omg. OMG. What a fantastic film! I just saw AVATAR in 3D IMAX resulting in complete sensory overload! I don’t even know where to start on this review. All I know is that I can unequivocally say that AVATAR was the best movie I have ever seen. And I have seen a lot of movies. Hands down, five stars. Hell, I’d give it six stars. Rotten Tomatoes has it at a well-deserved 82%.
I know there was a lot of hype behind this film given the astronomical amount of money that James Cameron poured into it (upwards of $400 million in production with $100 million more spent on advertising), but seriously, for once the movie matched all the hype. AVATAR was phenomenal.
First, the cinematography (I talked about it in my last post – James Cameron’s Avatar Trailer) was amazing. Viewing the film in 3D was like being a immersed into the landscape of Pandora – a part of its lush forests with multi-hued fantastic flora and fauna of all kinds. It was uniquely magnificent, and I was transported into that world from the very first glimpse of the planet. The Na’vi were fascinating as a species, both to look at in terms of their cat-like beauty and grace to their way of life and deeply-rooted metaphysical relationship with their planet. I loved Zoe Saldana’s character, Neytiri. She was so fierce and beautiful and feminine, all in one package. What a fantastic character – such a strong female heroine! Neytiri was real and gritty and more “human” than some of her human counterparts in recent movies. She was so entrenched in her feelings. You could hear her raw emotion when she cried after her father died or when Jake revealed his betrayal. Zoe Saldana delivered a spectacular performance, worthy of recognition. Despite only seeing her in CGI’d Na’vi form, her ability to deliver that kind of gut performance goes beyond anything I’ve ever seen.
I had to admit I had some misgivings because I believed going in to see Avatar that there was going to be an unhappy ending – after all, how does a human possessing the body of a Na’vi via a machine get to live happily ever after? The human controller must survive for the Na’vi avatar to live. But I loved the way that James Cameron resolved this for me. Not to give away too much, but Pandora’s magic, the spirit of Eywa, just made it come together so naturally when Jake Sully assumes the consciousness of his avatar for good, that I was spellbound.
I loved Sam Worthington’s character, Jake Sully. I was rooting for him the whole time and I really wanted Neytiri to fall for him. Of course she had to be the daughter of the clan leader and seer! That was the only part that was a little predictable, but you always have to have an untouchable “princess” in these types of stories. Worked for me! When Jake Sully shows up with the Leonopteryx, as the sixth Toruk Makto, I felt my heart jump for him. That was just awesome!! In a lot of ways, the film itself became a medium for me to experience his character’s first interaction with Pandora and the Na’vi – almost as if it were the avatar and I, it’s human connection. How’s that for a mind-twister?
The conflict battle scenes were spectacular. I felt so emotionally connected to the Na’vi that I found myself gripping the arms of my seat when their Hometree was destroyed and when they were attacked by the sky-people. Sigourney Weaver was as awesome as she was in Alien, although not in the lead role this time, but she is just made for these types of movies. I’ve always been a huge fan of hers and all the Alien films.
I was connected to this movie the whole time, feeling goosebumps and a sense of breathlessness many times throughout its 162 minute run-time. At the end when Neytiri jumps into the shack and saves the human Jake, that scene was so emotionally touching – you just felt that it didn’t matter what species they were – she loved him, and he, her. When they said “I see you” to each other, I felt their love in my toes. And that is an emotional connection, folks.
This film took me away from a very mundane reality to a fantastic world that I just didn’t want to leave. I would watch Avatar again in a heartbeat! One of the things that makes a movie great is its ability to draw in its viewers and to make them connect emotionally, visually, and aurally with its message. Avatar accomplished that and more. It was a movie that I didn’t want to end. I walked out of the movie theater with a fist pump and a huge grin, completely satisfied, which is more than I can say for many, many other films. You will experience the gambit of human emotions through the film, and for those critics who’ve said that it has no real plot or story, well they’re the ones without imagination. Avatar is not just a fantasy or sci-fi film, it’s a love story with a ton of action and some pretty neat concepts (like all life on Pandora being connected like the synapses of the human brain).
This film has no equal. I’d pay the $16 to see it in IMAX again no doubt. 5 stars.