Every once in a while comes a movie that changes the way we perceive the entire business of movie making. Avatar is one such movie. At the surface it’s an overly simplistic tale of the evils of our ways and the consequences it could have, told with the subtlety of a jackhammer. But once you look beyond that, you see Avatar for what it really is – a bold look at what movie making could become in the near future.

Avatar follows Jake Sully, a paraplegic ex-Marine, who is flown in to Pandora – a distant moon of a gas giant – as a last minute replacement for his brother. Here he takes part in the Avatar project that links his mind with a bio-engineered eight foot humanoid alien, designed to resemble the Na’vi, the natives of the planet. The idea is to infiltrate the natives and learn more about them. As Jake integrates with the natives, he finds his loyalties are increasingly being tested and he wonders about whose side he really should be on.

Avatar’s story isn’t its strong point, with Cameron weaving in everything that’s “wrong” with this world, with the least possible subtlety. Maybe that was his intention, to make us sit up and take notice, but it doesn’t really work and the sermonizing detracts from an otherwise fine film. What he does succeed in doing is create an immersive world, populated with strange creatures, both deadly and fascinatingly beautiful. Brought to life in glorious 3-D, Pandora looks like no world you have ever seen on screen. It’s hauntingly beautiful, and is guaranteed to stay with you for a long while.

So if you haven’t seen it as yet, go and see it in 3-D (preferably in an Imax). I liked it so much that I’m headed out watch it again tomorrow.

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