Four years in the making, Avatar is Cameron once again defying the naysayers, and delivering a film that will appeal to movie goers from California to Calcutta. It's an undoubtedly impressive piece of work, but hardly flawless. Those that witnessed the robbery that occurred on Oscar night over a decade ago, when Titanic inexplicably stole best screenplay from LA Confidential, will have little to worry about this time. The story is rudimentary, offering obvious parallels with American military occupation in various conflicts. But it could be argued that just gives the film an underlining message, amidst the impressive action and massive scale - something inferior directors have been criticised for failing to include in their blockbusters.
The plot see's Sam Worthington's crippled marine Jake Sully awake from a six year hyper-sleep to learn that his twin brother is dead. His brother was always the smart one, the narration tells us; a scientist who was working on a project that only Jake can save from complete ruin. He must travel to a far off planet being mined for its precious national recourses, and work with Sigourney Weaver's passionate scientist to learn more about the native Na'vi. But Stephen Lang's sociopathic military man is very much of the 'blow-up first, ask questions later' variety - which causes much conflict for Jake when he falls for one of the locals.
Avatar was never going to live up to the ridiculous expectations that certain corners of fandom had unrealistically set. But Cameron put that pressure on himself, loudly vocalising a new form of filmmaking that he hoped would revolutionise the format, and taking so long to follow up the biggest movie ever made. Still the best action director to wield a megaphone, he soaks up the pressure and delivers a film that manages to meld two separate worlds with a coherence that borders on seamless.
His casting of then unknown Sam Worthington in the lead role is also a masterstroke. The Australian actor has an undoubted presence on screen, and bleeds a masculinity rarely seen in modern movie stars. His sudden stardom after the surprise casting here is no accident, and the Aussie will be around for a long time. Lang too is extremely impressive, rounding off a cracking year for the man who stole every scene in Public Enemies.
The 3D is surprisingly subtle and genuinely enhances the viewing experience, as opposed to interfering with it, which is obviously down to Cameron's sure hand guiding the production. This may not be a five star film, but it is certainly a five star experience. You must see it on the big screen to fully appreciate it.
Story by Mike Sheridan | 09:00 | Thursday 22nd April 2010 | DVD review
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