Reviews, Reports + Comments

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Review of film: “AVATAR” [ + IMAX version of it ]

2009, 12-17 =

Review of film:  AVATAR


James Cameron.


James Cameron.


Sam Worthington
Zoe Saldana
Sigourney Weaver
Stephen Lang
Michelle Rodriguez
Giovanni Ribisi
Joel David Moore
CCH Pounder
Wes Studi
Laz Alonso
Dileep Rao
Matt Gerald
Sean Anthony Moran
Jason Whyte
Scott Lawrence.


Rated PG-13 for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking.


“Dreams of flying—.”
“More like a 5th of tequila and an ass-kicking.”
“If there’s a hell, you might want to go there on R&R!”
“I dissected a frog once…”
“Try to use big words.”
“My cup is empty.”
“We’ll see if your insanity can be used.”
“Shut up & fly straight.”
“If a man, he can negotiate terms.”
“Mated for life.”
“It’s a global network.”
“It’ll be humane--  more or less…”
“Everything changes if you’re in LOVE.”
“This is going to ruin my whole day.”
“I need to take some samples!”
“I see you.”


9 of 10 stars (based on an advance screening in Real 3-D of the 162-minute film).

A SCI-FI “Dances With SamuraiACTION-based Dilly of a Thrill-y

My INITIAL reaction was, this movie is not “great”.  It’s not as “spectacular” as I’d expected, & the 3-D is almost “understated” (rather than overdone).  But, the more I reflected on it, the BETTER it became: 

...  It has some WONDERFUL elements, such as the special effects (with futuristic computer displays, the alien world, etc.), the believability of the relationships (especially for a sci-fi film), & the aggregation & interweaving of various plot lines:

…  The twin brother of Jake Sully (SAM WORTHINGTON) has died on a project in 2154 to try to get an indigenous alien population (the Omaticaya clan of the Na’vi) to relocate so humans can mine a very valuable element discovered in their area…

…  The military recruits Jake (who’s unable to move his legs) to take his brother’s place as a “communicator” with an “AVATAR”--  a creature they’ve invented combining human elements with the looks & large size of the aliens, to try to “INFILTRATE” them as a means of getting them moved… 

…  Technical work concerning the program is headed by Dr. Grace Augustine (SIGOURNEY WEAVER), who’s initially skeptical about what untrained Sam can “add” to their enterprise…



…  The military side of the project is run by hard-ass Colonel Miles Quaritch (STEPHEN LANG), who loves manipulating his “MAN-BOTS” (wherein a man operates the extended-power prosthetic-based controls of a robot-like killing machine)…

…  The Colonel likes Sam because he used to be in the Marines.  Overall, the boss of the venture is Parker Selfridge (GIOVANNI RIBISI), whose attitude is, do WHATEVER it takes to make money (& to hell with alien --  or other -- opposition)… 

…  The film covers the training done by Sam & his cohorts (such as Norm Spellman, played by Joel David Moore), & their relationships with others in the project, such as Dr. Max Patel (DILEEP RAO) & self-reliant helicopter-type pilot Trudy Chacon (MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ)…

…  To “connect” with the partially-human quasi-“clones” of themselves requires that the humans (such as Sam & Sigourney) enter a closed chamber & let their mind go “free” / blank;  if they aren’t in that chamber doing that, their Avatars will “collapse” from a lack of connectivity with their “host”…

…  To his surprise, Sam LOVES being an Avatar, because it allows him to use his legs & run again in life. In time, he is dropped into the ALIEN area, with instructions to try to act like “ONE” of them & to LEARN all he can about them & their feelings & customs (which eventually “might” cause PROBLEMS for those in control of the project)…

…  The world is not as he expected it--  with loads of dangerous ANIMALS attacking him.  At one point, he’s helped by a female alien named Neytiri (ZOE SALDANA), who eventually starts to teach him about their culture which (like the Native Americans) deeply believes in living in a close harmony with NATURE

…  Altho somewhat fearful about how her clan will respond to Sam (since he’s obviously akin to some of the human CREATIONS they’d encountered before), she introduces him to her father Eytukan (WES STUDI), her mother Moat (CCH POUNDER), and antagonistic warrior Tsu'tey (LAZ ALONSO)… Sam grows to CARE about the people he meets…

…  As this movie meanders along, you may well be reminded of elements in ERAGON(such as its flying dragons), “THE LAST SAMURAI(from various combat action), “DANCES WITH WOLVES(from the inter-connectivity with nature), “TITANIC(also directed by Cameron, for its love story), “SHOCK AND AWE(as friend B.K. commented), & others… 

…  Will Sam help his employer, or his new blue-skinned friends?…  Will the civilians or military really control the humans’ project?…  Will some of the characters fall in love?… 

…  Will the Omaticaya listen to what Sam tries to tell them?…  Who will win the battles that are fought?…  Will “nature” have a say in the outcome?…  Who --  and what -- will survive in the end?…

…  After the finale, two audience members to my left commented on how “visually STUNNING” the film was (with its scenes of an alien world, including beautiful work on fluorescent fauna)…

…  Tho it’s  occasionally a bit “corny” (including some weak dialogue such as “Shut your pie hole!”), overall, it was (to me) an EFFECTIVE & very ENJOYABLE film…

…  It bothers me that the film cost a reported $ 230 million or so (which seems way excessive, especially in the way that could’ve paid for a bunch of “smaller” films)…

…  But, it’s “one man’s vision”, the vision was STRONG, & I particularly liked a lot of the “MESSAGES” inherent in it (about being gentler with nature & to those “different” than us, & not feeling that what “WE” want always takes “precedence” in the world)… 

…  So, since I resolutely appreciate CREATIVE work (which this has, especially in its animation & cgi special effects provided by a number of different companies including Weta in New Zealand), I gave this film a hearty rating (tho I doubt it’ll turn out to be as “ground-breaking” or massively popular as “TITANIC” was in its day)…

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Review of film:  “AVATAR : An IMAX 3D Experience”  




             A lot of "DEPTH" to the Multi-Layered Action [ Rating:  10 of 10 stars ]

Date Rated: Mar 4, 2010   | [ With the “regular” 3-D released on Dec 18, 2009 ]

     I had seen the film once before (as detailed above)….

…   In IMAX, there seemed to be a heightened sense of the 3-D "Depth" to the often-fantastic images and the powerful multi-layered action between the Na'vi people and the military operating on behalf of the money-grubbing corporation (& that made it even MORE enjoyable!)...

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