On a virtually alien world

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 December, 2009, 12:00am
 

First off. Drop your copy of Young Post and get a ticket to see Avatar. This ground-breaking visual extravaganza by visionary James Cameron is just too epic to ignore. In fact, it's difficult to do justice to this sci-fi masterpiece in a review. This is not a movie you simply see - you experience it, the mind-blowing visuals creating the ultimate out-of-the-world journey.

Merging computer-generated imagery (CGI) characters and live actors, Avatar tells the story of a crippled but ambitious former marine, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington). He has been given a mission: to infiltrate the inhabitants of Pandora. He must- convince the 3-metre-tall, blue-skinned Na'vi to move from their homeland so that it can be mined for 'unobtainium' - or else it will be destroyed.

In order to be able to move freely on the inhospitable planet, Jake is converted into a human-Na'vi hybrid, or 'avatar'. Living a double life as an avatar, Jake becomes fascinated with the Na'vi people, their culture and unspoiled land. When the inevitable human-Na'vi battle explodes, Jake has to decide whether to stand beside Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), the Na'vi princess he has fallen in love with, or to go back to his real life and fight for the unobtainium-obsessed humans.

It is easy to see why Jake feels the way he does. Once you enter the enchanting world of Pandora, where nature is respected and even the most insignificant life form is treasured, you want to be a part of the exotic world, too.

Complementing this exploration of our relationship with nature is probably the most mind-boggling CGI effects in movie history. Cameron has created an entire world out of pixels and the result is so realistic it is difficult to believe that it is all computer-generated. The glowing fluorescent plants and floating mountains are jaw-droppingly beautiful.

The Na'vi not only navigate through their world flawlessly, but their emotions radiate in their facial expressions and their big, yellow eyes are totally convincing. The CGI creatures deliver great performances, and the live action-CGI is seamless, blurring the line between reality and the virtual world.

The downside? The plot is predictable and cliched. But the message of assimilation makes up for this, and Worthington's Jake is the kind of victim-turned-hero that you'll love to root for.

This revolutionary movie is gripping to the point that Pandora will become your real world for the 2?hours you are in the cinema. When it's over, you will likely remain in your seat as reality sinks in and you disconnect from the virtual world.

Avatar is easily the movie of the year, and some might even say the decade. If you miss seeing it in 3D or IMAX, it's possible you'll regret that decision for the rest of your life.

(For 3D versions, be sure to pick the right language subtitles as parts of the film are spoken in the language of the Na'vi.)

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On a virtually alien world

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