Outstanding indeed! AVATAR is a new visual wonderment for the eye to see.  The film is so visually pleasing; watching it in 3D only enhances the amazing creation.  To say it’s spectacular is an understatement.  The world director James Cameron has created feels like it exists with beautiful new landscape and vibrant colors.  It’s sort of a modern day WIZARD OF OZ.  I believe in this world and I want to live there and with the 3D version it actually happens for 3 hours.  AVATAR is a film meant for the movie theater going experience that I recommend all to see.

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A paraplegic Marine, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), accepts a mission replacing his twin brother, who was killed in battle.   The mission is in the Science department on a distant planet of Pandora.  He is the only one that could use his brother’s “avatar” identity, which is literally an out of body experience.  He is able to become a 9 foot blue Na’vi native that can run, breathe and live on it’s own.  His mission is to learn more of these native people in order to find a way to get them to move their home peacefully so humans can extract a valuable resource that the Natives are living on.  The alternative is to exterminate and Jake must decide to either follow his love for these people or his orders.

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This is not necessarily a new story line but definitely a new way to tell it.  I was surprised at just how immersed I was into this film.  I was definitely hesitant about the blue CGI people I kept seeing from the previews.  But what James Cameron did which is better than all the great special effects is give this movie heart.  Avatar is overloaded with heart, which made the characters come to life in a way that I forgot about any CGI that may have been present.  The love story is real and emotional.  Like DISTRICT 9, AVATAR actually makes you root against the human race.  That might sound unpatriotic, but I think it really simply means that we all just want to be better people.

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The acting is well done as well.  I’m glad to see Sigourney Weaver in a big movie roll again.  Stephen Lang, who was a standout in this years PUBLIC ENEMIES, is great as the over-the-top, tough-as-nails colonel.  Giovanni Ribisi is funny and commanding as the leader of the entire operation.  Why isn’t he doing more work?  Zoe Saldana is seamlessly believable as Neytiri, a Na’Vi warrior or lead blue person.  The performances by her and Sam Worthington (the next big movie star) are the real standouts.  I’ll admit, that I was a naysayer beforehand on these character-generated creatures but I was definitely won over.

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There are obvious criticisms that could be made – questions unanswered, motives unexplained and story lines or characters that could be developed more but the movie is already 3 hours long and I think Cameron chose correctly on what to keep.  I’m sure there are hours of extra footage or written storylines.  All these criticisms can be overlooked with one key element and that is once again, heart… and a 300 million dollar budget.  In all seriousness, the money means nothing without the heart.  And you can tell Cameron was passionate when creating AVATAR.   Get to the theater and watch AVATAR in 3D.  This is a film that reminds us why we love movies.


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