This ain't no Titanic, so I won't be seeing it again or buying the DVD. In fact, I want a t-shirt saying "I survived Avatar, and I want my 2 hours 40 minutes of the future back!" It's not the hyped future of film either, more like a backward step for video games - it's a 3 hour, noninteractive trailer for the game. Yeah, I saw the 3D version of the film with the bells and whistles. It looks roughly edited, with some continuity problems and bad cuts, and it's at least 30 minutes too long. I started looking at my watch about 1 hour in. But the big problems are:
1. The story - does not work, as so many have commented. The assumption that the tribe is good and the corporate people are bad is 30 years out of date. We've grown beyond these cut and dried war stories, life is more complicated than that. How about figuring out a mutual pact to survive? Oh, but that would not leave room for the big, unnecessary 5 o'clock battle number. Shucks.
2. The promotion of smoking. About 2% of scientists now smoke, so why is the lead scientist in the really smart and technically advanced future engaging in this deathly nonsense addiction? It doesn't make her tough, real or smart, just stupid and stupider, and not what she should have been, that is, a person with 2 brain cells rubbing together. Does McDonald's know about the promotion of smoking, re the Avatar Happy Meal toys? For shame for selling cigarettes to the audience, and especially to kids. Let's not speculate that the tobacco lobby paid for product placement, cause that would be corporate influence on this pure story highlighting the evil of big bad corporations, so that can't be true, right?
3. The lead's obvious Australian accent - what's up with that? FYI - in Australia, in 2009, the paralyzed Jake Sully would get state of the art treatment due to their healthy and intelligent policy of universal healthcare, so are we supposed to think that in the future, the Aussies will decline to the US system of people having to prove they can pay before gaining access to care? And how many ex-Marines have Australian accents? I know this is fantasy land, but these important points destroy any chance of believing this story from the get go, even in a small way. Why does the lead have this strange accent, if he's a wounded Marine left paralyzed due to his lack of ability to pay for the available therapy that would let him walk again?
4. What inconsistent god is this? The Eywey (Yahweh) in this story gets prayers before an animal is killed and eaten - but when scores of soldiers are killed by the same tribe, no prayers for them. What's up with that? And we are carefully told that the tribe's god is a life force present in everything and does not take sides, so why show us our hero as a tribesman praying before the battle? We know that this god does not take sides! Makes no sense, was it supposed to? Not sure what type of god this tribe is worshipping, but it's a pretty confusing god to us mere viewers out there. Those of us who are still awake, that is (I was beginning to nod off, so may be I missed the big moment where this god favored the tribe to win the overly promoted big battle to come).
5. All the CGI is real pretty, and the first 20 minutes of 3D is real nice, but in the end, we only care about the humans, and this is never more clear when we see the CGI character cradling the human at the end - so actors out there can calm down, there is no CGI yet to replace you, and probably never will be.
Overall: A big disappointment, it might have worked with a coherent story and a shorter run time. The pro-smoking propaganda makes the sledgehammer anti-corporate message a sick joke. I hope that a paralyzed Australian of the future knows to go home for top class treatment whatever his or her income, just like today. I give it 20% for the music, which is the best part.