Avatar is a movie release I was not highly prepared for. My first glimpse of Avatar was only a few months prior to its release, I had no idea it was even in production. I went to the cinema with certain expectations with regards to Avatar, after hearing countless five star reviews in newspapers and online. I expected Avatar to be a good movie but nothing overly magnificent, what I got surpassed my expectations twice over. At first I scrutinised every single detail which the movie presented but at the end I was just taken away by what I was seeing and simply sat back and enjoyed the ride.
James Cameron, director of Titanic (1997) the highest grossing film of all time, directed Avatar. The movie marks Cameronís return to feature directing since Titanic won eleven Oscars at the 1998 Academy Awards. The main question put to Cameron upon the release of Avatar was why it had taken so long to produce. His answer with simple, Cameron had a vision that only now could be brought to life due to technological advancement.
Avatar is the story of paraplegic ex-Marine, Jake Sully who is dispatched from Pandora on a unique mission. Sully is thrust into life on an alien planet filled to the brim with fascinating life forms, all connected through nature. As an Avatar, a human mind in an alien body Sully suddenly becomes torn between the two worlds. Sully learns the ways of the aliens and effectively becomes a part of their community, forming relationships one of which was on an intimate level. Conflict arises when the foundations upon which the aliens exist is compromise by human forces. Due to his connections with the inhabitants of Pandora Sully canít simply stand by and witness such destruction.
The visual effects and imagination of this movie is really what makes it so stunning and fascinating. It is clear that Cameron has a vast, colourful and incredibly intelligent imagination and I think this can be considered his best work to date. Each creature, each plant, everything appears perfectly crafted and well thought out. The visual effects are simply flawless; I have never seen such attention to detail in any other production prior to Avatar. There was so much to each detailed sequence that you could have spent a long period of time just analysing each sequence in slow motion, to fully take in the world created by the mind of Cameron.
My only real concrete criticism with regards to Avatar would be with how the actual story was established. I felt the story behind the visual effects did not do them justice; the story was strong but seemed slightly rushed in places. I wanted to know more than what was being revealed through the on-screen dialogue and context of the entire story. For example Earth was not fully established, the audience is left to mostly guess what Earth must be like.
Of course the main conflict during the movie was truly nature against machine, my theory with regards to the message of the movie is that it comments on how we humans are seen when it comes to the treatment of the planet. In recent years we have heard non-stop that we are destroying the planet and how we must act now to stop any serious damage. In Avatar we are given the impression that Earth has been pretty much wiped out of natural resources so of course the only option was to invade another planet. Basically Earth was useless, so human kind simply moved on to destroy the resources of another planet. I believe the message was intended to highlight that if we donít change our ways now then it was ultimately lead to our self-destruction. The cuts between the two worlds, one of the humans and the other of the aliens was truly profound and superbly done. It gave a clear cut comparison between the world at one with nature and the world relying on machines and technology.
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