In 1984, he gave us a groundbreaking futuristic thriller in The Terminator. Thirteen years later he gave us the high grossing romantic period piece Titanic. Prior to that, he had the vision for the sheer beauty and amazement of his newest masterpiece, Avatar.
I’m sure everyone knew to expect great visuals throughout the movie, but not nearly as much as this. James Camerons new world of Pandora showcases a vast amount of how creatively the mind of this genius works, and why technology couldn’t represent it properly until now. Every single detail is carved in such a way that you are left with an abundance of awe from just a quick glance upon the vividly lush screen.
Though most films with an abundance of CGI and effects often overlook the acting in the film, Avatar even refuses to make that cliche. Sigourney Weaver is as great as she always is, and simply adds to her accomplishments. Sam Worthington has the perfectly roguish mentality that makes him the perfect choice for the primary role, and Zoe Saldana has made a career for herself this year alone, with her success in Star Trek over the summer and exemplifies her gifted talents with a powerful role here. Th most surprising role in my eyes, however, was that of Michelle Rodriguez as the pilot. For the first time, not only is she given a role that suits her, but she manages to showcase just how good an actress she can be with the right role.
While this movie does have its haters, and will obviously continue to do so, one of the most repeated criticisms of Avatar is that it is simply a superfluous futuristic version of Dances with Wolves. I wouldn’t necessarily disagree, but do consider this a better film. While the two do have several similarities, the raw emotion infused with grade A technology simply magnify the drama of the plot to an infinite degree. While it is clearly a depiction of the story of American Indians, their life, infiltration, and ultimate loss of home and identity, the obscure version of this tale makes it more impactful on ones mind.
The wordplay involved within the film deserves its own applause. From the mineral being called “unobtanium”, to the name of the planet being “Pandora”, the foreshadowing of these words just continues to add to the depth of the movie.
Despite the fact that I have seen several dramatic, historical, futuristic and action films, I simply cannot recall a better combination of each of these major genres, with humor and emotion in my lifetime. It has been a while, both since Cameron has released a new film an I have anticipated a movie for so long( 3+ years), and both waits were undoubtedly worth it. It also borrows from films such as Dances with Wolves and District 9.
Ultimately, Cameron’s lesson is perfectly taught, his vision is fully showcased, and this legendary film is undoubtedly a prime candidate for one of the best overall cinematic viewing experiences in modern film history, from visuals to storyline and its telling, along with fine acting and sheer brilliance.
A great tale of epic proportions from a directorial mastermind that can match the levels of Scorcese and Welles. 10/10.