Yes, we realize that Avatar has been playing since December 18, so we're a little late with our review. That being said, the film has created a wave of hype and criticism, plus won several awards, so we decided to review it anyway.
Way back in mid-December, my family and I had screening passes for three different movies on the same night: "Up in the Air," "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" and "Avatar". We chose to see "Up in the Air," which ended up being a great movie. I forgot about "Avatar" until it came out, and it was then that practically everyone on my Facebook news feed posted either "OMG AVATAR!!! GO SEE IT! IT'S RIDICULOUSLY GOOD!" or "Avatar is just a revamped Pocahontas." Moreover, "Avatar" won a Golden Globe for best Drama last week, further piquing my interest. So when a friend of mine wanted to see a movie this past weekend, I suggested "Avatar."
The film takes place in the year 2154, and U.S. troops are converging on the planet Pandora. Their reason is that it's chock-full of "unobtainium," a rare rock that is even more expensive than gold. Their only problem is that the Na'vi, Pandora's native species of blue people, live in a giant tree that is one of the main places that unobtainium can be found. The troops want the Na'vi to move so they can harvest the unobtainium that they are unknowingly sitting upon. Ex-marine Jake Sully (Ben Worthington) is recruited to join this "mission" after his twin brother dies, because his brother's avatar—which looks exactly like a real Na'vi—has already been made, and only someone with the exact brain functions as him can use it. Avatars are a sort of computer-generated body that humans can control remotely, so even though Jake can't walk and is confined to a wheelchair, that's not a problem when he is using his avatar—he can walk and even run. Jake suddenly finds himself in the middle of the Na'vi, learning their cultures and traditions. The problem comes when he realizes that what the American government is doing is wrong, and he suddenly finds himself siding with the Na'vi rather than his own people.
I would say Yes, definitely see this movie. I liked the story even though it was kind of a cross between "Pocahontas" and "Ferngully," but even if you hate the story, you will love the visuals—they are simply stunning. I paid the extra $2 to see the movie in 3D, and it was definitely the right choice because the characters and settings literally jump off the screen. Even though the movie is about 2.5 hours long, I was mesmerized for most of it. Worthington has a great part as Jake Sully, and Sigourney Weaver stars as Dr. Augustine, who, like Jake, cares about the Na'vi people. James Cameron's story may not be 100 percent original, in my opinion, but the visuals and the soundtrack (vaguely "Titanic"-esque, as James Horner was the composer) make this movie worth seeing. Reviewed by Liz.