Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Avatar is simply out of this world...

James Cameron has done it again and his sci-fi spectacular, Avatar, has totally exceeded my expectations.

I was a bit dubious like a lot of people after I'd seen the CGI laden trailers filled to the rafters with blue-skinned aliens, but he totally blew me away and worked his 'Titanic' magic again.Avatar film poster
The movie is doing record breaking box office and I can only assume he's leveraging the audiences fondness for and his track record with blockbusters like Titanic, Terminator 2 and Aliens, to get the masses to come out and see a full blown original sci-fi extravaganza.

I kid you not the audience I saw it with at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood wasn't your typical sci-fi genre fan base, but entire families both young and old, all there to see what the hype was about and see it in glorious 3D.

Actual Avatar film props
I think that sometimes people don't like sci-fi because it's not believable enough for them, especially when done on a low budget, so what's brilliant about Avatar is that the special effects technology and production values can credibly transport you to this other world and it also has an engaging story that transcends the sci-fi genre which is action-packed and has heart too.

For a sci-fi geeks like me, the movie is also full of great sci-fi concepts like the Pandora's worldwide neural net that all life feeds into, truly alien looking creatures and flora that you wonder how they walk, grow, breathe and fly, and the 'Avatar' concept itself which is a nice bit of futuristic bioscience.
Avatar teaser movie poster
The indigenous Na'vi race look alien and the breathtaking landscapes they exist within are seamless. It should be no surprise really when Cameron has pioneered CGI effects since Abyss which begat T2 and so on.

Ultimately it's not a complex story, which is fine as you can see the creative minds, imagination and passion that went into the movie and it's well worth the wait to see Cameron's futuristic vision on the big screen.

Avatar Jake Sully film props and costume accessories
What does keep you enthralled are the stunning visuals, from the alien creature designs themselves and how they interact with the live action human elements, to the beauty and complexity of the bioluminescent nightscapes, the alien vistas, colourful creatures and more.

Sam Worthington was the best thing about Terminator: Salvation and his 'Jake Sully' makes for a likable hero here, plus Zoe Saldana's plucky native love interest, 'Neytiri', have a great chemistry even though they are giant blue aliens frolicking in the jungle.

One thing that does make me smile about their relationship is that during the jungle scenes with Jake and Neytiri I couldn't help being reminded of 'Simba' and 'Nala' from The Lion King and the whole 'Circle of life' philosophy.
Avatar movie poster
Sigourney Weaver is always fantastic and I loved her channeling both a bit of ballsy Ellen Ripley and Dian Fossey as the head scientist and inventor of the Avatar program, 'Dr. Grace Augustine', stationed on the moon of Pandora. It was also amazing how her Avatar's face looked so much like her too.

As you can see I enjoyed the movie. I realise now I shall also have to update my favourite films of 2009 as Avatar truly qualifies as best action and best sci-fi and gets five fabulous ***** stars.

Don't forget to check out all the costumes and props from Avatar on display at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood.

Tonight I'm off to see my third consecutive movie at the cinema in as many days, after Sherlock Holmes and Avatar, it's off to see if the musical Nine can enchant me as much as mystery and sci-fi has entertained me...


Sylvie said...

A beautiful movie and my biggest disappointment of the year ! Wonderful totally believable CGI world and characters, but the crappiest screenplay I ever saw in a Cameron movie ! No surprise, nothing new, horrifyingly caricatural bad guy, it's Dances with Wolves meets Aliens, with a touch of Gorillas in the mist. As a matter of fact, Cameron simply does a cut and paste of his ending of Aliens, just putting the bad guy in the powerloader this time ! But it's still the woman who beats him ! As for 3D, it was fairly pointless... Adds some depth to some images, but in my opinion it's not woth the uproar... Beautiful images don't make a movie if the story is not up to them and frankly, what a waste of talent, all those georgeous pictures for such a lame plot... Déja vu, déjà vu, déjà vu...

Jason in Hollywood said...

Thanks for the post Sylvie!

I can see what you are saying about lots of similarities between movies and when does an homage just become lazy?

I especially laughed when Michelle Rodriguez' pilot character says something like "I have guns too B!@#$" - it was reminded of Ellen Ripley in Aliens speaking to the Alien Queen.

But that aside it was one of the movies in 2009 that made me excited about sci-fi again, like District 9 and the new Star Trek, so that can't be bad!

Trace said...

I am interested in the Gas Mask used in the film, what prop company designed and built these units used in the film? Are their replicas available for purchase, or can detailed schematics or drawing be acquired for purchase?

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