Breathtaking ‘Avatar’ makes up for weak story with spectacle

By Sean Harris ’11

Neytiri (Zo‘ Saldana) and Jake (Sam Worthington) make final preparations for an epic battle that will decide the fate of an entire world. (MCT Campus)
Neytiri (Zo‘ Saldana) and Jake (Sam Worthington) make final preparations for an epic battle that will decide the fate of an entire world. (MCT Campus)

Coming in among waves of speculation, “Avatar” has finally arrived in theaters.

Director James Cameron supposedly sank over $300 million into this project that he says will change cinema forever.

All of this talk has created a backlash, and it makes sense considering the trailers are somewhat underwhelming and the story seems suspiciously familiar.

Now that it is here, Cameron has proved that it was not all just talk; “Avatar” is a feast for the eyes and an experience that should not be missed.

The film begins with Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paraplegic ex-marine who takes over a job for his twin brother after he is killed.

His brother was working on a planet known as Pandora as a researcher trying to find a diplomatic solution with the indigenous population known as the Na’vi.

They did this by inhabiting the bodies of the Na’vi, also known as avatars, to gain the trust of the population and to survive the hostile environment of Pandora.

Since Jake’s brother represents a significant investment, Jake gets to posses the body of an avatar in his place; it won’t work unless the DNA is similar.

Jake gains the trust of the natives and soon has to make a choice between the Na’vi and his own people, as the humans are looking to force the Na’vi from their home in order to harvest the natural resources the natives are sitting on.

The plot of “Avatar” is very weak; it is a futuristic story of the Native Americans shown in complete black and white.

The story can be forgiven if only for the simple fact that this movie was made to wow audiences with special effects. And on this front the movie succeeds enough to carry the lagging plot.

What Cameron has done here with his enormous budget is create an entirely new world known as Pandora; and he might have also ushered in a new era of 3D.

The movie was really made for the 3D, and audiences who only see the 2D version are missing something incredible that cannot be recreated on a smaller screen.

In fact the same can be said for the whole movie, it was made really as more of an event and less of a film. If it is not seen on the theaters there will be nothing to take away from it. It truly is a movie going experience.

The acting in the film ranges with some of the characters able to fit into their stereotyped characters while others fall flat. Worthington gives an average performance as Jake, a character that could have been utilized better in the film.

Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch, a tough-as-nails army man, is very menacing and knows how to sell his character.

The same can be said for resident cooperate scum Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi) a greedy exec who will resort to bloodshed only to make a profit.

The Na’vi also give pretty good performances and pack an emotional punch when their world is crumbling around them.

However, the story leads to these characters never being fully realized, because it is told in white and black the colonists are evil and the Na’vi are living saints who can do no wrong.

The film never deviates from this, creating a movie that is very predictable.

Nevertheless, “Avatar” is indeed an experience that cannot be missed.

4 out of 5 horseshoes