I am going to do something that may seem a little weird. My recent movie reviews have featured some of the worst of the worst. Movies so bad that I simply fell into a pattern of reviewing them just to make myself feel better.
However, that all changed last night.
In three hours of sheer brilliance I became part of a new, exciting world. A world of endless green trees, phosphorescent flowers and luminescent creatures that quickly took control of my mind that was anxiously waiting behind my 3-D glasses.
It was a movie that was said to have taken James Cameron decades to dream up, four years to make and $230 million to fund.
It was "Avatar".
James Cameron, arguably one of the most successful science fiction film makers ("The Terminator," "Aliens" and "The Abyss"), works his magic on "Avatar" in a way never before seen.
The movie starts on a spaceship (the year is 2154), where the passengers, including a paraplegic former Marine, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), are coming around from a yearlong sleep before landing on a distant inhabited moon, Pandora.
They are on this moon, denuding it of its life and resources, in hopes of finding a specific mineral called Unobtanium.
Jake has been selected, in his recently deceased brother's place, to pilot his brother's Avatar human clone in an attempt to establish a friendly relationship with the Na'vi, the native humanoid species He is to become one of them, learn their ways and be accepted into their society.
Jake initially is content with essentially spying on the Na'vi and divulging their secrets to his superiors. However, he begins to fall in love with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), and he quickly learns which side he wants to fight for.
One of the brilliant things about the movie is its understanding of natural dialogue. Often overlooked in importance next to the flashy CGI and special effects, this movie does a great job of staying true to both.
Aside from the more cliché lines that Jake is found saying, most of the films spiritual and very transcendental dialogue with the Na'vi, which reads like Thoreau or Emerson, is simply amazing.
The best part was the natural environment of Pandora. I sat pressed against my seat, eyes on sensory overload with the glowing colors and floating mountains. Everything on this planet was stunning.
Some might find the 3-D environment distracting. I find it welcoming. I think Manohla Dargis, a film critic from The New York Times, said it best. She said by filming in 3-D, Cameron takes away the space between the audience and the screen. We find ourselves involved with the fight for "Home Tree." Invested in the fight to, "protect what our ancestors held dear to them."
Is that not what we want in a movie? A personal connection with the protagonist, the characters and what they all stand and fight for?
Now many people may label this movie as a "hippy," "tree hugging" testament. Three hours of "native american" people fussing about the advancement of industry. I beg of you to please not let these thoughts enter your heads.
The idea and take home lesson behind this movie, I think, is that all of us, even the evil industrialists trying to relocated the Na'vi, are biologically connected to the worlds we inhabit. And through experience we learn to appreciate that which is given to us.
It takes a good movie to lift you out of the theater and place you inside a world not your own. A place where you feel connected to the lives and feelings of the characters you are watching. If you see this movie and don't find yourself wanting to walk outside afterwards and just breathe in the air, then I don't think you understood the point of the movie.
On the Sims Scale I give this movie the max amount of stars, numbers or letter grades it can possibly get.
It's been a while since I have had this much faith in Hollywood to capture not only my quickly fleeting attention, but also my mind to think about a movie hours after watching it.
James Cameron has done it again. After a stint away from Hollywood, he has come back to Earth only to turn around and take us to another world. We find ourselves longing to visit and stay in a world where mystery and wonder still thrive in the lives of simple blue people.