Sunday, December 20, 2009

Avatar (2009), in 3-D – Review

Avatar is more than just a 3-D movie, more than just the graphics and the money spent on its creation, it is a beautifully rich experience, not without flaws, but grand and fulfilling. James Cameron has created one of the best cinematic events of all-time. The film is an epic fashioned in the old Hollywood style, encompassing both spectacle (and their sure is a lot to marvel at in this film) and also story and heart, something few films are able to achieve. Thematically the native peoples of Pandora feel like a representation of what could be called traditional indigenous peoples or tribes during times of colonization by colonial forces, but for American audiences they seem to best correlate to Native Americans, as seen through their spiritual connection to the land, animals and soul of the world. There are also a lot of Green messages in the film – for example the humans have killed all the green life on their world and put profits above the sanctity of nature and life. The story itself is nothing new, just another retelling of what could be called the John Smith story, but it is Cameron’s vision and artistry that makes this particular telling magical. His visual representation of Pandora and its juxtaposition with the human tech-based living is stark and profound. It insights wonder and is just beautiful to behold – sincerely a masterwork of visual and storytelling achievement. Certainly, Avatar is a must see in 3-D, if anything in the format ever has been. Though, while the visuals are stunning, the animation flawless and the story moving (though unoriginal and with stereotypical hackneyed characters), the acting among the humans (most notably Sam Worthington) feels stiff at times and does not hold the same standard of excellence as the rest of the film. But that is not to say it is bad, many of the actors and voice-actors are good, it is just at times not what it could be (or should be). Sigourney Weaver is fun in the film and Zoe Saldana’s voice work brings her character to life and is the soul and emotion of the piece. James Horner’s score is, similar to Worthington’s performance, at times strong and works well, but at others is not up to par. Credit must also be given to cinematographer Mauro Fiore and Weta Workshops for their roles in aiding Cameron in his creation of such a visually iconic and ambitious accomplishment. Avatar is much more than its parts; rather it is the adept amalgamation of all the elements that composes such an astonishing world and film. 10/10 (seen in the theatre in 3-D the first time; 8/10 otherwise)

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