Avatar ★★★★★

Saying Avatar is overrated is really becoming a cliche statement. I’m too tired of people who claim they can’t remember a single character from the movie while simultaneously naming every character in Marvel or DC or whatever popular franchise they idolize. James Cameron created a marvelous technical achievement by ultimately creating a simple tale, and elevating the story by building a world of depth and spirit.

Can you imagine watching Avatar back in 2009, during its opening night? In fact, I cannot imagine making this movie from scratch. There are just too many elements that require good care. The animals in Pandora, for example: They each have their own unique design individually, and it must have taken a huge amount of time to master their looks flawlessly. Clearly, Cameron’s projects are full of his commitment. He has fantastic skills in utilizing locations. In Titanic, he showed us the scale of the entire ship, and how every passenger has their own stories. It made us really care about the evental disaster. Here in Avatar, the scope is much, much larger. That’s why the first half of the movie is a showcase of Pandora. The narrative involves a soldier entering the body of an avatar to infiltrate the people of Pandora. Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez are his support. He meets Zoe Saldana’s Neytiri, who basically, as a character, represents the Na’vi people and their culture. People often overlook Saldana’s performance. They often skip over the fact that she (and the rest of the Na’vi cast) had nothing to work with except green screens and motion-capture suits. Much of the cast’s performance requires their strong imagination and versatility. Stephen Lang makes an entertaining, but monotonous villain; one of the only (unimportant) misfortunes of Avatar.

This is the best kind of blockbuster visual-fest: Imaginative, refreshing, and has its audience in awe. It should also be praised that this movie is so easy to look at. It has some of the smoothest cinematography and editing. Now I unfortunately could only watch it at home with the gorgeous blu-ray transfer on a sufficient QLED TV, but there’s a chance that I would love Avatar even more once I experienced it on a giant screen. I call it amazing that during its 160-minute runtime, not for one second I feel tired of the visuals, especially when many scenes involve battles and travels in the air (which is another showcase for Cameron and director of photography Mauro Fiore’s expertise in handling perspective and space). I didn’t find the story bland at all. It takes its time to handle consecutive events leading up to the climax. Even if it is bland, I feel like it’s worth forgiving the film for it.

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