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BMZ Review: Avatar: An IMAX 3D Experience
By Ann Coates

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Avatar: An IMAX 3D Experience
Written by: Ann Coates
Source: Big Movie Zone
Date: January 8, 2010

     

Category: Reviews

The wait and hype has definitely been long and drawn out for James Cameron's Avatar, and it is all worth it in this electrifying tour de force of action and digital animation.  The story line and characters tend to fall in the more ordinary end of the movie spectrum, but the vitality of the action and detail of the CGI works so well, it is easy to forget how conventional the story really is.

The price tag of the film has been rumored to be as far up as $400 million -- a believable estimate when confronted with the photo realism of the Na'vi and the incredible creation of a planet such as Pandora.  The ambitious graphics of Avatar will perhaps become a benchmark upon which many future films will aspire to reach.

The story follows paraplegic ex-marine, Jack Sully (Sam Worthington), who is offered his deceased twin brother's place in the Avatar project led by scientist, Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver).  Here humans enter and control the bodies of Na'vi avatars in order to interact and better understand the indigenous people of Pandora.  Behind all this research, there is of course the money-backing evil corporation looking for profit from the mineral rich alien planet.  Slime ball corporate head, Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi), heads the greedy operation with help from his military backup Colonel Miles Quaritch played with impressive nastiness by Stephen Lang.

Sully is at first aligned with Col. Quaritch offering intel when he can on the Na'vi.  But as Sully is slowly incorporated into the Na'vi world -- and as he falls in love with fellow Na'vi warrior Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) -- he begins to question his allegiance which brings tensions to a head.  For those in power, if diplomacy cannot win the day then military aggression becomes the answer.

Cameron does a fine job in building this rather formulaic story -- we spend a lot of time with Sully, discovering his history and learning of the alien world and the Na'vi.  Cameron should be commended for not diving directly into visual bombardment and instant gratification -- an easy means to entertain any crowd.  Rather, he immerses the audience in this fictional world, establishing its rules and developing its drama.  Although every plot point introduced has a predictable and foreseeable outcome, the film's simple story is perfect for a film that in the end is so heavy on visual theatrics and spectacle.

It is in the visual effects that the film's true achievement lies.  Seen in IMAX 3D, the world of Pandora looks and feels real.  Not relying on typical 3D tactics of objects flying into the audience, Cameron instead uses this technology for its ability to create depth and immersion.  The film in IMAX also gives the world of Pandora an added grandeur as well as a detailed glimpse into the phenomenal alien effects.  The final battle sequence in such a format is a wonder to behold, containing a fine balance of action and melodrama.  It is a definite must see in the IMAX 3D format, but even in a conventional 2D grungy multiplex, the remarkable fantasy of Avatar will wow.

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The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest
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Avatar: An IMAX 3D Experience
Molecules to the MAX!
Monsters vs. Aliens: An IMAX 3D Experience
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Journey to Mecca: In the Footsteps of Ibn Battuta
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