Sam Worthington (bamboozled), Zoe Saldana (blue), Sigourney Weaver (well-meaning), Stephen Lang (BASTARD)
What’s it about?
Well, on a superficial level it’s about the humans on planet Earth in the year 2154 trying to replenish their dwindling supply of energy sources with a mineral called ‘unobtanium’ by ploughing into the middle of a lovely rainforest on a far away planet which is occupied by blue, tall, thin people called Na’vis. Paralysed ex-marine Jake Sully (Worthington) is given the task of roaming around the planet as an avatar that looks exactly like a Na’vi. His mission is innocent at first, given to him by scientist Dr Grace Augustine (Weaver) who just wants to learn about this strange and beautiful planet. But Colonel Miles Quaritch (Lang) gets to Jake, and gives him the new task of gaining the trust of the Na’vis to help acquire crucial information about them to be used for Earth’s military operation to mine for ‘unobtanium'. Being a normal red-blooded male though, Jake falls in love with a pretty-but-blue Na’vi called Neytiri and her world, so rebels against his own race.
On a non-superficial level Avatar is (in theory) all about the environmental issues facing our planet and the rights and wrongs of how we sort it out, what will happen if we don’t sort it out, the misery of war and all that kind of groovy stuff.
What’s good about it?
The planet James Cameron has created for the Na’vis is totally incredible in every way. Obviously the film’s most exciting ‘thing’ is it’s in 3D, and it totally works on every level. It’s like being there. You feel the film in and on you. When it rains, it rains around you. When ash falls from the sky, you can feel it landing on the top of your head. When a huge fire rages as the humans embark on destroying the rainforest you can feel the heat on your cheeks. AND THEN: there’s a 20-minute battle scene at the end of the film which is basically the best thing ever.
What’s bad about it?
The plot is a bit rubbish: army man, on a mission for the good guys, starts hanging out with the bad guys, realises the good guys are actually the bad guys and the bad guys are actually the good guys, swaps sides, let battle commence, the end. There’s no ambiguity whatsoever about who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong, but that kind of works in Avatar’s favour because you can just sit back and enjoy the ride. It’s also a bit: “YOU, YOU IDIOT, THIS IS ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT, YEAH, LOOK AT US HUMANS, WE’RE DESTROYING THE ENVIRONMENT, LOOK AT THE BLUE PEOPLE, LOOK AT HOW AMAZING THEY ARE, YOU COULD BE LIKE THE BLUE PEOPLE IF ONLY YOU CARED MORE”, but that’s better than not caring about the environment at all, we suppose.
Definitely go and see it. It’s 100% genuinely undeniably categorically without-a-doubt unlike anything you’ve ever seen before and if you like graphics and special effects and stuff that’s totally new, you’ll love it.