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Avatar is an evolution for the film industry

December 20, 2009

Avatar is an evolution for the film industry
By Dakota Grabowski

... one of the most important films to release in quite some time. 

The year is 1993. The film industry had already seen the releases of Demi Moore’s Indecent Proposal, Sylvester Stallone’s Cliffhanger, and Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day before June. It was a quaint year up until the summer and then, the world changed. It miraculously changed with a release of a mega-blockbuster by the name of Jurassic Park.

Steven Spielberg pulled people into a world of imagination with his adaptation of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. For once, people were able to see dinosaurs on the big screen and feel as if they came alive. Moments like this are when Hollywood is truly at its best. Viewers truly are able to get lost in the magic and come away with amazement.

James Cameron has followed suit and delivered a similar experience with Avatar – a movie where an alien world of Pandora literally seems as if it’s a hop, skip, and a jump away from being a reality.

Watching the film in RealD 3D, Avatar was a tremendous experience to sit through – even if it ran a little long in the tooth at 161 minutes. The first 100 minutes or so are breathtaking to see play out as Cameron takes everyone on a journey to discover Pandora – a world full of beautiful and lush environments that are about to be exploited by the “white man” (the humans) who arrive on Pandora to tap its natural resources since they ran out of them on Earth.

 

The storyline is simple – a basic retelling of Pocahontas in space. The “white man” (humans) are seen as the villains as they are tearing down the forest of the “noble savages” (Na’vi) in attempt to gain access to the natural resources on Pandora. Of course, the Na’vi aren’t having any of that due to their customs and religion, so they are at a standstill at the start of the flick.

Along the way, Jake Sully (played by Sam Worthington) is tasked to control an avatar body to gain inside access of the Na’vi and understand their culture, along with convincing them to move away from the natural resources. Well, as expected, he falls in love with one of the natives and sees that the humans are in the wrong and helps the Na’vi go to war to fight for their land.

The plot isn’t the strong point of Avatar. Besides a few unexpected deaths, it’s straightforward and predictable. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since the viewers aren’t left leaving the theatre in confusion due to a convoluted plot. But the fact remains, Avatar is as uncomplicated as they come when it comes down to the progression of the plot.

Where Avatar exceeds every other film is in the visuals department. There’s simply no film that is comparable to Cameron’s Avatar. The creation of the Na’vi does the film wonders as they steal each and every scene they are in. It’s captivating when Jake and his Na’vi love interest, Neytiri, take to exploring Pandora – from the time they encounter the jellyfish like insects that float on thin air to the time they approach the viperwolves, Avatar is a stunning film to see in 3D.

There were a few times when during the action debris would be flying all over the screen that it would seem as if it was right in front of the viewers. This is a time when people should look around the theatre and glance to see who is reaching out trying to interact with the screen in front of them.

It’s easy to see the benefits of shooting the film in 3D – Cameron didn’t just go for cheap thrills, he instead provided an enormous amount of depth to each and every scene that has never been seen before. In the future, every film shot in 3D will have the troubling job of trying to live up to what Cameron and crew delivered with Avatar.

The only issue with Avatar is that it leaves the viewer wanting to see more of Pandora and less of the archetypal action scenes that leave no room for the imagination. About 100 minutes in, the film stops showing new indigenous beasts and heads straight towards the final conflict that, at times, is too rushed for its own good. There could’ve been at least another 15-20 minutes of narrative added to give the audience a better look at Pandora and the other tribes that inherited the land, rather than having Jake state, “We went all around Pandora and spoke to different tribes to join our cause.” The collage of various other tribes that join for the final battle leaves too much to be desired.

In the end, Avatar is not only one of the most important films to release in quite some time, but it also raises the bar for every film in the next decade. Avatar is a fantastic way to cap off the decade of advancement in technology for the film industry. James Cameron is a true visionary of his time and, with Avatar, proved that his care and attention to the science-fiction genre is nothing to be scoffed at.

GameZone Score: 8.5/10

Check out our full Avatar: The Game Review

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