Avatar

"Extraordinary"

Avatar Review


After a 12-year-break, Cameron returns to feature filmmaking with a mind-bending epic that's both visually spectacular and emotionally involving.

And the fact that it's in gorgeously rendered 3D is icing on the cake.

In the year 2154, paraplegic Marine Jake (Worthington) is transported to the planet Pandora to join the avatar project. Soon he's in the middle of hostile territory in the genetically cloned body of the Na'vi: three metres tall with blue skin, a tail and a very sensitive ponytail. In the jungle, Jake befriends Neytiri (Saldana), who trains him in the ways of the Na'vi. But this puts him at odds with his employers, who want him to help move the Na'vi so they can plunder the land for a rare mineral.

Clear parallels make the film work on multiple levels, most notably the way the plot echoes how European colonists treated native North Americans, who were at one with nature and fought using bows and arrows. And the military-corporate hawks are reminiscent of more recent conflicts, as warmongering Quaritch (Lang) and company man Selfridge (Ribisi) couldn't care less about the native population when success rates are at stake. Opposing them are the scientists (Weaver, Moore and Rao), a rebel pilot (Rodriguez), Neytiri's tribal-leader parents (Pounder and Studi) and the top Na'vi warrior (Alonso).

All of these are terrific characters written and played with just enough subtlety and several surprising twists. At the centre, Worthington and Weaver have the meatiest roles, with strong moments of sardonic grit and playful humour. And each character has an important role to play in the action scenes too. Cameron also manages to write a romance between Jake and Neytiri that plays out honestly, and manages to make strong but unpreachy comments about the evils of war and the interconnection of living things.

Cameron's focus on story and characters pays off by making the visual whizzery even more enjoyable. And while much of the film is animated, it's easily the most sophisticated cartoon ever made, with photorealistic creatures and settings that continually catch us off guard with their sheer presence. Cameron has even figured out how to bring life to the eyes of his animated characters; we feel every tinge of aching emotion and each gasping moment of terror. It's one wondrous, breathtaking scene after another, and one of the most viscerally entertaining films since, well, Titanic.



Avatar

Facts and Figures

Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy

Run time: 162 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th December 2009

Box Office USA: $760.5M

Box Office Worldwide: $2.8B

Budget: $237M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: 20th Century Fox, Dune Entertainment, Ingenious Film Partners, Lightstorm Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Fresh: 243 Rotten: 49

IMDB: 7.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Jake Sully, as Neytiri, as Dr. Grace Augustine, as Col. Quaritch, as Trudy Chacon, as Selfridge, as Norm Spellman, C. C. H. Pounder as Moat, as Eytukan, as Tsu'Tey, as Dr. Max Patel, as Lyle Wainfleet, Sean Anthony Moran as Private Fike, Jason Whyte as Cryo Vault Med Tech, as Venture Star Crew Chief, Kelly Kilgour as Lock Up Trooper, James Patrick Pitt as Shuttle Pilot, Sean Patrick Murphy as Shuttle Co-Pilot, Peter Dillon as Shuttle Crew Chief, Kevin Dorman as Tractor Operator / Troupe, Kelson Henderson as Dragon Gunship Pilot, David Van Horn as Dragon Gunship Gunner, Jacob Tomuri as Dragon Gunship Navigator, Michael Blain-Rozgay as Suit #1, Jon Curry as Suit #2, Luke Hawker as Ambient Room Tech, Woody Schultz as Ambient Room Tech / Troupe, as Horse Clan Leader, Sonia Yee as Link Room Tech, Jahnel Curfman as Basketball Avatar / Troupe, Ilram Choi as Basketball Avatar, Kyla Warren as Na'vi Child, Lisa Roumain as Troupe, as Troupe, Taylor Kibby as Troupe, Jodie Landau as Troupe, Chris Mala as Troupe, Julie Lamm as Troupe, Cullen B. Madden as Troupe, Joseph Brady Madden as Troupe, Frankie Torres as Troupe, Austin Wilson as Troupe, Sara Wilson as Troupe, Tamica Washington-Miller as Troupe, Lucy Briant as Op Center Staff, Nathan Meister as Op Center Staff, Gerry Blair as Op Center Staff, Matthew Chamberlain as Op Center Staff, Paul Yates as Op Center Staff, Wray Wilson as Op Center Duty Officer, James Gaylyn as Op Center Staff, Melvin Leno Clark III as Dancer, Carvon Futrell as Dancer, Brandon Jelkes as Dancer, Micah Moch as Dancer, Hanniyah Muhammad as Dancer, Christopher Nolen as Dancer, Christa Oliver as Dancer, April Marie Thomas as Dancer, Bravita A. Threatt as Dancer, Colin Bleasdale as Mining Chief (uncredited), Mike Bodnar as Veteran Miner (uncredited), Matt Clayton as Richard (uncredited), Nicole Dionne as Nav'i (uncredited), Jamie Harrison as Trooper (uncredited), Allan Henry as Trooper (uncredited), as Ground Technician (uncredited), Ashley Jeffery as Flight Crew Mechanic (uncredited), Dean Knowsley as Samson Pilot, Joseph Mika-Hunt as Trooper (uncredited), as Banshee (uncredited), Kai Pantano as Soldier (uncredited), Logan Pithyou as Blast Technician (uncredited), Stuart Pollock as Vindum Raah (uncredited), Raja as Hero (uncredited), Gareth Ruck as Ops Centreworker (uncredited), Rhian Sheehan as Engineer (uncredited), T. J. Storm as Col. Quaritch's Mech Suit (uncredited), Jodie Taylor as Female Marine (uncredited), as Ikran Clan Leader (uncredited), Richard Whiteside as Geologist (uncredited), Nikie Zambo as Na'vi (uncredited), Julene Renee as Ambient Room Tech / Troupe

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