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The Review: Avatar

By Nathan Hardin
nhardin@salisburypost.com
If you are looking for entertainment over the holiday season, then do not overlook James Cameron’s science-fiction epic, “Avatar,” which is being shown at most theatres throughout the Rowan and Cabarrus area and has grossed well over $200 million in the 10 days since its release.
James Cameron, director of “Titanic” and the “Terminator” films, presents “Avatar” with jaw-dropping graphics providing an initial wow factor. While its graphics may have prompted the film’s great anticipation, viewers will find the plot as enticing as the revolutionary visual effects.
“Avatar,” which in Hindi refers to the embodiment of a person or thing, merges the epic and graphic concepts of those in “Star Wars” with the conflicting nature of colonization seen in Kevin Costner’s “Dances With Wolves.”
The film boasts an A-plus cast with Sam Worthington as Jake Sully (“Terminator Salvation”), Zoe Suldana (“Drumline”) as Neytiri, and Sigourney Weaver (“Alien”) as Dr. Grace Augustine.
“Avatar” gives the viewer a complete film, meshing love, war and treachery into an epic which may continue to break film records as theaters sell out more than a week after the release.
The film begins when the main character Cpl. Jake Sully’s brother dies while working on a new avatar program on the planet Pandora.
Sully quickly finds himself as a spy for the military inside the Na’vi community, a humanoid race. He replaces his brother as the sole user of his brother’s avatar, which is a hybrid bred Na’vi clone. In the film, the clone is similar to a video game in that Sully embodies the clone when he enters a special chamber, linking the two bodies.
After spending three months infiltrating the Na’vi community, Sully, a paraplegic, finds he has a new life (and new legs) in the Pandora jungle. He deals with conflicting feelings throughout the film as the military is determined to relocate or destroy the Na’vi in attempts to access the planet’s natural resources.
A good portion of the film is based on the growth Sully experiences in his new community and the transfer of identity that continues throughout the film.
As he begins to lose his identity between his two lives, Sully falls in love with the village leader’s daughter. The affair is cut short, though, as bulldozers begin their assault on the Na’vi village and Sully’s identity is discovered. He is deemed a traitor to his native race and the Na’vi.
The film concludes with the internal (and external) battles dividing Jake Sully as he struggles to do the right thing while caught in the middle of the violent, brutish struggle of colonization.
Although the film’s length may appear daunting initially at 162 minutes, “Avatar” will not disappoint and, unlike other lengthy movies, will not leave you looking at your watch for the last hour.
If you’ve decided the film isn’t for you because of a distaste for computer-generated imagery graphics, then you may be in for a surprise.
According to the Internet Movie Database, the film is constructed of 40 percent live action footage and 60 percent photo-realistic computer graphics.
The film is also offered in a revolutionized 3D format at some theaters and IMAX theaters.
“Avatar” will have viewers of all ages laughing, crying and wholly drawn into James Cameron’s unique imagination. The film is rated PG-13 for some language and warfare scenes.
The film just finished No. 1 in the box office for the second straight weekend and the numbers don’t lie, “Avatar” is a great movie.
Nathan Hardin, a South Rowan graduate, is a student at N.C. State University.

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