Posted: 12/18/2009



by Rick Villalobos

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Another planet with intelligent life may seem far-fetched to the geek with a microscope stuck to his eye. The phrase, there is no scientific evidence to support such a notion, can be recited with ease by any nerd with a high I.Q. Of course, a mindset like that is just another way to compensate for having a small protractor. True brainiacs will save judgment until all the questions are asked and answered. Are we truly alone out there? Maybe. But it is not going to stop us from searching, even if it means gawking at a big screen.

Director James Cameron has done it again. Sci-fi fans, romantics, drama queens and action buffs - you will all be impressed and moved by this true cinematic creation. Please take notes. This textbook example of perfection does not happen in Hollywood everyday.

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is an ex-marine and a paraplegic. Unable to move from the waist down, Sam is recruited to join a military program called Avatar. So why join up? Well, because he is promised the one thing that would make him whole again – his legs. At this point in time – A.D 5124 to be exact – anything is possible. Sam, after the wake of his twin brother, travels to Pandora, a distant planet lush with vegetation and wild animals. Oh yeah and the bluest alien inhabitants that would make Papa Smurf envy with jealousy. So why are the humans there? Well, because Pandora has something they want and they will do anything to get it.

This film sounds familiar doesn’t it? Maybe skipping history class in high school wasn’t such a good idea. If we have learned anything at all about history is that the world is not a safe place. War ensues and people die. Well, at least we know now that 2012 was a fluke. Apparently, in James Cameron’s world the human race has survived, but their diplomatic skills have yet to improve. We are still the evil sycophants ready to purge anything and everything in sight. But please pay close attention because there is more to the story than just violence and death.

Avatar is breathtaking. Its computer graphics is the best. The direction is superb and the acting will cause a buzz. No doubt the sequel is already in the works. Ah yes, cinema 101 taught by a great director and storyteller. It will be hard not to attend class for this.

Rick Villalobos is a writer and film critic in Chicago.

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