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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was lucky to see Avatar at a pre-screening a few hours ago. It
completely blew me and the whole room away and i dare to say it will do
so to 80% of any audience anywhere. The remaining 20%, who always finds
something to complain about, will whine about character development,
dialog, story or the pop-corn.
Well, let me tell you: they went to this movie with the wrong expectations.
You have most likely met Cameron's previous work(s): Aliens, Terminator 1 & 2, The Abyss, Titanic (!), just to name a few.
So WHAT should you expect from Avatar??? MORE of the same!!! More of revolutionary film-making, more of grandiose new ideas, more of never-before-seen special effects, more of 150 minutes without relapsing, more of the James Cameron genius...
I am very happy that the trailers didn't give the full story away. Lots of emotions are waiting for the viewer, laughter and tears also. Cameron was very smart keeping the teasers as teasers, nothing more... as the full movie will take your breath away.
You will practically not notice that you are watching a non-existing world, it is sooo real. Attention to detail is superb. You computer geeks will know what I am talking about. This move was not rushed in the making. No wonder it could not have been done before - not having the proper computing power.
The wild life, the jungle, the animals, the Na'vi-s, or the dragon-like flying creatures are all so life-like, they almost pop-off the screen (and in 3D they actually do :) .
The sound effects were so well done, that when I saw at the credits that Skywalker Sound was behind it, i could only think of "yessss... now THAT makes sense."
Cameron is a visionaire - and again, he delivers, with full blast.
A certain character says in the movie that Pandora (the planet where the story takes place) became his real world. My advice to you: let Pandora become YOUR real world for two and a half hours, let it make you completely forget about your life and problems, let it entertain you, move you, let it carry you away.
Because THAT is what i expect as an exchange for my ticket.
And a few hours ago i got tens of tickets worth of that.
Well, I just saw Avatar this morning, one of the press premieres which
are running on these days. My opinion: you've seen this story a hundred
times, but never like this. Finally 3D is what it's supposed to be, an
instrument at the service of the movie. You'll enjoy the visual
experience, no doubt.
As for the story, some of the "inspirations" are so huge and so obvious that mentioning two or three of them would REALLY ruin the movie for you, and I'm not willing to do that. Lots of mysticism and ecology, if you like that stuff. If you're 15 or so, you'll have a great time thinking that it's the first time somebody makes something like this. If you're an experienced movie watcher, better leave your skepticism at the door, bring lots of pop corn and enjoy with the usual action-flick-with-moral-and-loads-of-clichés.
I liked it, however: "the movie that re-invents movies"??? No way.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had the rather intense privilege to view James Cameron's much
anticipated $400 million budget return to the directing scene, Avatar,
at the Empire Leicester Square in London.
Where to begin! The visuals in this pieces was groundbreaking. He did it with the Terminator series and then Titanic, so one would expect Cameron to deliver... and HE DID! The visual are by far some of the sharpest CGI I have seen. You could almost say that there is a disquiet that follows Cameron's soul, as there is no other possibility of this strong and intensified quality. Its production design and visual effects are both noteworthy and it will get its praise upon official release.
What it was lacking that really should have shaped the movie is its character/story. I was expecting a complex and believable plot, but was left with a movie with mostly strong visuals. What most sci-fi lovers desire is mind-bending philosophies, fantasy and exploration and limitations of our or outer species. If it was not for this factor, I would give this a 9.5 vote.
Avatar will be a success, not only because of Cameron's legacy, but by very intelligent and viral marketing. Avatar have had a powerful marketing technique that assembles other successful blockbusters, such as The Blair Witch project (you all remember it), The Dark Knight (Joker invades the world) and also, the current production The Artifice (the-artifice.com) that is intelligently targeting the market.
Kudos to Cameron, Avatar is one of the (if not The) movie of the year. I could get in trouble for sharing this with you guys so early, so please click Yes on "Was the above comment useful to you?" as a thank you. ;)
I saw this epic last night at the Empire Leicester Sq in London, which
is a superb venue in which to view this film. Huge screen, excellent
sound and an extraordinary Dolby, 3 dimensional image. The whole effect
is mind blowing.
This is a 'Must see' movie, innovative, and extraordinary. I think it will be regarded by most cinema goers as another milestone in the history of the art. The level of realism achieved is remarkable, and although the film is relatively long in real time, it retains it's excitement and holds the audience's attention to the end.
Performances are good, but this is not the sort of film that dwells on big star value for the actors, although Sigorney Weaver does shine and delivers a very convincing performance, as do the rest of the cast. But as there is so much entertainment and action value on screen the human element does not dominate in the usual way.
As Writer/Director, James Cameron deserves high praise for this creation and in my opinion it will break box office records. I thoroughly enjoyed this film.
Forgive me, I'm going to jump from professional to fan boy for a while
here. I haven't had the jitters after a film the way I've had for
Avatar in quite sometime. James Cameron's Avatar is the most
entertaining and enthralling cinematic experiences of my life. It is
incredible, simply put. What Cameron has done here is the most
passionate film project put out since Steven Spielberg released
Schindler's List. His attention to detail and his zeal for pushing the
envelope is so admirable to any filmmaker or actor who will ever do
another film from this point on.
Avatar is the story of Jake Sully, a paraplegic marine, who replaces his brother on a secret mission to infiltrate the Na' vi, the colony of beings that sit on the planet of Pandora, where there is a precious ore, that sells at a ridiculous amount. When Jake learns the ways of the Na' vi, his feelings and learnings will put him and the people he trusts in dangerous jeopardy.
The performances here, in the sense of reacting, becoming, and understanding what Cameron has written are astounding. Not to be confused with a sensational bravura performance from some of the centuries best such as Marion Brando, Tom Hanks, or Diane Keaton; these actors along with the director inhabit these visual transformations with special effects as if they are have lived these beings all their lives. This is all based on character movements and reactions. Sam Worthington, as Jake Sully, is an actor who's on his way to becoming a star. Though he has problems with his Aussie accent often enough in the film, he gets the job done. Zoe Saldana, who plays Neytiri, a Na' vi huntress, is thrilling and electrifying. Stephen Lang, as the rock hard Colonel Miles, takes on a villainous turn to a new level in science fiction. He offers actual emotion and emotes evil to the audience and gains our hatred easily. Sigourney Weaver as the beautiful Dr. Grace, is sufficient enough to have on screen again teamed with Cameron. She lives inside her role with effortless ease, but suffers from some of the typical James Cameron cheesy lines.
Narratively the film works perfectly on the cinematic level. The first forty minutes or so require patience and hope as it is the weakest part of the film and offers some dreariness, but when the second act takes off, it's sky high with no limits for James Cameron. Avatar delivers the best action sequences put on film of all time. That is the boldest statement I have ever made in all my years of criticism. I sat on this for two days before charging it out, but I mean it. It is the best visual experience of my life, period.
Other than those visuals, the film pops with all the other technical aspects thrown into one. Art Direction is killer as the two worlds blend in perfectly for an acceptable time. The Film Editing is the crowning achievement of the film as it also offers the perfect blend of the two worlds, enticing the viewer and shifting us around. Mauro Fiore is the threat for a Cinematography Oscar this year. It was if the viewer sat down in a chair, put on glasses, and was literally placed on Pandora, spaceships, and floating mountains. The viewer can feel so engulfed by the imagery, you feel like you can smell the leaves from the trees. Avatar is utterly hypnotizing. James Horner's score is some of the best work done in his career. It offers a variable of devastation that moves the viewer to near tears. It goes back to his work on Titanic, where the musical instruments lifted the material immensely. The entire sound team is also locked and loaded for Oscar recognition as the feeling of animals, machines, and arrows buzzing by your head leave you imprisoned in Cameron's exquisite film.
James Cameron has come back home ladies and gentlemen Cameron is back, bigger, badder, and mature in his crowning work of his career. Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Titanic do not even compare anymore. This is the film that can blend the fans of those two films together and lock Cameron into your heart. He's a definite spoiler for a directing bid for the Academy Awards. You have admire the raw, natural talent the man has. How could you ever conceive such an experience and put that much effort and work into it and have it pay off? The box office success will surely keep him in the minds of voters for various critics' awards. His screenplay, leaps and bounds better than 1997's Best Picture Winner, is primed, developed and ripe for the taking. Though, you do acquire the tacky and atypical dialogue you expect from a science fiction director of this caliber, you can appreciate the effort and the honesty of it all. James Cameron is everything Michael Bay wishes he was, to put it bluntly.
Avatar will bring also great actors putting their best foot forward such as Giovanni Ribisi, who is as underrated as they come. Michelle Rodriguez who exudes sexy like any woman starring in a sci-fi epic. Joel Moore, showing his range outside of his comedic work in Dodgeball: An Underdog Story. And the classy veteran actors, CCH Pounder and Wes Studi, who just simply don't work enough.
Avatar is one of the best films of the year. The most exciting, thrilling, and superb work you'll feast your eyes on in any theater this century. Cinema, forever, will remember the benchmark that James Cameron placed not only for himself, but for any man, daring to change the game, the way Cameron did. Avatar is a movie experience to be remembered, and please experience in a movie theater first.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Let me preface this by saying I am a huge James Cameron fan. I think
"Terminator" is a masterpiece of sci-fi and the single best edited film
of all time, "Aliens" is easily the best sequel not from the original
director and I personally like it a lot more than the original. "Abyss"
created an interesting world and was racked with tension, "Terminator
2" is an action tour-de-force and has what I believe the best sound
editing/design of all time, "True Lies" is goofy fun, more poignant
than most give it credit for with a boffo ending, and finally "Titanic"
was far better than anyone expected it to be and has one of the most
believable romances in a movie.
So then there was the 12 year wait for "Avatar". No reviews, word of mouth, ticket price or natural disaster would keep me from the midnight IMAX 3D screening. I went with moderate expectations, which the film matched exactly. While this kept me from being disappointed it wasn't a good thing.
Movie fans were on edge because if "Avatar" flops, it'll mean the death of creativity in a remake-happy Hollywood. That's a valid concern but the problem is nothing in "Avatar" is creative whatsoever. It is literally "Dances with Wolves" in space, right down to having a "Wind in his Hair" character as a foil to the "new guy".
As the movie progressed it caused the worst of all bad reactions for me as a viewer - I started thinking about other things. Then I kept thinking "well the end battle is supposed to be awesome".
SPOILER WARNING! (if for some reason you can't guess how this movie ends) End battle comes and the movie switches from being "Dances with Wolves" to Disney's "Atlantis" (but that's unfair since both of those movies contained far, FAR better musical scores) Gunship windows that were impervious to arrows a few scenes ago (to show Na'vi desperation) suddenly become brittle and break easily (to show Na'vi heroism). The battle isn't nearly as long as you'd expect, and nowhere near as epic / engaging as the finale of Return of the King. Finally there's a Robo-suit vs Navi fight and it is admittedly pretty good. Unlike 95% of directors these days Cameron knows enough to pull the camera back and let us SEE the fight. However it's an odd choice to spend millions on 10 foot tall "creatures" and then rarely even have them in the same frame as humans.
And of course there's the obligatory scene where characters are dying in slow motion as Middle Eastern vocal music plays (see Gladiator or Munich) Wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't said to my friend on the way there "How much you wanna bet there's a part where characters die in slow motion over Middle Eastern music?"
As with most movies these days "Avatar" is far too long, glossing over important details (why is Earth dying, what does Unobtainium do, etc) and instead spending time on flight scenes, mystic ceremonies, spirit trees and nature bonding.
Ultimately I just did not care. Since the dawn of cinema Hollywood recycles old ideas every few decades and slaps on a bigger budget / new stars / better effects so you won't notice. I can see re-doing "Ben Hur" with color and sound, but why do we need "Dances with Wolves" with 20 times the budget and blue Native Americans? No amount of impressive visuals, robo-suits, gunship battles, perfect character CGI or Sigorney Weaver can change the fact that I've seen this movie 100 times before. I could even accept the weak story if there were any characters to give a rat's ass about. This film is also dreadfully humorless, a stark contrast to "Titanic" where humor was one of its many surprises.
Regarding 3D... I've seen many films in it now and honestly you don't even notice after the few minutes. It doesn't make the money any better or worse, just more expensive.
Citizen Kane, The Robe, Sound of Music, Jaws, Star Wars, Batman, Toy Story, The Matrix... these movies changed movies. We can say that looking back now. "Avatar" saying it would ahead of time is pure hubris, "unsinkable Titanic"-like poppycock.
But if expensive motion-capture being used to cover up a weak, generic story is the future of cinema then count me out, I'll stick with my PS3.
It has been 12 years since Cameron unleashed the phenomenon that was
Titanic and real fans would have to look as far back as 1991's
Terminator 2 for their last proper dose of his incredibly epic action
(True Lies, while fun, really doesn't count). So the anticipation for
Avatar has long since reached fever pitch and beyond.
Thankfully for the patient masses, Avatar has turned out to be the biggest and best event movie of the year, perhaps the decade. The story is pure Cameron simplicity a paraplegic ex-marine is given a chance to walk again through the use of a unique alien body, called an Avatar. It is his job to gain the trust of the natives so that a greedy corporation can steal the precious metal from their lush moon. Jake's (Sam Worthington) crippled main character is the perfect point of contact for the audience not only is he new to the visual delights of Pandora but his disability means that every moment in his Avatar body is one of glorious freedom from the confinement of his chair. When the Corporations intentions become more sinister, Jake must choose between his new found place with the natives and his own race and fight for what he believes in.
Avatar combines parts of Pocahontas and Braveheart with a liberal dose of Space Marines into an epic whole that takes nearly three full hours to unfold. We could criticise that length, the weak story and the hammy dialogue. We could attack its thinly-veiled ecological message or the frankly bizarre spirituality in its second half but honestly nothing can spoil the experience while you are enveloped in it. And a large part of that is down to the brilliant use of 3D which is both subtle and incredibly effective. Til now, we have been making movies with 3D elements, Avatar is the first truly 3D film and might well prove to be one of the most significant things to happen to blockbuster film-making since Star Wars.
Cameron is also pushing the envelope with truly photo-real CG something which has been promised for years but has finally been delivered with Avatar. The interactions of the characters with the environment is incredible and the detail on the faces of the motion-captured leads (Worthington and Star Trek's Zoe Saldana) bring them to life. You will believe totally in their performances, representing another quantum leap in tools which have rarely been used for anything other than spectacle.
Make no mistake, Avatar is an important film from a technical standpoint but it is also great entertainment. The world of Pandora is a stunning spectacle from scene to scene and as Jake learns more about the Na'vi the film approaches the kind of light hearted adventure story which has been absent from movie theatres for years. Then the final act explodes into tragedy and desperate action, with the final half hour a blistering life or death struggle that has to be seen to be disbelieved.
Over the coming days you will be hearing a lot about Avatar, and some of the critical reaction is bound to focus on its weaknesses in a bid to appear appropriately reserved and objective. But this is not a film to be dissected or examined, rather one to be experienced with a warm crowd, a great sound system, in 3D as you bask in the knowledge that the movie-making master is back!
A film with the scope of James Cameron's Avatar was always going to be
a risk both artistically and financially, especially in today's
economic climate. Whether it will pay off monetarily is a question only
time can answer, but this viewer can at the very least attest to it
being an artistic triumph.
Avatar brings us as close as cinema ever has to actually visiting an alien world. The beautiful environs, the exotic creatures and incredibly lifelike natives of Pandora arrest the senses, visually, aurally and emotionally. The world in Avatar is the true star of the show. The amount of detail and work that has gone into bringing this new world alive is seriously impressive, and it will be a while before we see anything that overtakes it in scope and quality. WETA Workshop and ILM have truly outdone themselves.
Relative newcomer, Aussie Sam Worthington provides a solid human heart amongst all the science-fiction/fantasy beauty and Zoe Saldana gives an impressive performance as the 8 foot tall Na'vi, Neytiri. Even though the characters they both play are blue, giant, catlike aliens, they managed to evoke a chemistry and likability that pierces through the special effects.
That's not to say that everything is perfect. The story is basic and dare I say, clichéd and predictable. We have seen it plenty of times in all forms of media. The bad guys are cartoonishly evil, and sadly paper thin. The love story, while charming, is also clichéd despite being between man and alien. But in the face of these shortcomings, Avatar is a success because its storytelling lies in the brilliant visuals.
Avatar is a beautiful piece of film and a true event. It does exactly what cinema was always intended to - it takes us away from our problems and worries for a few hours and gives us memorable images which will undoubtedly and deservedly enter into the cultural lexicon to stay for the foreseeable future.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Nobody directs like James Cameron. Ten years in the works, and every
minute was worth it. It is the Star Wars of the 21st century. Though
the plot is derivative and bears some pretty close resemblance to
Dances with Wolves and a little bit of The Last Samurai, it does not
ruin a mind-blowing experience. Avatar has a great future ahead of it
and, possibly another Oscar for the mighty James Cameron.
Jake Sully, is an ex-marine, bound to a wheel chair. He seeks to make a fresh start on the moon Pandora where his brother worked. The moon has a military run mining colony. The business has brought humans into contact with the local natives, tall blue dudes, called Na'vi. The Na'vi inhabit a part of the moon under which lies a large deposit of valuable minerals, and the humans are trying to get them to relocate. Colonel Quarich who runs the operation, ask Sully to go under cover as a Na'vi, to learn the secrets, to give the humans an advantage. If successful, Sully will get his legs back. The magic of future science and 3-D effects give Sully a handsome genetically engineered Avatar body, and he embarks on his mission. Once on the inside however, his loyalties to the humans start to turn when his heart gets lost to the Na'vi princess Neytiri. Is he willing to fight on the blue side now?
The landscape of Pandora is the most creative and inventive of the decade. There are creatures that you might find in your wildest dreams or your worst nightmares. There is flora and fauna that shine with the bioluminescence of a thousand deep sea critters, and also trees which dwarf the Empire State Building.
I guess the only noticeable problem with Avatar, is a lack of original story. What you see on the screen will blow you away, but all the tough critics, may come down a bit on the fact that despite being the latest in film technology, Cameron uses a very old archetypal formula, perhaps just a bit too schematic. There are a few badly scripted segments of dialogue, but nothing that makes you wanna blow raspberries at the screen.
What is most important is the fact that Cameron's story gets the viewer involved and offers a handful of memorable and likable characters to root for, and some to root against. This is the post- modern era, and originality is rare, but if there is any technical progress to be made in the world of movies and entertainment, there is one name that dwarfs all JAMES CAMERON, and after ten years hiding from the Hollywood mainstream, he is back.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I actually enjoyed this quite a bit, but I am giving it a 1, because I
cannot believe that it deserves an 8.8, which is what it is getting
this evening, mostly apparently due to suspicious ratings from
countries like Slovakia, India and Australia. Not that I have anything
against those countries, it just strikes me as odd that so few good
reviews are coming from the United States. I'm not saying that IMDb's
ratings are being manipulated by some sort of conspiracy, I am just
saying it is odd. Anyways, rather than try and balance my review with
what was good (the visuals, the 3D, the sound effects), am just going
to say what really sucked. Can I say "sucked" in my review? Guess I
will find out.
1. "Unobtainium." Really, "unobtainium?" Was this a kid's cartoon? 2. Sigourney Weaver's confused and cartoonish scientist character. She's tough, she smokes, she has a heart of gold, and her Avatar dresses like Dora the Explorer. Also, why try and make her look twenty years younger than she is? I can't tell if they used CGI, Botox, or a ton of make-up, but she looked like the female version of the Picture of Dorian Gray. What a waste of talent.
3. Hundres of years in the future, they can create magical avatar clones and transmit brain signals to them, but they still use flimsy wheelchair thingies? 4. Less than a half dozen animals on Pandora, and all but the floating jellyfish are angry and violent. Really? No fish? No birdies? No toads, snails, foxes, puppy dogs, kitty cats, mosquitoes, or anything but those half dozen CGI creature types? Seems like Pandora was populated by a relatively cheap CGI outfit.
5. The trees all communicate through synapses, and this is supposed to be ominous, yet this never turns into anything compelling. Did Jimmy Cameron get tired of his own idea? Or was it to hrd to animate something more interesting? 6. Almost half a billion dollars to make this?!?!?!?!? 7. "Unobtainium?" "Unobtainium?????" 8. Cartoony tough military guy who does not have a clue how to organize a military campaign.
9. The Na'Vi speak broken English that somehow becomes perfect English on and off throughout the movie. And the Avatars speak perfect English in normal tone of voice, identical to their human voices, although their bone structure is completely non-human?!?!?!? 10. Unobtainium I could go on and on, but you get the picture. This was like an extremely expensive and pretty kiddie cartoon. What a waste, and absolutely NOT deserving of the rating it is getting here.
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