I really don't know what to say. I'm still in a bit of awe from the film. I suppose you could say I was marginally taken in by the hype, but not even close to fully. I do enjoy James Cameron films. But I wasn't sure what to make of this movie by the trailer. But I suppose my lesson was learned: Don't try to decide what to feel about the movie by the trailer alone. You just have to see it to believe it, I guess.

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is an ex-marine and current paraplegic. His twin brother was involved with the Avatar program, a program in which people link up to a hybrid lifeform that looks like the Na'Vi, the humanoid natives of the planet Pandora. On Pandora is a mineral substance that is worth a lot of money. The Avatar folks, led by Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver), want to try a peaceful way to get the Na'Vi to relocate from the Hometree, which just so happens to be the largest deposit of the mineral. But the military folks, led by Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), have more violent measures in mind. But when Jake's avatar gets involved with the natives on a personal level, the colonel takes it upon himself to enlist Jake to give him secret intel. But Jake, who is quickly learning the lifestyles and rituals of the Na'Vi, primarily from a female named Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), begins to realize that the side he's working for might not be the right one.

To get the negatives out of the way first, I'll begin with the story. There really isn't one. That mineral stuff is really only mentioned by name once and only shown twice (that I remember). It's not really discussed at any great length. There are hints that Earth is a dying planet, but the idea isn't really explored, either. Two things really come about due to the lack of story: 1) certain character developments (such as the Norm character, who feels like he had some deleted scenes that altered his character in spots) and 2) the entirety of the second act comes off as one giant montage. In other words, the movie has your basic "Guy Infiltrates Enemy, Guy Discovers Enemy Is Good And His Team Is Enemy, Enemy Finds Out About Guy And Shuns, Guy Finds Way To Prove Self, Guy Fights With Opposing Team" story and doesn't go much deeper than that.

But it doesn't have to. What the movie lacks in story, it makes up with... well, everything else. I can't even say enough about the visuals. You really get nothing from the trailer. You can tell there's gonna be eye candy, but until you're sitting in a dark theater and seeing the full movie in its 3D glory (and you must see it in 3D... otherwise, there's probably no point), you have no idea. Every little detail is gorgeous.

And the movie is so damn imaginative it makes me weep with envy. This is really one of those stories that makes me go "I wish I had thought of that..." And not just about the Avatar thing. That's hardly even the tip of the iceberg. There's a whole new mythos created for this film. The plant life, the animals, the religion, the landscape, and even the way of life--the detail and thought put into this new planet and this new species is breathtaking and rich.

The acting is great, as well. Stephen Lang would make R. Lee Ermey proud with his portrayal of a douchebag military officer. It's funny to see the two completely opposite sides of Stephen Lang--first a more comedic and/or whimsical character in The Men Who Stare At Goats, and now this. Also in the movie are Michelle Rodriguez and Giovanni Ribisi, who do well with the little screen time they're given. But I really wanna throw it up for Zoe Saldana, who portrayed the emotions of this alien being so beautifully. Though I kinda found it funny how her character was conflicted with Eve Syndrome (no matter what was going on, the leaves always covered her 'parts'. I swear, she could be swinging upside down in high gusting winds, and the leaves would always stay perfectly positioned around her breasts). I don't know, I think that was more distracting than it would have been having random bits of nudity. Or maybe we've already met the year's quota on blue genitalia with Watchmen.

Anywho, on that note, I suppose I'll wrap this up. The movie's only real negative is its lack of story... which doesn't even feel like an issue until about halfway through. The movie is nearly 3 hours long, and when you have a nearly 3-hour movie with little story, you start to feel it after a while. But luckily the visuals are there to keep you going. And the characters do get you invested. You root for the Na'Vi, even though the movie is mostly predictable. So go out and see it, definitely. But see it in 3D, or else you're completely missing out. I'm not even going to dock my final score for the story issue, either. The movie was so pure imagination and fun that I'm gonna give it my highest.

Royale With Cheese

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