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Avatar movie poster

Avatar: Movie Review

Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure
Rated: PG-13
Directed by: James Cameron
Starring: Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana, Giovanni Ribisi, Michelle Rodriguez
Released by: 20th Century Fox

In Short: Writer-director James Cameron is back with a vengeance with this visually spectacular and emotionally satisfying sci-fi thriller about a far-away planet and its wonderful blue inhabitants.

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James Cameron’s Triumphant Return to the Silver Screen

After a 12-year hiatus from telling stories on the big screen—he’s been doing television (“Dark Angel”, “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”) and documentaries in the interim, “Titanic” director James Cameron returns with a spellbinding 3-D experience.

“Avatar” begins far in the future, with a paralyzed ex-Marine named Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) who is traveling to a far-off planet called Pandora. He’s been tapped by a giant mining corporation to take over the job that his late scientist twin brother had begun. He is to bring to life a test-tube-created being whose DNA combines human and Na’vi characteristics. The Na’vi are the gigantic blue humanoids that populate Pandora, and the people that stand between the mining corporation and the profitable precious metal they so greedily desire.

Michelle Rodriguez in Avatar Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana in Avatar

There’s much more to the story, as Cameron engulfs us in a gorgeous world filled with crazy creatures and a population of sentient beings whose lives are intimately entwined with their planet. But it’s best to see this magnificent film without too much foreknowledge. Just know that this master filmmaker has drawn from many genres to create this work of art, with nods to western films like “Dances with Wolves,” his own science-fiction oeuvre of the “Terminator” films and “Aliens,” and even romantic drama, while creating a visual feast for the eyes with state-of-the-art special effects. And he’s populated his story with wonderful actors, some of whom (like Zoe Saldana, CCH Pounder, and Wes Studi) are only seen in their Na’vi motion-capture, computer-enhanced personas, which are simply fabulous.

There’s action a-plenty, set amid themes that resonate strongly with environmental messages; in fact, “Avatar” is a thinly disguised plea for humans on this planet to remember that if we do not protect our earth it will be the end of us as a civilization. It’s a message wrapped in some of the most breathtaking images ever seen on the big screen, and worth every bit of the $230 million that Cameron reportedly spent on the film. We predict he’ll earn that back in a week, for there’s no doubt about it: everyone who loves movies must go see this film on the big screen.

Reviewed by Jenny Peters

Updated: (04/23/10 AR)

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