Avatar ★★★★

"There is still at least one man in Hollywood who knows how to spend $250 million, or was it $300 million, wisely." ~ Roger Ebert on Avatar, 12/11/09

Roger Ebert was not wrong here and he still isn't. This film gets a lot of shit even more than a decade later, but it's still a spectacle through and through. As with Titanic twelve years earlier, he mixes spectacle and heart together at such a dizzying rate that you can't help but be swept away with the story in front of you. Some can't suspend their disbelief, but Cameron is such an accomplished visual storyteller that his simple narratives explode onto the screen with a kind of visceral impact that're almost impossible to ignore, even on a basic action level.

The first time I saw that extended Death of the Titanic sequence on a big screen when I was 11, I literally held my breath. The first time I saw Pandora on the ArcLight Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles when I was 23, I held my breath. Few directors have the kind of scope and vision with a budget to match. There are quibbles to be had of course - I mean, we've all heard Cameron's dialogue - but you can't ignore the balls it took to put out a film about blue alien giants that have sex with their hair braids and not just believe, but know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it would become the biggest film of all time.

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