Avatar is the story of a paraplegic marine who is sent to the moon Pandora after to participate in the Avatar program. His brother was first choice, and studied intensely for it, but died in battle before the mission started. There, he is informed of a plot to drive out the natives, called Na’vi, in order to retrieve a precious material known as “Unobtanium”. In order to do this, he must become a part of the Na’vi tribe through the use of an ‘Avatar’. At first, he is loyal to the human race and gathers information for them. But as he learns more about the Na’vi ways of life, he starts to wonder who the real enemies are.
Lets face it, the majority of people will be going to see this for the “cinema changing” visuals. And they will not be disappointed. The landscape of Pandora is simply stunning; the impeccable detail that has gone into each frame defies belief. But for me, the most impressive visuals are the Na’vi’s eyes. The biggest gripe about CGI from most reviewers is that the eyes of animated characters have no soul. This is certainly not the case here. It is crucial that the Na’vi convey their emotion, especially in a tragic scene towards the end of the second act. Simply put, the effects are flawless.
The same cannot be said about the core storyline though. Original it aint, but it’s told in such a fresh and interesting way that you don’t care. The villain is one of the greatest badasses of the last few years; in one scene he doesn’t even use a mask outside in the deadly Pandora air. Sure, he exaggerates his role, but that’s what makes it so great.
One thing that did annoy me though was the use of an invented language for the Na’vi, when they clearly could speak English. It just seemed a little too forced and unnecessary when they switched between their language and English. It’s not just the language either: their strange swaying and chanting was a little ridiculous. And also the first 40 minutes require patience; it takes its time building up the characters and plot. But it’s certainly worth the wait when the action scenes arrive. The last act is breathtaking: the action certainly is some of the best sequences captured on film.
I cannot recommend Avatar enough. It has to be seen to be believed. I still don’t understand why this wasn’t released in the summer; surely it would’ve reached the heights it has now much quicker. If I had to hazard a guess though, I’d say The Oscars and Globes had something to do with him pushing it forward.