30 Second Review: Avatar
30 SECOND REVIEW: Avatar
directed by James Cameron, released December 18, 2009
I finally got the chance to see Avatar today; all the other shows I’ve tried to get into were sold out. The IMAX show was still sold out today, weeks after the movie debuted, so I had to “settle” for the simple 3D showing – and the auditorium was still about ¾ full. It’s not surprising that Avatar is the highest grossing film of all time.
And frankly, this movie deserves it. I knew it was going to be beautiful – I have not heard one person nor read one single review that has not marveled at the spectacle. And yes, it was beautiful, and beautifully realized. I’m glad James Cameron waited to bring this story to life; it was well worth the wait. But it wasn’t just the technical look of the movie that impressed me; it was the consistency of the vision. The creatures and flora were strange, yes, but they fit together. There were no teddy bears or canaries – or dinosaurs – but there was a fully realized and believable alien ecosystem. The movements of the natives and their interaction with their world also appeared pretty close to flawless. Indeed, the visuals in every way were very well thought out, well executed, well acted, and well realized.
Ah, yes, but where the movie bogged down was the story. Actually, I was all with it until the first consciousness transfer scene, where the entire tribe was linked around the Hometree. That’s when the story stopped being supported by the landscape and turned to action – and that’s when it started to feel cliché for me, all the way to the end. I would have preferred if Cameron had made the last third of the movie less typical – to have more of the mercenaries lay down their arms, to not have quite so much bloodshed at the end. To make it more focused on individuals rather than the excessive destruction that we’re so used to seeing. I think the movie would have easily supported that vision and still have been visually stunning without Cameron sacrificing any of his ideas.
Having said that, though, I did thoroughly enjoy the movie, the 3D did feel very organic, and the world of Pandora was truly stunning. I’d gladly recommend this movie to anyone who wants to escape to a breathtaking place for a few hours. A solid, solid B+ for this beautiful film.