James Cameron’s Avatar, review (spoilers)

I checked out the long awaited James Cameron movie a few hours ago and, as you guessed, I’m moved to flood it out of my system before bed. Even more so because I saw it entirely without company to say ‘wow’ to.

For starters (and I’m echoing every present and future review on it so far), it is unarguably one of the most lavish looking films you’ll ever see. The ludicrous budget was not at all wasted.
My eyes couldn’t help wandering away from core foreground action because lots of little interesting things were grabbing my attention around the screen. I didn’t even see the 3D version and found it very immersive. The CGI is also top notch as you do forget that these blue humanoids in a detailed world are just film magic.

The plot however is slightly cheesy (as is some dialogue) and has a very thinly veiled eco message, but the whole movie package is so well done that this fact really can’t retract any points.

Also as a straight male (I could be alone on this observation now) I was surprised by how good looking 60yr old Sigourney Weaver looked. Some of her flesh is shown, in a tasteful way. Alien fans will also note a nod to her Alien trilogy in that she wakes up from a hi-tec bed.

Directorially, it’s very easy to spot Cameron trademarks as they’ve not changed too much (thankfully). One example is the contrast between the smallness of humans and the largeness of the machines (some reminiscent of the rebirthed Cain from Robocop 2) around them, and the array of colourful information devices (The Abyss).
There’s also the fesity females (not Sigourney here): One is Sam Worthington‘s love interest and another is a latino gun toter who nods to Vasquez from Aliens. Speaking of which, one of the villains – Parker Selfridge – could easily be related to Paul Reiser’s character from said film. A beast in the film also enters and resembles that film’s mother alien, somewhat.
Also, the end has a big engaging show down after a seat gripping series of battles, rolled into action by a Braveheart style war cry (maybe I’m comparing face paint now…). Blockbuster movie 101 done right.

I can’t help pulling out old movie observations as I’ve been a fan of Cameron since the first Terminator film as a child. The second 18 certificate film I saw while still in a single figure age…Speaking of which, aircraft from this film remind me of that from The Terminators.
And speaking further, this is miles better than Terminator 3 or Salvation and makes you almost want to cry that Cameron never bothered to helm them (although wise to let a told story lie).

One thing that was a let down is that the blue aliens aren’t very alien. Sure they were meant to be humanoid (and it’s not implausible that aliens like us out there), but their look, clothing style, speech, language and behaviour was really just largely stereotypical African. I’m not saying I was hoping for Star Trek like race differentiation but it didn’t seem well cooked.

More unoriginality stems from the fact that entering the alien environment is virtually similar to exiting the false real world of The Matrix. But as so much sci-fi ideas have already been milked I can’t blame Cameron for going for a relatively new, underused one.
I also wish there were more black people in the film. Not that I think Cameron has a hidden agenda. But there are usually only a couple of black characters in a film of his, and even T4 managed to represent a global cast united against robots.

That aside, the 3hr film (first one I’ve seen with an intermission) didn’t make me pull my jumper sleeves back to check the time. It was a stunning looking film with a sustainable plot.
It doesn’t cut new ground for Cameron but it keeps his legacy alive. And I shall surely be looking out for the DVD.

Oh, but unlike The Terminators or Aliens this is a film where you cheer when the humans lose!

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4 thoughts on “James Cameron’s Avatar, review (spoilers)

  1. Great post.I would like to say I’m glad I’ve been as easily able to see films like Gomorrah, Moon and In The Loop as I have Transformers 2 and Star Trek this year….I have enjoyed a lot to watch Star Trek….

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