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Avatar - Belated Review

Finally saw Avatar a week ago. However, my brief attempts to interest ‘proper’ blogs in a review didn’t go well, as the movie is now over two months old. So I ended up writing this piece for Dorkadore, focusing on its massive financial success (albeit with a few review-esque snippits).

However, I review things out of love, not just as a “job”. So I wrote a straight review of Avatar and am posting it here for the entertainment of anyone who may care. (Notes: Yes, some points are repeated across the two pieces. And yes, a few small spoilers are contained within.)


The James Cameron-masterminded sci-fi epic, Avatar, has been out for a couple of months now. The build-up happened, filmgoers got excited, then readied themselves for an anticlimax, and finally felt slightly disappointed when reviews came out and were positive but not spectacular.

Despite all of that, it has ended up becoming the most successful film of all time. Nearly everyone has ended up seeing it in some form, even if only because their friends were going. Which is what happened to me yesterday.

I hadn’t bothered with it until now, because… well, I don’t like hard sci-fi, I can’t stand elves and I disliked most of Titanic intensely. But, you know, it’s the most successful film of all time. I don’t like to feel left out.

Fortunately, Avatar is to hard sci-fi what Emmanuelle is to hard porn. All the same parts are there, but they never get used in sufficient detail to qualify. The ‘avatar’ technology itself, easily the most interesting concept in the film, is skimmed over a tad, in favour of the more conventional culture clash-morality tale-love story involving the (concealed) white man among the noble savages.

Which is frustrating for those of us of the dork persuasion, but I am not convinced we’re the target audience here. Cameron may have included a swathe of sci-fi trappings to differentiate his film from Pocahontas, but this is definitely a film for the movie-going masses. If he’d spent the entire time delving into the intricacies of body-swapping, the record-busting box office figures would probably not have happened.

Not to mention, the story isn’t entirely the point either. Or rather, it is, but only to provide a setting for some lovely visuals. And they are gorgeous, make no mistake. Cameron’s vision of the multi-coloured alien world of Pandora is amazingly realised here, and once again manages to draw in the viewer, even as they moan about plot predictability.

So, yes, even though the plot is mostly predictable, the dialogue sometimes groan-worthy and, yes, ‘unobtanium’ is a horrific name for a rare and valuable element, you can see why it has done well. It may not be anything ground-breaking, but it’s a simple, lush modern-day fable. It was nearly three hours long, yet I was rarely bored. And if nothing else, I’d rather watch this again than Titanic any day.


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