Golden Globes Best Picture Nominee : Avatar
by Nicholas Robinson
When his brother is killed in battle, paraplegic Marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) decides to take his place in a mission on the distant world of Pandora. There he learns of greedy corporate figurehead Parker Selfridge’s (Giovanni Ribisi) intentions of driving off the native humanoid “Na’vi” in order to mine for the precious material scattered throughout their rich woodland. In exchange for the spinal surgery that will fix his legs, Jake gathers intel for the cooperating military unit spearheaded by gung-ho Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang), while simultaneously attempting to infiltrate the Na’vi people with the use of an “avatar” identity. While Jake begins to bond with the native tribe and quickly falls in love with the beautiful alien Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), the restless Colonel moves forward with his ruthless extermination tactics, forcing the soldier to take a stand – and fight back in an epic battle for the fate of Pandora. – IMDB.com
As we all probably know, James Cameron’s name is synonymous with amazing visuals and a large budget. And he has delivered that twice over with his new movie Avatar. I went and saw this in digital 3D last night and can I tell you, the visuals were absolutely perfect. Some people may complain that the movie was only 40% live action, but I had absolutely no problem with it. In fact if it weren’t for the fact that I wanted story, I would have asked for 100% CGI if it all looked like that 60%.
A lot of people might hate me for this, but the story wasn’t that good. It was a pretty generic mash up of sci-fi and romance. In fact it was a sci-fi plot with a romance just put in there. As you meet Neytiri, you know that Jake is going to fall in love with her and vice versa. You know that the Na’vi are going to win once Jake movies the mobile link up and you know the Na’vi are going to permanently link him with his avatar once they win. I mean, this is the guy who made The Terminator. He could have done better than that. However, this generic story was delivered to the audience in a unique way that only James Cameron can do.
The story was also helped along by some great performances by the entire cast. However, the spotlight has to be shone on a few people. Sam Worthington actually did quite well. I have only seen him in two other movies. One was Terminator Salvation and the other was an Australian reimagining of the classic Shakespearean play, Macbeth, as Macbeth. Both those performances were very average, but this one was very well done. If this was the first movie I had seen him in, I would want to see his other movies. He showed the transformation of a loyal soldier to the leader of the opposing force throughout the movie. Once he meets Neytiri and begins to fall in love, he slowly becomes one of them and at the end does not want to leave.
Another great performance in this movie was Sigourney Weaver’s. When you first meet her you think she is just a scientist who wants to experiment with Pandora, but as the movie continues they show you how much she cares for the Omaticaya people and what she would do for them. Even though I think Giovanni Ribisi is a great actor, his performance was very generic in this movie. He plays a money-obsessed businessman whose only purpose is to get a mineral which sells for a lot of money. What surprised me was that even though Stephen Lang portrayed a generic Colonel who just loves some war, I loved it because he made it seem very non-generic. However, during the last huge fight scene, I just kept thinking “This dude is like the Terminator”. (Just something for you guys to laugh at when you watch it.)
Overall, I think that Avatar had top-notch visuals, amazing acting and a pretty generic story. However, it is a must-see for any movie-goer.
IMDB says 8.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes says 82%
I say 8.7/10