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JAMES CAMERON

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBB.5.  

James Cameron returns to the director’s chair twelve years after the success of Titanic to make another superbly expensive adventure. Where his wonderful epics usually hit emotional points as well as they do the adrenaline glands, Avatar is much heavier on the technical wizardry and not as impressive in any other manner.   plays a disabled vet in who has traveled to the planet Pandora to take over the work his science researcher brother was doing before he died. The planet’s indigenous population, massive, lean creatures known as the Na’vi, are not friendly to the human colonizers and have resisted attempts to be “modernized”, while the humans don’t want to leave since Pandora possesses a mineral substance that is worth billions of dollars. There is a clash of desires between the military who want to eradicate the species and the scientists who want to study and assimilate them that comes to a head when Worthington arrives, immediately ready to please both. Despite his lack of training, he takes his brother’s place and is assigned to hook into an “Avatar”, a biogenetically engineered Na’vi who responds to all of his host’s brain impulses once they are electronically linked. Under this guise, our hero ventures deep into the forest where he makes the acquaintance of a Na’vi woman (), falls in love with her and, eventually, her people. The Dances With Wolves storyline is an absolute dud, diverting enough but never surprising, and Cameron’s usual talent with rich characterizations fails him here; the complexity of Sarah Connor’s maternal terror or Ellen Ripley’s vulnerable menace have been replaced with cardboard cutouts of good guys and bad guys, none of it helped by Worthington’s flat performance. The magic of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Cameron’s masterpiece, is not the fact that he got liquid metal to walk; it’s that he got liquid metal to walk in pursuit of people you actually cared about. fares much better as the scientific half of the argument, but she’s never integral enough to give the movie any drive, so it’s all left to the technicians to really take you on a journey, and boy do they ever. The effects are beyond astonishing, every shot giving you colours and creatures with rich, vivid detail that never becomes queasy or irritating. When viewed in “Real 3-D” the experience is even more delicious, Cameron using the technology to its best advantage without ever letting it be a gimmick. That said, the film runs nearly three hours and, despite its being one of the most eyepopping spectacles ever put on the silver screen, has a story that B-movies have been telling in 80 minutes or less for decades.


Twentieth Century Fox, Dune Entertainment, Ingenious Film Partners, Lightstorm Entertainment

USA/United Kingdom, 2009

Screenplay by James Cameron

Cinematography by

Produced by James Cameron,

Music by

Production Design by ,

Costume Design by ,

Film Editing by James Cameron, ,

Las Vegas Film Critics Awards 2009.

New York Film Critics Awards 2009.  

Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2009.

Academy Awards
Best Art Direction (production design: Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg; set decoration: Kim Sinclair)
Best Cinematography (Mauro Fiore)
Best Visual Effects (Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham, Andrew R. Jones)

Nominations
Best Directing (James Cameron)
Best Film Editing (Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua, James Cameron)
Best Music (Original Score) (James Horner)
Best Picture (James Cameron, Jon Landau, producers)
Best Sound Editing (Christopher Boyes, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle)
Best Sound Mixing (Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson, Tony Johnson)

Golden Globe Awards
Best Motion Picture-Drama
Best Director (James Cameron)

Nominations
Best Original Score-Motion Picture (James Horner)
Best Original Song-Motion Picture (“I See You”, lyrics by Kuk Harrell, music & lyrics by Simon Franglen, James Horner)

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