Release Date: December 18th, 2009
Running Time: 2 hours and 41 minutes
Written and Directed by: James Cameron
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang
By: Michael “MovieBuff801″ Dennos
Backlash can be a bitch, but also inevitable when it comes to highly successful and widely praised movies. Take, for instance, James Cameron’s Avatar, the second of the director’s films in a row to claim the title of “Highest Grossing Movie of All-Time” (unadjusted for inflation). People were singing its praises mostly when it was released in December 2009, and I was one of them. In fact, the praise was almost overwhelming. Then, as the hype died down and people began re-watching it more and more, the reality of everything slowly crept in, with many outright changing their opinions of the movie altogether. It’s been a little over four years since I last re-watched Avatar before now, and looking back on it, the four-year gap doesn’t seem all that unjustified.
Like most sci-fi opuses these days, Avatar takes place in the type of bleak future where Earth has depleted all of its natural resources, forcing our society to go out into the vast universe, looking for ways to replenish them. The efforts are focused on a planet called Pandora, home of the Na’vi, a race of blue, 10-foot tall humanoid creatures at one with the planet’s nature and are also worshippers of a goddess named Eywa. You see, Pandora is rich in a valuable mineral known as Unobtainium (sigh), but the humans can’t properly mine for the mineral without endangering the Na’vi’s way of life. Said conundrum leads the Earth expedition to enlist scientists headed over by Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) to pursue more diplomatic negotiations by way of projecting their consciousness into those of “avatars”, Na’vi bodies mixed with human DNA that will allow them to move among Pandora’s population. The latest recruit into this project is Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paraplegic marine filling in for his recently-killed twin brother. But Jake’s mission isn’t going to be an easy one. He’s almost immediately approached by Col. Miles Quaritch (Steven Lang), a gung-ho marine less interested in diplomacy and more interested in immediate, decisive action. He strikes a deal with Jake: if Jake can provide intel on the Na’vi and their way of life, then Quaritch can guarantee Jake a new set of legs. Of course, Jake becomes more conflicted about that after he gets to know the Na’vi clan, specifically Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), daughter of the clan’s leader. It soon becomes the classic ultimatum of, “You’re either with us … or them!”
Read the rest of this entry »