Avatar (12A)

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Fantasy films

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Dec 15 2009

There’s a line from ‘Jurassic Park’ that echoed hauntingly through this critic’s head as ‘Avatar’ unfolded: ‘Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.’ James Cameron is one of those scientists: so in love with the technology, with the possibilities, that he never pauses to reflect upon the practicalities of cinema, of storytelling, of connecting with an audience.

That quote is doubly relevant when one considers the cultural similarities between these two blockbusters, both of which justified massive expense by promising a quantum leap forward in visual effects. But where Spielberg utilised technology in the service of a tight, witty script, Cameron is simply out to astound. There are moments when you almost expect Sam Worthington’s moody, ever-present voiceover to be replaced by the self-styled king of the world yelling at his audience: ‘Are you awestruck now? How about now? Now?’

When his scientist brother is killed a week before shipping out to the distant planet Pandora, wheelchair-bound US Marine Jake Sully (Worthington) is offered the chance to go in his place. On Pandora, Jake meets his avatar, a remote-controlled host body generated from his brother’s DNA and designed to blend in among the native Na’vi, a race of nine-foot blue hunter-gatherers living in peaceful harmony with their homeworld, Native American style.

Or rather, Native Californian: Na’vi civilisation is a mishmash of half-formed Hollywood ideas about the supposed superiority of ‘primitive’ cultures, tossing around buzzwords like ‘spirit’ and ‘energy’ without ever approaching a cohesive set of beliefs. But ‘all this tree-hugging shit’, as Jake describes it, is only the most obvious defect in Cameron’s dire, cliché-ridden script. From the bluntly expositional nature of the early scenes to the gung-ho, sub-‘Aliens’ banter of Jake’s fellow soldiers, this is screenwriting on autopilot, cobbling together unripe ideas without a scrap of originality or emotional resonance.

It’s hard to fault ‘Avatar’ as an immersive visual experience. Pandora and its luridly coloured inhabitants are beautifully designed, though none of this ever feels remotely real. But this was supposed to be the movie that changed the face of filmmaking forever. Ultimately, Cameron’s signature achievement may have been to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the oldest of all Hollywood maxims: all the money in the world is no subsitute for fresh ideas and a solid script.

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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Thu Dec 17, 2009

Duration:

161 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5
LiveReviews|525
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John

It is a visual spectacle. The story itself is second only to "The Happening" in the amount of environmental hooey it spews forth.

maleeb

Really, this was so shockingly derivative and formulaic, I am amazed it was so positively received. Mediocre in all regards except cinematography/

Robert&#039;s Reliable Reviews

This is one of the worst, most inaccurate reviews of Avatar I have ever read. Avatar is NOT just a movie showing off special effects. It actually has story, script, character development, etc.

Robert&#039;s Reliable Reviews

This is one of the worst, most inaccurate reviews of Avatar I have ever read. Avatar is NOT just a movie showing off special effects. It actually has story, script, character development, etc.

Gort

This movie is horrible and I'm glad that Time Out had integrity to say it so, unlike so many critics, which makes me come here.

Hayde

Avatar leaves you wondering about what's happening. It puts you in the middle of anything, without giving any introduction or prelude, so you have to decipher what actually the plot is before you can pay any attention to the movie. The movie itself: great graphics, horrible story. All it is is this: Good vs. Evil and Jake is accepted into the Na'vi society. Boring and cliched. Cameron tries to add other elements, but fails to really connect. I would have to say it is the worst 3 hours of my life. I would rather watch previews for the same amount of time.

Wayne S

Jock and ScrumpyJack, the Avatar twins Watch three long hours till the movie ends. Then they take off their glasses and give a shout, And go post some more stars on London Time Out."

scrumpyjack

Hell, Jock..... I said 4* and I stick by that but you know what? In tribute to Wayne & Cameron...His fellow (but in his case) GREAT American.....by that I mean USA, wayneeeee X Lets do five Mo-Fo stars! (my new ones for you, Wayne the Stain

scrumpyjack

Hell, Jock..... I said 4* and I stick by that but you know what? In tribute to Wayne & Cameron...His fellow (but in his case) GREAT American.....by that I mean USA, wayneeeee X Lets do five Mo-Fo stars! (my new ones for you, Wayne the Stain

jock

The thing that cracks me up the most scrumpy, is that this anus(who will reply again because he is SOooooo stupid) hates Cameron,, I mean he only gave us the 2 biggest movies EVER!!! Oh ye, and TERMINATOR,T2 judgement day,the ABBYSS, ALIENS,, what a muppet he truly is, probably hates SPEILBERG and LUCAS too.

jock

The thing that cracks me up the most scrumpy, is that this anus(who will reply again because he is SOooooo stupid) hates Cameron,, I mean he only gave us the 2 biggest movies EVER!!! Oh ye, and TERMINATOR,T2 judgement day,the ABBYSS, ALIENS,, what a muppet he truly is, probably hates SPEILBERG and LUCAS too.

Wayne S

Well, thanks fellas. It's been several weeks since I was verbally abused by you Brits; my psychic bruises were starting to heal. I wouldn't have showed up now, but since Mr. Cameron can't let sleeping dogs lie, and insists rather on re-releasing his piece of schlock in an expanded version... well you can see the situation I was in. I think it's a magic pairing that your beloved "Avatar" director is a Canadian, and that country's other major export is toilet paper. Now there's a telling coincidence.

jock

Don't worry scrumps, the turd that is Wayne s. (Himself an american) hates people liking stuff he hates, Now that's sad, he can't let go, he will respond to this because of his ego, he hates the fact that most people loved this extraordinary piecee of movie magic,it is the future and the fact your empty head does not get this??? Cracks us all up

jock

Don't worry scrumps, the turd that is Wayne s. (Himself an american) hates people liking stuff he hates, Now that's sad, he can't let go, he will respond to this because of his ego, he hates the fact that most people loved this extraordinary piecee of movie magic,it is the future and the fact your empty head does not get this??? Cracks us all up

Wayne S

Hey, anyone can watch "Avatar" pts. 1, 2 or 3 D who wants... I just won't be among them. I've got too many other films of real value to watch. James Cameron paints with too broad a brush for my taste, and he insists on inserting his anti-capitalist, hippie-dippie eco, hate America agenda, which is a little much for the thinking mind to take. His over-rated films are perfect for kids raised in government schools and fed that "we are the world, collectivist crap." I say, "Ho Hum."

Wayne S

I can't believe people are still talking about this crappy movie. I saw it on the big screen, in 3D, and my opinion of it remains. One dimensional plotting, over-long and over-rated eyesore... Why they would release a longer version of a movie that was already too long is beyond me.

scrumpyjack

watched re-issue at the cinema today. Its obvious that when viewed on a big screen as intended (yes, that means in 3D, which is excellent in this instance) this film is excellent. Too long? yes. Faultless? not by any means. But still excellent. 8/10 (I doubt it works that well on dvd, hence lots of miserable b/s ratings over the last six months)

Wayne S.

"Avatar" is so "yesterday..." and did I mention it was written by a man with the mental age of two.

Seb

I normally do not write reviews because in reality is it worth it, but i had to make a response to some fo the blatently and quite frankly ridicuolous poor reviews of this movie. At the end of the day Avatar was nominated for best bicture and best director for the oscar academy awards and won 3 awards including for cinematography and artistic production. James Cameron created nto just a film but an entire world with so many diffrent characters which blended together very well to say the least. The story is not original, abviously the theme is taken from probably dancing with wolves, even the last samurai. But that doesn't matter because the strory worked very well; and the editing of the movie was also first class in my opinion linking the out of this world action sequences with strong emotional scenes. Zoe Zaldana who played Ni'tiri was absolutely excellent in her portrayal of the elegant huntress and Sam worthington was also very good. BU the most stupid comment i read was that the world did not seem real; for god's sake wake up dullards. I saw this film in 3d at BFI Imax, and it was totally amazing; the level of artisitic detail was unbelievable; the flying banshees in particular appeared totally real especially with the 3D photo real technology used as were all the creatures like the Thanator-that huge black panther type creature. In terms of the emotional content of the film; If there are people out there that did not find the scene of the destruction of home tree very sad and wrere not emotionally moved then clearly there is something very wrong with some people; beacuase the way that scene was filmed was one of the best i have seen in any movie. The bottom line is this: Cameron has produced a totally outstanding and immersive film and his entire production team should be congratulated on a great piece of work; this film is still being shown in london, 8 months later!!; there were some weaknesses of course-that it was a bit too long and some of the human characters were a bit 1 dimensional, I suppose in an attempt to accentuate the difference between the 'nasty' humans and the Naavi and their love of nature, but that didn't bother me because the acting roles by Sam Worthington, Zoe Zaldana and Sigourney weaver supported the film very well within the beautiful world that is Pandora; and even the character Quaritch i thought was portrayed very well; he really made a good villain. For all you avatar haters-I don't believe that you didnt find the film entertaining at all-because at the end of the day it is a brilliant action sci-fi adventure and its the world that cameron created that made this such a great movie, you do end up wanting to be a Navvi. At the end of the day it made 2.5 billion dollars at the box office what more evidence do you need!!; it's not trying to be a movie with a massive acting cast and drawn out acting scenes; if you want that go and watch a Shakespeare play for christ's sake!! One last point- I saw the Hurt locker; it''s OK but nothing brilliant; and for some of those dumb asses who think it's the best war movie ever; you need to get your heads examined and watch more war movies; the best war movies are from 20-30 years ago, remember The longest day, The battle of the bulge ( the one with aka Kojak), A bridge to far, das boot, and remember Saving Private Ryan-that film is just 12 years old and that really was a great movie. The hurt locker cannot even compare to these films; that's why no-one had even heard of this film until the oscars. The hurt locker won the oscar just so that a woman would be the first director to win, and that's it.

Seb

I normally do not write reviews because in reality is it worth it, but i had to make a response to some fo the blatently and quite frankly ridicuolous poor reviews of this movie. At the end of the day Avatar was nominated for best bicture and best director for the oscar academy awards and won 3 awards including for cinematography and artistic production. James Cameron created nto just a film but an entire world with so many diffrent characters which blended together very well to say the least. The story is not original, abviously the theme is taken from probably dancing with wolves, even the last samurai. But that doesn't matter because the strory worked very well; and the editing of the movie was also first class in my opinion linking the out of this world action sequences with strong emotional scenes. Zoe Zaldana who played Ni'tiri was absolutely excellent in her portrayal of the elegant huntress and Sam worthington was also very good. BU the most stupid comment i read was that the world did not seem real; for god's sake wake up dullards. I saw this film in 3d at BFI Imax, and it was totally amazing; the level of artisitic detail was unbelievable; the flying banshees in particular appeared totally real especially with the 3D photo real technology used as were all the creatures like the Thanator-that huge black panther type creature. In terms of the emotional content of the film; If there are people out there that did not find the scene of the destruction of home tree very sad and wrere not emotionally moved then clearly there is something very wrong with some people; beacuase the way that scene was filmed was one of the best i have seen in any movie. The bottom line is this: Cameron has produced a totally outstanding and immersive film and his entire production team should be congratulated on a great piece of work; this film is still being shown in london, 8 months later!!; there were some weaknesses of course-that it was a bit too long and some of the human characters were a bit 1 dimensional, I suppose in an attempt to accentuate the difference between the 'nasty' humans and the Naavi and their love of nature, but that didn't bother me because the acting roles by Sam Worthington, Zoe Zaldana and Sigourney weaver supported the film very well within the beautiful world that is Pandora; and even the character Quaritch i thought was portrayed very well; he really made a good villain. For all you avatar haters-I don't believe that you didnt find the film entertaining at all-because at the end of the day it is a brilliant action sci-fi adventure and its the world that cameron created that made this such a great movie, you do end up wanting to be a Navvi. At the end of the day it made 2.5 billion dollars at the box office what more evidence do you need!!; it's not trying to be a movie with a massive acting cast and drawn out acting scenes; if you want that go and watch a Shakespeare play for christ's sake!! One last point- I saw the Hurt locker; it''s OK but nothing brilliant; and for some of those dumb asses who think it's the best war movie ever; you need to get your heads examined and watch more war movies; the best war movies are from 20-30 years ago, remember The longest day, The battle of the bulge ( the one with aka Kojak), A bridge to far, das boot, and remember Saving Private Ryan-that film is just 12 years old and that really was a great movie. The hurt locker cannot even compare to these films; that's why no-one had even heard of this film until the oscars. The hurt locker won the oscar just so that a woman would be the first director to win, and that's it.

Tom

I'm gonna piss people off and agree with the critic's point about avatar not exactly being the most original film in the world , nor is it perfect. But one cannot deny the visual spectacle that it was , & honestly despite it taking ideas from other films (& BLATANTLY copying a large amount from Disney's Pochahontas)it still tells a (pretty) solid story & portrays good thematic elements.

Wayne S

Yes, Lewis, absolute rubbish. And the director can't seem to understand that his film is laughably obvious. I hope others save their money based on your comment.

pump catcher

pumpiest pump mcpump i have ever had the privlidge of being tied down to my chair and watch as i smelled other peoples pump all around me. i honestly wanted the pop corn being thrown round the cinema to be bullets and pray i got shot in the anus with those toffee bad boys (not salted)

pump catcher

pumpiest pump mcpump i have ever had the privlidge of being tied down to my chair and watch as i smelled other peoples pump all around me. i honestly wanted the pop corn being thrown round the cinema to be bullets and pray i got shot in the anus with those toffee bad boys (not salted)

bumz

Frank, you're just no fun. I bet you don't even like Sliver, Assassins, Monkeybone and other modern cinema classics. Your taste in film is awful. I hate you. I bet the only reason you don't like Avatar is because you don't get that it's, like, 'political'. And I also bet you didn't even know that the plight of the Na'avi was actually based the 1996 uprising by the cleaners at Sega World in Wood Green. Frank: See this mid digit? Dangle on it.

bumz

Frank, you're just no fun. I bet you don't even like Sliver, Assassins, Monkeybone and other modern cinema classics. Your taste in film is awful. I hate you. I bet the only reason you don't like Avatar is because you don't get that it's, like, 'political'. And I also bet you didn't even know that the plight of the Na'avi was actually based the 1996 uprising by the cleaners at Sega World in Wood Green. Frank: See this mid digit? Dangle on it.

Haso

This film is the best film ever and you would be an idiot not to love it. A must see, fantastic film that is worth a lifetime. Excellant storline and great effectes. Got to be the best film of all time.

Haso

This film is the best film ever and you would be an idiot not to love it. A must see, fantastic film that is worth a lifetime. Excellant storline and great effectes. Got to be the best film of all time.

Les

1st time in a long time I feel I got value for money at the cinema. Decent story line. Decent plot. Exellent cinematography

Les

1st time in a long time I feel I got value for money at the cinema. Decent story line. Decent plot. Exellent cinematography

ALAN

Dont need your pity chrissy,if you do not realise that cinema is a visual feast then run along now, your views are that of a child. movie stunning hurt locker vote was political(first woman director etc,even though movie was s**t) we all left the cinema feeling overwhelmed IT IS I WHO PITY YOU, AS YOU DID NOT.

ALAN

Dont need your pity chrissy,if you do not realise that cinema is a visual feast then run along now, your views are that of a child. movie stunning hurt locker vote was political(first woman director etc,even though movie was s**t) we all left the cinema feeling overwhelmed IT IS I WHO PITY YOU, AS YOU DID NOT.

Shelley

Saw this in 3D which made it magical for me but my friend who saw it in 2D liked it just as much. Yes it is a straight forward plot but its a good story none the less and for me it was a most enjoyable movie.

Shelley

Saw this in 3D which made it magical for me but my friend who saw it in 2D liked it just as much. Yes it is a straight forward plot but its a good story none the less and for me it was a most enjoyable movie.

Chrissy

I feel only pity for all those who quote it being the biggest money spinner of all time in order to support their view that this makes it the best film of all time. Yes it has won the moneyu (mainly due to its hefty ticket price i think), but it hasnt won peoples hearts. Everyone says it was visually lovely..............but most realise they left the cinema feeling anything but excited.

alan

you yanks love a cause.. the hurt locker was abysmal,thats why no one saw it. remember shawshank

alan

you yanks love a cause.. the hurt locker was abysmal,thats why no one saw it. remember shawshank

Wayne S

If money made equated to quality, I'd love to buy you Avatar fanatics a fine meal at McDonald's the next time you're over here visiting the good ol' USA. Micky D's has made billions too. HaHa First BAFTA and now the Oscars; I think it's clear where the quality lies this year. Move over Mr. Cameron, your ex will show you that to make a classic film, what you really need is a good story, fine actors , and some real human emotion. All hail "The Hurt Locker!" See you in the bargain bin, "Avatar!"

anth

any living adult man who liked alice in wonderland needs punched, what dross. to compare it with avatar is ridiculous.who are you people.and dont get me started on THAT katherine bigalow poop. yo dude cameron well shot ov her my son. keep up da work,and yes jockcelt..2.5 billion does mean best ever.its simple math. are you struggling wayme s.

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