Monday, December 21, 2009
James Cameron is once more "King of The World" with the release of his latest masterpiece, "Avatar". This new film is a visual spectacle that seamlessly fuses live action and computer images to create a stunning new world.
It's important to be dazzled by the visuals because you've seen this basic plot before in hundreds of film dating back to the earliest westerns. The evil "white man" or in this case, humans, exploit the indigenous population for their valuable resources. And, as with many of these films, resort to destroying their homes and killing off the local population to line their pockets.
Mr. Cameron liberally borrows this theme, along with plot points from the sci-fi classic book, " The Dragonriders of Pern", and even his own earlier films, "Aliens", in particular. Giovanni Ribisi, in "Avatar", basically plays the Paul Reiser role from "Aliens". But these are minor complaints because even though you've seen the plot before, you have never seen it presented like this.
Setting the story on his fictional world of Pandora, Mr. Cameron makes the story seem fresh and exciting in a most spectacular way. Every detail is perfect and moments into the film, you will forget you're watching computer generated images and everything and everyone will come alive before you. There are so many sequences that take your breath away, you might be better off with an oxygen tank rather than popcorn.
Sam Worthington plays Jake Scully, the former Marine turned Avatar to learn about the local population. Sigourney Weaver (in "Ripley" mode) is the biologist who has developed the avatar technology and opposes the military option. Stephen Lang is Coronel Quaritch, the tough as nails military leader, who easily becomes one of the all time great screen villains. Zoe Saldana, Wes Studi, and CC Pounder lend their voices and features to the main Na'vi characters. Mr. Cameron's film technology is so advanced, you just don't know where the actor stops and the technology begins.
To truly appreciate this film, I strongly recommend you see it in IMAX 3-D. This was the medium Mr. Cameron had in mind when he created the film and to see it on a regular screen in basic 2-D will just not do it justice. Avatar is a grand adventure on a whole new level.