Avatar - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Avatar Reviews

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January 19, 2017
Despite my appreciation of all the good things about this movie I only occasionally return to it. Maybe it's the length, maybe it's the "unobtainium" however, I do nonetheless like it.
½ January 17, 2017
When the filmmaker behind the highest-grossing film of all-time takes twelve years off to develop his next film, the bar is set pretty high. Titanic's Jim Cameron set out to revolutionize movies with immersive 3-D technology which promised to be unlike anything audiences had ever seen. Since its release, Avatar has drawn enormous crowds; word-of-mouth and repeat viewings have lead, within a mere twenty days, to its claiming the title of 2nd-highest grossing film of all time worldwide.

Some conservative groups have blasted what they believe is the film's environmental extremism, with the Vatican's film critic saying that it worships creation instead of the Creator. Others have blasted it for perceived racism, with the "white savior" rescuing indigenous peoples. Some have said that the film is anti-military. Most claim, however, that it is simply great entertainment. In my opinion, the truth of all these claims is somewhere in the middle.

Regular readers may notice that I almost never divulge any plot information in my reviews. I don't like to read reviews that give away large chunks of narrative; I've never felt it was the critic's job to tell me the story, and I'll pay you the same courtesy. I will say, first and foremost, that the film is neither the political lightning rod some have made it out to be, nor is it worthy of the hype and box-office its receiving (I can think of many movies that deserve a wider audience). It is, however, constantly entertaining and artistically stunning.

Everything you've heard about the visuals is true. This is not CGI (computer-generated images) for just for the sake of it, nor is the 3D merely a gimmick. Cameron has succeeded in created a completely immersive new world. These are not special effects; this is art. The 3D serves to truly make viewers feel as if they were on a glorious foreign planet, with its own ecosystem and amazing wildlife.

Likewise, Cameron knows how to stage action, and the adventure/combat sequences are truly thrilling. The narrative is fine, but not as impressive. The derivative script borrows heavily from Dances With Wolves, Disney's Pocahontas, The Last Samurai, Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, and even Return of the Jedi.

Though the heroes are interesting enough, the villains are mostly one-dimensional. Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver do fine work, as do several others, but the only truly exceptional acting is by Zoe Saldana (Star Trek) who plays the princess of an alien tribe. Her work, via motion capture, conveys rich, tender, and savage emotion. So skillfully does she portray both the humanity and the strangeness of an imaginary race that the audience connects with her more than any of the human characters. She, and the rest of the alien tribe, are utterly convincing.

As for the controversy, the film does take a strong stance about protecting and conserving the environment. The claim by the Vatican's movie critic, that the film worships creation instead of the Creator, could be valid if it weren't so obviously fantasy. Its theology works in its imagined universe the same as The Force does in Star Wars.

I take a more moderate stance than the film does on conservation, as it paints those who mine natural resources as greedy at best and evil at worst. That said, any message about honoring and preserving nature is worthwhile. Also, On a different level, the story can be enjoyed by those who see it as a tale of a group nobly defending their homes, wives, children, and beliefs from those who seek only to conquer.

The claims of racism are, I think, unfounded. Like The Last Samurai, Pocahontas, and Dances With Wolves, Avatar takes a narrow-minded white man, immerses him in a foreign environment, and allows him a change of heart as he comes to appreciate the culture and way of life of his enemy. Unoriginal maybe, but hardly racist.

Because the story and characters are only moderately engaging, Avatar fails to live up to the hype. However, as an action film and a soulful artistic achievement, it is a terrific work that ought not to be missed.
January 9, 2017
Sad a lot, but a happy ending! First time watching upscaled to 4k..pretty!
January 9, 2017
Visually amazing and good plot. But the same "white man saves the natives" cliche
January 8, 2017
Just an amazing movie. A new mythology in this era of remakes.
January 6, 2017
Not a masterpiece as people say but not bad
January 6, 2017
I feel like I'm one of the few people on the planet that had not seen Avatar, well I finally saw it and it didn't disappoint! The concept of an avatar is cool and keeps you interested in the story. Though it's a long movie, I never felt bored. It had a little bit of romance, action (especially at the end), and plenty of eye candy! Going into this movie, I didn't expect it to be bad and I didn't expect it to be great...I can understand why a lot of people like this film. REALLY GOOD! 4/5 OR 8/10
½ January 5, 2017
An interesting film, always found it to be a bit too boring until the end, but visually and technically impressive. Its ok.
January 5, 2017
good visuals, liked the first half, second half started to get cheesy and predictable. Ehh
January 5, 2017
Nothing new or special about the plot, but it features impressive visual effects and great action scenes which makes it an enjoyable film. B.
January 4, 2017
Avatar is one of the most visually stunning movies ever and it has great characters and intense action sequences, as well as a very intriguing world. However, it suffers from a very cliche story, bland romance, a a bland villain, and a main lead character that could have been so much better.
January 4, 2017
One has to see the movie to observe where James Cameron has taken the art of movie-making to. Rare must be the people whose imagination is so extensive and wild. To be able to show that to others, all that you do is open your mouth wide as you absorb the first scene and realize that it has not closed as credits begin to roll. Forget about the story, acting etc etc, this is a masterpiece of a different kind. In the moviemaking world, this is another Matrix-like path-breaking film. Ten years later when such movie/technologiess become commonplace, it would be difficult to appreciate why the movie was such a joy to watch in 2009, but that's like saying now how anyone really got anything out of 286 machines in the eighties.

Rewatched in 2017: still the same!
January 3, 2017
Avatar is great good special efffects good action amazing movie 89/95
December 23, 2016
Digital motion picture film with 3D technology coming from one of the most expensive films in the world coming into the story. Follows a very copied the plot from some little film disney, but the rest can compete with many kinds of adventure, action, and romance
December 21, 2016
The visual effects are beautiful and the movie is extremely colorful, but the story and characters are a complete rehash of the likes of Pocahontas, FernGully, and Dances with Wolves. Overrated by critics.
½ December 21, 2016
Avatar proves that cliche' is not always synonymous with boring.
½ December 21, 2016
Simply amazing. Great action and storyline backed by the most stunning visuals I've ever seen! A must see, especially on an Imax screen.
Super Reviewer
December 16, 2016
A work of groundbreaking creativity on every level, James Cameron's new movie is a unique form of art of its own. I can't find a way to compare this to any other cinematic acomplishment. This creation, let's put it that way, will change something in cinema, and we can't but aknowledge that fact.

This is not a movie that tops any of the best films out there, but it is indeed a work of art, something unique that needs to be compare to nothing but few other science fiction movies such as Star Wars.

It was as predictable as it can be, and the dialogue were nothing but ordinary. But Avatar made me dream like no other movies I can recall did. Cameron created nothing but a stunning experience that leaves you breathless if you are willing to go along the ride.

I still can't manage to find a way how I will list this movie among this year's others, but Avatar is something great, something you absolutely have to live.
December 16, 2016
Look, it's not that bad. It would be very easy to bash this movie for having an unoriginal plot or characters, but that's not why I wanted to see it. I wanted to see a new world collide with the one I am familiar with, and in that regard, the film did its job.

We've seen the 'civilized nation clashes with indigenous people' conflict many times, both in fiction and in real life. This story puts us in the lush, beautiful world of Pandora. The visual style here is well-done, and I don't normally care about that sort of thing. The Na'vi people have a well-defined society, and the characters, while stereotypical, are all placed appropriately.

The film has its flaws. The plot is predictable; you see where it will go well before the first act is done. The characters are also stock; there is very little originality put into them. The civilized man who falls for the beautiful native girl, the grizzled army leader, the experienced scientist...these should not be a surprise. While they keep consistent to their character, there are no sudden turns.

James Cameron created a great world. Unfortunately, he didn't fill it with much.
December 12, 2016
Gifted by one of the greatest special effects productions of all time, Avatar still fails to give Cameron another science fiction all time great. Shockingly, the reason doesn't stem from the spotty storyline and poor dialogue but rather from Cameron's own hypocrisy. Blessed with a recent penchant for political activism, Cameron attempts to follow the line of many Hollywood big shots and create a 300 million dollar political statement. Unfortunately for us, Cameron fails in a ridiculously predictable manner as his own political views prove to be poorly researched farce at best and a shameless money grab at worst. Cameron creates a movie about peace and harmony, even as he spews violence and futuristic weapons in order to produce many of the revolutionary shots that caused people to spend their money on the movie in the first place. Cameron creates a storyline about Native American destruction, all while promoting the fact that a white man is needed to save the day. Cameron creates a film about protecting culture and identity, even as the main hero strips himself of his identity and disguises himself, essentially in blackface, a look he then adopts at the end of the movie. Cameron creates a film to fight against injustice against native minorities all while returning all the stereotypes that were used for so long to degrade those same native peoples. In the end, it isn't the Michael Bay style empty violence, the massive plot holes, the poor exposition, the multitude of shameless science fiction rip offs or the bad writing that take Avatar from a top level epic and place it on the bottom shelf for shiny but ultimately boring things. What does Avatar in is its blatant, poorly disguised, artless political message draped in its own hypocrisy. It is proof once again that mainstream Hollywood is generally incapable of producing social commentary films that rail against the injustices that Hollywood execs have taken part in and continue to take part in every day. It is proof that while Cameron is a visionary director who had directed some of the greatest films of all time, he is an absolutely piss poor source for social and political commentary. It is proof that spending all the money, effort and time to build a movie with quantity still does not guarantee you quality. And that is a lesson that any Native American could have taught Cameron, had he taken the time to actually give a shit about what happened to them.
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