Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoë Saldana, Sigourney Weaver
Directed by James Cameron
The wait is finally over.
After dreaming up the story more than a decade ago, Titanic director James Cameron has at last unleashed his ground-breaking sci-fi epic Avatar onto an extremely eager audience.
And they will not be disappointed.
Set in the year 2154, the intergalactic action kicks off on a far-flung planet known as Pandora. Here a powerful mining company from Earth has hired a band of battle-hardened mercenaries to help them get their hands on unobtainium, a very valuable mineral that would solve Earth's energy crisis.
There's only one glitch in their plan: the native Na'vi people.
Blue, catlike aliens, the Na'vi have a spiritual and physical connection to Pandora and don't want it plundered by a bunch of humans.
So the mercenaries send in an Avatar, a half-human, half-Na'vi creature that is remote controlled by wheelchair-bound ex-Marine Jake Sully (Aussie actor Worthington) to strike a deal.
Now, as thrilling as this storyline sounds, it's hardly new. Anyone who has seen the 1992 kids' film Fern Gully will know the exactly how Avatar plays out before it's even begun.
But with its extraordinary 3D images and advanced special effects, the unoriginal and sappy storyline becomes surprisingly unimportant.
Pandora's natives are simply too incredible and nothing like the often dodgy computer-generated creations we're used to.
Instead of relying on old technology, Cameron experimented with the very latest motion-capture animation, attaching tiny cameras to the Avatar actors' heads to catch every facial movement.
He then used those details to create digitally animated versions of those actors, keeping the human emotions, movements and expressions but adding the blue skin, tails and yellow eyes.
The end result? Well, you'll have to wait until the film's final act to get the full effect of this revolutionary 3D magic.
That includes getting through a visually stunning but slow middle section, which lasts for well over an hour and a half, and revolves around a romantic tryst between Jake and Na'vi princess Neytiri (Saldana).
After that the real action starts. The natives and the invaders clash in a fast-paced and truly epic battle that will leave you rubbing your eyes in disbelief.
After all, Avatar is rumoured to have cost $400 million to produce, making it one of the most expensive films ever made.
It's definitely worth every cent.
3.5 out of 5
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