One line review: A film that may have pushed the envelope in visual techniques, but does not fully live up to it’s sky high hype.

Movie Title: Avatar

Actors: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Joel Moore, Giovanni Ribisi, Michelle Rodriguez, Laz Alonso, Wes Studi, CCH Pounder, Dileep Rao, Matt Gerald, Sean Anthony Moran

Director: James Cameron

Year: 2009

Genre: Action / Adventure

Method of Viewing: Theater

Location of Viewing: Theater

Viewing with: Family

Rotten Tomatoes: 82% – It might be more impressive on a technical level than as a piece of storytelling, but Avatar reaffirms James Cameron’s singular gift for imaginative, absorbing filmmaking.

My rating: ****

My assessment (the first 101 words at least): This film has both been praised for it’s fantastic visuals, and lambasted for it’s basic plot. I fall somewhere in the middle. I feel that while the visuals are some of the most impressive 3D and CGI I’ve ever seen, it was still an artificial effect that felt like a gimmick. As for the plot, the basic idea may have been stolen from Dances with Wolves, but Avatar adds a few twists of it’s own to make it feel like a unique story. This film has earned it’s place in history, and I will be fascinated to see the upcoming sequels.

I suppose I should start with the plot. It seems mainly movie critics have been the ones to lambast the title for it’s poor plot. I can understand the idea that those who have seen more movies have seen this plot a thousand times over. I don’t have nearly as much hatred for it considering the only film I’ve seen with this plot structure is Pocahontas. I believe that between the fantastic world that James Cameron created, the idea of a handicap man gaining his legs again, as well as the mystical nature of the Na’vi he’s Avatar has enough twists to enjoy this story again. I really think Avatar just suffered from getting over hyped, so that anything it delivered would disappoint.

As for the visuals, while the 3D was the best I’ve seen, it’s still not that great. The 3D is nothing more than multiple layers of images rather than just having something reach out for you. I absolutely don’t see this technology becoming as big as HD. In fact, even if a movie could be in 3D or 2D, and the price was the same, I might just see the 2D version. 3D is still nothing more than a gimmick for me.


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