After no doubt living like a king off the stupendous profits earned by Titanic (the highest grossing film of all time), James Cameron returns to directing blockbusters with the sci-fi action film Avatar. The story is set in 2154, where humanity has discovered the planet Alpha Centuri B-4, a world of not only unimaginable treasures and resources, but also deadly life forms. Those who attempt to use the resources for their own personal gain risk not only the new planet fittingly dubbed Pandora, but also the future of earth itself and all who inhabit it.

Cameron has developed new technology (alongside Weta Digital in Wellington) to craft Pandora and its inhabitants. Sigourney Weaver  re-unites with Cameron for the first time since Aliens, starring alongside Sam Worthington, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi and Zoe Saldana.

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Flicks Review

We’re happy to report that the most hyped film of the year actually lives up to what it promises. Avatar is a pulpy sci-fi adventure, delivering bar-raising visual effects and plenty of thrills.... More

It’s fair to say that James Cameron’s return to directing is more of a technical accomplishment than a leap forward in storytelling, but while the strokes of the narrative are fairly broad, the inordinate level of visual detail is nothing short of astonishing.

The early stages of the movie build anticipation (much like in Jurassic Park, we’re only told of dangers lurking beyond the fence) and then – boom – we’re dropped into the wild with the research team. The jungle environment of Pandora is fully immersive, packed with incidental background details like fluttering leaves or tiny bugs. The night-time bioluminescence is breathtakingly beautiful (we urge you to see this in 3-D if you can).

A chance encounter with a particularly fearsome six-limbed beast separates ex-marine Jake Sully (a soulful Sam Worthington) from his fellow humans and leads to his eventual indoctrination with a native clan, replete with nipple-covering necklaces and Xena-ish war cries. State-of-the-art motion capture technology allows for an engaging performance from Zoe Saldana, charismatic as the chief’s daughter, Neytiri.

The film’s lengthy middle section dabbles with hippie mantras and magic trees (aided by James Horner’s score of African harmonies, South American pan flutes and Asian drumming) but the eventual climactic battle scene is a fan-boy’s dream come true. A fleet of gunships and helicopters meet natives riding winged creatures in a psychedelic explosion-fest that will ctrl+alt+delete your eyeballs and overheat your brain.

So the story rarely strays from classic formula, but Avatar is an experience. It’s escapism and adventure. At the dawn of a new decade, this movie is heralding a new wave of blockbuster entertainment, promising to take us to places as yet unseen.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 55 ratings, 56 reviews
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BY munchkin superstar

I would have given this 5/5 but all the hype surrounding this film lead me to belive this would be so much more dont get me wrong its still a fantastic film I just wish they wouldnt build up films so much that when you see it you feel a little let down

BY RGoh lister

a must see movie with a great graphics,action and adventure also.

BY AaronG superstar

Yes it is visually amazing, but the storyline feels like someone put a bunch of old film's storylines in a blender and came out with a bunch of sludge - then they added a few herbs and spices to pass it off as amazing.

really cool graphics looked totally real and lots of action again like alice in wonderland if you have not seen it you need to see it or it will become a matter of LIFE or DEATH. really cool just maybe a little long

the special effects were awesome but the storyline smacked some sort of greenpeace meets rambo mashup . I suppose i should be thankful that there were no 60ft blue todgers waving in the wind so 3 stars for effort

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The Press Reviews

83% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Once again, [Cameron] has silenced the doubters by simply delivering an extraordinary film. There is still at least one man in Hollywood who knows how to spend $250 million, or was it $300 million, wisely. Full Review

  • Avatar is a film to behold. Full Review

  • A flawed but fantastic tour de force that, taken on its merits as a film, especially in two dimensions, warrants four stars. However, if you can wrap a pair of 3D glasses round your peepers, this becomes a transcendent, full-on five-star experience that's the closest we'll ever come to setting foot on a strange new world. Just don’t leave it so long next time, eh, Jim? Full Review

  • A fully believable, flesh-and-blood (albeit not human flesh and blood) romance is the beating heart of "Avatar." Cameron has never made a movie just to show off visual pyrotechnics: Every bit of technology in "Avatar" serves the greater purpose of a deeply felt love story. Full Review

  • First, let’s be clear… Avatar is much more than a film. It’s a prescribed cinematic experience. Pure effect. The greatest sideshow on Earth... Game-changing - yes. Spectacular - absolutely. Occasional dodgy dialogue and dramatic imperfections - of course. But still - wait for it… - a titanic achievement. Full Review

  • Avatar is all-enveloping and transporting, with Cameron & Co.'s years of R&D paying off with a film that, as his work has done before, raises the technical bar and throws down a challenge for the many other filmmakers toiling in the sci-fi/fantasy realm. Full Review