Avatar ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Still awe-inspiring. I'm one of the only people in existence who never saw Avatar back during it's original 2009 theatrical release - despite having really wanted to see it - just by virtue by having a family disinterested in seeing it for whatever reason and being unable to see the movie myself. It's one of the cultural moments in my life I genuinely missed out on, and I didn't catch the movie until over a year later on DVD when I fell in love with it.

The entire discourse surrounding the film in the over a decade since it's release has been, frankly, insufferable, and it's made even more asinine since, by coming back to theaters, Avatar proves why it's just simply the best theater experience you can possibly have. An insanely immersive, almost transformative experience that replicates the characters own literal out of body lives throughout the film; 3D isn't simply a gimmick, it's literally the only way to tell this story properly and put you in the shoes of Jake. Even as technology grows and other films have matched it (and even surpassed it in some ways) the film still looks leagues above a lot of blockbusters being released today and James Cameron's nearly obsessive eye for detail is what does it. The CG doesn't feel weightless because the digital, fake cameras don't either - they feel bolted to the ground and act like they literally part of the world.

But what's most interesting about Avatar is how much on rewatch it's themes stick out; not just the anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist slant, but also it's mythological and religious ideas. There is a constant relationship between the material and immaterial here, and those that can't see that are likewise the ignorant ones who are dismissive of the possibilities. The Na'vi as a spiritual people, while yes is meant to hon in on real world parallels, is also uniquely spiritual in their embrace of the "one" and a singular people. This is what makes the destruction of Hometree so effective in it's tragedy, it's both the destruction of an entire ecosystem while also being the death of a lifeline.

And despite it's $2.8 billion gross, Avatar still somehow doesn't get enough credit. The film is indeed that good, frankly, and I'm tired of not saying it loud enough. The naysayers be damned - this is a stellar film from top to bottom and another example of why James Cameron is just the best at what he does. If you haven't had the chance to check this out in theaters yet, please do so at your closest opportunity, it's one for the ages.

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