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Avatar – Review

By December 11, 2009Newswires

by Todd McCarthy

The King of the World sets his sights on creating another world entirely in "Avatar," and it`s very much a place worth visiting. The most expensive and technically ambitious film ever made, James Cameron`s long-gestating epic pitting Earthly despoilers against a forest-dwelling alien race delivers unique spectacle, breathtaking sights, narrative excitement and an overarching anti-imperialist, back-to-nature theme that will play very well around the world, and yet is rather ironic coming from such a technology-driven picture. Twelve years after "Titanic," which still stands as the all-time B.O. champ, Cameron delivers again with a film of universal appeal that just about everyone who ever goes to the movies will need to see.

Cameron reportedly wrote the story, if not the full script, for "Avatar" at least 15 years ago but decided he had to wait until visual effects capabilities advanced sufficiently to credibly render his imagined world and its inhabitants. On this fundamental level, the picture is a triumph; it`s all of a piece, in no way looking like a vague mish-mash of live-action, CGI backdrops, animation, performance capture and post-production effects. On top of that, the 3D is agreeably unemphatic, drawing the viewer into the action without calling attention to itself. The third dimension functions as an enhancement, not a raison d`etre, so the film will look perfectly fine without it. (When it opens domestically on Dec. 15, approximately 2100 screens will feature 3D, with another 1200 in 2D.)

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