James Cameron - Avatar (Film Review)
Ok so there’s movies and then there’s Avatar. Have you seen it yet? If you haven’t then you my friend have not lived for this is truly an experience that if you miss you will regret for the rest of you life. Unless you live under a rock it is impossible to not have at least seen or heard the hype train chugging its way across the world of media discussing James Cameron’s new movie. With amazing effects and a whole series of films using this newly created history of the Navi it seems Avatar is set on becoming the Star Wars of the 21st century. But is it really all that good? Well let’s find out.
Well this is the big one so lets get this out of the way first. There has been a lot of claims about how this movie is the most realistic any movie has ever been and that the technology behind it is also the best the film has ever seen. It also is the first movie to ever have used a camera specifically developed for 3D film. Created by James Cameron himself (who incidentally is now working on a 4D camera as well) The question is however does this all hold up to these claims when you’re actually watching the movie? Well actually, Yes, Yes it does. The film seems to swallow you in this amazing new world, with so much depth that you feel like you are in the movie. A shot, which is returned to often, is that of our main character Jake Sully giving a video log. The amount of depth in this one shot is incredible and always amazing to watch. As for the planet itself, it looks beautiful with colours everywhere and although you can connect certain plants with those on earth there is always something different at the same time. Possibly one of the best things is the lack of shots designed to fly into the audience, these are absent entirely and really shows that this 3D camera has been used professionally and the effect is not just a gimmick and hopefully will become industry standard.
Design is where I feel this movie suffers the most. Despite how beautiful the film looks and how magical the world seems, there is a distinct feeling that we’ve seen it all before. Where you ask? Well a variety of places but the one place I seem to find the most similarities are within video games. The humans are populated by Marines, wearing oxygen masks because they can’t breath the planets air and the first machinery you a fully introduced to within the film is a futuristic helicopter. Immediately your mind will drift to such games like Metroid or Halo. From the general mechanical design of the vehicles to the suits the Marines where they seem to look very Halo-ish and to be honest I’d rather see something new. When we get to the Jungle that too seems far too similar to thousands of RPGs, Adventure games and one again very Metroid like. Finally we have the Navi themselves and one has to ask if James Cameron was even trying with these guys. The first thought that entered my mind when I saw them was the game World of Warcraft and how ridiculously similar they look to both the Night Elves and to an extent the Draynigh. They just seemed to stereotypical as did their home, a giant tree. So on the design front there’s nothing we really haven't already seen.
Ok I’m not going to lie. The Story is cheesy. Very Cheesy. It has tons of cheesy Stereotypical lines and moments throughout the entire film. From “I didn’t sign up to this” to catching a rare mythical creature to save the day, this film has a phenomenal amount of cheese. Does this make it a bad story? Of course not! Sure the dialog can almost be painful to listen to at times as can watching certain plot points but the fact is it works and it works really well. I actually enjoyed the story more then many other films because it is the classic story told since the dawn of time of a young hero defeating all odds and saving the planet. That’s why this film is so good. Because we never get tired of the classic battle between good and evil. At same time though there was parts of the story that didn’t seem probable to me and moved to fast. An example would be that would be after Jake Sully has been banished from the tribe and is all alone. I wont ruin how he returns to the others for those of you who have not yet seen it but the way the Navi seem to forgive him so easily just doesn’t seem possible. Apart from these minor blips though the majority of the story is great fun, despite how cheesy it can be.
I honestly can’t stress enough how badly you need to see this movie, if you haven’t already. It really does deserve the praise it is getting and you need to see the film in 3D and in cinemas since I don’t believe you will manage to get the same effect with the eventual DVD release. Is the film perfect? No of course not. But is it worth your money? Yes. Is it worth seeing more then once? Yes. Is it now a classic? Well that was decided before the film was even released. Overall I can give this movie a 9/10 rating. It’s by no means perfect but it’s the closest many movies have ever gotten.