As I started to fall asleep next to my sister at the Globe cinema in downtown Port of Spain (not the ideal spot to slumber, many will vouch) I started to think of why anyone would want to make this film, besides for the obvious money-making potential.
Avatar follows the coming of age of its protagonist Jake Sully (played by Sam Worthington). It's sometime in the future and Jake's twin brother Tom has just died. Because Jake has the same genome as his dead brother, he can step into Tom's shoes in an ongoing project on a planet called Pandora. Sigh. Apparently, on Pandora, humans are infiltrating an native race called the Na'avi by--get this--plugging themselves (apparently via broadband) into alien-looking flesh suits called avatars.
What then follows is one of the most droll science-fiction films of all time, complete with all the stereotypes involved when an invading race confronts a wise, native race. It does not really help to note that the special effects are very good, because these days we expect special effects to be good; standards have long moved forward since Titanic. And while I am yet to see the film in 3-D (alas, Globe does not offer this facility) I'm not sure that really makes a difference to the film's inherent quality. Even if Cameron had lofty intentions with regard to increasing the use of the technology, his film still falls short.
Here is a near three-hour movie where the filmmakers attempt to wow us by creating plants that glow in the dark. We also have mountains that float (last seen in Gulliver's Travels) and weird jelly-fish butterflies. Things are brought into the frame for the purpose of spectacle, without the slightest attempt to make that spectacle original.
In between, there is some heavy-handed allegory about the environment and colonialism, which would have been interesting if the filmmakers really cared about these issues.
I am confident that I spoil nothing by saying nobody important dies and there is a happy ending. Characters in the film repeat the movie's tagline "I see you" ad nauseam, making me wish I hadn't in fact, gone to see Avatar. At least in Titanic the ship sinks in the end and Leonardo DiCaprio dies.
LISTEN to Leona Lewis singing the theme for the movie, 'I See You' here. READ a review from someone who loved the film here.