James Cameron has done his damndest to break the cinematic mold (once again) with his latest movie Avatar. The idea has apparently been rattling around inside his brain for nigh on 15 years, although technological limitations meant that he had to wait before attempting to make it. And now with a reported budget of $300M, 2000 different staffers and 3 and half years in the making…. it’s here. And its amazing.
Avatar tells the story of Jake Sully (Australian actor Sam Worthington), an ex-marine who arrives on Pandora, a distant moon, as part of a giant corporate effort to mine the hugely valuable unobtainium. Standing in the way is the indigenous population of Na’vi, a nature loving race who refuse to cooperate. In an attempt to reach some diplomatic solution to the problem Dr Grace Ausgustine (Weaver) has a developed a program that creates avatars, genetically engineered hybrids between human and Na’vi DNA, basically human minds in Na’vi bodies. Sully is one of these human minds, and sets out on a dual mission of both bonding with the Na’vi and gathering intel for the impending military operation.
What follows is an outrageously beautiful piece of moviemaking which demands to be seen on the big screen. The mix of live-action and cgi is seamless with the Na’vi so realistic that you never question the fact that they are as real as the human characters. The forests of Pandora are alive with a huge array of exotic creatures and wildlife and teeming with an amazing collection of creatures big and small. The 3D is generally understated, never feeling the need to resort the usual cheap tricks we tend to see, but instead simply adding to the overall experience.
The story is not exactly original, drawing on Dances with Wolves amongst others, but its a classic tale which survives retelling. Running time is just over 2 hours and 40 minutes, and does feel a tad sluggish in the middle though that’s easily forgiven thanks to the awesome visuals. Any other criticisms would be nitpicking for the sake of it, and so I won’t bother.
Put simply, you NEED to go see this movie in the cinema. See it on the biggest screen you can and see it soon. Afterwards you’re likely to question the originality of the story-line, though you’ll never question its incredible delivery or indeed your decision to see it.