It’s been over a decade since director James Cameron released the film Titanic. After a long absence of his movies being present in theaters, Cameron returns with the even more epic movie Avatar. Just like George Lucas did with the Star Wars prequels, Cameron waited until technology finally caught up with his vision. In this film he brings us a massive spectacle of special effects in order to tell a story set in the never before seen world of Pandora. On this planet is setting for confrontation between humans and the natives know as Na’vi.
From the beginning we are introduced to the wheel chair bound, ex-marine Jake Sully (played by Sam Worthington), who volunteered to head to Pandora in place of his deceased twin brother. Him having identical DNA two his brother is very convenient since genetically engineered puppets (or Avatars) grown from mixed Na’vi and human cells can be controlled by the specific person from which the DNA was supplied from. These avatars are made to look just like the Na’vi, who are ten foot blue beings. Leading the mission is a private company wanting to mine a precious mineral worth a fortune. Of course violent encounters with the Na’vi have led the company to be armed to the teeth and try the avatars as a type of medium for negotiating with the natives. Down the line it eventually becomes Jake Sully’s duty to learn the ways of the Na’vi. Both from cultural lesson given by Grace Augustine (played by Sigourney Weaver in her second collaboration with Cameron since Aliens) and from the Na’vi Neytiri(played by Zoe Saldana) after she integrates him into her Na’vi tribe. As Jake Sully delves deeper into Na’vi society, the more conflicted he becomes over what he is really supposed to do. All of this packaged together with big and explosive battle scenes.
The plot of Avatar is a pretty standard story of a group rising up to fight off invaders,(although there are some aspects of Pandora I won’t spoil for you) but just like with Cameron’s previous film (Titanic) it is not so much about what the story is but how it is told. Here the emphasis is how the special effects move the story along. Unlike the usual flashy, big blockbuster movies, Avatar uses CGI to enhance all aspects of its being. This is a setting that absolutely required convincing effects in order to be seen at all. The world of Pandora is brought to life in a very seem less manner. It was hard to tell where actual parts of the forest ended and where the computer created images begin. All the beings and creatures looked as real as any prosthetic that could have been used. All together this creates a brightly colored visual contrasted with human actors and that is rarely seen in film.
The special effects also helped to bring out acting performances. This is where Avatar is sharply separated from ego stroking CGI flicks like those of Michael Bay. With new technology; Cameron was able to motion capture facial expressions of the actors playing the CGI created Na’vi characters while they said their lines. It was very vital that these performances came through since most of emotional moments came from the Na’vi roles. Especially those done by Zoe Saldana.
The length of Avatar is a very lengthy two hours and forty minutes. Just like his equally lengthy film Titanic, the long running time is used in order to properly set up the premise and make. Such as the integration of Jake Sully into Na’vi society, which is made more believable by the adequate time that was required. The consequences of action are equally fleshed rather than just pushing forward with the plot.

This particular review of Avatar is of its 3D version. I would say this is the better way to view the film because it truly emerges the viewer into the epic and glowing world of Avatar. The Real D technology far surpasses the 3D you would usually see in amusement park attractions. It did feel like you could reach into the screen and touch the characters. Overall this is a stunning film that should not be missed.