Avatar, a sci-fi action film by James Cameron, was released in theaters December 18, 2009. Making just over $1 billion in international sales, Avatar has received severe criticism from viewers.
The story follows a disabled ex-marine named Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), who embarks to a newly found planet, Pandora, where ‘unobtanium’, a resource sought after by the RDA can be found. In the year 2154, sciences are available to create “avatars;” in this case, ten-foot-tall blue aliens that exactly resemble the native inhabitants of Pandora, the Na’vi.
Sully is trapped overnight in the jungles of Pandora, and finds himself befriending a Na’vi named Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) who brings him to “Hometree,” the sacred gathering place of the Na’vi. Intrigued by this outsider trapped in a familiar body, Neytirri’s shaman mother Mo’at (C.C.H. Pounder) instructs her daughter to teach Sully the ways of the Na’vi.
When Sully is released from his avatar he explains the situation to the officials of the RDA, who inform him that the greatest source of unobtanium is located under Hometree. Sully soon becomes enthralled in the way of the Na’vi and is accepted by the tribe.
Soon the time comes when the RDA is ready to destroy Hometree no matter the Na’vi’s decision, Sully finds himself torn between sides, and his loyalty is tested.
Story-wise, Avatar is (as many critics have put it) Dances with Wolves with aliens instead of Indians: Protagonist interacts with enemies, protagonist becomes “double agent” and interacts with enemies, protagonist realizes that enemies aren’t really “enemies” after all, protagonist changes sides. As far as originality goes, Cameron was not very creative on his story or characters.
Despite an unoriginal plot, the story is one that anyone can relate to. Avatar, like many other less extreme movies, still exemplifies standing up for what you believe in.
It was clear from the beginning that the focus of the director was to take as much advantage of the new movie-making technologies as possible. Vibrant shades of every color under the sun filled the screen to its edges, and the 3-D glasses showed me colors I had never imagined. The creatures that designers had conjured were mind-boggling, and the planet Cameron created was almost beyond words.
Based on the millions of dollars that have poured into box offices, it is a safe bet to assume that the rest of the world feels the same way. Already, Avatar has surpassed Lord of the Rings: Return of the King’s $1.12 billion in international sales with $1.14 billion, putting it just behind Titanic’s $1.84 billion. Could it be that Cameron will outdo himself with his most recent masterpiece?
I feel that if I’m going to shell out $8 to see a movie, a good story with interesting characters and unexpected twists in the plot isn’t much to ask for. But, if you’re going to sweep me off my feet with stunning visual effects that are unparalleled to anything I have seen before, have at it. I’ll pay money for the pretty colors.