Was nowhere near as bad as I was expecting, I actually kind of enjoyed it. Effectively its Braveheart if Scotland was in Fern Gully, which is where I’m pretty sure the entire plot was lifted from; Joe average goes to a far off land to harvest its resources, he get transformed into one of the natives at which point he meets a local gal who teaches him all about the wonders of nature, thus helping him realises the error of his ways and helps said local gal fight off his former friends and colleges thereby protecting the delicate balance of nature and finding love along the way. The major differences being in Fern Gully’s Zac goes to the Rainforest to chop down tree’s, while in Avatar Jack Scully goes to Pandora to strip mine it for unobtainium…………………….. No seriously that’s what it’s called.
Tragically that’s not the worst piece of writing in it. The dialogue is about on par with a mediocre video games but that’s really just a symptom of the total lack of subtlety that runs right through the whole thing: Humans BAD. Natives GOOD. In fact the natives, the Na’vi, are treated as such saintly figures it ends up feeling really uncomfortable and tokenistic at times. If you think a race of people who white Americans have screwed over, you are going to find a bit of them shoehorned into Avatar. Pandora looks a lot like the jungles of Vietnam (if you’re looking through the eyes of the guy who designed the yes album covers) , the Na’vi with their “deep spiritual connection with nature” (although how spiritual a very literal connection can be is confusing) feel a lot like a middle class pseudo-hippy’s take on native American religion, but by far the most noticeable are the west African accents of the Na’vi and the fact they look like they’re all played by black actors. I’m not saying that drawing a comparison with the films set up and the crimes that have been committed against native peoples is a bad thing, it’s a pretty obvious connection to make, but when it’s done in such a painfully heavy handed way it just becomes awkward to watch. Effectively this movie is James Cameron’s racial guilt given cinematic form.
That said a 9 foot tall blue arrow slinging cat-smurf-woman riding on a giant panther-thing fights a dude in a fancy new gun-toting version of the power-lifting suit from Aliens only with an impractically large knife to avenge the destruction of her glorified tree house/pet dragon. In other words if I was 10 this would be the most awesome thing ever, somewhere out there I firmly believe there is a kid who will end up loving this the way I love the Princess Bride or the Goonies.
Also Leona Lewis sings a hilariously out of place titanic style ballad.