Avatar (2009)

Visual Masterpiece in not only special effects, but in cinematic history

For those that read my review on "Brothers" saying that was the best film of the year, I think I might have spoken prematurely. As "Avatar" not only met the hype and expectations I had, but it exceeded it ten fold. Ten years in the making, "Avatar" was allegedly responsible for inventing and implementing the use of a new type of CGI technology to allow a great deal of realism to the computer animated characters. Such technology was used to not only to make the CGI more realistic, but to allow strong emotions to be conveyed through computer imagery like never before. Normally, James Cameron has never been known for "Shakespearian type" plots, as all his films tend to appeal to the lowest common denominator. While making up for it with solid character development and tone. However, with "Avatar" that is clearly not the case. As he not only uses strong character development, tone, and CGI; he also produces a strong story arc that will capture the heart of anyone who watches it. Plus, the acting performances were pretty solid as well, to say the least. "Avatar" is truly one of the best sci-fi films I have ever had the pleasure of seeing.

The story takes place within the distant future where humanity has learned to travel beyond the stars to visit other worlds. On an uncharted planet, Pandora, a paraplegic marine, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), is assigned to a special mission to pose as one of the natives, the Na' vi, using a specially designed avatar that makes him look exactly like one of them. His sole mission is to infiltrate and gain their trust, so he can negotiate them into leaving their home. The purpose of this whole ordeal is attain a rare gem that Na' vi posses that becomes quite valuable, back on Earth. The only problem is that the Na' vi are completely attuned with the planet, as they possess a unique ability to telepathically link with all the creatures and wonders of their world. Needless to say, this doesn't bode well with the Earth's military as they're prepared to have access to those gems, by any means necessary. Torn between his duty towards the Earth forces and to his new Na' vi lover, Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), Jake must choose between them as the fate of the entire planet depend on it.

In all of Cameron's films, they tend to usually appeal to lowest common denominator. However, this film is one his deepest movies that he ever conceived. Featuring a strong use of symbolism in this film, to illustrate mankind's cruelty at times throughout our history. Like the Native Americans, where the British settlers conquered and took what they wanted out of sheer force when things couldn't be achieved through mild negotiations. Same thing with the Spaniards taking the gold from the Mayan temples. Indeed, why should things be any different on another planet? As it's like Jake said so eloquently in the film, humanity has always shown signs of force to attain things that they want. With total disregard for how the less technologically advanced culture feels. Cameron does a great job orchestrating this use of symbolism to carry the story line so well, as it was reminiscent of how Akira Kirasawa uses imagery and symbolism to move a story along emotionally. Not that I'm comparing the two directors, as each have or in the case of Kirasawa, had their techniques and styles in movies. However, it does seem to be a refreshing take on what Cameron normally does in his films.

As this film not only carries the viewer with a strong story line, the tone and character development is top notch as well. Building up each scene so gradually as the audience can't help but engage the movie. Even the love story between Neytiri and Jake felt authentic and pure as it allowed for the audience to slowly get captivated by the plot. Even the actors were great in their perspective roles.

Sam Worthington is constantly proving to be one of the best young actors in Hollywood today. First he stole the show in the "Terminator Salvation" film, but that doesn't really show you how great of an actor he has the potential to be. As I felt, "Avatar" really allowed him to flex his acting muscles freely to show how great of an actor he is. Not only did he lead his film with a strong sense of conviction, but he did it despite some mediocre dialogue, at times by the writers.

As for the special effects, what can I not say about it? Never before since "Jurassic Park" have I ever been awestruck by any film's special effects. Sure, there were films that seemed to raise the bar a bit since then, but nothing too spectacular to make you wonder how they did that. However, this movie did. In fact, there were times when I could barely even tell where the CGI ended and the live action counterparts began. Even the CGI characters were able to display and convey a strong sense of emotion, that has never before been peaked yet on screen until now. As the viewer could plainly see every detail of their faces and beads of sweat coming off their brow. Or how about the pupils in their eyes as that makes the CGI almost too realistic to even fathom.

Sadly, that is not to say that this film doesn't have it's flaws. The film does tend to have a mediocre dialogue at times, that come off rather cliched. Luckily, Sam Worthington and the rest of the cast acting ability was able to cover that up nicely. Plus, the film is rather predictable, as all of Cameron's movies are. However, it doesn't ruin the movie to where it'll by any means suck. No, no, no, as "Avatar" is still one of the best films of year.

Pushing the boundaries of not only special effects, but in terms of storytelling as well. James Cameron's directing career ended with a bang, in "Titanic", so it's only fitting that his return should be no less in this epic adventure. "Avatar" is truly a film like no other. Featuring visuals that will dazzle the imagination and stick with the viewer, after they've been immersed into this world. Sam Worthington was simply brilliant in his starring role, as he's proven he can carry a movie. "Avatar" is definitely one of the best films of 2009.

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Comments 17 comments

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lyricsingray 7 years ago

awesome review. I am going to see the 3D version in 2 days for New Years and can't wait. So glad I stumbled on this review first. thanks. kimberly.

Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 7 years ago Author

thanks for the compliment. yeah, i liked this movie a lot too. trust me, if you like sci fi films, then you won't be disappointed in this movie.

GeneralHowitzer profile image

GeneralHowitzer 7 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

Great write-ups Steven, Avatar is indeed teeming with great effects and nice storyline... HappyNew Year... :D

Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 7 years ago Author

thanks, i appreciate the compliment. happy new year to you too.

H.C Porter profile image

H.C Porter 7 years ago from Lone Star State

nice review...

hc porter

Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 7 years ago Author

thanks. i appreciate the compliment.

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada

Thanks so much for your reviews... perhaps I'll reconsider and go watch this one as the majority is nagging at me to take them. :)

bat115 profile image

bat115 7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Good review

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada

This has to be one of the best films produced in a long time. Excellent! A must see! Thanks Steven!

Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 7 years ago Author


thanks bat for the comment. always a pleasure to get positive feedback.


wow, im glad you liked the film beth. i thought so too when i saw it. sorry, i couldn't get back to you earlier. i was watching "it's complicated" with my brother and sister in law earlier, so i didn't get your message until just now. anyway, just to let you know, i should have a review on sherlock holmes by thursday, so i hope you'll like that review. anyway, thanks again for the compliments.

curlytree2009 profile image

curlytree2009 7 years ago

Congratulations to James Cameron! Another job well done, I've already watched the movie and it's really amazing!

Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 7 years ago Author

yeah, i think so too. this is probably his best film he's ever made by far.

janiek13 profile image

janiek13 7 years ago from Florida's Space Coast

I have heard nothing but good things about this movie. Even the priest at midnight mass mentioned that he thought it was awesome. Good job on the review.

Dao Hoa profile image

Dao Hoa 7 years ago

I heard about Avatar on the news, but I have not seen it yet. After reading your review, I must go to see it now! Thanks.

Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 7 years ago Author


thanks, I appreciate the compliment. yeah, i think avatar easily raised the bar of cgi animation one can ever expect out of a film.

@dao hoa

wow, thanks, im glad i could help make up your mind about seeing the movie. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. you should definitely see it in 3-d if you can. that's the best version of the two.

Faybe Bay profile image

Faybe Bay 7 years ago from Florida

I was looking for your take on this as I read many movie goers experienced a bout of depression after. I see why now. Something that takes us that close to reality while pointing out the human condition and it's historical faults. I can't wait to see it now, I think I can handle it, was worried about my son, but after reading your review I am sure he can handle it too.

Thanks Steven.

Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 7 years ago Author

Your welcome, Faybe. Anytime. Well if you do see it, be sure to try to catch the 3-d version, as that's the best one. However, I'm sure you and your son will enjoy the movie though. Thanks again for stopping by. :)

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