By Charly SHELTON
This is probably the most highly anticipated film of the year, maybe even the last few years. Everyone was holding their collective breath as we awaited this release to see if director James Cameron kept his word by making photo-realistic creatures for this film. Nothing else mattered as much as this; the story, the acting, everything else could fall by the wayside so long as the creatures looked good and the new technology implemented for this film was worth while. Not surprisingly, the creatures look great, but the film also has a great script, and great acting, and everything else. This is not just some effects-driven-event-film, it is a true masterpiece.
A parallel of Manifest Destiny and oppression in general, the story follows Jake Sulley (Sam Worthington), a marine who has lost the use of his legs. His twin brother was part of the Avatar program – putting a driver’s consciousness into another body. The body was specially grown by mixing DNA of a human with that of the Na’vi, a warrior people native to a planet named Pandora. The Na’vi live in a giant tree, which just happens to be located right on top of the planet’s largest supply of a mineral known as Unobtainium, the very expensive mineral that is the whole reason for humans being on Pandora. The Avatar program is established to find a diplomatic solution for relocation because if no agreement is met, the military will use force to make the Na’vi move. Jake goes into the society of the Na’vi with a mission but ends up falling in love with their culture and heritage, and he becomes one of them. And when the army learns of this, they decide a strike now is the easiest way to get what they want. Jake must lead the counter attack in order to save the land and the people he has come to love.
Cameron, who wrote as well as directed and produced the film, created a great story. It follows very closely the story of the interactions between the Native Americans and the European settlers, even so far as the Na’vi language being very hard to learn, just like Navajo; the Earth worship principles of their religion, similar to Native Americans; and even small details like that Na’vi means “people” in their language just like Dene (the real tribe name for Navajo) means “people” in their language, too. This is a great story with many modern connections, and very pertinent to our time. Aside from the Na’vi being photo-realistic, the film is good on so many levels. Even the acting stayed preserved coming through a digitally created mask.
Everything about this movie is astounding. It is definitely worth seeing, above all other films in theaters now. A great way to use some Christmas money. Rated PG-13 for “intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking.” Starring Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver and Zoë Saldana.
I give this film 5 out of 5 stars.