• Avatar details

Avatar Synopsis


In the epic action adventure fantasy AVATAR, James Cameron, the director of Titanic, takes us to a spectacular new world beyond our imagination. On the distant moon Pandora, a reluctant hero embarks on a journey of redemption, discovery and unexpected love -- as he leads a heroic battle to save a civilization.

The story’s protagonist, Jake Sully, is an ex-Marine who was wounded and paralyzed from the waist down in combat on Earth. In order to participate in the Avatar program, which will give him a healthy body, Jake agrees to travel to Pandora, a lush rainforest environment filled with incredible life forms – some beautiful, many terrifying. Pandora is also the home to the Na’vi, a humanoid race that lives at what we consider to be a primate level, but they are actually much more evolved than humans. Ten feet tall and blue skinned, the Na’vi live harmoniously within their unspoiled world. But as humans encroach on Pandora in search of valuable minerals, the Na’vi’s very existence is threatened – and their warrior abilities unleashed.

Jake has unwittingly been recruited to become part of this encroachment. Since humans are unable to breathe the air on Pandora, they have created genetically-bred human-Na’vi hybrids known as Avatars. The Avatars are living, breathing bodies in the real world, controlled by a human driver through a technology that links the driver’s mind to the Avatar body. On Pandora, through his Avatar body, Jake can be whole once again. Moreover, he falls in love with a young Na’vi woman, Neytiri, whose beauty is matched by her ferocity in battle.

As Jake slides deeper into becoming one of her clan, he finds himself caught between the military-industrial forces of Earth, and the Na’vi – forcing him to choose sides in an epic battle that will decide the fate of an entire world.

Conceived 14 years ago and over four years in the making, AVATAR breaks new ground in delivering a fully immersive, emotional story and reinvents the moviegoing experience.



SCRIPT REVIEW:
Note: The following script review is based on an extremely early draft of the script being used by James Cameron on Avatar. The script being reviewed is several years old, and so it’s almost certain that many details may have changed since then. What I’m saying here is that what you end up seeing on screen may not match what we’re talking about in this review. You’ve been warned! Read on.

James Cameron’s Avatar is like Aliens meets Lord of the Rings if it were written by Al Gore, with the battle of Endor thrown in for good measure. It’s preachy, it’s repetitive, it’s derivative, and in spite of that when you see it up on a movie screen there’s a pretty good chance it’ll be the coolest thing you’ve ever seen.

The early draft of Cameron’s script that this review is based upon, includes almost no actual lines of dialogue. Instead it’s pages are filled with lavish descriptions of places, creatures, and events. When characters must speak, the focus in the script is more on what their thinking, than in coming up with clever lines. If someone gives an impassioned speech, the script simply says “he gave an impassioned speech”, rather than telling you what he said. By contrast, Cameron has written volumes describing complicated visual sequences. It’s pretty clear he had special effects on the brain when he wrote it.

I’m going to do my best in this review to avoid spoiling the entire movie for you, while still giving you a pretty clear idea of what Avatar is about. That said, it’s impossible to talk about it without spoiling something, so if you want to go into this thing pure as the driven snow, then you might as well stop reading now. You’ve been warned.

So what the heck is this movie about? It’s pretty standard stuff really. A distant future where man has spoiled and overpopulated the Earth so badly that we’ve gone out into the cosmos searching for other planets to rape. The human race’s prime candidate is Pandora, a planet in a nearby star system inhabited by intelligent, bipedal natives. Our window into this world in this early draft of the script is a disillusioned, poverty-stricken, paraplegic war veteran named Josh Sully. There are other minor characters involved, most notably Grace, a haggard, rebellious scientist played by Sigourney Weaver and Zuleika, a way too sexy alien babe being voiced by Zoe Saldana, but Josh is the real focus of everything. My understanding is that in the most recent script being used to shoot the flick, Josh’s name has been changed to Jack Sully and he’s played by Sam Worthington. Us Joshs never seem to get a shot at being the hero. For now though, we’ll call him Josh.

Josh is, by a series of coincidences, ushered into the Avatar program. The Avatar program is what humans are using to communicate with Pandora’s natives, the Na'vi (because aliens love names with apostrophes). It’s the movie’s prime gimmick, so let me explain it. Human DNA and Na’vi DNA is fused together to create a clone which is, essentially, a Na’vi with no brain. They call it an Avatar. Human operators then use some sort of linking device which allows their mind to inhabit the Avatar, and then walk amongst the Na’vi and (in theory) better communicate with them. Those series of coincidences send Josh to Pandora to operate an Avatar, and that’s where the script gets into trouble.

Once Josh gets to the planet, the script’s first 90 of its 166 pages are spent almost entirely repeating this sequence: Josh or some other humans are attacked by the vicious alien animal and plant life on Pandora. They repel/escape/die from the attack. Repeat a few times. Take a break to tell us something about the human settlement on Pandora and the horrible way in which dumb, stupid, humans are raping the planet’s environment. Another attack by the planet’s much lauded environment. More preaching about how awful the humans are for shooting everything in sight. Keep repeating this until your eyes roll back in your head.

This will probably work better on screen, since we’ll all be much too busy being wowed by whatever amazing beasties Cameron has dreamed up to notice all the over the top (and frankly illogical in light of the planet’s hellish, anti-human nature) environmental messages we’re being clubbed to death with, or to realize that basically the movie’s just doing the same thing over and over again. At least I hope so. Otherwise, Cameron needs to step down off his soap box and then cut about 40 or 50 pages out of his script.

Eventually, Avatar does break out of that cycle of animal attack, escape, animal attack, escape, but in doing so it only gets more hippy dippy. Josh starts sympathizing with the primitive aboriginal Na’vi, who are wonderful and spiritual while humans are all dumb caricatures obsessed with blowing things up and burning them to make fast food wrappers. The other humans with him start sympathizing less with the natives, and decide to blow them up. This doesn’t sit well with Josh and the movie turns into Quigly Down Under. Actually, change that. I’ve just had a revelation: Avatar doesn’t turn into Quigley Down Under, it absolutely is Quigley Down Under right from the start. Cameron has just copy/pasted the entire script onto an alien planet, removed its sense of humor, and added more action sequences.

The whole thing culminates quite literally in an Ewoks versus Empire style super-battle, with the natives using such familiar Ewok battle tactics such as falling rocks, log battering rams, giant nets, and bolos to fight a desperate war against the encroaching death machines of Earth’s military industrial complex. The only difference really is that these Ewoks aren’t cute (though Cameron does seem to spend a lot of time trying to make his aliens are incredibly sexy and erotic), they don’t do much singing, and when they do kill something it’s in horribly gruesome, rated-R ways.

You’re probably getting the idea by now that I hated this script. Hate might be too strong a word, but disappointment is pretty accurate. However, I remain convinced that it’ll work as a movie. It’s just not much of a read. The real focus of Avatar’s script is in stunning, massive, over-sized, awe-inspiring visuals and I expect the movie to deliver those in such massive quantities that the stupidity of the pages on which its based on will go almost entirely unnoticed. I think the word I’m looking for here is “spectacle”. The visuals really are over the top, and if you’ve heard the rumors that this may end up being a primarily computer-generated movie, they’re dead on. Judging from what’s in the script, it’s likely that for at least 75 percent of the film you won’t see anything on the screen that isn’t a computer rendered construct. The entire planet and all the aliens on it will have to be completely CGI, and most of the movie is spent following them around in Pandora’s forest, with no real human present on screen except those which are wearing alien (and CGI rendered) Avatars.

It’s a visually ambitious project, and how well it plays on screen is likely to have more to do with how good WETA Digital’s computer artists are than whether or not the script bears a strange resemblance to Quigley Down Under. Besides, this is a pretty early, rough draft I’m talking about, from what I understand written several years ago. It’s a decent framework to start with, and with a few rewrites it could easily have gotten better. I guess what I’m saying here is that the script kind of sucks, but that doesn’t mean Avatar will suck as a movie too. It has big-budget, brainless popcorn potential, assuming they tone down the extremist environmentalism guilt trip and focus more on aliens, aircraft, and blowing shit up. But don’t expect anymore from that. It has lofty ambitions of making grandiose statements about the nature of humanity and the dangers of technology and disrespect for the environment, but it’s too clumsy, too cartoonish, too unrealistic, and too heavy handed to do any of that. It’s a blockbuster, and if it tries to be more than that expect Avatar to fall flat.


upcoming movie upcoming movie anticipation level


Latest Avatar News

Sigourney Weaver Defends Avatar Sequels, Teases Plot Sigourney Weaver Defends Avatar Sequels, Teases Plot

Sigourney Weaver has come to the franchise's defense, while also teasing what to expect from the upcoming sequels- if they ever get here.

Sigourney Weaver Defends Avatar Sequels, Teases Plot

The 10 Longest Disney World Wait Times This Decade The 10 Longest Disney World Wait Times This Decade

Disney's theme parks are always growing and always changing. The only thing that doesn't seem to change is the parks' popularity. People love them a lot. So much so that they'll wait in line for hours to go on some rides.

The 10 Longest Disney World Wait Times This Decade

What The Avatar Sequels Are Going To Focus On What The Avatar Sequels Are Going To Focus On

After years of expectations and promises, the Avatar sequels appear to truly be on the way to actually being made. Now, we have a bit of information about what the stories will actually be focused on.

What The Avatar Sequels Are Going To Focus On

Avatar 2 Just Added Another Star From The Original Movie Avatar 2 Just Added Another Star From The Original Movie

Against all odds, logic, and reason, it looks like Avatar 2 may actually happen. Most of the old band is back together, and now the sequel has brought back another character from the original film.

Avatar 2 Just Added Another Star From The Original Movie

Machines Are A Much Bigger Threat Now Than When Terminator Came Out, According To James Cameron Machines Are A Much Bigger Threat Now Than When Terminator Came Out, According To James Cameron

If you bring up James Cameron's Terminator franchise, he'll quickly remind you that ever since he created the seminal technology-wants-to-kill-us cyber-thriller, things have gotten worse. A lot worse.

Machines Are A Much Bigger Threat Now Than When Terminator Came Out, According To James Cameron

Why James Cameron Isn't Worried About The Gap Between Avatar And Avatar 2 Why James Cameron Isn't Worried About The Gap Between Avatar And Avatar 2

Speaking out at the opening of Pandora in Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom, the director explained why he really isn't worried about the big time gap.

Why James Cameron Isn't Worried About The Gap Between Avatar And Avatar 2

Check Out The Avatar Cast Checking Out The New Disney World Land Check Out The Avatar Cast Checking Out The New Disney World Land

Disney World's latest attraction, Pandora - The World of Avatar, had its dedication ceremony today, and some of Avatar's biggest faces showed up for the occasion.

Check Out The Avatar Cast Checking Out The New Disney World Land

The Avatar Sequel Has Signed On Its First Star The Avatar Sequel Has Signed On Its First Star

After years of sitting in production purgatory, it's beginning to look like the Avatar sequels might actually happen. Real living humans are claiming that filming is about to get started and all four of the upcoming movies have been given release dates. Now, the first actor who wasn't in the original film has reportedly been cast.

The Avatar Sequel Has Signed On Its First Star

Zoe Saldana Wants In On Another Sci-Fi Franchise Zoe Saldana Wants In On Another Sci-Fi Franchise

As if she didn't have enough sci-fi product on her resume, Zoe Saldana has one more project she'd theoretically add to the pile, if given the chance. Read on to see what universe she's eager to play around in.

Zoe Saldana Wants In On Another Sci-Fi Franchise

When Avatar 2 Will Begin Shooting, According To Sigourney Weaver When Avatar 2 Will Begin Shooting, According To Sigourney Weaver

James Cameron has been preparing to make sequels to Avatar for so long that we're honestly not sure if those movies will ever come out. However, a new word from one of the film's stars seems confident that the movies will arrive.

When Avatar 2 Will Begin Shooting, According To Sigourney Weaver

One Big Change James Cameron Wants To Help Theaters Make To Get Ready For The Avatar Sequels One Big Change James Cameron Wants To Help Theaters Make To Get Ready For The Avatar Sequels

James Cameron wants to make the Avatar sequels look even prettier up on the big screen. So, here's what he is doing.

One Big Change James Cameron Wants To Help Theaters Make To Get Ready For The Avatar Sequels

Step Into Pandora As Disney Gives Avatar Fans The Best Look At The Theme Park Step Into Pandora As Disney Gives Avatar Fans The Best Look At The Theme Park

Avatar is the highest grossing movie of all time and while we've all been promised a trip back to Pandora, the sequels are nowhere in sight. However, there's about to be a new way to travel there and we now have a better look at what we'll see.

Step Into Pandora As Disney Gives Avatar Fans The Best Look At The Theme Park

Avatar Theme Park Videos Reveal The Types Of Rides Fans Will Experience Avatar Theme Park Videos Reveal The Types Of Rides Fans Will Experience

At this point, we're wondering if we'll ever actually see a sequel to Avatar in theaters, much less three of them. However, if you're dying to return to Pandora, then might we suggest Walt Disney World this summer?

Avatar Theme Park Videos Reveal The Types Of Rides Fans Will Experience

What Avatar 2 Will Be About, According To Sam Worthington What Avatar 2 Will Be About, According To Sam Worthington

Sam Worthington has already read the script for Avatar 2, and he's provided some details on what to expect.

What Avatar 2 Will Be About, According To Sam Worthington

The Weird Way James Cameron Has Been Approaching The Avatar Sequels The Weird Way James Cameron Has Been Approaching The Avatar Sequels

A long time ago, over seven years to be precise, James Cameron gave the world Avatar, which went on to blossom into the most successful film ever released with a gross of $2.788 billion. Since then we've been waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting for Avatar's 2 sequels to at least go into production.

The Weird Way James Cameron Has Been Approaching The Avatar Sequels

Watch James Cameron Tour His Avatar Theme Park, Have His Mind Blown Watch James Cameron Tour His Avatar Theme Park, Have His Mind Blown

As a fun Christmas treat, a cool tour of the upcoming Avatar attraction at Disney World has been uploaded, and it clearly blew director James Cameron's mind.

Watch James Cameron Tour His Avatar Theme Park, Have His Mind Blown

Why Avatar 2 Is Taking So Long, According To Sigourney Weaver Why Avatar 2 Is Taking So Long, According To Sigourney Weaver

A whole ton of Avatar films are suddenly on the way after a long gap of seemingly little progress. As it turns out, James Cameron had a reason for taking so long.

Why Avatar 2 Is Taking So Long, According To Sigourney Weaver

What Sigourney Weaver Thinks About The Next Three Avatar Scripts What Sigourney Weaver Thinks About The Next Three Avatar Scripts

It's been a long wait for the next Avatar movies, but Sigourney Weaver has already read the next three scripts. Here's what she thinks about them.

What Sigourney Weaver Thinks About The Next Three Avatar Scripts

Avatar 2 Announces Its Release Date, For Real This Time Avatar 2 Announces Its Release Date, For Real This Time

The Avatar franchise has been trying really hard to actually be a franchise. It's been planning sequels to go on about as long as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The only problem has been, the release date for the second film keeps getting pushed back.

Avatar 2 Announces Its Release Date, For Real This Time

Disney World's New Avatar Ride Dropped Some Footage And I'm So In Disney World's New Avatar Ride Dropped Some Footage And I'm So In

Thanks to the fact that the Walt Disney Company now owns Marvel and Star Wars their theme parks are becoming one-stop locations to celebrate most of pop culture. Now, they're about to add another brand they don't even own.

Disney World's New Avatar Ride Dropped Some Footage And I'm So In

How Avatar Pushed Luc Besson To Finally Do Valerian How Avatar Pushed Luc Besson To Finally Do Valerian

Valerian has been an important part of almost all of writer/director Luc Besson's life. Not only has he been a fan of the French Valerian and Laureline comics since he was 10 years old (describing Laureline as his first love), he has even closely collaborated with its creators in the past, working alongside artist Jean-Claude Mézières on 1997's The Fifth Element.

How Avatar Pushed Luc Besson To Finally Do Valerian

Avatar 2: What We Know So Far Avatar 2: What We Know So Far

Who from the cast of the first movie is coming back for Avatar 2? Where will the new story take us? Everything James Cameron has planned for the sequel is here.

Avatar 2: What We Know So Far

Avatar Sequels Could Have 3D Without Glasses, James Cameron Is Working On It Avatar Sequels Could Have 3D Without Glasses, James Cameron Is Working On It

Avatar became the highest grossing movie ever made in large part because it wowed audiences by doing things with technology that had never been done before. If and when Avatar 2 ever happens, James Cameron promises he will continue to push the limits, including potentially making 3D easier to view.

Avatar Sequels Could Have 3D Without Glasses, James Cameron Is Working On It

An Interactive Avatar Exhibit Is Opening Soon And Sounds Incredible, Get The Details An Interactive Avatar Exhibit Is Opening Soon And Sounds Incredible, Get The Details

If you've been waiting patiently for those long delayed Avatar sequels...you'll have to keep waiting. However, there is something coming that may keep you entertained until then.

An Interactive Avatar Exhibit Is Opening Soon And Sounds Incredible, Get The Details

Why The Avatar Sequel Release Dates Aren't Set In Stone, According To James Cameron Why The Avatar Sequel Release Dates Aren't Set In Stone, According To James Cameron

While the competition scrambles to stake out release dates as quickly as possible, James Cameron isn't too worried about when he's planning to drop his next four Avatar sequels. His mind is on another, more pressing concern when it comes to his long awaited follow-ups.

Why The Avatar Sequel Release Dates Aren't Set In Stone, According To James Cameron

What The Avatar Sequels Will Be About, According To James Cameron What The Avatar Sequels Will Be About, According To James Cameron

Plot details are still scarce concerning Avatar 2 and the other sequels, but director James Cameron has provided another hint about their plots.

What The Avatar Sequels Will Be About, According To James Cameron

The 25 Movies Dads Love Sharing With Their Kids The 25 Movies Dads Love Sharing With Their Kids

Father's Day is right around the corner and if you're looking for something nice to do for your father on Sunday, here's one very simple and easy option: watch a movie with him.

The 25 Movies Dads Love Sharing With Their Kids

Zootopia Just Scored Yet Another Massive Box Office Milestone Zootopia Just Scored Yet Another Massive Box Office Milestone

The latest box office accolade achieved by Disney's Zootopia is by far its most impressive to date.

Zootopia Just Scored Yet Another Massive Box Office Milestone

Why James Cameron Probably Won't Direct Another Alien Movie Why James Cameron Probably Won't Direct Another Alien Movie

Today is “Alien Day” which, much like “Back to the Future Day” is really just an excuse to celebrate a well-loved movie franchise. We don’t really need the excuse, we’ll geek out over Aliens any time you like,

Why James Cameron Probably Won't Direct Another Alien Movie

James Cameron's Plan For Filming His Four Avatar Sequels Sounds Overly Complicated James Cameron's Plan For Filming His Four Avatar Sequels Sounds Overly Complicated

James Cameron has recently come out and explained that the Avatar sequel production schedule will set itself apart from most film series because all four sequels will film simultaneously.

James Cameron's Plan For Filming His Four Avatar Sequels Sounds Overly Complicated

Related

Avatar Is Getting A Mobile Game, Because Of Course It Is
Ubisoft Is Working On A New Avatar Game
3D TV Is Officially Dead

Headlines

A New Invasion Of The Body Snatchers Remake Is Happening
Fantastic Beasts 2 Cast List - All The Confirmed And Returning Characters

Hot Topics

New Reviews

Dunkirk Review
Wish Upon Review
Girls Trip Review

Top Movies

What The Punisher's First Trailer Needs To Show Us
Why All The Arrow-verse TV Shows Will Be Darker Than Ever Going Into The New Seasons
Ryan Seacrest Officially Returning For American Idol Reboot
How The Daily Bugle Originally Factored Into Spider-Man: Homecoming
Justice League Costumes Revealed At Comic-Con, And They Look Badass
How The Avengers And Defenders Should Cross Over, According To Finn Jones
Jada Pinkett Smith Says She Was Dealing Drugs When She Met Tupac
The Academy Award Winning Actress Who Turned Down A Role In Wonder Woman
Stephen King's It Showed Off New Footage, And It Was Horrifyingly Nostalgic
Fantastic Blade Runner 2049 Exhibit Plunges Comic-Con Into The Movie
Transformers 5: What We Know About The Last Knight
Avatar 2: What We Know So Far
Thor: Ragnarok
Gateway Blend ©copyright 2017