Finally, AVATAR! Can’t believe that James Cameron finally has a new film out after a long wait from his last movie….that  little film called Titanic. The Director of True Lies and Aliens delivers again. The film follows an ex-marine, Jake Sully, who is wheelchair bound, to Pandora. His twin brother was recently killed and Jake has the same DNA, a necessity to take over his brothers Avatar. The Avatars are used by the marines to attempt to infiltrate the local natives, the Navi. The Navi are living directly above a large deposit of valuable minerals, and Jake’s job is to try to get the Navi to relocate in order to mine the region. Of course once Jake has infiltrated the Navi, he finds himself more a part of the Navi than he realizes.

As far as performances, to me there were no really outstanding performances. Everyone in the film was solid, but nothing that is going to stir up the Academy for an Oscar. Jake Sully is played by Sam Worthington who was in this past summers Terminator Salvation. Sigourney Weaver (Aliens, Death and the Maiden) is once again teamed up with Cameron as Dr. Grace Augustine, the local scientist and expert on the Navi culture. Giovanni Ribisi (Saving Private Ryan) plays company man Parker, and Stephen Lang (Gettysburg, Public Enemies) is the macho-over-the-top kill the natives colonel.

On to the special effects, and yes they were special! My opinion, Oscars all around for the special effects team. The entire film is visually stunning and well worth catching on the big screen. In fact it is a must to catch on the big screen, with such sweeping shots, and panoramic scenes, definitely a must! I might also mention the 3D, well worth seeing it in 3D as well. It never is distracting to the movie, it enhances the film and does not take away at all. It was nice to see this element used in this way, and not have the cheap 3D gags throughout, like a sword being pointed at you or items coming at you for no other reason than to remind you that you are watching a 3D movie.

To sum it all up, this is worth going to see for sure. It has already been nominated for Best Picture at the Golden Globes. Even though I think this is a must see on the big screen, by no means is it a fresh storyline, which I really wanted from Cameron. The movie really played out like Dances With Wolves or The Emerald Forest. And I was even reminded of other Cameron films, the Ribisi character Parker seemed like a company man right out of Aliens with the same agenda. The military ships even reminded me of the landing craft in Aliens. Ok, even the score done by James Horner was even a bit too much reminiscent of Titanic. So by no means is this film perfect in my eyes. It is jawdropping beautiful and it is something like you have never seen before. The only thing I can compare it to is seeing Star Wars for the first time as a boy in grade school. The imagination and creativity put into this film is something to see for sure!

Public Enemies


To say that this movie did not live up to my expectations isn’t saying this is a bad movie at all. Michael Mann, having directed some of my all time favorites like Last Of The Mohicans and The Insider, and starring Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) and Christian Bale (Batman Begins), I was going into this film with expectations of Oscar. It didn’t quite make it to that level for  me.

I think Michael Mann could have done a better job telling a story and developing characters. The first hour of this film seems to move slow, even though there is a lot going on onscreen. I think it is a lack of development that makes it seem like its plodding along because there really isn’t any depth as to why things are happening. The last hour picked up, but there are constant references to Dillinger being a public hero, yet nothing really happened in the story to endear him to anyone, other than the fact of being played by Johnny Depp.

There were a couple of big highlights for me though. I thought Marion Cotilliard (Best Actress La Vie en Rose) did a wonderful job playing Dillinger’s girlfriend, BIllie Frechette. She may have done enough in her interogation scene and the closing scene to earn her a supporting actress nomination. The other highlight was the music. I would have loved to have had even more of it if they could have worked it in. If it is a weak year for best actors, Johnny Depp could slip in for a nomination ,but I think he has been better. Being a fan of Johnny Depp, I will cross my fingers for him.

So, not living up to expectations doesn’t mean I won’t buy it on DVD and watch it again when it comes out. If you are going thinking you might be seeing one of the first Oscar films, tap the brakes, I don’t think this one is in that league, but you will enjoy the film.