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Richmond: Visuals outweigh plot

By Thomas Richmond
On February 9, 2010

James Cameron, director and mastermind of ‘Avatar', has once again successfully immersed the entire movie going population into a new cinematic world.

From the very look and feel of the characters, to the realistic setting of Pandora's jungles, audiences everywhere will not want to leave their seats for the entire 160 minute run time.

The whole 3D option is appealing to audiences as well. It does not have a hokey feel to it but instead gives the whole movie a depth of field not unlike our normal eye vision gives us. My vote is to see it in 3D.

This film has become the highest grossing film of all time. As it rightfully should, this film is nothing short of a masterpiece, with some extra added help of the 3D pricetag.

As for the plot, some would say it is slightly lacking in the originality department, yet I beg to differ. The entire visual aspect of the movie provides a very large emotional depth to the story, albeit simple plot.

To me the simplicity did not bother me, as most movies nowadays have similar plot lines that are just presented in a different way. I pose the challenge to try to see the movie for entertainment and not as some predictable piece of rubbish.

‘Avatar' has proven to be everything but. With the movie breaking box office records that Cameron himself held for Titanic, and with the multiple awards gleaned from the recent award shows.

Trust me, a film does not get Golden Globe Awards for "Best Drama" if the plot is lacking. Adding to the collection is James Cameron's new Golden Globe hardware for "Best Director."

The movie itself is set into motion when Jake Sulley (Sam Worthington) fills in as a replacement for the ‘Avatar' Program on Pandora. Jake, an ex-Marine, finds himself quickly thrust into the world outside of the walls of the base and fending for himself.

WETA Digital who are known for their work in ‘The Lord of the Rings' Trilogy and ‘King Kong', provide us with a photorealistic journey into the alien planet of Pandora.

With animals and plant species that give off a phosphorescent glow, as well as compelling jungle-like landscapes, Jake finds himself saved by Neytiri (Zoe Saldana).

He becomes one of them, discovering their ways of life. We watch as he is torn between his own human race and the Na'vi people he has fallen in love with.

What is so awful to imagine is how this story spent five years in the making (originally conceived 12 years ago). Upon its first written script conception right after ‘Titanic', James Cameron deemed the current CGI technology not up to his standards.

The script found his drawer until 5 years ago when he first saw ‘Lord of The Rings' character Gollum "sneaking" across the screen. Now that's what I call patience.

Speaking of giant trilogies such as ‘The Lord of the Rings', two sequels to the original ‘Avatar' have been confirmed by Cameron. They have not been written yet but the good news? The sequels won't take the five years to make.

Cameron has said he can get them out faster than the first ‘Avatar.' I am a fan of trilogies, and I am ecstatic about the idea of visiting Pandora again someday soon. As for now, I will wait impatiently until ‘Avatar' comes out on DVD. You can expect me to be one of the first in line at Wal-Mart on its release date.

I myself have seen this movie seven times and probably will wind up watching it many more times in the future.

To me ‘Avatar' might be more impressive on a technical level than as a piece of storytelling, but ‘Avatar' reaffirms James Cameron's gift for imaginative, absorbing filmmaking and it is definitely worth seeing 3D or not.

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