Avatar (2009)

From the man who brought us such blockbusters as: The Terminator, Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, True Lies, & Titanic comes another epic from director James Cameron, the 2009 science fiction film Avatar.  It stars Sam Worthington, Zoë Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver & Stephen Lang. 

The film takes place in the year 2154 on a fictional moon called Polyphemus.  As they are studying the planet of Pandora, the military decides to perform an experiment with a paraplegic former marine, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington).  The experiment is; he locks himself into a capsule where he can have his soul transferred into another body in order to become a member of the Na’vi called Avatars in order to learn about their culture.  By using the body, it also allows Jake to walk, something he can’t do as a human.  The Na’vi species are stronger & taller than humans, blue-skinned, have feline characteristics, & live in an environment in which humans cannot breathe.  As he is learning about their culture, he falls in love with Neytiri (Zoë Saldaña), a female Na’vi.  Meanwhile, as the military wants to destroy the tribe, Jake wants to save it.

One aspect of the filmmaking which I thought was simply remarkable was the computer-generated imagery or CGI.  Some of the images they used were nothing short of extraordinary.  For example, after Jake meets Neytiri, he follows her, they stop & he is suddenly surrounded by seeds which are falling on him.  Each seed had a special glow to it which made it beautiful.  Also, the scene when Jake is on top of the bird as it is flying by a waterfall is a gorgeous shot.

However, there were also parts of this film I didn’t like.  For example, it seemed like two movies combined.  I felt like I was watching something like Apocalypto versus Robocop or Pocahontas versus Toy Story.  The final battle between Neytiri & the Colonel seemed like Pocahontas versus Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story.  It felt like three different movies in one, as if James Cameron wanted to squeeze three movies into one.  I was also confused by the logic of the story.  When Jake entered the body of the Na’vi, I thought it was like in The Matrix when Neo entered the matrix.  The part I am confused about is; I thought that when Jake entered into his Na’vi body, it was a simulated world like in The Matrix.  In other words, I thought the military world & the Pandora world were two separate worlds, I had no idea that they could actually visit there.  For example, in James Cameron’s Titanic, you had two different worlds, one with 100-year-old Rose & one with 17-year-old Rose, but they never cross each other, unlike here when you have Na’vi Jake fighting the Colonel while the human Jake is in a capsule 20 feet away. 

Finally, I was confused regarding the reason why the military wanted to tear down their environment for no reason.  After all, what exactly did the Na’vi colony do to anger the military?  I thought this movie was ok, but I felt it could have been better.  I also had high expectations for this film as James Cameron has directed some excellent films & I felt this one let me down.  If not for it being in 3D, I would say to wait for it to come to DVD.  Having said that, if you like James Cameron’s work, the love story in this film (much like he did in Titanic), & want to enjoy the CGI in 3D, then this film is for you.

10 thoughts on “Avatar (2009)”

  1. You are the first person that I have heard that has been confused by the story. If anything, the story was too simplistic, but in my mind that is not the point of the movie. The story at its heart is the battle between man and nature, does our technology give us the right to play god? To mold mother nature to our liking?…something people in our modern culture are all but oblivious to. This is a similar theme explored in Dances With Wolves and even Cameron’s own Avatar. I have no idea how you got Toy Story or Robocop or Apocolypto from this. Lots of people have been saying Avatar is like Pocahantus, but if you think about it, it is not. In Pocahauntus, the title character is eventually assimilated into European society, basically the opposite of Avatar. If you haven’t seen Dances With Wolves I would reccommend it, if anything it will make Avatar and the themes discussed therein more obvious, which is what I think you missed.

  2. And for that matter, the movie reminded me a lot of the Iraq War and the whole Native American cufuffle. The movie was great, in fact, my favorite, and the beauty of it, along with the great character study, was simply… perfect.

  3. WHY THE HELL DID YOU PUT SPOILERS?! RULE 1 in the movie review field, NEVER PUT DAMN SPOILERS! Also, how were you this confused about the story, man? And also, what is up with confusion of movies? Why did you feel that the movie was these three? Explanation and Detail are needed.

  4. i saw this movie last week,i really like it,it’s pretty cool how jake can go into a new body and do things hey could never do.

  5. I just saw the movie and there is nothing confusing about it. The military wants to tear down the tree in order to get money. Under the tree is a very expensive type of rock and the military wants it. This remarkable film shows how the US government is corrupt.

  6. I totally agree with J.C Simpson James Cameron can’t even top this even though he toped Titanic. It was amazing directing and effects and talk about having hidden messages. WOW

  7. Well, even if the effects were shitty, he is a god on the writ, and can make something out of nothing or a few minor things like he is a film god… which he essentially is.

  8. I was going to let it go because J.C. already touched on it but telling the endng was not cool. AT ALL!! I havent seen the movie yet so putting the ending in there pretty much shyed me away from any more of your reviews. You sound like you are super far off base with your “analysis” comparing to all these other films which I’m sure had nothing or no inspiration into this one. Especially since Cameron stated he began working on this script before many of those movies you stated even were released. My final opinion on your review: You should commit film critic suicide and find another hobby. ASAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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