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(2009)

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6/10
How could anyone who's seen more than 4 movies in their life find this creative?
benjamin-heckendorn20 December 2009
Warning: 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.
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1/10
People are weak minded.
Stephane Gregory Dan25 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
First I didn't want to go watch Avatar because when I heard Cameron took 3 weeks to write the plot I said to myself there is no hope for cinema anymore. And somehow people are showing me that I was right. I went to watch this piece of .... because I have been told it s unbelievable.

Storywise, there is no story at all. It's the typical good vs bad scenario shaped out of cowboys against indians in space mixing it with a yogi everything connects us to the world impression plus a goddamn planet called Pandora and looks like f...in' paradise. Lot's of shiny colours and huge monsters who eat flesh are your best friends. Come on. You gotta be kidding me.

Maybe I might be the only one here, cause all reviews I've seen got great score, but that is not what a movie is supposed to be. I was very unimpressed by the CGI and the artistic development because I might be used to computer games such as Final Fantasy series which has been the shaper of such incredible stories, only that these games have a very strong story to tell and and you feel totally involved.

It impresses me that people give this such a high rating because of it's visuals. I mean it was clear that sooner or later a movie would appear with such incredible CGI. If it wouldn't have been Avatar another would have been the winner.

I am sad that nowadays cinema is ail centered only about violence, good looks and a huge lack of brain.

3 out of ten only for the cgi which I thought is not the center of a movie otherwise I would have rated it beneath 0.
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1/10
Actually insulting to avid film lovers
CraneFist8 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I heard that this film was going to be the benchmark in modern film making. I heard this film was to be the largest grossing film of all time, and perhaps even the most captivating. As a film lover I could not miss it, and to make sure I didn't miss out on everything James Cameron had to offer me, I saw it in the largest iMax cinema in England, in 3d.

Keep in mind, I am now writing this review a week or so after seeing it so as to let my initial reactions subside and compose and sensible, rational and correct report on what I experienced, and yet my first words are still WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!

Let me try and address this in an ordered fashion.

Plot: Terrible, shameful and embarrassing. Not only to mention that it was almost an exact copy of Pocahontas (literally), it just wasn't at all interesting. You knew from the outset exactly how the film was going to end, it was cliché, boring and hamfisted from beginning to end. Anyone who can honestly say that the plot was captivating must be drunk, an idiot, or joking.

Also, I know people go on about this, but seriously, UNOBTANIUM??? I understand trying to make a commentary on our endeavours as mankind, but calling the object unobtanium reduces the intellectual level to Sesame Street.

Also, the fact that the Na'vi who could speak English went from relatively stunted English to perfect English and back again through out the film bothered me more than a little.

And when the natives win that one battle, the humans, who desperately want this 'unobtanium' as it will make them all mindboggingly rich, and can afford to pay for whole armies to try and get it, give up? They just aren't going to come back? That's ridiculous, they'd nuke the place.

Characters / Characterisation: Uni-dimensional to the end. No depth whatsoever. Prime example of this is the military captain who is, in all senses, a cartoon stereotype military captain, there was no reason or rhyme behind his actions apart from the fact that he is a military captain. The self-interested capitalist, who in the end was nothing more than a self-interested capitalist? No! Surely not! And the hero, who, from beginning to end, portrays no real traits that give him away to be anything other than a complete hero. Wow. I'm so impressed.

Acting: No one captivated me. No one stood out. Even Sigourney Weaver, an actress who I usually hold in quite high esteem, was pretty poor. I blame Cameron.

Special Effects: Yes. They were impressive. This is where my 1 star comes from. But, forgive me for being a bit of a traditionalist, but I think in any film no more than 1 star should ever be entirely devoted to special effects. That being said, they were impressive, they weren't biblical. It's not like I walked out of the cinema unable to speak from awe. Furthermore, aside from the technical quality of the special effects, the world itself was not that inventive, intelligently designed or beautiful. They were essentially in a jungle with a few animals that just looked like mutated versions of Earth animals. And some odd jellyfish type things. If you want truly beautiful films watch something like "Pan's Labyrinth" or "House of Flying Daggers", I'd say both of these have more impressive scenery than Avatar does.

Directing:

Uninventive. Nothing really new there. Impressive shots of scenery perhaps, but pretty much normal camera-work throughout. A very cheesy montage to show the hero and his woman getting closer and closer. A standard battle scene. No James Cameron, not impressive.

The bottom line is this, I know and you know that if it wasn't for its 3D effects, and the fact that it had James Cameron's name attached to it, Avatar would probably have been straight to DVD. Some people have said that people don't like it because they don't understand Sci Fi. That's ridiculous. I love Sci Fi, it's my favourite genre. But compared with classics like Alien, or 2001, this was an affront.

So shame on you James Cameron, for insulting our intelligence by thinking that nothing more than pretty lights are needed to make a good film. Though, in the end, I guess you were right, as most people seem to be inexplicably raving about it. Maybe all people want in a film are just pretty lights, and that's pretty sad to see.

Poor, poor show.
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6/10
Visually stunning, but ultimately unimaginative
Florent21 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
First of all, let me get it out of the way: yes, Avatar is visually stunning. With better scenario and dialogs, it could have been a very good movie; alas, it was completely predictable, and fancy special effects alone do not make a good movie.

Let's start with the picture. As I said before, the special effects and computer animation are really good; the textures feel very real, and the degrees of liberty that CGI animation allows in terms of camera angles and movement is well used for dramatic effects. The luxurious vegetation of the forest and the CGI-animated wild animals are a treat to the eyes. In terms of artwork, there is a definite influence from Nausicaa (the forest-world, the spores) and Starcraft (the vessels, the goliaths). I saw the movie in an IMAX movie with 3D glasses, but I am not convinced that they used the full potential of it - quite honestly, the Haribo commercial before the movie made a better use of it. I find it more strenuous to watch a movie with the 3D-glasses - some details are blurry, and it feels likewise when the camera makes swift lateral movements.

Now, the scenario - the movie disappoints in that area. The plot is very Manichean, and it feels like a remake of Pocahontas, interspersed with elements from / tributes to Star Wars (Pandora and the Na'vi look like Endor and the Ewoks respectively), Nausicaa (the forest as an entity, the destructive impact of civilization on nature, the spores in the forest), Starcraft (Colonel Quarritch and Dr Augustine bear some resemblance with Arcturus Mensk and Sarah Kerrigan), Matrix (the concept of controlling another image of self), and maybe even Independence Day (the pilot fighter suicide) and the Lion King (the father's death, "go, and never come back!", ... am I going to far here?). But I can honestly say that I haven't been surprised at any point in the movie. You know from the beginning that he will be accepted by the Na'vi, that he will fall in love, that he will defect, that he will ultimately prevail after suffering some heavy casualties, and that he will find a way to permanently transfer his mind into the body of his avatar.

It would have been interesting if the movie had dealt in more depth with the issues related to transferring one's mind into another body for instance, maybe a la Twelve Monkeys Army, where the "hero" is clearly deeply affected by experiences that the mind is not used to deal with (time travel in that case, but it is not that different from what we have here). Likewise, the love interest of our hero seems very indifferent to the fact that he really is a human remotely controlling a human - Na'vi bastard. I was expecting someone (him, her, or even one of the other humans in the scientific group) to show at least some kind of surprise / doubt when these feelings emerge. I was expecting more complexity in the social interactions of the characters, and their personality.

I also take issues with some big stereotypes: corporations and the white men are greedy, indigenous people are pure, brave, and connected to the earth, but dumb - thankfully there is a human to teach them how to fight those who come from the sky. To some extent, the movie feels like a remake of the colonization of the Americas; just replace the Na'vis by native Americans, the aircrafts by ships, and modern weapons by muskets, and you have it. Except of course the colonization of the Americas did not have such a happy ending for the native tribes.

On the whole, the movie is beautiful, but it feels like the main goal was to showcase fancy special effects. The movie would have benefited from more detailed characters, and a less linear and predictable plot. My rating is 6/10.
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8/10
After a decade, Cameron sets the avatar of our new generation
Misagh13 December 2009
Warning: 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. ;)
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1/10
The Most Unoriginal Film of the Decade
mlbstellar5 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
At the risk of repeating what countless others have said, this movie is blatant plagiarism. If a film student submitted the Avatar screenplay to an instructor, he/she would have been given an F. Colleges expel students for less obvious ripoffs than this. If you've watched Pocahontas or Dances With Wolves, you know the drill. The only difference is the ending, which has the pretty blue humanoids escorting humans to their Earth-bound ships at gunpoint, which I freely admit is a rather neat sight since my ancestors were American Indian, Irish, and Scot. As a result, I am perhaps overly sensitive to the plight of a civilization driven from their homeland and/or oppressed by a conquering nation - er, planet.

However, originality is not James Cameron's strong suit, so my disappointment is directed more at WETA. Yes, my beloved WETA, who impressed me throughout the years but completely stole my heart after the masterful rendering of all things Tolkien in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I had two reasons for seeing this film. One was a 13-year-old boy, the other was my anticipation over what wonders WETA would lay at my feet.

Now, had the budget not been nearly half a billion dollars, I'd have understood the cartoonish creations, but as it stands there's no good reason for the results. Viewers are praising this film as revolutionary. I call "horsesh!t". This was nowhere near the caliber of WETA's LOTR work, their King Kong work, or their X-Men work. In fact, it wasn't even up to snuff with their Narnia production. The quantity of work was greater, not the quality.

I've never reviewed a film in my life. I actually registered here for the sole purpose of expressing my resentment at having wasted $20 bucks and 3 hours on such nonsense. Booooooo.
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1/10
Extremely predictable and very unoriginal!!
tomskaal21 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I have never been so close to leave the movie theater, as i was when seeing Avatar. Sure, it's very beautiful to look at, but, if you've seen the trailer, then you've seen the movie! It's basically every movie clichés put together in one horrible and so unoriginal movie. it's a mix of the "last samurai" meets "Pocahontas" meets "Atlantis"! it's by far the most horrible storyline since Ed Woods' "plan 9 from outer space".

Not once are you surprised by the turn of events in this movie, and there's so many bad movie clichés in it, and so many things that just doesn't make any sense at all (even in their universe). for example, the last fight scene with the giant robot and the Avatar. It really doesn't make any sense at all, that the robot is carrying a 8-foot-1 hunting knife, just in case he loses his gun (which could easily have been attach to the robot!), and that the robot tells the avatar, what he's about to do, instead of just doing it (A good example of a bad cliché).

If you want to see this movie, i recommend you either see the trailer ( as that is enough for you, to litterily, call every scene in the movie) or you go out and buy Atlantis and just Imagine it with smurfs instead of underwater people.
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Technically outstanding. Originality: oh well....
elchocobollo11 December 2009
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.
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1/10
OK, I get it...
MACarter2147 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
"Ok, I get it." That's a phrase I found myself saying an awful lot during this 2 1/2 hour computer game that was as painful to the brain as it was to the eyes.

First, let's get the obvious out of the way. This film was expensive, in that it cost so much money to make you could solve at least one state's budget crisis with it. So why did it look like it was nearly all conceived on a computer? Not since the "Star Wars" prequels has the "fourth wall" ever been so demolished. Never once did I care about the characters or believe anything the actors tried to do because I knew it was completely artificial. Hell, people still complain about "Waterworld" being overpriced but at least people actually got off their duffs and did some real film shooting! This whole project stinks of imported bottled water and soy lattes. This film is the pinnacle of Hollywood overkill. An overblown, overpriced, overindulgent eyesore of a movie with a "message." Oh yes, the message. Underneath watching the latest in nerd fantasy-fulfillment with its CGI, is a liberal-minded jackhammer drilling into your psyche about the evil of American corporatism, military culture, and rich white men's greed. The noble intent of getting its audience to care about the environment is done in the LSD-esquire rainbow cornucopia of every Native American and African stereotype imaginable, all set to an "oweyo oweyo" New Age chorus that makes one actually pine for the sweet sound of the Jonas Brothers. I say this as a die-hard independent who has as much to say about environmental awareness as anyone with a college education, but the caricatures painted here border on MSNBC-levels of leftist philosophy. The bad guys are the Republican racist military and corporate oppressors, who refer to our heroes as "tree huggers" and the alien Navi as "savages," and see their violence against them as "fighting terror with terror." I'm not kidding, they actually use soundbites from the last decade as part of the script. One character actually refers to the military attacks as "shock and awe." If you don't want to heave from the vertigo-inducing sweep of the completely sterile computer-created world of Pandora, the dialog will surely get you to bending over the toilet cursing the day you ever thought this was worth even half its price tag.

See, there was a movie made very recently that dealt with valid socio-political issues that was full of interesting characters and top-notch CGI at a fraction of "Avatar's" cost. It was called "District 9" and if you haven't seen it, do so and then come tell me what you thought of "Avatar." Because the former film was able to show the evils of racism without painting its characters as one-dimensional caricatures. It showed that greed knew no color boundaries, and that you can combine action with a message and not be beaten over the head with it.

I would advise people to avoid this film, however I know that is next to impossible. This has become the new "Titanic," where seeing it is not only an option, but a requirement with some groups of people. I like to refer to those people as "STUPID."
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1/10
This movie made me feel blue
Bart_Mancuso22 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I realize I am probably going to get flames galore for this comment, and you all have the right to your opinion about my opinion, but hey, I'm entitled to my opinion too. Avatar is grade A crap. That's right, it's crap. I say this for one simple reason: Without the special effects this movie would never, ever captivate and take a hold of audiences like it has in the past week. Ask yourself this one question: If it didn't have the effects, the Navi plugging their hair into the trees like it's a damn broadband jack, mech suits(just like the ones in Matrix Revolutions) and barely futuristic ospreys, would you care about this movie at all? It's a truism when they say this movie is nothing more than Dances with Wolves in space. Some people may argue back that Star Wars borrowed from Hidden fortress, but at least it had enough compelling plot points to make it look different, such as I don't know... the force? The Death Star? Outer space? A location that has NOTHING at all to do with Earth? This important set of points clearly differentiates Star Wars and Hidden Fortress. But The difference between Avatar and Dances with wolves is... CGI. This CGI may be pretty but it cannot ever substitute for story and plot development. Speaking of, the characters save but a few are either very bland or stereotypes. The worst part is the story and the movie gives us no reason to care about the characters. You know what? I'll go one step further and say that the only difference between Avatar and a Star Wars prequel is this: Avatar has an environmental story that we can relate to. That's it. True, the action scenes in Avatar are well done, but hell, the action scenes in the Star Wars prequels were also arguably well-done. Still, there's that nagging lack of story development. Avatar is a huge let-down and doesn't belong on the best-of list of anybody with common sense.
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10/10
Best movie experience of the last 30 years...
Balazs Jedovszky14 December 2009
Warning: 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.
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10/10
Fascinating concept .Must be seen cannot be described
lionel-1412 December 2009
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.
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9/10
Cameron Returns
Samiam312 December 2009
Warning: 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.
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9/10
Absolutely breathtaking and an amazing surprise overall
Dragoneyed36316 May 2010
Of course I had heard the hype over Avatar for a long time, but just refused to believe it for many reasons. It seemed very overrated at first glance, as it probably did to most, and I really didn't care to see if for awhile. Now, I am so glad that I gave it a chance, because Avatar turned out to be a visually beautiful, incredibly written and wonderfully executed work of art that indeed is my favorite movie of 2009 and one of the best movies I've ever seen, and that's without me viewing it in 3D!

First of all, yes, it does seem overrated at first glance. Even when the film started my thoughts were that it had pretty bad dialogue and that it was going to be incredibly crappy and a complete waste of my time. I changed that thought within the first twenty or twenty-five minutes of the movie. It begins to get so interesting and the characters start making an unbelievable impact on you and you really start to care for them and the story, within the first twenty or twenty-five minutes, I don't lie. It starts becoming more and more entertaining until you are completely mesmerized and astonished by how wonderful it truly is and how entranced you are in the film and how alluring it is to all your senses.

The movie is amazingly brilliant and even though it was long, I was taking in every second with the utmost delight because James Cameron makes it so enjoyable to watch and has a direction that creates the most pleasurable and sensational atmosphere, as he's done with every movie I've seen by him. The actors and actresses capture their characters superbly as well and make them really believable and likable down to the very core. Sure, the movie didn't bring that much new material, but the way they handled it so delicately is what really pays off and makes the viewer tantalize every aspect.

I thought the suspense, romance, action and all other genre mixes were balanced perfectly, and though the plot was paper thin, it was strong because of how amazingly beautiful the visuals were and how powerfully the actors and actresses make their characters, and how well the CGI makes it seem like you are actually on the planet Pandora and living every second of the film. Simply fantastic, I must say!

Well, people who think it is still overrated after seeing it have probably disagreed with this by now, but if you are a fan of Avatar and appreciated it for the astonishingly magnificent piece of work that it is, I am right there with you. It was exciting and riveting to the bone with CGI and lush, picturesque scenes that are to die for. The plot was well done because of how wonderful every one that worked on the film makes it be and the movie was entertaining as hell. I am proud to say I enjoyed it highly and that James Cameron deserves all the money he received for this marvelous movie. After it was off, I wish it would've never ended.
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1/10
Mediocre cr-pfest
jim-237926 December 2009
Warning: 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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9/10
Incredible scope and spectacle
NonSequiturL16 December 2009
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.

9.5/10
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9/10
One of the best cinematic experiences ever...
Clayton Davis14 December 2009
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.

***½/****
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1/10
Money + Technology = Garbage
aliensbishop7 July 2010
With a budget like this you would think that, at the very least, basic elements of a decent film should not be lacking. Well written story, passable dialog, above par actors, etc...

Well, welcome to Hollywood!!! Those things have been relegated to the past! No more worrying about where that clever plot twist will lead, or that enigmatic character, or those subtle hints and tics in the dialog that aren't in-your-face obvious. Avatar blazes a new trail to where Money and Technology apparently rut for days, then pop out a bouncing baby masterpiece!!! Rad! Where to begin? Stream of consciousness/associative thinking might get it over with quickest. Fern Gully in Space (minus Tim Curry's voice), Dances with Wolves only worse, and Smurfs without believable characters like Gargamel and his cat come immediately to the fore. Pastel overdose.

UNOBTAINIUM!!!
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9/10
The best blockbuster in years - the master is back!
ftyl15 December 2009
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!
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1/10
The most overrated film in history
wwe79612 August 2010
The plot is stolen from many different movies, there was only 3 good actors, the characters are either bland or stereotypical, and yet it made almost 3 billion. When I think a film is overrated I usually like it. I don't think of it as Oscar worthy, but I like it. Then there is Avatar a film I not only think is the most overrated film in history, but also on its own without the hype a terrible movie. It didn't have any effort put into the story at all. Star Wars took the ideas of many movies together to create something epic, but Avatar takes instead of being inspired by these things is just being lazy by stealing the ideas. It is an awful movie, but people and critics liked it. Why is that? Well that is due to the effects. Few watching, or reviewing cared about what the story was. All they cared about was the effects. Yes the effects and 3-D are great, but without the substance of a well written story it fails. I don't care if the effects are the best ever. Giving this film a good review based of the effects is like walking to your computer, and staring at the screensaver. You think it looks cool so you look at it. Next time you look up it is 3 hours later. Would consider that a good way to spend your time. No you would not, but you think that Avatar is worth your time. This a movie that is destroying filmmaking.

1 star out of 4
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4/10
Absolutely zero substance
Ianmcane21 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I simply cannot believe how over-zealous the users of this site are. Actually i can. It was exactly the same for There Will be Blood and every other hyped film there has been recently. Some of the adjectives used to describe Avatar beggar belief: 'The Best Movie of All Time' 'A Masterpiece' 'Mesmorising, Spellbinding, Extraordinary!'. I really do wish i could agree. I was looking forward to this as much as most and i'm a huge fan of Cameron's previous work.

Avatar, however, is a massive disappointment, and i'm convinced once the hype surrounding the technology and CGI dies down people will realise that. It really is a reflection of the times that people can be so suckered in by fancy visuals and things blowing up. Please, for a moment, look at the merits of this film, CGI aside, and you'll see that they are pretty much on par with a hundred previous sci-fi b-movies/TV-series. The story is completely derivative, the action unrealistic, the dialogue.....oh God, don't get me started. James Cameron has obviously been spending far too much time with George Lucas. The dialogue is atrocious and painfully clichéd. There is no convincing character development at all. I can barely remember any of their names let alone have any sort of affinity with them. Sam Worthington is a waste of space. I don't know what this Hollywood fixation is with him, but he was terrible in Terminator Salvation and he is terrible in this. The cartoon, morally-vacant human 'baddies' are an insult to intelligence and unbelievable at every turn. The entire plot is 100% predictable. Of course we knew the humans weren't go to win. Of course not. Not with their space-travelling, cryo-genetic-using, high-tech weaponary-toting mentality. They didn't understand the forest, man. Please. This is almost as laughable as Return of the Jedi. And the lame efforts to instill some sort of sentimentality and moral message through the use of poorly-written pseudo-spiritual crap just made me cringe. I wasn't even that impressed with the character design. Cameron has basically taken Native American Indians and Antipodean Aborigines and turned them blue. They have similar attire, ride 'horses', shoot arrows etc etc. It was just all too familiar.

Avatar may well be a technological breakthrough, and i look forward to others who take the technology on and remember to actually pair it with an original and compelling story, but for now though, this film is a bulging case of style over substance if ever there has been one.

I miss Aliens. Now that was a convincing movie.

4/10
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1/10
what bile
legionhunterer1 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Sorry to not be with the masses on this one, but I would classify myself as being a little bit of a film buff in the sense that I've watched so many movies, even if I don't like them and know I won't, I'll still watch it out of interest. And this film actually made me LOL at my own criticisms as it was too easy to criticize. Story = humans want precious metal (or whatever), aliens occupy the area with said mineral, humans (americans actually) infiltrate in order to get, infiltrator betrays humans. uh-huh. Writing = absolutely trash, who wrote this again, oh, I'm sorry, I didn't look for his (camerons) name at the end because I can safely say it'll be the last of his films I'll watch. Honestly people, take a slight step back when watching this and you realize that he is writing for the uneducated adolescents who need stupid sentences to understand, or, hhhmm a three minute running scene to show "how emotional it must have been for him to reuse his legs", come on, as soon as he stood up I got it, BUT NO, 3 mins, corny heartwarming music, camera angles of his legs, then his smile, then his feet, then smile, then legs all the time with somebody shouting after him,n "stop, you're not ready to run yet". I mean, does this drivel really constitute as a 8.5 out of 10. Actually, I'm getting too annoyed now. Watch this film and imagine that it wasn't full of 1990's intro graphics from good PC games, imagine them as people acting, and hopefully you'll see some sense. I found one good idea in the film, that's the aliens can join up with the other animals/trees blah blah, but other than that, not one other original idea, I mean, even the female aliens, look just like the alien equivalent of human females, come on imaginations, where are you. Sorry James Cameron, I'm sorry that you made Terminator (which I find is great) and you've slowly gone downhill where you sell into the masses (who shoot in all probability, be shot) rather than trying to make a good film.
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1/10
Congratulations Mr. Cameron - Quite Possibly The Most Over-Rated Movie Ever!!
Tuscan-8819 March 2010
There have been so many reviews and comments made about this film that I simply had to see it. The fans insist that everybody should see it. So in order to honestly judge this blockbuster I have watched it.

That was my first mistake, the second was not getting up and asking for my money back, the third was to allow the film to be force fed to me till the bitter end.

Oh good god, where do I start....... breathing is more complicated than this tripe.

The horrifically basic story is force fed to the audience at a rate of knots. Leaving most of us, with half an ounce of sense, a dribbling mess by the end.

The sheer arrogance that Cameron has shows in this film is quite frankly second to none. It treats the audience as complete imbeciles.

The movie is so clearly aimed at the simple masses I have to congratulate him and his team on their success. I am utterly astonished that the public has graced this film in the way they have. How they have watched this and raved about it is beyond me.

The CGI displayed in Avatar is OK, but that's about it. Too much like looking at a cartoon. When you do get to see some live action - it looks too obviously different. There has been many a gorgeous film that has used CGI as a tool to further the vision, why Avatar simply hides behind it only becomes apparent when you uncover the script and story in the first five minutes.

It is no different than buying a car with a nice paint-job, but no engine. Yeah, it looks great but you try and drive it.

This will sound crazy but, after numerous years of planning the final result seems rushed. Like they got to the end, stood back nodding sagely at the pretty CG and thought......."Damn, we forgot the script, story, actors.......!!" Some may think my review a little harsh, but seriously it comes down to how films are marketed and reviewed. If this was marketed as a cheap sci-fi action flick - I may have changed my tune. To push this as the best film ever than will change cinema as we know it..... Come on, let's be sensible..... That was stretching the imagination a little too far. The viewer is already pre-loaded with this expectation of a film that in theory cannot go wrong, yet when you see it....... it fails on virtually every level.

If you like movies with substance, avoid this like the plague. If you like movies that are the cinematic equivalent of a lobotomy, with a shiny paint-job, then go right ahead - but don't say I didn't warn you!!
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8/10
Visually Spellbinding!
miruleyall16 December 2009
I am sure my comment will be lost in a sea of blue but anyways here goes...

Just attended the Advanced Screening at my local "Event Cinema" BCC in 3D

Now this movies graphics are gorgeous, everything is so real, the 3D just adds to the effect beautifully without distracting you.

From a technical standpoint this movie is amazing, just the detail on the Navi's faces are amazing, they feel more real then their real life counterparts!

Without giving anything away about the story, the plot itself is very solid, very character driven and perfectly executed by Jim, safe to say this is his best original story since "The Terminator" and "Terminator 2" and is definitely one of his best movies, so good it ties with T2 which is my most favorite movie of all time...

So for those of you who have not seen this yet... WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

5/5
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1/10
Utter Foolishness.
person_mn10 February 2010
AHHHHHH, where do I start?! I am shocked by the amount of positive feedback this movie has got. I mean, it was filled with nonsense crap. I am trying to write this in the most civil way I can but that's seriously the only word that comes to my head when trying to describe this film: crap. I cant believe how many people actually loved this, I even feel bad for genuinely hating this movie.

I am not a sci-fi type of person and I have pretty much never seen a movie of this genre until now. I was hesitant about watching it but because I heard so many people talking about it and with such high ratings I thought it cant be that bad. It was. I mean, the time I decided to let go of my anti-sci-fi attitude, I found myself strongly compelled back to it.

I am sure those of you who loved it will deem me as an 'uncreative unimaginative unappreciative-of-art' person. But whats so creative, imaginative, and artistic about it anyway?! Okay, the graphics and all of that was pretty neat, I'll give you that, but that doesn't make it a good movie. I am so bugged by people saying this film was so different and creative because it really really wasn't. What was different was the detail of the graphics maybe, but a film is not to be judged solely on the use of new technology, graphics, etc., but many other factors should be looked into like the actual plot, the story, the true originality of it among other things that quite frankly weren't properly considered, in my opinion, by the 10 star givers. Which brings me to the content and idea of the story ...

Flying off to some planet trying to steal crap, and having the star of the movie fall in love of with blue weirdos who inhabit the planet and going against his own race for them, isn't very creative. It's stupid. There is no deep imagination in that, anyone can think of such a story, creatures on different planets, blue people, special trees? Foolishness. The whole idea, the connection the avatars had to the nature, the flying seeds, it was just weird (not good weird). I don't want to be superficial but thats truly my opinion and thats the whole point of reviews, one's opinion. Look at it this way, the avatars, the creatures that coming up with, was supposedly very clever, had worms in their hair. The worms or whatever would connect to the horse/dragon/ireallydontcare and tame them. Wow? Not so much.

I found it to be belittling the human brain, not challenging it to look into deeper purposes or expanding its imagination and creativity by displaying impossible stories that would enlighten us in some way and make us think and appreciate and bla. To love this movie and find a deeper meaning or something in it would be an insult to (my) mind. However, if you were inspired by it and loved it or anything in no means am I intending this to be an insult to you. ;p

Besides the whole content with all of its absurdity, it was too long. Two hours and a half of blue people running around is sheer torture.

I might not have had such a negative attitude if there wasn't this much hype on about it, but I have.

I am sorry if this was offending to anybody in any way, it is truly my opinion and I have really tried to like it but to no avail. xD.

=)
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