James Cameron has had his work cut out trying to eclipse the success of his previous film Titanic, way back in 1997 and to this day it remains the highest grossing film of all time. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 12 years since his name was plastered on the big screen but he’s back with Avatar, a science fiction epic to rival Titanic’s crown.
Avatar has been marketed to death with 10-minute trailers littering cinemas across the globe and it hasn’t stopped there, James Cameron has been parading himself and the films stars around like toy soldiers to ensure it receives as much attention as he thinks it deserves, but is it actually any good?
Let’s start with the premise, an ex marine (Sam Worthington) who has been paralysed from the waist down in battle has been sent to an alien planet called Pandora to help mine for a very valuable metal and would you believe it, it’s name is ‘Unobtainium’, no jokes. Whilst there, he meets the Na’vi, an alien race that resemble giant smurfs. He becomes intrigued by their way of life, not to mention falling in love with one of them (Zoe Saldana). No, I’m not kidding and yes it does sound ridiculous.
The film starts pretty slowly, but then again at just under three hours long it has plenty of time to build momentum and after those first 10-minutes you get sucked into the whole environment of Pandora in the most dazzling 3D I have ever seen in the cinema. The special effects are complimented perfectly with the 3D experience and the alien environment is stunning, so stunning in fact that you have to see it, to believe it.
Considering the story is about blue smurf like aliens and is to say the least, a little thin on the ground; I was surprised to be sat there with all different kinds of emotion splattered across my face. One minute I would be wanting to shout out at the screen in sheer rage at what was going on, other times I would be sobbing my heart out in some of the most upsetting scenes I have seen in a modern Sci-fi. It just doesn’t happen, Sci-fi and tears just don’t go together; it’s like eating chocolate with fish. The transition between action, thriller, comedy and drama is exceptionally watertight and Avatar blends these genres all perfectly to form what is a complete package of a film.
Unfortunately, whilst the acting is sublime from most corners, with Zoe Saldana being the stand out performance as one of the female Na’vi, some of the human actors don’t really get enough screen time; annoying considering the films length. Sigourney Weaver is viciously underused and even though she plays her character with brilliance, she needed more screen time to fully develop the role.
Thankfully though, Cameron’s film limits the faults to those few and Avatar remains a magical ride, which whilst not being utterly original, reeks of box office championship and may just take over Titanic as the biggest film of all time.
Avatar is then, what everyone had ever wanted it to be, it combines unparalleled special effects in superb 3D with fabulous performances from the actors who really looked like they wanted to be in their roles. Trust the hype and you will witness history in the making.