Avatar(DVD)

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Avatar(DVD)

A paraplegic ex-marine war veteran is unwillingly sent to establish a human settlement on the distant planet of Pandora, only to find himself battling...

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Review of "Avatar(DVD)"

published 24/05/2010 | GoFigure
Member since : 21/02/2007
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Pro Beautiful graphics, magical setting, great acting.
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""Sooner Or Later… You Have To Wake Up.""

Avatar (DVD)

Avatar (DVD)

Director: James Cameron
Writer: James Cameron
Genre: Fantasy – Action – Sci-Fi – Adventure
Country: USA/UK
Certification: 12+
Language: English/Spanish

MAIN CAST:



Sam Worthington [Jake Sully]
Zoe Saldana [Neytiri]
Sigourney Weaver [Dr. Grace Augustine]
Stephen Lang [Colonel Miles Quaritch]

SUMMARY:

Pandora, a moon of Polyphemus [a planet situated 4.3 light years from Earth], is a veritable Alibaba’s den of wonders and treasures. It is home to the Na'vi people [giant blue beings that wield deathly arrows], herds of Titanotheres [throwbacks from the dinosaur era], strange plants that shrink when you touch them, deadly Thanators [a giant jaguar-type creature with a carapace], Viperwolfs [like wolves but with a carapace instead of fur], Banshees [flying dragon-like creatures], and, of course… Unobtanium… a precious mineral found only on Pandora which has the potential to save Earth from the energy crisis humans now find themselves in.

When Jake Scully, a crippled ex-marine whose twin brother [a scientist] died while working on a high-level program involving corporate and military strategists, is invited to take over his brother’s contract in order to work on Pandora. Jake knows that the only reason he is being given the opportunity – one that will allow him to make enough money for an operation on his spine that will eventually help him to walk again – is because he’s a genetic match with his brother… but, regardless that he’s scientifically-challenged, he’s up for the task.

Arriving on Pandora, Jake discovers that because humans are unable to breathe the air, Avatar’s were created. These Avatar’s, a genetically-bred human-Na’vi hybrid [created with the DNA of the human that will be using the Avatar], are empty shells that are manipulated [operated] by the human they were created for… or more precisely, by the human’s mind via a telepathic link.

Excited at the prospect of being able to walk again, Jake is eager to begin the process that will see his mind transferred into that of the waiting Avatar, regardless of the hostile welcome he receives from the lead scientist, Dr. Grace Augustine, who is disgusted to discover that Jake is an ex-marine, and objects vehemently to his presence.

When the lead scientist is unable to get rid of Jake [the Avatar can only be used by someone who is a genetic match to Tom, Jake’s dead brother], she grudgingly accepts his presence and the small team of scientists take over their Avatar’s and head off in order to do a spot of research.

Toting a machinegun instead of the usual researcher’s kit, Jake, who doesn’t like standing around doing nothing [especially now that he can walk again], wanders off into a field of giant Helicordian flowers. As Jake toys with the flowers, amused by the way they shrink at his touch, he is somewhat taken aback when he comes face to face with a Titanotheres [type of dinosaur] who doesn’t take kindly to Jake wandering onto his territory.

Managing, or so he thinks, to frighten off the Titanotheres, Jake turns around [feeling quite chuffed with himself] only to find himself the prey to yet another of Pandora’s deadly creatures… a Thanator [giant jaguar-like creature]. When the lead scientist tells him to run, Jake doesn’t wait for her to repeat the order… he’s off… and so is the Thanator, who is, incidentally, much faster.

As Jake is chased through the unwelcoming forest by a creature straight out of his worst nightmare, he manages to outwit the creature, but also manages to lose himself.

With the darkness enveloping the thick forest and the monstrous Viperwolfs coming out to play, Jake will get his first glimpse of a Na’vi woman and in so doing… his life will never again be the same.

MAIN CHARACTERS:

Jake Sully [Sam Worthington], is a crippled ex-marine who wants nothing more than to walk again, but he can’t afford the cost of the operation. He is somewhat stubborn, refusing help from anyone, and although he has lost the use of his legs, he still considers himself a marine and is determined to remain independent. When he’s given the opportunity to take over his dead brother’s contract, he eagerly accepts… not only because he will be earning enough to pay for his operation, but because it’s a challenge.

Unlike the other scientists, or even the soldiers that surround him, Jake possesses a great attitude. He can walk, he can run, and even if it isn’t really his ‘own’ body that’s doing it, he doesn’t care. He ‘feels’ as if he’s the one who is moving, and it’s enough to make him happy… although happy is too little a word to explain what Jake is feeling. A more proper word would be ‘drunk’. He is drunk on sensations and emotions, overwhelmed by euphoria, everything is clearer, nicer, far more ‘real’ in his Avatar form, and he feels as though he has been reborn. He’s like a child on the path of discovery, and although he has allied himself with the military and agreed to report to them with any and all new information he obtains from the Na’vi who have welcomed him into their midst, he cannot see that he is doing anything wrong… not until he discovers what it is to be a real Na’vi, not a conscienceless hybrid.

Neytiri [Zoe Saldana], is a Na’vi whose parents are king and queen of her tribe. She is a stubborn woman, a powerful warrior in her own right who has no love in her heart for the tiny humans who have invaded her world. Although her first reaction upon seeing Jake had been to kill him, it wasn’t feminine emotions that stopped her from piercing him with one of her poisoned arrows… it was a seed… a tiny seed from the sacred tree. Believing that the seed is a sign from Eywa [god/goddess similar to mother nature], Neytiri takes Jake back to her village in order to let her parents decide upon his fate. Unfortunately for Neytiri, Jake’s fate is put into her hands, and she becomes his unwilling teacher. There relationship is somewhat strained at first, but as Jake learns to become a Na’vi warrior, Neytiri learns how to become… a woman.

Dr. Grace Augustine [Sigourney Weaver], is lead scientist of the ‘Avatar Project’. Although garrulous, stubborn and somewhat aggressive, she is, deep down, extremely kind and caring. She possesses a love of nature that is unrivalled, and when she is given the opportunity to finally meet the Na’vi people, she is ecstatic. She immediately enters into the world of the Na’vi, eager to learn, and is accepted by the people. Although her relationship with Jake started off on the wrong track [she dislikes the military], they quickly become good friends when they discover that they share something in common… their love for the Na’vi people.

Colonel Miles Quaritch [Stephen Lang], is a highly dislikeable sort. He IS military… it’s in his blood. He doesn’t want to strike up a bargain with the Na’vi, nor does he want to treat them with anything other than contempt. He considers his presence on Pandora to be an opportunity… he is on a unique ‘reconnaissance’ mission. He doesn’t want Jake to act as a diplomat, he wants him to spy on the ‘hostiles’ and ‘savages’ so that the military can eventually wipe them out.

THUMBS UP:

Although I hadn’t expected to like this 2D version… having heard that the only worthwhile version was the 3D cinema one… I was pleasantly surprised by the fantastic graphics, the CGI animations and the incredible jungle setting that was truly a Pandora’s box of eclectic and strange visuals.

Much like Jake Sully who ‘sees’ and ‘feels’ the world of Pandora via an alternate state of consciousness that is almost dreamlike, so did I experience the world of Pandora… like a child stepping into a candy shop for the first time. I was fascinated by the surreal atmosphere, by the weird yet strangely beautiful flora and fauna of Pandora. The creatures, while remaining within the boundaries of human imagination, possessed just enough eccentricity to make them unique.

Although I’m not a fan of CGI or any other type of animation, I was taken aback by the quality of the graphics, and the pearlescent beauty of all the lifeforms found on Pandora, but mostly, I was won over by the characters themselves… including Jake Sully’s Avatar which was, in truth, an empty shell. How easily and remarkably Jake managed to fill that shell, and to give it not only life but depth.

The storyline, while remaining extremely uncomplicated and painfully predictable, was still incredibly satisfying. Based on humanity’s contempt for lifeforms that do not resemble them, and the avarice that incites many to ‘take’ instead of ‘ask’, the story is very much the story of humanity itself [the way we have treated this planet and the lifeforms that share our space]. There are more than a few thought-provoking moments for those who dare to look beyond the façade of the story, but for those who don’t, it doesn’t matter… the story holds its own.

The acting is extremely good, and although there is a constant mix of ‘real’ and CGI, the two blend together to create something that is almost magical. It is easy to forget that some portions are animated because they merge so well with reality.

THUMBS DOWN:

Apart from a few noticeable goofs here and there, mostly continuity errors with objects appearing and disappearing depending on the angle shot, or distances appearing further away in one shot and closer in the next – when Jake is running away from the Thanator [big cat] he comes to a cliff and looks down, the water looks quite far down… in the next shot after he dives off the cliff and looks up at the Thanator, the top of the cliff is quite close – none of the errors draw away from the storyline, and aren’t obvious enough that it destroys the viewer’s focus on the film or their enjoyment of it.

In all honesty, I can find absolutely nothing to criticise…

COMMENTS – OPINION:

Having won 3 Oscars, an Art Director’s Guild Award, a BAFTA Film Award, a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, an Empire Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Motion Pictures Sound Editor Award, and various other awards along with countless nominations, I can only say that all of these awards were well-deserved.

With a runtime of 162 minutes, ‘Avatar’ is somewhat of a lengthy movie to watch, probably too much of a movie for anyone younger than the 12+ certification, however, my attention remained focused upon the movie the entire time, and I cannot say that I found an issue with the movie’s length.

This is a superb movie… the ‘Titanic’ of all CGI animations [pun definitely intended], and should not be missed.


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Comments on this review

  • nina_in_the_bedroom published 27/07/2010
    Wow - that truly deserves an E for certs! A brilliant review and I agree with absolutely everything you say. Loved the film enough to look past any of the very minor flaws.
  • Dentolux published 21/07/2010
    Even though I didn't see it in 3D I still enjoyed the film.When watching it the time flew by so I would say it deserved the praise it received.
  • K2705 published 14/07/2010
    Thanks, youve convinced me to see this, great review!
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Product Information : Avatar(DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

A paraplegic ex-marine war veteran is unwillingly sent to establish a human settlement on the distant planet of Pandora, only to find himself battling humankind alongside the planet's indigenous Na'vi race in this ambitious digital 3-D sci-fi epic from Academy Award-winning TITANIC director James Cameron. The film, which marks Cameron's first dramatic feature since 1997's Titanic, will be shot on the proprietary FUSION digital 3-D cameras developed by Cameron in collaboration with Vince Pace, and will offer a groundbreaking mix of live-action dramatic performances and computer-generated effects. Australian actor Sam Worthington stars as the reluctant human settler, Jake Sully, with actress Zoe Saldana signing on to portray the local woman who enters into a romantic affair with the hero. The revolutionary motion-capture system created for the film allows the facial expressions of actors to be captured as a virtual camera system enables them to see what their computer-generated counterparts will be seeing in the film, and Peter Jackson's Oscar-winning Weta Digital visual-effects house has been hired to supervise AVATAR's complex visual effects. Joel Moore, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, and Michelle Rodriguez round out the cast.

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