There has been a lot of hype around James Cameron’s latest film ‘Avatar’ with Cameron himself stating that this film will change how movies are done. I finally got a chance to check out the movie and the question is if ‘Avatar’ lived up to the hype? The answer is a yes and no.
For the purposes of this review I am going to limit the amount of spoilers for the movie to as little as possible.
The best way I can summarize this movie is that it is basically a new version of Pocahontas. The whole movie is basically just that with the Na’vi taking the roles of the Native Americans and the humans playing the role of the English colonist. Also just as a comic fan there are also hints of last year’s Marvel event Secret Invasion with how the humans learn the culture of the Na’vi people. Even though the story and script was written long before Secret Invasion it was hard for me not to see some basic similarities to Secret Invasion when being explained what the avatars the humans use are for.
With that said the story that Cameron and his fellow writers wrote was the weakest part of the movie. ‘Avatar’ is one of the more predictable movies I have seen. Throughout the movie you can tell what is going to happen in the movie before it even happens. There was actually a point in the movie where I actually wanted to laugh at how predictable the movie was.
It is actually pretty clear Cameron just used the story as a vehicle to show off the amazing special effects work he and his team where able to pull off with the CGI. So going into this movie the biggest recommendation I can make going into this movie is not to expect to get a very deep and intricate story because it is not. The theme of Pocahontas is very clear throughout and along with the predictable nature of the story the story was the weakest part of the movie. At no point was I surprised by the decisions made by the characters as there was absolutely no mystery to what was going to happen from beginning to end.
Now where the movie is actually saved from a story perspective that made it actually enjoyable was the very good acting by all of the actors and actresses in the movie. Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, and the rest of the cast did a great job with breathing life to a very thin story that they make you care for the characters you are watching. Sigourney Weaver was really the standout in this film. She provided plenty of depth to her character, Dr. Grace Augustine, especially since she had some of the best dialogue in the movie.
The only member of the cast I didn’t really care for was Stephen Lang’s Colonel Miles Quaritch. As soon as you seen Lang’s character you know he is the bad guy as he automatically has the bad guy look with what looked like steroid induced look, not that I am he took anything. But going back to the character, Lang’s character really is character at no point is given dialogue that makes you care for why he acts like the villain he is. There just wasn’t much to the character other than him being the military bad guy of the film ready to cause a massacre which goes back to how weak the story of the movie was.
As for the voice acting of the movie it was also a strong job by all of the actors chosen for the roles. There wasn’t one weak actor pick for the role as each actor and actress picked for the role they were chosen to voice was very strong.
What really saves this movie from being a boring movie and actually made it worth the $11 to go watch is the awesome CGI and special effects. The world of Pandora that James Cameron created along with its people, the Na’vi, was just breath taking to watch. While the movie’s story did not really change how movies are told the CGI and special effects really changes how I am going to look at how the next few movies I watch do their special effects.
The CGI and special effects was the best work I have ever seen in a movie. Even though you know that these aren’t real creatures the amount of detail Cameron and his crew put into creating everything made the Na’vi people and the creatures look as real as the humans. It was just insane to look at how close to realistic everything looked.
Watching the world of Pandora and the creatures that inhabit Pandora kind of remind me of some of the creatures you fight in some of the Final Fantasy games. The detail that was put into everything on Pandora was incredible to watch. Nothing in this film was done half way and everything looked great. Though I can talk all day about how much I loved how all of the creatures of Pandora looked I am going to say the Great Leonopteryx, called Toruk, was my favorite creature of the world. Seeing how incredibly vicious and powerful Toruk was just a joy to watch.
And to go along with the great world that was created all of the action scenes in the movie was spectacular. All of the action made me not really care about the story as I just sat back and enjoyed the epic look of the movie. I would not be surprised if the rumor that the movie’s budget was actually much greater than the reported $250 million was true with how incredible everything looked.
Coming into this movie I recommend going in expecting to see some incredible CGI work that the story is secondary and just a vehicle for the fantastic world that was created. This movie is definitely worth watching for all of the CGI and special effects work.
With how strong the CGI and special effects were in the movie compared to the weak story that was told I have to give this movie to separate ratings.
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Special Effects Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10