Sunday, December 20, 2009


The amount of buzz surrounding director James Cameron's 15 years in-the-making Avatar has been feverish of late. It is fresh off receiving four Golden Globe nominations, as announced earlier this week and surely will be a front-runner in the upcoming Oscars race for Best Picture and technical categories. Visually, it is a stunning masterpiece and the moment the film begins up to the point it ends 162 minutes later, Cameron manages effectively to keep me 100% engaged. The downside is that the story lacks the heart it truly wants to have, being lost in special effects and fancy graphics.

Handsome Aussie Sam Worthington plays Jake Scully, a wheel-chair ridden war veteran who is assigned on a mission to visit planet Pandora after his scientist identical twin dies. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) spearheads a program to create 10 ft. tall hybrid human/Na'vi aliens called Avatars to invade Pandora, which is abundant in its most prized resource Unobtanium. This resource would help resolve Earth's energy crisis. On his assignment, Scully transforms into Avatar form and eventually falls in love with Neytiri, a Na'vi. Colonel Miles Quatrich (Stephen Lang) makes no mistake that he is willing to pull out all the stops in having the miltary kill off all Na'vi should they get in the way of the set mission to obtaining and control Unobtanium. Scully is torn between completing his assignment and protecting the colony his beloved Neytiri belongs to. What results is a gripping war of the worlds between humans and aliens in the last half hour of the film.

In all honesty, I do not do sci-fi, so much of the plot minutiae went over my head. Thus what I was looking for in Avatar was an element of human emotion I could relate to. Metaphorically, the film parallels our times of war with the U.S. military still fighting George W. Bush's war in Afghanistan and makes a statement about the destructiveness of it all. And oddly, we wind up siding with the Na'vi versus the humans through all of this. The love story between Scully and Neytiri had traces of heart, but did not bring the film to the great emotional heights it could have gone to a la Cameron's Titanic. Also, it was refreshing to see a strong female presence as principal, not just supporting characters. Regardless, the film is effectively entertaining as a mindless escape even though the same story could have been told in significantly shorter duration. Avatar, from 20th Century Fox is now in theatres worldwide. Grade: B


  1. Indeed! I couldn't get into the 3-D screening unfortunately:(

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