“Avatar is breath taking and heart pumping.”

The last time James Cameron put his director hat on for a feature film was 13 years ago when he gave us Titanic. Love it or hate it you could not deny the impact that film had. To see it in the theater was unforgettable. This time he again shows that if you are going to do something then make it larger, grander, and more stunning than anything yet seen. AVATAR is a world all its own and possibly one of the better CGI films ever created. It is 40% live action which makes it so much more than another animated adventure. The planet of Pandora contains a world that reminds us why movies are made.

The story revolves around a group of human scientists, who, in order to better understand a distant planets indigenous race, create AVATARS that are a mix of both species’ DNA. The Avatars are controlled remotely by the human hosts. The Us Military also has its sites on the planet but more for a natural resource that is found to be worth billions. When they decide to take the element by force it is up to the Avatars to help save the planets inhabitants. It escalates into an all out war of compassion versus power.

Not since Lord of the Rings have I seen a world of such detail and unique creatures. It is so full of imagination and beauty that when added with the depth of 3-D animation it literally sucks you in and submerges you. The battle sequences are flawless and a perfect balance of nature versus machine. Though close to 3 hours in length it moves so fluidly and is paced so well that you get caught up in everything around you and time flies by. It is so easy to assume what this film is about from the trailer. But until you see it in full you will not be able to grasp all of the depth and emotional journey the characters go through. It will at times take your breath away.

There is a message too about mother earth and how we are all connected in some way by an underlying, unseen force. It does not shine a very positive light on the military mindset and their destructive nature. It is a film that distinctly divides the tree huggers from the NRA lifetime members. But there is a fantasy about it that will hopefully stir those on both sides to think about our planet more and how we not only treat it but our fellow inhabitants, both foreign and domestic. This is not a heavy handed message nor does it play like a public service announcement. It is just another element that causes the movie to be so powerful and moving.

Avatar is rated PG-13 for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking. This is a fair rating and though the preteens may enjoy the sites of this planet the language and themes may be a bit much. The expletives, though mild, are rampant throughout. It is also worth mentioning that the indigenous people are just that. And although blue and CGI in creation they wear very little clothing. There is nothing sexual about this but parents need to be aware that it is there. I give Avatar 4.5 out of 5 rites of passage. Avatar has four Golden Globe nominations including Best Motion Picture Drama and best director. Cameron is back with a vengeance and this is one Pandora’s Box that you need to open fully. So says Matt Mungle

Matt Mungle (matt@mungleshow.com)

(4.5 out of 5)

Review copyright 2009 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

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