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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - April, 2010

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"Avatar"(Blu-ray) - Reviewed by John Johnson

movie-april-2010-avatar

Synopsis

On a distant planet called Pandora, there exists an element that cannot be found on earth, and which is needed by the military. Pandora is inhabited by humanoids, called the Na'vi, who don't want the earthlings occupying their world. The US Marines have a new technology whereby an earthling can inhabit a body that is identical to the Na'vi, thereby increasing their chances of gaining the Na'vi's confidence, and more importantly, their cooperation. The earthling-inhabited Na'vi body is called an "Avatar".

Sgt. Jake Sully (Worthington)'s identical brother was an Avatar, but was killed in action. Jake, who has no experience as a Na'vi, takes his brother's place because the Avatar technology is too expensive to waste. So, Jake goes into the world of the Na'vi, with no idea of what he is in for. He is especially enthusiastic because he is a paraplegic, and inhabiting his Avatar frees him to move his entire body without restriction.

It is this total naivity about the Na'vi that surprises everyone by the Na'vi's acceptance of Jake. In fact, the chief's daughter Neytiri (Saldana) takes a real liking to Jake and trains him in the native ways of their tribe. The Marine in charge of the operation, Col. Miles Quaritch (Lang) sees this as an opportunity, as does the head scientist, Dr. Grace Augustine (Weaver).

However, Jake, after falling in love with Neytiri, and the feelings are reciprocated, realizes that the Na'vi are being exploited to the extent that the lives of the tribe are considered expendable, and he decides to permanently become a Na'vi and protect them from the US Marines, who finally invade the tribal lands with the intent of killing everyone.

Specifications

  • 20th Century Fox
  • 2009, Color, Rated PG-13, 2 Hr 42 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • 1080p
  • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez
  • Directed by James Cameron
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Mild
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

Well, if you didn't see this movie at the theater, you are in a minority. It set records for box office receipts worldwide, probably close to two billion dollars and counting. It is not necessarily a unique plot, with the "inhabiting a different body" routine taken directly from "The Matrix". But, it is very special in that it has set a new standard for motion capture technology, which is jaw dropping.

Technical

I saw the 3-D version in the theater and was blown away. I thought that when I got the Blu-ray version, which is not in 3-D (it's coming this year though), I would be disappointed or bored to watch it. Not so. It is a fantastic movie in any dimension. The transfer is superb, and the surround experience is what one would expect from a film of this caliber. It has a tremendous deep bass sound track, so if you want a demo disc to show off your subwoofers to your friends, this is a good one.

Extras

There are no extras. After you see this movie, you won't want to watch anything for awhile.