gave his character more then was written. Sigourney is always great, and she was well great here. It was good to see her in a James Cameron film once again, I liked her. The real stand out though was Zoe Saldana as Na'vi native Neytiri. We only see her as a Na'vi, but what she does here is really something else. She hits all the right notes, and you just can't help but totally fall in love with her. She was perfect and truly one of the great 2009 performances. She was awesome in Star Trek and I hope Zoe continues with her great roles, she is truly a talented actress and she's come along way since Center Stage (Which in owned in). All our supporting actors were also really good, the acting was definitely over all great and it really lifted the film.
Of course the big deal is the visuals, James Cameron is known for this. All his films look fantastic and he always wants to do bigger and things that haven't been done before. And you know what? He always manages to pull it off, he's a true perfectionist. The film, once we get to Pandora is just breath taking, it is truly a beautiful thing. I want to go live there, and fly on the flying creatures and be one with nature. It is just so pretty to look at, and in 3-D everything looks real, it does not look like it is CGI, it does not look like it was done a blue screen, it actually looks like they went to Pandora and filmed it there. The achievement with that is phenomenal, and the way things were shot just all worked so well. You can't really fault how this film looks, and it really needs to be seen on the big screen in 3-D, it is truly one of the best cinema experiences. I had no problems naming Avatar one of my Top Films of 2009, it is quite the achievement and such an enjoyable film. The final fight at the end is unbelievable and it was so fantastic to watch. I really hope it does not take James Cameron another 12 years for another film, give us something soon!