Review: 'Avatar – 2D' (2009)

I opted to see the 2D version as I’m not convinced that 3D is anything other than a gimmick that only lasts the length of the cinematic run, I mean seriously, what are they planning to do when it comes to releasing the film on DVD? At no point did I go “oh, this would look awesome in 3D.”


‘Avatar’ is all fur coat and teeny tiny knickers (with great big modesty sucking holes in).

Visually I fell completely in love with the world of Pandora, it’s inhabitants (especially that spinney bioluminescent rainbow lizard thing) and it’s mythology. Everything looked real, it had solidity, movement and everything that a real world should have. It promised so much, but ultimately I was let down by a recycled, cliche driven and predictable plot that at times felt like nothing more than an inconvenient extended cut scene in a video game that I desperately wanted to skip in order to get back to the interesting stuff. I also don’t think I’ve seen flatter characters in a long time, only Dr Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) and the ‘copter pilot Trudy (Michelle Rodriguez) showed any real depth and I suspect that was more down to the actors abilities rather than the characters.

I’d also been led to believe that this style of animation was revolutionary, but the Na’vi looked more like computer game characters than the more ‘realistic’ Gollum from Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. Gollum looked like he had substance, he looked like he belonged within the world and I suspect this was more to do with the fact it was a completely had the advantage of real terrain whereas Pandora was completely CGI. I had a few issues with the movement of some of the land creatures, particularly the ‘horses’ – unlike the flying thingies they didn’t seem to move smoothly, I’m sure I’ve seen ‘horses’ in games where the movement has seemed fluid but these just felt like Ray Harryhausen style creatures.

I know it might seem I’m filling the ‘whiney hater’ role here but I despite all my issues with the film, I didn’t hate it. I loved the world, and James Cameron could have created one of the most visually stunning, realised MMO. Pandora seems a perfect candidate, with it’s rich mythology and energy that flows through the place offered one of the most creative storytelling ideas I’ve seen in a long time. Cameron had the perfect opportunity to make the greatest MMO known, but instead settled for a mediocre film with absolutely stunning visuals.


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