“Avatar” is FernGully on Steroids

Genres: Action/Adventure and Science Fiction/Fantasy
Running Time: 160 min.
Release Date: December 18th, 2009 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking.
Distributors: 20th Century Fox


Directed by: James Cameron

JJ Rating: B+

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) has no use of his legs and is a twin of a scientist. Because of that he got a chance to have legs via a scientific creation called an avatar. On a planet that has something the “white” man wants live “aliens” that won’t do as they are told. So they use the avatars to try to infiltrate the group to get them to move diplomatically. If that does not work…well…Colonel Miles Ouaritch (Stephen Lang) will force them to with weapons of mass destruction. Avatar.

Avatar is visually astounding. I have never been as amazed by the beauty of any film as I was by this one. James Cameron created a world that was so enriched with colors and variation and amazing detail that I wanted nothing more than to walk through those jungles (sans any of those crazed animals). It was a visual smorgasbord. It reminded me, constantly, of FernGully (that 1992 cartoon about protecting rainforest) but it outshined that cartoon a million fold because of how it was presented. It was presented as out of this world and for every visual wonder it certainly was. Avatar is save the geo-whatever for this generation.

Avatar should be shown in high schools around the world. They should discuss its philosophical nature of power, greed, anger, compromise, compassion and care. There is so much that links it to America’s past with Natives as well as with other countries and their Natives. It will put a different spin on it making people give a different view point than if one just spoke about their country’s past. Avatar is philosophically rich because of its visual awesomeness. It will capture the attention of many people and blindside them with an underline meaning.

Sigourney Weaver, who played Grace a scientist who cares deeply for the natives, did an excellent job. She, in this sea of visual fallacy, pulled together her imagination and acting to combined them with a performance that hit the audience with an unexpected wave of emotion. Sam Worthington did a great job with his voice. I’ve said this before, but people think that it’s so easy to do cartoon work (and for the actors it might be since that is one way to make ‘easy’ money), forgetting that it’s much more than just speaking. When doing voice work they have to do inflection and voice stress and modulation. It’s so much that has to be done to make what they do work. It’s not just simply speaking. So when I say someone did a great job with their voice it’s not passive or ok. It really is great. I know about speech giving. It’s why when Obama spoke on the campaign trail I knew he was going to become President. He had a talent for speak that could NOT be denied. Speaking of great work with a voice…Zoe Saldana (played Neytiri who was the female main character for the Natives) was never seen and only heard. She made herself into Neytiri and when I looked at her that is all I saw. That character was real to me as any human character. Stephen Lang was vicious and unforgiving in his portrayal, everything that he was supposed to be and therefore he was perfect.

I have a random question: Why is it that every time a Sci-Fi movie comes along with aliens that the aliens have to have apostrophes in their names? These “aliens” on Pandora are named Na’vi. What happened to the simple names like Klingon or Vulcan? Do aliens simply have an affinity for apostrophes just because they are not human? It must be mentioned that Klingons have use of the apostrophes as well. I guess it is an alien thing.

To add to that random thought: I think the posters for Avatar SUCK. They have such creative genius in the film, but somewhere between there and the poster creation that was all flushed down the toilet. These posters are so boring and trite and total crap.

So far it looks like I am head over heels for Avatar, but then why did I only give it a B+ and not something higher? The length is a killer for me. I start losing interest when I feel time passing at a slow rate. With a movie that is clocked at 2 hours and 40 minutes how can one not feel the time as it moves by slowly? I’m sure there are those that did not have a care in the world for the length, but that is one of my annoyances with many films, feeling the time as it meanders on. Because of that I could not sit through this film ever again. I don’t even watch Titanic in its entirety. I like the last hour where the boat sinks. It is a great movie as is this one, but I just can’t sit for such a long period without feeling as if I have better things to do. Rare is it that I like a movie that passes the two hour mark.

Avatar’s story is very clichéd. It follows the same predictable nature that many moviegoers will be use to. But that is never important if the way it’s told is outstanding in some fashion. Avatar was told in a great way. It was shared in a unique manner that was visually outstanding and well acted. It was not boring.

I believe James Cameron has a great imagination and that is very useful in movies. Having a director that knows what he wants and how to get it done is profitable. It is also enjoyable for those that like to see imaginations of others in theatrical play.

Avatar is nominated for Golden Globes and though I am pleased that a Sci-Fi movie is getting recognition for its greatness I am sad that Star Trek is being ignored for how awesome and stellar it was without having to rely so heavily on CGI to tell a story. It is of no consequence since I enjoyed Avatar and I hope that it gets an award or awards because it does deserve something for amazing artistic wonder that it is, even though it totally (again I have to say) reminds me of FurnGully.

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