Thinking about what I should review first in my “movie that came out years ago that I haven’t previously reviewed” series of posts was something I was struggling with. That is right up until this past weekend when I by chance ended up watching Avatar. The highest grossing film of all time with well over $2 billion raked in, and a film so many people struggle to remember a lot about, I’ve always been intrigued how this film made so much of an impact and then seemingly slipped out of the publics consciousness.
When was the last time you saw anyone dressed as a Na’vi person on Halloween or at a comic con. Avatar came, the world went mad for it, then it left. Watching it again with that knowledge really makes you wonder how well the next installments planned for release in the next couple of years will do.
Avatar feels like a truly epic experience. The effects, the scale, and the attention to detail of the world they have built is incredible. It really does make you long to visit Pandora, and this is probably avatars biggest strength. From the Na’vi’s culture to the flying beasts and creatures around them, you’re transported to a different world.
Sam Worthington in the lead role of Jake Sully. He’s good, but struggled to really command the film at times. Zoe Saldana is great as Neytiri and supports well alongside Sigourney Weaver. Stephen Lang plays the snarling army commander who fills the role of the main antagonist although the film is not just about the antagonist against the protagonist.
Jake Sullys journey exploring and learning the ways of this new culture is the heart of the film, as well as the blossoming relationship between him and Neytiri. It’s one of many subplots and messages the film juggles and for the most part director James Cameron does a good job of not letting things get too convoluted. Where the film does lack a little is in the motivations behind the antagonist, who I think comes across as pretty one-dimensional. He is easy to predict and despite enjoying the performance of the actor the character just felt a bit thin.
Avatar is at its best when you are focused in the incredible world built by James Cameron. It is so colourful, vibrant and full of wonder that just watching the screen is a joy in itself. The core story isn’t anything groundbreaking, with parallels to several other films, but nothing has ever, before or since, built a world so vibrant.
Weirdly the film it reminded me most of that has come out since is Warcraft. What i mean by this is that the world itself in both films is more interesting than the individual characters we meet. In both cases I can comfortably say I would enjoy seeing a return to these worlds, but I think I would actually prefer it if the next instalment doesn’t focus on the characters we have already met. Rather than that, I would like to explore more of Pandora and the Na’vi, perhaps not even having human characters at the centre of the story.
Good: The world is simply incredible to see, even after 9 years of superhero and star wars films, Avatar still looks amazing. The messages it strives to deliver re: the environment are still just as relevant today.
Bad: With more interesting main characters, or a more charismatic hero or villain, this would have been an even bigger hit, if that’s possible.
Test of time: The film holds up well, and as previously said, the messages are still just as relevant today. The upcoming sequels will be a real test on how well Avatar stuck with the general public, as big event movies are becoming a regular thing now which was not the case in 2009.
8/10 – Avatar is still stunning to watch.