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James Cameron's epic sci-fi fantasy film released in 2009.

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Nothing hurts more then a script swung by a heavy hand.

  • Feb 2, 2010
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You take 12 years and what do you get?  James Cameron has given us a glossy and pretty looking movie that no matter how much sparkle is in the images, no matter how cool the visuals is nothing more a gussied up expy for the United State's involvement overseas and war in the Middle East.  Just watching the TRAILER for this told me the lowdown but I didn't feel justified in my passing judgement without seeing it, and lo and behold sometimes you really can judge a book by it's cover because you certainly can judge a ship by it's hull.

Heres the story:  Earth has landed on the aptly named Planet Pandora (a box that once you open releases nothing but problems) a beautiful world that is littered with Unobtanium (oil) that a greedy and thick headed corporation wants because Earth (US) has a weak economy and the military will use force to get it if the locals inhabitants (Arabs) seen as savages refuse to relocate so that the Unobtanium can be obtained.  Corporate weasels are in charge and talk thinly about how the inhabitants have been taught the english language and other Earth customs (Do I need to spell that out to ANYONE?) in an attempt to communicate they're intentions better.  A final measure brings in a crippled Marine to inhabit the body of a cloned alien via a computer so that he may interact better with the locals and go undercover.  His first mission out doesn't go smoothly and he becomes involved with a tribe of the locals and taught their ways.  While the Military sees this as an Anthroplogical goldmine, they don't see that the Marine is slowly slipping away from his roots and becomming one with the people.  Kinda like Dian Fossey from Gorilla's in the Mist which had Sigourney Weaver- and HEY there she is, playing a scientist who doesn't like her work perverted in the way that it is for the dummys in charge.  Refreshing.

I'm coming down on this movie cause it doesn't take half a brain to see what the movie is REALLY about and if it sounded like I was spoon feeding you, well thats what the movie is doing.  It's telling you, your too stupid to figure out the greater picture in either the movie or the real world so we'll dress it up for you.

Characters aren't even all that interesting or are type cast.  Stiff and gruff Sarge, dimwit corporate schill who only cares about money, the strict scientist, warrior girl, hell Wes Studi is the voice of the lead alien warrior.  Kinda like Last of the Mohicans, right?

So why not a lower score?  Simple, the movie LOOKS AMAZING!  Yes I am rating a movie that is Fern Gully, Dances with Wolves and current world events (read recycled) on a basis of the incredible visuals.  It looks great even in a regular movie theater.  I haven't seen it in IMAX or in 3D but even a regular theater looks spectacular.  I heard that this new 3D process is being a new format that Cameron is championing along with George Lucas for new film making techniques.  Something tells me that much like Lucas, Cameron took his eye off the ball and made sure the film looked phenominal with the story secondary.  That brings me to the next piece.

Why not a HIGHER score?  Even simpler, because this is JAMES CAMERON we're talking about.  The guy who has given us some of the most classic action movies, helped pioneer visual effects (and is doing that here) AND was able to write some subtle messages into his past movies with Aliens having one about corporate greed and Terminator 2 as an anti nuke/nuclear war warning isn't doing anything with his story this time that we haven't either seen before or said subtler elsewhere.  Really I came out of the movie saying: 

Movies in the past have taken real world problems into space before to better analyse issues and to take a better look at them, hell my favorite Star Trek movie, The Undiscovered Country was an analog for the collapse of the cold war but THAT movie, at least didn't talk down to me and let me figure things out for myself.  Avatar looks wonderful but anyone with even the slightest grasp of sociology can make heads and tails of Avatar and it's message.

SERIOUSLY...unobtanium?!   Should just be called, "no oil for you."
Nothing hurts more then a script swung by a heavy hand.

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November 17, 2010
Wonderful title, great review. I was thinking Pocahontas and Fern Gully while watching this.
November 18, 2010
Heres a piece of irony. For the anti America message I came away from with this movie, it sure didn't bother Cameron much to have just re-released this to make MORE money, the American way some could argue.
February 05, 2010
Haha, it should just be called "no oil for you!" I completely agree, although I think you give Cameron too much credit with this script. I don't think he was trying to give us a relatively timely message about the US in the Middle East, I think he is trying to give us a hippie-dippy "Hey, man, the US, like, shouldn't interfere with, like, other people, man!" I think he wants to cover every sin Western culture has committed from Columbus forward, and I see as much Manifest Destiny, Vietnam, French & Indian War, Spanish-American War, Korea and Panama as I do Iraq, which to me makes it even worse, he can't pick an analogy so lazily slaps a bunch of crises together. To me the only way it could have been worse would be if Cameron came on screen at the end to go over the bullet points and repeatedly say "Do you get? Huh, do you get it? This is important stuff!" This film is as subtle as a brick to the face; nothing ruins art more than pretentious posturing.
February 05, 2010
Yeah, I'd hate to say that my appreciation for Cameron went down with this movie but it did. 15 years ago he made True Lies where the US fights evil terrorists, now it almost feels he's inverted the characters. What a difference time makes. In all honesty even though he's on the bloodthirsty side, I LIKED Miles, the General in the movie and I hear people who don't like the movie side more with him. Looks like I'm not alone.
February 02, 2010
Nice review on the opposite side of the spectrum. Many of the points you brought up I had consider already, but I still enjoyed the movie. :)
February 02, 2010
I could have enjoyed it more if it wasn't so blatant in it's message and delivery. Thank you.
February 02, 2010
Yeah, but I think the general public isn't as smart as you or I (to be perfectly honest and hopefully not too rude/mean sounding). I have this theory about the intelligence of a mass/mob. If you don't spell things out plain and simple, they will never get the point.
February 02, 2010
In spite of its political undertones, I actually still enjoyed this a lot more.  I mean, it's pretty obvious and all... although if I had to be honest... Cameron was NEVER much of a gifted writer or one for originality, for that matter.  He had Terminator that was different and that was really about it on the whole.  But I still admired the action the visual effects and the fact that he at least didn't have much of anything to screw up.  But I didn't feel like it was preaching to me.  Even with the political undertones it at least didn't do what Family Guy does and just look at you and say, "You're an idiot if you think differently than I do!"
February 02, 2010
Thats how I practically summed up Family Guy when I wrote about it. It looked great but this movie would be better used as a launch pad for the new 3D filmmaking then a good story. A preachy movie isn't quite as bad as a pretentious one but it's still bad but in a different way.
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John Nelson ()
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Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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About this movie


Avatar is a 2009 American science fiction epic film written and directed by James Cameron and starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez and Stephen Lang. The film is set in the year 2154, when humans are mining a precious mineral called unobtanium on Pandora, a lush moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri star system. The expansion of the mining colony threatens the continued existence of a local tribe of Na'vi—a sentient humanoid species indigenous to Pandora. The film's title refers to the genetically engineered Na'vi and human hybrid bodies used by several human characters to interact with the natives of Pandora.

Development on Avatar began in 1994, when Cameron wrote an 80-page scriptment for the film. Filming was supposed to take place after the completion of Cameron's 1997 film Titanic, for a planned release in 1999, but according to Cameron, the necessary technology was not yet available to achieve his vision of the film. Work on the language for the film's extraterrestrial beings began in summer 2005, and Cameron began developing the screenplay and fictional universe in early 2006.

Avatar was officially budgeted at US$237 million. Other estimates put the cost between $280 million and $310 million for production, and at $150 million for promotion. The film was released for traditional two-dimensional projectors, as well as in 3-D, using the RealD 3D, Dolby 3D, XpanD 3D and IMAX 3D formats, and also in ...

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Director: James Cameron
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Release Date: December 18, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: James Cameron
Runtime: 162 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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