As usual, the big guns come out in Hollywood around the holidays. Alli and I headed out with Jake and Kelly to see James “I’m the King of the World” Cameron’s 15-years-in-the-making, sci-fi-fantasy-action-spiritual-romance-drama genre-bending movie, Avatar.
I haven’t been this enamored by a movie in as long as I can remember. Several hours later and I can’t stop thinking about it, talking about it, and wanting to see it again.
At the risk of over-stating and over-promising, I’m still gonna say it: Avatar is one of the most innovative, original films to be made in the last 20 years.
James Cameron has spent the last 15 years writing and conceptualizing this EPIC film, a story that at its most basic is a love story wrapped in a war movie set in space. But that ignores the spiritual and philosophical dimension that makes this movie so unique.
We meet Corporal Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) first, on his trip to the planet Pandora, a world occupied by humanoid creatures called the Na’vi. There he meets a native woman named Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) who helps him to learn about the culture and their people’s beliefs and traditions.
Along the way, he’s faced with physical, emotional and moral challenges, not to mention a middle-of-the-night showdown with a pack of rabid doberman-like wild animals.
I don’t want to give away anymore of the plot. I want people to discover it for themselves. The only thing I will say is that the commercials and trailers don’t do this film any kind of justice. The movie is so much more than I ever expected.
When I first started seeing stills and clips from the movie, I had little to no interest in it. I love James Cameron and I think he’s an innovative filmmaker, but from what I could see, it didn’t seem to interest me. Giant smurfs controlled in a Matrix-like way on some crazy other planet? No thanks.
Then it became really hard to ignore. As the first reviews began to flow in, I began to think that my first judgement may have been incorrect. And the more I heard about it, the more my interest was piqued.
So we went today.
And like I said before, it was one of the best times I’ve had at the movies in my life. I was completely rapt for the full 2 hours and 40 minutes. I didn’t want to move, didn’t want to go to the bathroom, didn’t want to do anything but spend that time with the completely brilliant James Cameron and his perfect film. I leaned forward in my seat almost the whole time because I didn’t want anything else to distract me from what I knew 30 minutes in was the crowning achievement of this man’s illustrious career.
There I go again. People who know me know that I have a tendency to get over-excited and maybe overstate things a little. I promise, I’m not exaggerating on this movie. It really is that good.
This movie manages to make a statement without being preachy. It uses amazing CGI without being cheesy. It has an obvious romantic element without being sentimental. And it has action that is meaningful and exciting without sacrificing it for poor dialogue. When I consider that all of these things can mostly be attributed to Cameron, it’s hard to argue against him to win the Oscar for Best Director.
We will see. He’s certainly set the bar and he’s set it high.