Avatar - Blu-ray Review
By Jeff Swindoll Apr 24, 2010, 17:13 GMT
is the story of an ex-Marine who finds himself thrust into hostilities on an alien planet filled with exotic life forms. As an Avatar, a human mind in an alien body, he finds himself torn between two worlds, in a desperate fight for his own survival and that of the indigenous people. More than ten years in the making, Avatar marks Cameron\'s return to feature directing since helming 1997\'s Titanic, ...more
James Cameron took a big gamble when he met Pocahontas on the planet Smurf, but seemingly against all odds he scored.
The idea has been rumbling around in his head since the mid-90s but he had to invent the technology to actually film it. The results are spectacular and even more so in Blu-ray.
In 2154, Jake Sully’s (Sam Worthington) life hasn’t been going well. He’s an ex-Marine who is paralyzed. He cannot afford the operation to make him walk again. His luck appears to change but by tragedy.
His brother is killed in a robbery and the government approaches him to replace him. His brother was going on an interstellar mission and since they share the same DNA it makes Jake a perfect fit.
Humans have made it to Pandora, a far-flung world inhabited by the Na’vi. They’re a race of ten-foot tall blue, nature worshipping aliens. The indigenous population have something the humans want, a mineral called unobtainium (not exactly the most original name) and project director Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi) wants to mine as much as he can.
The atmosphere of Pandora is toxic to humans so a clever plan has been formulated by Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver). Humans will mentally link to genetically grown Na’vi bodies and gently convince the natives to allow them to mine.
This allows Jake to walk again, but he’s separated from the group on a mission to collect biological samples. He’s sure to die in the hostile environment but he’s saved by Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), the daughter of the chief (Wes Studi) and high priestess (C.C.H. Pounder) of the Na’vi, and brought into the tribe with some reluctance.
All this peacemaking doesn’t sit well with Col. Quadritch (Stephen Lang) who has tasked Marine Jake with spying on the Na’vi and force their cooperation. However, Jake threatens to go native and protect these peaceful natives against the militaristic, greedy humans.
I truly didn’t think Cameron could pull it off. He made Avatar for an estimated 237 million and it needed to make at least double that to show a profit. Both Cameron and Fox should’ve been sweating bullets on opening day. However when all the smoke cleared the film had taken in over 2 billion worldwide.
Cameron’s scripting may not be particularly original, the same ground is covered in Pocahontas, some dialogue and names are silly, but his characters seem well drawn and likeable (well, except for Quadritch but you’re not supposed to like the bad-ass).
What cannot be argued is that Cameron has crafted a fantastic environment in Pandora. I ventured on a rare trip to the theater to see it in 3-D and it was breathtaking.
Supposedly some people with susceptible minds and prone to believe what they could see thought it real and were suicidal when they couldn’t go there. The gloss and the thrilling action tend to take your mind away from the hinky parts of the scripts.
Sam Worthington is great as both Jake and his Avatar; Zoe Saldana is also so yet in a virtual way, and their romance it touching. Sigourney Weaver is also a chain-smoking delight as the brassy scientist.
I always tend towards the villains, must be my humanity since Cameron sees us as the villains here, and Stephen Lang plays Quadritch with a bad-ass swagger that leaps off the screen.
In the war for best picture, Hurt Locker and director Kathryn Bigelow (Cameron’s ex-wife) came home with the gold, but Avatar was the more thrilling of the two. I know I liked it better.
Those expecting a look behind the scenes will be advised to wait until November, but until then we do have a pristine Blu-ray look into the environment of Pandora. It’s a trip you’ll want to take again and again.
Avatar is presented in a fantastic 1080p high definition transfer (1.78:1). Special features are… coming in November in an expansive special edition. This initial release only contains the film in high definition with disc two containing a DVD copy.
Avatar was certainly robbed at the Oscars in my humble opinion. Sure, Hurt Locker was good but I liked Avatar better. I guess that’s just me though, your mileage may vary.
The scripting may have been a little juvenile, but the visuals where awe-inspiring. The Blu-ray is as well, minus the 3-D, so if you can’t wait until November when snatch this one up.
Visit the DVD database for more information.
FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CJames Cameron Biography -
James Cameron Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesMichelle Rodriguez Biography -
Michelle Rodriguez Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesSam Worthington Biography -
Sam Worthington Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesZoe Saldana Biography -
Zoe Saldana Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
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