Nobody can make blockbuster movies like James Cameron - Nobody. Bruckheimer's an amateur in comparison. Michael Bay is a hack who can suck it. Shyamalan is a one-trick pony on its way to the glue factory. Ridley Scott? Okay, I consider him an equal, but while Scott likes to bring in complexities, Cameron can take the simplest of stories and make it immensely compelling.
While most action movies today focus on supposedly "bad-ass" characters and raising the EPM (explosions per minute) meter, they are usually shallow pieces of crap that leave me asking, "Who gives a shit?" On the other end, people are making these "deep, complex dramas" that get recognition at Sundance and other Dainty McDainty bullshit that I don't care about. All I ask from a movie is three things: Don't bore the fuck out of me, don't insult my intelligence with useless crap, and, most importantly, give me something enjoyable to watch. Avatar accomplishes all those things nicely.
First off, Avatar is a beautifully rendered movie. James Camerson sat on this project for over a decade until he felt the technology in Hollywood could keep up with his vision. The end product was definitely worth the wait, because this was one of those feats of CG technology that didn't intrude on your sense of disbelief. Of course, there was a difference between the heavy CG scenes and the lighter stuff, but the transition felt more natural.
Whoever did the art design for this movie is obviously a huge Roger Dean fan (hell, even Roger Dean, himself, is inclined to agree), which is awesome. That's right, folks. Check the covers of your Yes and Asia albums, you may find something familiar. Needless to say, the flora and fauna of Pandora are gorgeous.
Speaking of the planet of Pandora, which this tale takes place, it is a savage paradise. Strange plants and creatures abound in this world which are just as deadly as they are beautiful. This truly is a visually stunning movie without having to resort to cheap tricks.
Behind the CG is a group of actors who, for the most part, are up and coming actors. Sam Worthington, who played the part of the cyborg Marcus in Terminator: Salvation and will be seen as Perseus in the disgraceful remake of Clash of the Titans (I'll get to that some other time), plays ex-Marine Jake Sully, who joins an operation that seeks to reap the material resources of Pandora, regardless of who or what stands in their way. A scientist, played by Sigourney Weaver, is working on a project to speak with the indigenous people of Pandora, the Na'vi, into a peaceful coexistence by transferring their "dreaming" consciousness into these bodies specially created with a combination of Na'vi and human DNA. Jake gets lost on his first recon sortie and is captured by the Na'vi themselves and slowly becomes ingratiated into their community. Of course, the human corporation mining Pandora wants Jake to spy on the Na'vi in order for them to find their weakness and exploit it.
The Na'vi have the most significant role in the movie, as they carry more screen time than just about anyone else. Only Worthington and Weaver are the only "humans" with the majority of scenes (of course, most of them are while they're posing as Na'vi). Out of all the other people, the one that stood out the most was Michelle Rodriguez (who you may remember from the first Resident Evil movie). I think she's replacing Adrienne Barbeau as the best looking "tough girl" in movies.
Anyway, I enjoyed this movie a lot. Quite a few critics have basically said that this movie was pure fluff, with no real story. I already said before, the story is pretty straightforward, but it's not like you're watching some mindless piece of shit. I mean, seriously, were you really expecting Dances With Wolves? Some critics were also whining about how stereotypical the humans and the Na'vi were. Yes, this is a story about a bunch of ignorant humans trying to wipe out the rich culture of an indigenous people. Complaining that most of the humans were portrayed as a bunch of vile, despicable, wastes of carbon is ridiculous. Why? Because that's what most humans are.
Do you really think that I would waste my time conquering the Earth and giving its people a collective spiked boot to the junk if they were actually nice? Hell no! I'm a misanthrope for a reason.
Anyway, go see this movie. It is a great science fiction movie full of savage action and fantastic vistas. Enjoy it for what it is or shut the fuck up.