Tuesday 15 December 2009


James Cameron
20th Century Fox

In Cinemas Nationwide from Thursday 17th December
Review by Charlotte Barnes

Avatar takes us to a spectacular world beyond imagination, where a newcomer from Earth embarks on an epic adventure. Jake Sully, former marine, is confined to a wheelchair, but despite his disability he is recruited to travel light years to the human outpost on Pandora, where a corporate consortium is mining a rare mineral that's worth a fortune - rarer than diamonds. Because of Pandora’s toxic atmosphere, the Avatar program was created in which human ‘drivers’ have their consciousness linked to an avatar, a remotely controlled biological body that can survive the lethal air. These avatars are genetically engineered hybrids of human DNA mixed with DNA from the natives of Pandora, the Na’vi.

Jake is given the mission to infiltrate the Na’vi, who have become a major obstacle to mining the precious ore. However, the beautiful Na’vi female Neytiri saves Jake’s life and changes everything. Jake is taken in by her clan and learns to become one of them. As Jake’s relationship deepens with his reluctant teacher he learns to respect the Na’vi way. Soon he will face the ultimate test as he leads them in an epic battle that will decide the fate of an entire world.

James Cameron first conceived the idea of this film fifteen years ago, when the means to realise his vision didn't yet exist. Having now seen this film, I can see it was totally worth the wait. Watching this breath-taking movie was like the first time I first watched Terminator II: Judgment Day or Jurassic Park, the special effects are mesmerising; a true joy to watch.

I have a strong theatre background and what I have always loved about the theatre is that when you are watching a play the experience feels that more human and tangible because the action is literally unfolding in front of you. By creating this film in 3D it somehow bridges that gap between the audience and the screen - thus that gap between the stage and the screen. The only experience I had previously had of 3D was those cheesy films at theme parks where a 4x2 projects from the screen looking as if it is going to hit the audience on their heads (very droll), so I am pleased to say that Avatar is nothing like that. The 3D is so subtle and so cleverly done it really does feel like you can reach out and touch the magnificent scenery.

Cinematically this is a masterpiece, it feels like everything that James Cameron has been working on, every skill he has honed and perfected over his career has led to this point; this is his opus. Avatar is a frenzy of colour, the forest and its creatures are phenomenal and so intricately detailed. I am positive this will be one of those films that you watch time and time again and still notice small details that you hadn’t on previous viewings.

There is a strong gothic undertone running throughout the film (I don’t mean in the black eyeliner, dreary poetry and Marilyn Manson sense of the word, I mean it in the literary sense of the word) which seems to act as a social commentary on how we treat the environment and they ways where we as a race are plundering the earth of all of its natural resources until there is nothing left to take. As well as this social comment, there is a secondary meaning, a political stance which seems to be reflective of the injustice and American greed of the war on Iraq. It could also be seen as comment on war in general where invaders have forced new ways upon natives of other lands whether for political or religious reasons.

However, it would be unfair to comment on all of the positives without acknowledging the negative. This is verbatim the same story as Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, a wonderful cartoon made in 1992 where Christian Slater plays the part of Pip (Avatar’s equivalent of Jake Sully)and Tim Curry plays the part of Hexxus (Avatar’s equivalent of Parker Selfridge). It would therefore be difficult for me to state that this is a truly original film, because that would be a lie and I don’t want my mum to put me on the naughty step.

Although, this film has produced some good performances none of them are particularly outstanding. Similar to all of Cameron’s films this is not a film you will be remembering for its high calibre of acting. This film will only be remembered for its outstanding effects and Cameron’s fantastic direction. Although ,this will surely be a great feat for upcoming actors Sam Worthington and Zoe Sladana, I doubt they will be getting any Oscars for their performances.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Violence: Plenty of kick ass gun fire and bow and arrow action!
Sex/Nudity: Some mild petting, nothing to write home about.
Swearing: Mild, nothing to shock the kids.
Summary: This is a truly magical film and it has to be experienced for the first time in 3D, so everyone get your arses down to your local cinema and watch it now, you will regret it if you don’t! 9/10

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