Luke Thorne’s review published on Letterboxd:
Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver and Zoë Saldana star in James Cameron’s part animated Oscar-winning science-fiction epic about a soldier who discovers his mission is to rid a world of its inhabitants.
This is James Cameron’s first-feature film since directing Titanic, the highest-grossing film of 1997 that swept the board at the Academy Awards, winning 11.
There is always anticipation for what James Cameron will deliver and what the director has done here with Avatar is absolutely nothing short of spectacular.
Set in the 22nd century, the film sees the focus on Jake Sully, an ex-marine who finds himself on an alien planet filled with unusual life forms. Not only this, but he finds that he is being torn between two very different worlds, while at the same time, fighting for his own survival, and making sure the people around him are safe as well.
In terms of the cast, Sam Worthington gives a very good performance in his live-action and part-animated role as Jake and he suits the role really well, giving the best performance of his career to date and his character is absolutely determined to succeed in the mission he has been set.
Stephen Lang is also very good in his role as Colonel Miles Quatrich, the head of the mining operation’s security detail and aims to cause as much trouble as possible, while there is very solid support to be had from Sigourney Weaver in her role as Grace Augustine, a doctor who is the head of the Avatar program.
She suits the role really well and this is the second collaboration between her and Cameron, following their hugely successful first outing in Cameron’s Aliens.
Michelle Rodriguez also offers excellent support in her role as Trudy Chacon, a combat pilot who is assigned to help the Avatar program as much as possible.
With the big blue aliens (Avatars), Zoe Saldana is excellent in her role voicing Neytiri, the daughter of the leader of the Omaticaya. She is attracted to Jake because of his bravery and serves as his love interest throughout the film. C.C.H. Punder as Mo’at, the spiritual leader of the Omaticaya; Wes Studi as Eytukan, the clan leader of the Omaticaya and Laz Alonso as Tsu’tey, the finest warrior of the Omaticaya, also give very good voice performances in their respective roles.
The direction from Cameron is excellent because he allows the facial expressions to be seen to a strong effect throughout, while also keeping a tense atmosphere happening as well and the script is written to a terrific standard by the director as he makes the movie really easy to follow.
The set, camera, music, sound, editing, makeup and visual effects stand out best in terms of the technical aspects, because the set is brilliant to view at all times; the camera makes very good use of the locations and also captures the tense and dramatic moments well, which deservedly get the edge-of-the-seat status; the music is very enjoyable to listen to; the sound is fantastic as you have to listen carefully at times; the movie is edited to a terrific effect; the makeup is outstanding; the visual effects dazzle whenever they appear on screen.
The animated sequences are very impressive, clever to look at and work really well.
It’s not just the animation that works well, but it is also the action sequences – they work really well because they keep you on the edge-of-your-seat, particularly the action-packed battle sequences from the moment they start to the moment they finish.
Also, the way the film ends, it is set up very nicely for Avatar 2. THe anticipation for Avatar 2, for me, will be absolutely massive. Bring on the box office battle with Avengers: Endgame.
The movie managed to win three Academy Awards: Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects and Best Art Direction and it absolutely deserved those awards. It also received nominations for: Best Picture, Best Director (James Cameron), Best Film Editing, Best Music, Original Score (James Horner), Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing and it absolutely deserved those nominations too.
The film managed to win the British Academy Film Awards for Best Production Design and Best Visual Effects and it deserved those wins, while the British Academy also nominated Avatar for: Best Film, Best Director (James Cameron), Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Music and Best Sound and it deserved those nominations as well.
At the Golden Globes, James Cameron won the award for Best Director – Motion Picture (at least he won something for his superb, brilliant work on Avatar rather than absolutely nothing) and the movie also won Best Motion Picture – Drama.
Those awards were really deserved, while it also got nominations for Best Original Score – Motion Picture (James Horner) and Best Original Song – Motion Picture (I See You, which is very enjoyable to listen to).
Overall, Avatar is one spectacular piece of filmmaking from a master director. James Cameron certainly knows how to entertain audiences and this film is no exception. It works so well due to the very good performances from the cast, most notably Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang and Sigourney Weaver, along with the amazing and excellent technical elements, direction, well written script, tense atmosphere and battle sequences mean this is without any doubt the best science-fiction film to have been made in the year of this release.