Avatar review

Powerful white man threatens to destroy primitive blue man but white man then saves blue man who in turn saves white man, y’know, spiritually. It’s a vaguely patronising but classical concept. The not-all-too-original, basic, largely predictable story isn’t bad, though, and is, in fact, more coherent than many.

The world of Avatar is both impressive and ridiculous. Whereas there are plenty of credible, even complex sci-fi elements (like the abundant bioluminescence and detailed common physical traits of animals) there is also a large dose of utter fantasy (floating mountains, cross-species USB ports). However frustratingly inconsistent this is, everything, from characters to story to effects, is clearly very carefully calculated and, although it’s instinctive to abominate such lack of soul, the formula for mindless entertainment undoubtedly works.

Switching off is the key to enjoyment and interest intensifies when the pace picks up and the action really kicks off in the second half of the overly-long film. It’s another example of a director with too much power but this is James Cameron’s big spectacle and it certainly is spectacular — the visuals are the undisputed highlight and are reason enough to see the film.

4 out of 5

21st Dec 2009 | Official site | On IMDb