5 Reasons You Must See Avatar

By Katey Rich 2009-12-17 17:17:04discussion comments
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In the last week you've probably been hearing nonstop from every critic out there about all the reasons that Avatar is amazing and stupendous and game-changing and whatever other adjective you can apply to it. And if there's any consensus about the movie, it's that this is a movie that must be seen, and on the biggest screen possible.

But there are a lot of reviews to comb through before you can really get the gist, so below I've listed out the top 5 reasons that Avatar simply must be seen. Whether you're in it for the love story or the action or the chance to be transported to a far-off world, Avatar has it all. lt's hard to express my enthusiasm for this movie beyond just "Holy shit it's incredible!" but for you, dear reader, I've done my best to be eloquent.


You've never seen anything like it before.
OK, so maybe your eyes will still be the same, and many of the characters-- the greedy corporate honcho, the fierce army captain, the stolid hero-- are familiar from dozens of movies you've already seen. But the flora and fauna of Pandora, the wild colors and unimaginable beasts and floating mountains and glowing trees, that it hardly matters what story surrounds them. Even the human technology in the film is cleverly based on what we already have, so instead of impossible tricks, Cameron astonishes you by showing you everything you wish your MacBook could do. In an era so inundated with CGI we've become jaded at seeing the impossible-- a giant gorilla climbing a building is no more impressive than the outfit worn by his heroine-- but Cameron, in his boundless imagination and gigantic budget, has made us capable of believing once again that movies can be magic.


It's the first time 3D has actually felt important.
The glasses are still bulky and goofy-looking, but five minutes into Avatar you'll forget they're there entirely. In the last few years digital 3D has looked great, yes, and once in a while can get you with a shock gag, but before Avatar I'd never attempted to wipe away the errant dirt flying on a battlefield, or flinch instinctively when a type of wood sprite came soaring toward me. The 3D gave a nice depth of field to Carl's flying house in Up and upped the scare factor in My Bloody Valentine, but in Avatar, it's technology as important as the motion-capture programs that created Neytiri. You have to see it to understand.


The love story really works.
Jake may be a blank lunkhead and Neytiri a strident warrior woman, but when these two start to connect while running through the forest and taming flying banshees, it's a love story that transcends faraway planets and blue cat people entirely. Cameron blessedly spares us the details of exactly how Na'vi sex works, but Jake and Neytiri's kisses feel real and passionate, and especially near the end, when the two are forced to fight for each other and the entire Na'vi culture, their connection isn't just palpable, but crucial to the final third of the film working at all. As Jake starts to feel more connected to his Avatar body than his crippled human form, it's Neytiri's love that draws him there-- and we're right there with him.


James Cameron shoots action better than anyone else.
Think of all the movies you've seen lately in which the fight scenes are cut so fast you can't tell if that's a kick or a punch, or battle sequences in which the only way to tell where anybody is is to look at the color of the uniforms. Now go see Avatar, in which master action director Cameron carefully takes the time to introduce you to Pandora so that, when it comes time to wage battle there, you know exactly how it's all laid out. Even the Na'vi, with their strange blue faces and lack of clothing, are easily distinguishable from one another, and that's not just good character design-- Cameron assigns each one a distinctive weapon or creature or war paint so you know every time which one's Jake and which one's Tsu'tey. It's a careful attention to detail that makes big-budget nonsense like the final fight scene in Transformers 2 look like even more of an amateurish waste.


It is the movie of the decade.
Like it or not, no matter how attached you are to The Dark Knight or Lord of the Rings, Avatar is already poised to be the movie by which we'll judge the technological advancements and storytelling demands of this decade. It's much more old-fashioned than many of the sarcastic or brooding superhero movies of the last few years, but from its Iraq War metaphor to its environmental messages, Avatar is distinctly a movie of its time. Not to mention the basic fact that everyone you know will be talking about this movie, and you really shouldn't leave yourself out of the conversation. Even if Avatar doesn't fly at the box office, it is an event. You owe it your time.

Or if you're pure evil, you can check out 5 reasons to avoid Avatar from Cinema Blend's resident cynic right here.
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