I think there should be two large boxes placed outside the cinema doors prior to every screening of Avatar. One box to drop your brain in before you enter, and the other your cynicism. This simple gesture would make things much easier for those wanting to get the most out of James Cameron’s latest blockbuster. Without your brain, you could sit back and take in the wonder of this incredible achievement in visual effects without letting the lack of story and character development distract you. And with your cynicism conveniently packed away in a box outside, you could watch the sappy spiritualism and environmental undercurrents of James Cameron’s script without shaking your head and feeling the slight urge to vomit.
Unfortunately, I chose to keep my brain and cynicism in place during Avatar. Luckily I have the ability to temporarily switch both of them off from time to time so I still managed to enjoy the film. Actually, let’s be honest here, I had a blast watching it! Who couldn’t? This is easily the most amazing cinematic achievement I’ve ever seen. For sheer spectacle value, it is incomparable.
That is not to say that beyond being delicious eye candy, Avatar lacks substance completely. It’s more accurate to simply say the film is “lacking”. There is enough of a story to keep you interested, and there is a few mildly interesting characters, but truly great films need more than that. We need to be inside the characters heads and swept up in their adventure. Avatar just doesn’t reach those heights well enough.
It was great seeing Sigourney Weaver back in a big budget film and I’d be more than happy to have her feature in all of Cameron’s films in the future.
Sam Worthington finally comes into his own in Avatar. His rapid ascent to the highest echelons of Hollywood blockbusters was always met with suspicion. People saw him as a rather beige choice as the new action superstar, but his laid back, everyman charm seems a nice fit here.
I’m happy to forgive Avatar for its shortcomings. This a landmark piece of cinema that is extremely difficult to dislike, and any problems it has in story or character development is more than made up for in other departments. I say just sit back, relax and drink it in. It’s one spectacular ride.
By Adam Fay
Read more film reviews by Adam at http://iseefilms.wordpress.com