Ever since it first came out at theaters, I have heard nothing but good things about the movie Avatar. I have even had quite a few people tell me it was the best movie they have ever watched.
It took me until this past weekend to finally get around to watching the movie for the first time. And, while I won’t go as far as to say it was absolutely the best movie ever, I can definitely see why people would argue that.
I’m going to start out by applauding the uniqueness of this movie in an era that has seen Hollywood choose to re-make popular films rather than come up with something new. This movie is your typical alien invasion movie; the only exception is this movie has humans from Earth invading another planet, destroying its natural habitat and warring with the natives just so they can obtain a rare mineral. In an effort to learn more about the indigenous humanoids (referred to as Na’vi), a team of researchers develop Na’vi-human hybrid bodies (Avatars) that are controlled remotely by genetically matched humans to interact with the natives in an effort to find a peaceful way of obtaining the metal they are seeking. Unfortunately, their efforts are hindered significantly by a military colonel looking for every excuse to attack the Na’vi and just take the mineral by force.
The thing that really won me over about this movie is it is one of the few science fiction films out there that makes it clear we (as in humans) are the bad guys. Granted, the movie only focuses on a small group of humans who are looking to make money and there are a few that refuse to go along with it. But, it was one of those movies that really makes you stop and think of the wars and human extermination that have occurred on this planet for things like gold, diamonds and simple expansion.
One of the things that really sold this movie when it came out was the special effects and I have to say they were spectacular. My daughter, who watched this with us, was mesmerized at times. But, the thing that impressed me more was the fact the movie didn’t rely just on the special effects; there was actually quite a bit of thought and effort put into the actual story too. The movie goes through a great deal of effort to teach you about the Na’vi, their way of life and their religious beliefs so it is easy to like them. And, even though the humans are the bad guys, you can see quite a bit of remorse from many of them whenever they do end up killing the natives. This effort results in a wide range of emotions; you will laugh at times, will be angry at times and very sad at times.
Even though I did like this film, I did find a couple things about it that I wasn’t a big fan of. One of these was the fact the movie seemed to be much longer than its already long run time. I think part of the reason for that was there was a lot of filler; scenes that did a great job showing off the fantastic special effects but didn’t add much to the actual plot.
And, while the overall plot was unique, there were quite a few concepts that seemed to be borrowed from other movies. For example, there were things about the Na’vi that reminded me a heck of a lot of the fairies in FernGully and a few scenes that I could have sworn I’ve seen elsewhere; though I can’t think of what movie.
Final opinion: Despite the couple things I mentioned above, this movie is definitely one that is worth watching at least once in your lifetime. Again, I won’t say it is the best movie I have ever watched, but it is one of the best.
Average Netflix Grade: 4.3 stars out of a possible 5.
My Grade: 5 stars.