More than a decade after the release of his technically jaw-dropping Titanic, director James Cameron once again showed he was at the forefront of movie technology with the ground-breaking Avatar, that reportedly cost somewhere in the region of $300 million dollars to make, and went on to become the highest-grossing movie of all time (and the first ever movie to make $2 billion, fact fans).
The winner of three Oscars for its cinematography, visual effects and art direction, Avatar was truly something no one had ever seen on film before. Using Cameron’s own camera technology to film in crisp, believable 3-D and mixing computer-generated scenes with live action and motion capture film-making, Cameron created a world on screen – the world of the Na’vi, a race of blue-skinned (think tall, skinny Smurf), human-like creatures who live on the planet Pandora. Humans are mining a precious mineral there, and are using avatars (humans who use mental links with Na’vi hybrids to interact with the peaceful Na’vis who think they are the real thing) to collect samples and begin the work on planet. One such avatar is paraplegic Jake Sully (Worthington), who inadvertently comes into contact with a female Na’vi named Neytiri (Saldana) and ends up meeting her family.
There’s nefarious stuff afoot, of course, as a human security force wants Jake to give them information on the Na’vi while his boss (Sigourney Weaver) would rather they just all got along, and a possible romance between Sully and Neytiri (how Na’vis make love may cause a snigger) is thrown into the mix too.
But, as with Titanic, such obvious and, dare we say it, clichéd, plot points are secondary to the visual feast that plays out on screen. Cameron and his team have truly created Pandora for us all to see, complete with wildlife, plant life, stunning scenery and amazing creatures. It’s an amazing vista, and glorious to look at even if the storyline doesn’t quite live up to Cameron’s cinematic vision.
Is Avatar suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This is aimed at the over-12s. There is quite a long battle scene towards the end that is tense and a little frightening for pre-teens.
Some of the creatures on Pandora may also be frightening to younger viewers (note, this isn’t suitable for the under-10s, and they would probably be bored in the middle anyway).