NewsBlaze search box Daily News header

Avatar Film Review

By     get stories by email

James Cameron's Long-Awaited Sci-Fi Thriller Beats Expectations


James Cameron wrote the script for Avatar back in 1994, but was unable to turn his vision into a movie until now because he had to wait for technological innovations to catch up to his expectations of the 3-D spectacular. As it turns out, the delay was well worth the wait, for this intergalactic sci-fi flick more than measures up to the hype, and not merely in terms of its introduction of the next generation of special effects.

The eagerly-anticipated adventure revolves around a socially-relevant story so thoroughly compelling that its nearly 3-hour running time flies by in a flash. Furthermore, this cautionary tale about the dangers of unchecked military might and corporate greed also features a tenderhearted cross-species romance.

The action unfolds in the year 2154 on the distant planet Pandora which is in the process of being invaded by SecFor (as in Security Force, get it?), a U.S. military-industrial complex/corporate conglomerate with designs on a rare mineral called unobtainium (as in not obtainable, get it?). The precious substance, worth $20 million a kilo, is the only reason for the expedition, as it apparently is the critical element involved in bringing presently-polluted Earth back from the brink of ecological extinction.

avatar movie

The picture's unlikely protagonist is paraplegic Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), an ex-Marine who has greatness thrust upon him when he volunteers to serve as a last-light year replacement for his recently-deceased twin brother in the Avatar program. Upon his arrival on Pandora, he is instructed by botanist Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) how to mind-meld with his genetically-matched avatar and thereby control its every move. The human-like hybrid physically resembles a member of the Na'vi (as in na´ve, get it?), the 9' tall, blue-skinned tribe of aborigines inhabiting the planet.

Jake is given just 3 months by his superiors to manipulate the indigenous people into vacating their sacred lands voluntarily, since it sits atop untapped reserves of the coveted unobtainium. However, much to the chagrin of an avaricious, SecFor bureaucrat (Giovanni Ribisi) and an itchy, trigger-fingered Colonel (Stephen Lang), he goes renegade after falling in love with a young native beauty (Zoe Saldana).

Jake switches sides because he recognizes that the much-maligned Na'vi aren't bloodthirsty savages as billed, but noble, spiritually-superior beings living in harmony with nature. So, like a latter-day Tarzan who can talk to the animals, the sensitive alien-whisperer must rally all the creatures of Pandora to come to the defense of their peaceable kingdom in an eye-popping battle royal.

Along the way Cameron pays homage to (although some might say shamelessly recycles) memorable motifs from some of his own films and from Star Wars, The Fugitive, King Kong, Superman, Pocahontas, Predator, Apocalypto and Transformers, as well. That being said, Avatar's prevailing theme is the identical to a certain classic Western for which Kevin Costner won a couple of Academy Awards.

Forget dancing with wolves. Howzabout doing the Funky Chicken with aliens?

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for sensuality, profanity, smoking and intense epic battle sequences.
In English and Na'vian with subtitles.
Running time: 162 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox

To see a trailer for Avatar,

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze.

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Directed by Anne Fletcher, Hot Pursuit is a mindless diversion chock-full of the staples of the unlikely-buddies genre, like car chases, and accidental drug use.
Three big budget films. Paper Towns, Pixels and Southpaw. Teens saving a neighbor, retro-gamers saving the planet and a southpaw boxer saving himself.
A post-slavery purge of blacks resulted in a whitening of the Argentine population, as immigrants from Italy, France, Lebanon and Syria were welcomed.
Djimon Hounsou calls in to reflect on survival issues on and off screen, as an immigrant and actor of color, once jobless and homeless in Paris.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E., directed by Guy Ritchie is relatively tame, compared to his usual work, such as Snatch (2000) and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Prairie Miller has a conversation with the star of a new Off-Broadway play, Sandra Lee, herself a victim of rape in the military as a soldier in Iraq.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month


Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2015 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site