MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:42 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Michelle Rodriguez, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Kiddie Movie: Lots of people and Na’vi get killed. Hire a sitter.
Date Movie: It’s got a love story and lots of Na’vi butts and the dudes get quality violence.
Gratuitous Sex: There is some jungle love and the Na’vi are in skimpy, jungle outfits.
Gratuitous Violence: Arrows are pretty brutal when they go right into your chest.
Action: There’s running, jumping, and flying bird-things.
Laughs: There’s some chuckles.
Memorable Scene: Pandora is cool.
Memorable Quote: “I’m probably just talking to a tree right now, but…”
Directed By: James Cameron

I will never admit how many times I actually went to the theater to see “Titanic,” but let’s just say that I went at least one time by myself, went to see it with a group of friends who hadn’t seen the movie yet, and then, well, I went, umm, never mind. Since “Avatar” and “Titanic” are both by James Cameron I thought I would mention my weird desire to see “Titanic” multiple times because as much as I liked “Avatar,” I suppose I would like to see it one more time, but not in 3-D, in order to compare the 3-D and 2-D versions, and sure, when it comes out on Blu-ray, I can see myself watching it again, but for me, as much as I enjoyed the movie, and I know it sounds cliché, it’s no “Titanic.”

Let’s start with the story…

“Avatar” takes us down the road a bit, into the future, at a world called Pandora. Pandora is occupied by these really tall, and really fit, blue creatures called the Na’vi. The problem for the Na’vi is that Pandora has a mineral called unobtanium, us Earthlings want it, but the Na’vi are content to be one with Mother Pandora, hunting with bows and arrows, while we have flying machines and bullets. As it would be, us humans, we suck, and rather than actually work with these people whose land we invaded, the corporate dopes decide to just bring in the bulldozers and gunships to move the un-cooperating “savages.”

Enter Jake Sully (Sam Worthington). He’s a marine who lost his ability to walk on Earth, but since his brother was a scientist and was going to be a part of the Avatar program on Na’vi (sorry, I forgot to mention a small group of scientists using these hybrid creatures, Avatars, that the humans can control while plugged into this MRI-looking device – kind of like being in The Matrix but not – to easier investigate Pandora and try to live with, and understand, the Na’vi), well, Jake gets to become part of the scientific expedition. As things would have it Jake gets indoctrinated into the Na’vi world, (Most people compare it to “Dances With Wolves” but I felt a weird connection to “The Air Up There” for whatever reason), and his mission/feelings, especially because he is now in love with a tall, blue chick, Neytire (Zoe Saldana), deviate from the operation the Colonel (Stephen Lang) wants him to take on, namely infiltrate the Na’vi and learn their weaknesses, and the scientific mission that the good Doctor is leading them on (Sigourney Weaver – still great), namely not to have sex with them. But, alas, it’s time for the corporate meanies to further invade the land, and Jake has to take sides. Guess which side he ends up on?

Okay, so the story is pretty straightforward, and the acting is up there on being good enough for this kind of movie, but what transcends this movie from just a basic story of foreign invaders overtaking the locals, intertwined with a love story, is, well, The James Cameron Effect. Yup, a James Cameron movie can’t just be a movie for the sake of it, it needs to be an experience, and as technology advances so does his vision, and he takes everything to a level that movies now have to achieve. How? Well, in “Titanic” he made you feel like you were actually there, on the Titanic, and in “Avatar,” dammit, you are on Pandora, in all of its mythical and glowy splendor, and it looks scary real for being a fictitious place.

Yup, technology and filmmaking has advanced, thanks in part to the visions of James Cameron, and as you get sucked into the story there will probably come a minute or two of simply being in awe of the world of Pandora, probably wishing you had a jellyfish-looking thing land on you hand or that you could scale mountains that seemed to hover over the land, and it is reasons like this why a movie like “Avatar” really needs to be seen on the biggest screen you can find, just maybe not in 3-D, yet.

Now, I have to admit that I haven’t seen the 2-D version of the movie yet so I can’t really compare, but as cool as the 3-D effect is, and maybe it’s because I’m weird, but for me the times the 3-D looks the best seem to be in the “landscape” shots rather than the close-ups because they don’t look real, yet. How to explain? Hmm, I guess the easiest thing I can say is that during a close-up the main action looks in 3-D and in focus, but if I shift my eyes to the background it doesn’t come into focus like things do in real life. I guess I’m just a visual person and when a movie looks in 3-D I want it to act the same as my eyesight, i.e., look behind the actor and see what’s behind them, but it doesn’t work. I know, that probably doesn’t make much sense, but the effect is close, just still not “real.”

Okay, so let’s combine everything…

In comparison to “Titanic,” I would say there just wasn’t something that totally clicked with the story in “Avatar” that would make me want to see it again, and even again, and enjoy it each time, and as I think about it, maybe it was because Jake didn’t make the ultimate sacrifice for his newfound love, like Jack did, or even the other way around. I guess the easiest thing to say is that the movie ended exactly as I thought it would, in a sappier way, and that doesn’t make it different. I’m not saying it’s not good, because I don’t want to explain how it ends, but it’s just a normal Hollywood ending, rather than the main dude drowning, which now that I think about it, really made the ending of “Titanic” just a little different. In the end, though, “Avatar” is totally a must-see movie, if you like movies, and as I was wavering on just giving it 4 stars out of 5, the more I think about the awesomeness of Pandora, that’s worth an extra star. So, it’s 5 stars out of 5, and after telling my BFF that she probably doesn’t need to see it until it comes to Blu-ray, now I’m wondering if I should try to change her mind, if only so I can see it on a normal screen to fully compare the two. Hmm?

Oh well, go see it, keep the little kids at home because it’s got some gratuitous violence and they would probably have to pee a couple of times during the movie, and just enjoy some quality time with your honey.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!