Avatar

Film, Action and adventure
Avatar

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.

By: Tom Huddleston

Posted:

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Thursday December 17 2009
Duration: 161 mins

Cast and crew

Director: James Cameron
Screenwriter: James Cameron
Cast: Michelle Rodriguez
Sam Worthington
Sigourney Weaver
Giovanni Ribisi
Zoë Saldana
Joel Moore

Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:343
  • 4 star:34
  • 3 star:19
  • 2 star:29
  • 1 star:101
LiveReviews|526
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tastemaker

A visual masterpiece! Incredible visual effects and animation which truly allow you to immerse yourself into the story!


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


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.


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


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.


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)


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.


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.


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


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.


I find it amusing when idiots post comment negatively about the(NOW PROVEN) biggest blockbuster since earth spawned man!!! check out those figures guys $2.5b and counting!!!!


BEST FILM EVER SINCE TITANIC!!!!!! ANY ONE WHO DISAGREES MUST BE CARZY...MONEY WELL SPENT!!! =]


The film is fantastic. And in 3D - mindblowing! Excellent special effects but the story with a morale. There is everything there (s/f, beauty, love, violence, faith) and it's perfect for a whole family (hence so massively popular!). I'm not keen on the mass cinema (blockbusters), but this one is worth it.


WELL SAID DREW -and this for DISNEY - "alice can darned well wait in the well she falls into with depp -we want avatar to run for at least 6 months more" LOL! Darn right :)


TOTALLY OUTSTANDING!!!!!BEST 3D EFFECTS ON THE SILVER SCREEN! IF YOU MISS THIS CLASSIC YOUVE TRUELLY MISSED AN AWSOME ADVENTURE! 3HRS PASSED BY LIKE 60MINS GO GO GO SEE IT!!!!


Avatar was amazing! ... The graphics were great and the story live was brilliant. It would definatley go and see this film.. You will love itt.... :D x


wow wee what a film it blew me away! not a thing wrong with it and if you didnt enjoy it you must have had your eyes closed for most of the film! a must see!!!!!!!!!!


fanatastic wayne...benny hill.. love it.. Respect where due my yankee friend I DO love your country,and its movies,of benny hill there is just no exscuse.(try "only fools and horses) lets hope we can discuss more movies later in the year. Clash of the Titans looks spectacular,...and er tha "A" team is back..red dawn anyone???? EH??? THE KARATE KID!!?? LOKKS LIKE WE MAY ACTUALLY FIND SOME COMMMON GROUND MY WORTHY ADVERSARY you can be my wing man anytime,may the force live long and prosper! heres lookin at you kid!!


Those who denounce the script as being cliched would do well to realise that the greatest truths are often cliches. This was undoubtedly one of the most brilliant films ever made in terms of its stunning visuals and attention to detail. For those who have ears to hear, eyes to see, a heart to feel, and a free thinking mind it was a beautiful experience, Highly recommended.


I don't really like that kind of films but decided to watch it as it was the most expensive film ever. I was really surprised as I loved it!!!! Anazing!!!!


Why has this film taken so much abuse? I can only guess that the more cultured amongst us are the more vocal? Maybe. Anyway I went to see this expecting the worst and have to say that, as a cinematic experience, this is the best film I have seen in a very, very long time. Let this be a lesson to you; permit the Guardian and Time Out lentil munchers to have their vitriolic comment but take it with a large pinch of salt. A very large pinch!


Am not sure why this film is being panned so viciously by so many, it is a visual spectacle of incredible creativity and imagination, but more than that, it is the story behind the visuals that give this movie a 5* in my book. I am not sure how other reviewers can miss the environmental warnings contained in this marvellous vehicle but maybe it's proof that most of the human race are so preoccupied with themselves and personal gain and greed that the bigger picture is lost - the end of mankind is nearer than we may realize if so many are so out of tune with anything other than their own greed. Go and see for yourselves and listen to the message conveyed by the story while revelling in the fantastic visual effects!


This is truly a film worth experiencing because that is what it is:An Experience. Why not make up your mind yourself. I want to see a second and third time. The story may be simple and "unoriginal" to quote the Timeout reviewer but oh.... what a telling. I would move to Pandora in a heartbeat. It may seem an idealistic, simplistic, half-formed, half-baked world to Tom Huddleson but that is what the world need-simplicity. And it is NONE of the uncomplimentary things:Avatar is not a lesson in religion or philosophy, just a story. There was no need to develop a full-blown system of beliefs to make the story work! Just enjoy the stunning vista in glorious 3D and leave the cinema refreshed!


we were undecieded at first but was very please at the end a basic story easy to follow amazing effects great colour,3d did not do much tor us a bit of a let down but noway ruined the film...well worth going to see phil


I was pleasantly surprised by how good this was. The CGI was amazing and I quickly forgot that it was not real people on the screen. My bf thought some it was a bit corny but I only agreed in retrspect. Really enjoyed it.


A casual day in the theatre became a unique experience. When I saw Avatar 3D for the first time I was expecting some weird or average blockbuster and I tought that it was going to be "ok" or at least fun. Then the movie starts and everything in front of me looks real and suddenly everything comes to life. As the movie and the plot developed, I soon found myself thinking" this IS the kind of scifi I was looking for" It has action, it has adventure, it has humor and a clasic love story that none can resist. But more imporant, these all take place in a detailed and wonderful world that really makes you think that it exists somewhere in the void of space. Usually in movies were the battle is humans vs someone else I want the humans to win whith their awesome looking ships, weapons and stuff like that. This time it was different; yeah even with the great and cool looking vehicles that the humans used during the movie, this time I wanted them or "us" to lose. Finally I admit that altough 3D was perfect for avatar, I just can't understand why some ppl are starting to transform films already produced in 2d...for some movies it works for some others well...not quite.


OK..... so you all want to be Drew...I know I AM Drew....or am I Alan.. or Dre.... or Bob..any way AVATAR SHOWED OT THE GLOBES WHAT IT WILL GO ON TO PROVE AT THE OSCARS. A PARTY you are not invited to wayne .s. I like how your 'contemporary English' book is dated 1978....aaahhhhhh!!!!! I bet you where really bad clothes also. Avatar is the best film of the last 25 years and you hate it....were you picked on at school.?... IN THE 1930s!!!!!!!!!!! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.


The four, eight-foot tall Na'vi, have eight feet. Drew please repeat a 1000 times, naughty boy.


I don't think that a film with such breathtaking effects and beauty needs a multi-layered and complex plot which might distract from the visuals. The storyline of Avatar was a simple good vs. evil hero/love story with some drama to balance the fun - it was fairly predictable with no surprises and no major twists but there also were no disappointments nor any obvious plot holes that I can think of. The story made me feel happy which is a good thing and I loved the length of the film which gave me more time to be amazed by the scenery, effects and the sheer brilliance of the people who managed to create such a visually stunning world and make it feel real but at the same time unreal - just as an alien world should feel. I will go to see it again just to enjoy the spectacle and to re-live the moments and the beauty once more.


was looking for a film to go an watch then in the corner of my eye i saw that AVATAR had only been rated a 1 star. well let me tell you that all these people who gave it a crap rating are sad people who cant be pleased and enjoy a good moan. i dont normally get excited or even watch films like this but it WAS AMaZING!!!!!! it was more then just a film it was an experience all the way through i was going wow... and when it finished i felt sad as the story line had got me so engaged i actually felt i was one of those blue people. lol


I went to see this film 4 weeks after release for a reason.It usually takes that long for the re-actions and over crytical under/over hyped opinions of various viewers....What a dissapointment!!!!!!!!!! THAT SO MANY IDIOTS(BUT ESPECIALLY WAYNE S) DONT LIKE THIS.! How could you not? are you breathig? whats all this video game bol**x I keep reading??? it was not a video game! where was the joypad/disc/console...... Come on!!! stay away from the movies if you do not like good films,and get off this review.. WITHOUT DOUBT TEN OUT OF TEN! THIS IS HOW MOVIES SHOULD BE,AND AS IS BLATANTLY OBVOIUS (although some of you muppets dont realise) ITS HOW THE FUTURE OF CINEMA LOOKS!!!


amazing special effects, even my husband enjoyed it and he doesn't normally life this type of film. it was nice to sit down and enjoy a movie from start to finish . Where did the time go, couldn't believe it was on for more that 2hours


Fantastic, amazing, loved it. A visual treat and the 3 hrs just flew by. Go see it you will not regret it. A truly stunning movie to watch.


1 sec! Did someone compare LOTR to Avatar? Are you mad? Lord Of The Rings was a boring piece of non sense with all the action coming in the last half hour! And yes I watched all three. Very boring. Avatar on the other hand is a breath of fresh air! Action packed, visually amazing and an overall great film. The portrayal of 'Jack Scully' as a human was actually the only weak point as he aint the best actor but it is a good movie. And people dont compare it to LOTR series because Avatar is not boring!


I absolutely loved this film. The visual effects were amazing, and the storyline was incredible. I would definitely reccommend anyvody to go and see it. 5 stars all the way :)


It does not need many words: it's just good. A must-see in the cinema movie.


The 2 star rating is an absolute insult to genius. OK, so the story might not be anything new, but it remains totally significant. A wonderful film, a credit to it's inspired and talented makers. Thank-you for much more than entertainment.


How dumb struck i was to see the horrific rating of just two measley star's. I was most fortunate not to have seen this review before doning my 3.D goggle's and taking a trip tp Pandora. True the script could have been more gutt wrenching and complex but are we not sick of listening to riddle's of dialogue that leave you thinking but then wish you hadn't started to because it never really get's you anywhere by trying to be clever. The pure essence of a world like Pandora may seem cliche but i for one came out of the screening and wanted to purchase my ticket one way at that. Who wouldn't want to be a nine foot blue na'vi swooping the skies wearing next to nothing and getting orgasmic with a tree come on you know it make's sense.. Avatar relieved me of my exsistence within this world and for a moment with imagination your child like sense's fell into the fantasy of Cameron's tale. Let's hope Burton's 'Alice' will give us even more pleasure's at this festive, erm peaceful time?!!?!

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