James Cameron's Avatar : Movie Review
Avatar (2009), the $400 million comeback film of director James Cameron was a resounding
success even before it hit the theatres thanks to some highly effective marketing
techniques and of course the James Cameron (Terminator 1 & 2, Aliens, Titanic)
factor. But like all other works of art, Avatar too has its strengths and weaknesses.
So here is a critical look at Avatar, which was not only one of the most eagerly awaited
films of the year 2009 but one that has potentially changed the sci-fi landscape forever.
The Plot of James Cameron's Avatar
Avatar is the story of a paraplegic Marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) who volunteers
to take the place of his deceased brother and help scientist Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney
Weaver) in a mission to investigate the humanoid life forms, known as Na'vi, on the
far off planet of Pandora. Dr. Augustine has devised a method to create a Na'vi alter
ego (or Avatar) for every individual and she uses this to create an Avatar for Jake
and sends him to Pandora to mix with the enigmatic Na'vi people and learn their way
However, in his first visit to Pandora the over adventurous Jake Sully (overjoyed
that his Avatar is not a cripple) gets lost in the dense forests and is hounded by
its ferocious and mysterious creatures before he is unexpectedly rescued by Neytiri
(Zoe Saldana), a Na'vi princess.
As Jake Sully's arrival on Pandora was accompanied by a good omen, Neytiri is convinced
that he is a godsend, and on her insistence Jake is accepted by the Na'vi community
as one of their own. As Neytiri takes on the onus of teaching Jake the various traits
of Na'vi life like hunting, leaping from tree to tree, their way of worship and sleeping
in hummocks suspended high above the ground, the duo slowly falls in love with each
other and soon becomes inseparable. But such tender emotions are wasted on multi-billion
dollar businessman Parker Selfridge whose only reason for funding Dr. Augustine's
scientific operation is to get rid of the Na'vi people in order to acquire a very
rare and expensive mineral which is available in abundance on Pandora. And far as
he is concerned, the infiltration of the Na'vi people by Jake Sully is a success.
After gaining valuable intelligence from an unsuspecting Jake Sully, Parker gives
the go-ahead to launch a full force offensive in order to annihilate the Na'vi people.
As Pandora is set ablaze by the human invasion spearheaded by Colonel Miles Quaritch,
Jake realizes that he must choose between his obligations to his own species and the
life of thousands of Na'vi people who have no hope of survival without his help.
Review of James Cameron's Avatar
The reason behind Avatar's success is undoubtedly its amazing visuals which are mesmerizing
to say the least. I went into the movie with pretty high expectations but even then
the graphics in Avatar forced me to acknowledge to myself that I had grossly underestimated
human innovation, imagination and skill. In addition, a fast paced and easy to follow
narrative along with a fair dose of humor and drama make Avatar a thoroughly enjoyable
watch, with some great background scores further heightening the thrill factor.
Everything said and done there is no denying the fact that the plot of Avatar (people
of one planet invading another) is fairly cliché and one that has been reused and
refined time after time. And as is inevitable with such plots, in Avatar too, there
is an acute dearth of twists and turns and the ending is easily predictable.
However, it must be mentioned in the same breath that in Avatar there is a role reversal
of sorts: unlike the other movies sharing this storyline (including the Terminator
series, the Transformers series and most recently Skyline) in Avatar humans are trying
to invade an alien planet (and not the other way round). Further, it has to be said
that in this age of industrialization and rampant destruction of forest-cover the
story of Avatar somehow seems much more real and probable as compared to the other
movies mentioned above.
My Verdict on James Cameron's Avatar
I sincerely think that James Cameron's Avatar is truly a landmark film and radically
different from all other movies released to date-it showcases an amazing synergy between
human acting and computer generated graphics to deliver some of the most captivating
and spellbinding visuals ever filmed. If you are looking to be entertained then I
can guarantee that you won't find too many better alternatives than James Cameron's
Looking Ahead: The Future of the Avatar Franchise
If you were enchanted by the surreal world of Pandora and the simple charm of the
Na'vi people and yearn to return there soon then there is reason to rejoice. According
to IMDB both Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 are in pre-production and have retained James Cameron
at the helm. Their scheduled release dates are 2014 and 2015 respectively.
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