Director: James Cameron
Producer: James Cameron
Writer: James Cameron
Cast: Sam Worthington as Jake Sully
Zoe Saldana as Neytri
Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch
When was the last time you saw a film which had you awed, and you thought about it even days later? When was the last time you saw something so divine, and saw flawless, that you felt like applauding? Probably, the last time that happened for me was when I saw Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Never. Ever. Before. Has a movie been made like Avatar, which combines an extremely high budget ($230 million plus $150 million for promotion), great acting and a fairly good plot along with a message to make a thundering impact on the souls of all viewers? I doubt it.
Avatar has taken India by storm. Tickets had been booked a day in advance, and watching the current show in 3D is out of question, unless you plan it a day in advance. I saw Avatar at PVR Plaza in Rajiv Chowk, and the cinema hall was jam-packed.
The main character, Jake Sully, is a crippled US Marine who signs up for an Avatar programme which involves mining this mineral called Unobtanium, so that an energy crisis gripping the earth can be solved. (For those who don’t know, Unobtanium is a name given to any material which is “un-obtainable” to run anything. For example, an unobtanium-made-pulley may be frictionless, which is pretty impossible). This wicked stuff is available on a moon (Pandora) which orbits a planet which further orbits Alpha Centauri. This stone can be obtained only with the cooperation of the Na ‘vi, tall, blue-skinned inhabitants of Pandora. They’re primitive as compared to the humans, but more physically capable. They also have these USB ports in their hair, which they can plug into trees and horses. Badass, this.
Basically, the main character, Jake Sully, is on Pandora to control an “avatar” of himself, and become a Na ‘vi mentally, when physically wired up in a bunker. He’s got to convince the Na ‘vi to give him the Unobtanium, but finally realises that the humans are wrong. And he fights (in the end; this was inevitable) for the Na ‘vi against the humans.
You’ll notice that the plot is simple, and even predictable in some parts. But it’s not the plot you’re basically concentrating on here. It’s the visual effects. Of course, there are movies in the past which have made exactly the same blunder, thus compromising on other aspects and some who focus more on the plot, and not just visual effects. But Cameron does both, and makes a surprisingly good balance between both. The fact that Avatar is so visually pleasing, makes you forget the plot and think more about how Cameron made the environment? Remember: it’s a whole new world, and all new creatures, so it has to be made from scratch. Hundreds of people cannot by physically dyed blue, so that had to be CGI as well. What James Cameron has created and visualised is not mere scenery – it’s an entire universe, like the Middle Earth in LOTR, and unlike it as well, as Avatar cannot simply be shot in New Zealand. Cameron attached probes to all of his actors and used revolutionary new motion capture technology.
The acting is also great, although there is not much scope of acting. The emotions do come out well, especially in those scenes when the Na ‘vi’s homes are felled cruelly by the army. Their cries will echo even after a long, long time. Its that brief period of emotional connections that probably sets the pace for the next hour of the movie.
Something else is the totally believable universe Avatar is set in. I mean, the technology is not something which can make you go “Come on!”. Its something humans are close to achieving. In the end, it also gives an important message about saving the environment, and not getting into energy crises (which is not very far). But all this is unimportant; where Avatar really trumps is the overall experience of it. Of how everything seems to be there in the movie. Love, action, drama, emotion, jealousy, power, and so on. It may not be the best film ever, but it’s certainly one of the most complete and entertaining film. Do watch it, and do so in 3D, as that is how Cameron would like you to experience it. Looks like the huge $230 million dollar gamble, like Titanic, paid off.
Here’s the theatrical trailer for Avatar. Do watch it in full screen HD.
Detailed Ratings (out of 10)
Visual+Sound Effects: 10