Writer/Director: James Cameron
Running time: 162 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A
UK Release date: 23rd March 2012
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 1st April 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I first saw this film when it came out in the cinemas back in 2009, you’ll find my original review here. It made its network TV debut in the last week and so I decided to cast my eye over it again to see how it’s fared. Well, I can say it’s still quite stunning to look at and the CGI is still top-notch (even in two dimensions!). I will tell you more after this brief summary.
Jake Sully is an ex-marine whose twin brother had trained to control an Avatar on the wild distant moon of Pandora. Unfortunately Jake’s brother was killed and Jake, himself a paraplegic, was persuaded to take his place, given he has the same genetic make-up. The program is run by Dr. Grace Augustine and Jake takes to controlling the Avatar very easily. A group of them venture into the forest where an accident leaves Jake stranded there at night where he meets Neytiri, a native Na’vi. Gaining her trust, he is taken back to the tribal village where Neytiri is tasked with teaching him the ways of her people. Now, as an ex-marine, Jake is persuaded by Colonel Miles Quaritch to find out as much about the Na’vi as he can in order to give the military an advantage. At first he does this willingly, but as he learns more about them he comes to appreciate their way of life and he also falls for Neytiri. This makes it harder for him to betray his new friends, but the Colonel has ways of finding out what Jake has learned. Having found the biggest deposits of Unobtanium (stupid name, I know), a very valuable ore, are to be found under their village, Parker Selfridge, the representative for the Resources Development Administration orders the troops into Na’vi territory. I’ll leave my short summary here, there is a lot I’ve missed out and a lot more to come, but the Spoiler Police (James Cameron Division) will be suing me for every penny I haven’t earned yet if I say any more.
Although I did find the story a little predictable, I still loved the experience of watching this film. It’s still quite stunning to look at. The CGI and much of the world created by Cameron is beautifully done, although I’m not too sure about the look if the Na’vi. All of the cast did a decent job, Sam Worthington as Jake Scully, Zoe Saldana as Neytiri, Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Grace Augustine, Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch, Michelle Rodriguez as Trudy Chacon, Giovanni Ribisi as Parker Selfridge, Joel Moore as Norm Spellman, CCH Pounder as Moat and Wes Studi as Eytukan.
‘Pocahontas in Space’, ‘Fern Gully meets Terminator’, these are just two of the comments I’ve heard about this film since its release. I can see why it has attracted such ‘derisory’ comments, but I can also see (from a second viewing) just what Cameron was trying to do. Yes, the story is predictable and, for the most part, we’ve seen it all before in another guise. But there is an underlying message about greed that seems to get missed my many reviewers. It is all a bit too ‘touchy, feely’ for some, but personally I didn’t mind it all that much. At the end of the day I did find it entertaining (if a little schmaltzy in places), but even so, still well worth a look… Still Recommended (if with a slightly lower score).
My score: 7.9/10
IMDb Score: 8.0/10 (based on 423,897 votes when this review was written).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 83/100 (based on 283 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 92/100 (based on 622,949 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Jake Sully: [Narrating] When I was lying in the V.A. hospital with a big hole blown through the middle of my life, I started having these dreams of flying. I was free. But sooner or later, you always have to wake up.
Col. Quaritch: You are not in Kansas anymore. You are on Pandora, ladies and gentlemen. Respect that fact every second of every day. If there is a Hell, you might wanna go there for some R & R after a tour on Pandora. Out there beyond that fence every living thing that crawls, flies, or squats in the mud wants to kill you and eat your eyes for jujubes. We have an indigenous population of humanoids called the Na'vi. They're fond of arrows dipped in a neurotoxin that will stop your heart in one minute - and they have bones reinforced with naturally occurring carbon fibre. They are very hard to kill. As head of security, it is my job to keep you alive. I will not succeed. Not with all of you. If you wish to survive, you need to cultivate a strong, mental aptitude. You got to obey the rules: Pandora rules. Rule number one...
Dr. Grace Augustine: Is the avatar safe?
Jake Sully: Yeah, Doc, it's safe, and you are not gonna believe where I am!
Neytiri: To become "taronyu" hunter, you must choose your own Ikran and he must choose you.
Jake Sully: When?
Neytiri: When you are ready.
[makes a whooping sound as she flies off on her Ikran]
Official Site: http://www.avatarmovie.com/