Friday, January 15, 2010


By D.E.Levine

Director: James Cameron
Writer: James Cameron
Producers: James Cameron and Jon Landau
Executive Producer: Colin Wilson
Co-producers: Brooke Breton and Josh McLaglen
Associate Producer: Janace Tashjian
Line Producer: Peter M. Tobyansen
Cast: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Joel Moore, Giovanni Ribisi, Michelle Rodriguez, Laz Alonso, Wes Studi, CCH Pounder, Dileep Rao, Matt Gerald et al.
Original Music: James Horner
Running Time: 162 Minutes
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Genre: Sci-Fi, Animation, Fantasy, Drama

The world has waited 12 years since Titanic, and it's been a story idea written at least partially by James Cameron for 15 years, but until now the technology wasn't developed sufficiently to create the world of Pandora and the Na'vi clan.

Now however, with modern technology and 3D animation, Cameron has created a spectacular world that is home to a forest-dwelling alien race which is blue in color and tall in stature.

Both the world and the Na'vi's are breathtaking. With the back-to-nature clan living in a fantasy world of unimaginable beauty, the theme pits the Na'vi's against human, Earthly despoilers.

The Na'vi's, who are tall and blue, with yellow eyes, are unusually slender and graceful. Towering over their human foes, they soon appear totally acceptable to the viewers, moving with superb dexterity and grace.

Viewers accept them quickly, and in a society that is environmentally conscious, the back-to-nature theme should prove extremely popular.

Although viewing in 3D isn't mandatory, the 3D view definitely adds to the visual effect, drawing the audience into the story without being overbearing.

Cameron proves once again that he has an imagination and vision that transcends the average and is well worth the wait.

The film takes place in 2154 when U.S. military forces travel to Pandora to mine a precious mineral capable of saving Earth from ecological disaster.

A wheel-chair bound former Marine, Jake Sully replaces his recently deceased identical twin brother to become an Avatar, a being that combines the human DNA with Na'vi DNA. Subjects experience Avatar status as though in a dream and Sully has complete use of his legs, as an Avatar.

The US wants to further explore the island, and further exploit the natives. Hopes are that the Avatars the US introduce into the native population will be able to negotiate terms where the natives move aside to permit this to take place.

A hawkish military commander, Col. Miles Quaritch actually wants to annihilate the natives by military force and enlists Sully's aide as his military spy.

The film is based on a three-act structure, with the viewer being gently introduced into the fantastical Pandorian world.

Stranded at night and separated from his companion Avatar Grace, Sully struggles to survive against Pandorian elements and is rescued by Na'vi warrior Neytiri.

As Neytiri shows Sully around, the viewer sees jungles that are reminiscent of the deepest regions of the South American Rainforest.

With a special Na'vi language, which Cameron had developed especially for the Na'vi, the viewer is transported to Pandora both visually and emotionally.

After learning their customs, overcoming the resentment of the young males, and being accepted by the Na'vi chief, Sully is about to be sent back to Earth as a reward by Quaritch for three months of spying on the natives, Sully, convinced that he can rescue the natives from the US invaders, crosses over and becomes a rebel leader.

There are fantastic battles as the native Na'vis with their bows and arrows battle the sophisticated US military experts and machines.

There are many who will say the story is too simplistic and appealing simply because of the current eco-green societal trend. But in reality Cameron proves once again that his years of research and development in both the digital technology and film arenas have equipped him to provide a superior visual-effects experience.

Instead of assigning all of the creative elements to a single firm, Cameron has spread them around using a variety of animation and special-effect firms throughout the world. The result is the film sets the bar high in visual creativity and technology and challenges other directors to step up to that bar.