Goin' to the Movies

Informin' You About Movies

Reviewin’ For You: ‘Avatar’

“Avatar” is one of the must-see films of the decade, but in only one venue: a 3-D theater. Even with all Avatar‘s faults, the film manages to bring enough to the table that you let it slide while becoming engrossed in the characters and the world on the screen. Hit the jump for the full review.

The film starts with the background of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and how he was a perfect fit for the avatar program: the method of allowing your mind to control the genetically created Na’vi replica bodies.

Within minutes you know the essential crux of the familiar plot— the humans are after a precious ore while the Na’vi and the various inhabitants of Pandora stand in their way. Despite this flaw, Cameron has created a world so vivacious that the storyline is given new life where less capable filmmakers would have stumbled.

Details are what elevate the world of Pandora beyond just a pretty background for the story. Cameron dedicated hours upon hours with experts in languages, plant life, music, and even art to give all the creatures, especially the Na’vi, a depth not seen in many blockbuster films.

Cameron wants to create a franchise, and has already been outspoken about his wish for a second and third film. Avatar is shooting for the stars, namely Star Wars— a world that lives beyond the movies— and the monumental scope of the film is awe-inspiring by itself.

Despite the 2 hour, 42 minute run-time, Avatar side-steps the trap of feeling ponderous by using extravagant set-pieces to engross the audience. We are given a fresh canvas with Sully— he has never been to Pandora, so the audience experiences the wonder and spectacle of the planet through equally fresh eyes.

Avatar doesn’t break new ground in terms of plot, but the film itself is an event to behold. The world, the effects, the action, the mysterious past of the world of Pandora— these are the reasons Cameron’s baby is a must-see. This is a wholly original film, not an adaptation, revisiting, nor sequel or prequel.

This is the first live-action blockbuster film that demands the extra dimension.

Don’t sell yourself short in enjoying a $310 million dollar film. Cameron has developed the technology for years and has pushed for theaters to add the ability to project 3-D, culminating in a doubling of 3-D auditoriums since he set out on creating the film.

So, grab a ticket to a matinée screening, bring a lens cleaning cloth for the 3-D glasses, prepare for transportation to another world for a touch under three hours, and remember that there will be more of Pandora to satisfy the craving the film leaves behind.


December 28, 2009 - Posted by | Reviewin' For You |


  1. For me the trite plot was not a problem. The one thing I wish Cameron had put half as much work into as the rest of the film is the name of the mineral. Was “unobtainium” really the best that could be created?

    Other than that one fleck of dust I loved the film. I’m considering driving to Omaha to see it on an Imax screen.

    Comment by ChetG | December 28, 2009 | Reply

    • I made the EXACT same comment over the weekend. Truly, “unobtainium” is one of the most uninspired names for ANYTHING, movie or otherwise. “Hrmm, the main plot will focus on an ore we can’t get to, so, let’s call it unobtainable… or, unobtanium!”

      Comment by Bill Graham | December 28, 2009 | Reply

      • Thank goodness. I was worried I may be the only one with beef against that name.

        Comment by ChetG | December 28, 2009

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