REVIEW: Avatar is out of this world

Ian Pruett-Jones, Staff-Reporter

Movies, by their nature, are designed to help us escape the humdrum of our everyday lives. They seek to place us in a world where anything can happen and our imaginations can run wild. The new movie Avatar by James Cameron writes the book on this.

Not only does Avatar do this, it creates a whole planet, a unique, breathing planet that for two hours and thirty minuets, you can live in and get connected to. The story breaks down into a very stereotypical tale of, stop me if you’ve heard this one before, a soldier who is sent to spend time with the opposite faction, and after some time in their midst, he decides he likes them better and helps them destroy the much stronger opponents.

While the story doesn’t bring anything new to the table, every other aspect of the movie does. The action, while rather late in the movie, is tense, exciting, and epic. The characters are all well developed and easy to get attached to. But the best feature to the movie is the planet itself.

Named Pandora by the humans, the planet itself is easily the best aspect of the movie. Acting almost as a character at points. Pandora feels alive, vibrant, and most of all, dangerous. The art directors of the film did a painstaking job in order to make Pandora feel like it could actually be a real planet. It seems to be like a mix of a coral reef and a deep jungle. While most of the creatures on Pandora are very interesting, a very small amount border on the ridiculous and will leave you chuckling in your seats.

The movie takes a good long time to get going, but when it does, it really gets going. The last quarter of the movie is full throttle, no holds-back action. Kind of makes you wish the whole movie was like that, but seeing as the setting is totally new, the movie does need a little extra time getting us acquainted with it.

The biggest hype that Avatar is getting is clearly the new CGI technology and the use of the REAL-D. Avatar was shot similarly to 300 in that there is not a scene from the movie that wasn’t shot with some sort of green screen, let alone the full body suits for the motion capture. And all of the years and money that went into making this movie paid off, it looks fantastic. The movie is nothing if not utterly beautiful. And although I did not get the chance to see the movie in 3D, I have heard nothing but good things from people who did.

It’s taken director James Cameron ten years to make this movie, and after seeing it, I say it was worth the wait. Very few things are done wrong in this movie. And while the story doesn’t bring much to the table in the way of innovation, almost every other aspect in the movie does. This is the type of movie that is best seen in theaters at least once before it comes out of DVD. I highly recommend this film to anyone who enjoys a wonderful cinematic experience.