I’ve been expecting to see this movie for a long time, but mostly for its visuals and not for its story. Before I start my review, I have to say that the IMAX premiere of the movie in QC was in French, and 95% of French translations very much suck, so maybe my opinion will be a bit off, but I’ll go and see it again in English this week to have an uncorrupted opinion.
First off, I’ll get everything bad I have to say about this movie off my chest right away. Cameron needs to realize he can’t write a movie. Terminator was a melting pot of cliché one-liners, Titanic was very close for that matter, and unfortunately, Avatar keeps Cameron’s track-record intact. The dialogue is horrible, the bad guys are simply too much, and way too often in the movie did I say to my self “this line belonged in the movie Predator”.
Some of the actors aren’t bad, Ribisi is “ok”, but his 5’6, 140 pounds, baby-face physique just doesn’t fit the role of a multi-million dollar corporate/military operation boss. I’d say the best actor in the movie was Zoe Saldana, who was just incredibly believable as a Na’vi, the alien, indigenous population of Pandora, the planet where the whole story takes place.
Once you’re able to get over all this, and you just focus on the 90-foot screen through your 3D goggles, you’re in for one wild ride. Visually, this movie is light-years ahead of anything I’ve ever seen before. My jaw was dropped from the first minute to the last single frame. Cameron promised something new technologically speaking, and he delivered. Everything is just stunning; the colors, the details, the scenery. It is really a 3-hour documentary about a new, beautiful world that you just want to go visit right away. ILM and Weta really pushed the limits in terms of photo-realism CGI. Every character feels so alive and real, and so do the various animal species that live on Pandora.
Cameron delivers in terms of story-telling with the Na’vi. At the end of the movie, you truly think you could write a book about the population of Pandora. Their beliefs, culture and way of living are so well introduced that this new race of beings feels like it has existed right across the street for thousands of years. To be honest, Cameron should have made a movie only about the Na’vi, and excluded any real-life human scene. The movie would have been way better that way.
I have to say though, the movie is one big geek-trip, and if you’re not into Sci-Fi, chances are you won’t like it. But if you have any interest for artistic direction and imaginary stories, this is a movie you have to see, and you have to see it on IMAX 3D.