Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
Avatar is the 2009 film that broke many box office records and is currently the highest-grossing film worldwide. The film was directed by James Cameron, who is known for directing hits such as The Terminator and Titanic, and stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, and Joel David Moore. The plot is natural resources on Earth are depleting, and humans go to Pandora to get new ones. Disabled former Marine Jake Sully, played by Sam Worthington, is sent to fill in his dead brother’s shoes and use his Avatar to befriend the Na’vi as a spy, but soon realizes there is more to them than what the humans think.
Avatar has this weird reputation despite breaking new ground for the industry and beginning a 3D trend that was known in the early 2010s. People seem to find it either overrated or underrated. It’s understandable as to why. It has a familiar plot the audience had seen in Pocahontas and Dances With Wolves. Compared to some of James Cameron’s other work, its not as good. At the same time, it changed things with it’s amazing special effects work. I didn’t see Avatar until it first came on TV. At the time, I didn’t think much of it. I rewatched it a few years ago and enjoyed it a second time. With it coming out again in 3D and Avatar: The Way of Water coming out in a few months, I thought it was a perfect time to revisit the film on the big screen.
It was worth seeing Avatar on the big screen in 3D. The 3D work was incredible and better than some of the films that came out after Avatar in 2009 that went 3D. Back then, it felt like some films that did not have to be in 3D were. Avatar was meant to be watched in 3D. The 3D helped make the special effects work stand out even more than they originally did. The subtitles when the Na’vi spoke their language even looked great in 3D. The special effects are beautiful. Avatar first came out in 2009, and it’s amazing how the special effects of this film look a million times better than some of the special effects from movies in the last few years.
Pandora looks incredible and highly detailed. From the floating rocks to the Tree of Souls, James Cameron designed Pandora very well. The performance capture work is top tier. The Na’vi looked amazing, and the way they made them look similar to the actors playing those roles is incredible. The action, which is something Cameron was known for before Avatar, was good. The film’s third act is full of action and it’s easy to tell a lot of work was put into the big final battle. People get frustrated that the upcoming Avatar sequels have taken so long to come out, but paying close attention to the amount of work James Cameron and his crew put into this first film, it’s easier to understand why it’s taken so long. Cameron wants to improve from the first film.
With the acting, the best performances came from Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver. Saldana plays Neytiri, a member of the Omaticaya clan. She is the main Na’vi character and Jake Sully's love interest. Saldana does an incredible job and is the best performance using performance capture. Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Grace Augustine, who is trying to push for peaceful relations with the Na’vi, is the best human performance in the film. Sam Worthington as Jake Sully is fine, nothing special. The character of Jake Sully has a good arc, and it felt like if Worthington had given a better performance or someone else played the role, the character could have flourished better with audiences. Stephen Lang portrays the main antagonist Colonel Miles Quaritch, who hates the Na’vi and doesn’t care if they die as long as he gets what he wants. Lang gives a good performance, but his character feels like a character we have seen in other films.
All in all, Avatar seems to hold up better after all these years. The 3D is worth the hype and makes the special effects even better. The best performances were by Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver. The plot is predictable, yet it manages to find unique takes on it. It’s not James Cameron’s best work, but it’s easier to understand now why he’s spent so many years on this film and the upcoming sequels. I recommend you check out Avatar in 3D or IMAX. Rewatching it in 3D for the first time increases the anticipation for Avatar: The Way of Water.
Final Grade-B+ (the 3D work is A+)
What did you think of Avatar,and did you see it in 3D? Let us know in the comments down below.