I’ve never written a movie review before so don’t expect anything formal. I saw the 2D version of Avatar yesterday afternoon and wanted to share my thoughts about it.

The idea of the story is, a crippled marine, Jake Sully, takes the place of his late twin brother on a distant planet. He is chosen because, as a twin, he is a DNA match and is able to use the Avatar created for his brother. The planet’s environment is hostile to humans. Not only is the air toxic, but just about every creature is giant and deadly. The humanoid life form (I watch too much Star Trek) is the Na’vi. They are tall, blue creatures who are in touch with the planet and communicate with their deity Ewya. More on that later. When Jake arrives he learns of the conflict. The Na’vi’s home is on top of a large deposit of a type of rock which is incredibly valuable to humans. The humans want it, the Na’vi don’t want to move and it’s Jake’s job (as an Avatar) to earn their trust and convince the Na’vi to relocate before the humans take their land by force.

First of all, the special effects were unbelievable. Whenever I see a movie I have a discussion about it in the car on the way home. While discussing Avatar, Joel mentioned how good the CGI was. Only then did it hit me, it was almost completely CGI, wasn’t it? That’s how good the effects are. You’re never taken out of the moment because of the animation. Instead it’s as if you are transported into an incredible new world. One of brilliant colors, of forests that glow in the dark and fantastic creatures that are unlike anything on earth. Because you’re not on earth, you’re on Pandora. I found myself wishing Pandora was a real place. If it were I would brave the 5 year 9 month space journey just to visit it. Because it’s breathtaking, even in 2D.

Beyond the special effects I felt like there was a compelling story. Yes, there were blatant political statements but I felt there were elements of truth behind them. James Cameron seems to have a pretty realistic idea of how things could play out. This makes me so sad. Humans have done this time and time again. They’ve just taken what they wanted by force and twisted things to suit their needs instead of adjusting their needs to suit the environment. It’s not far fetched to think they might do the same on another planet. Besides all that, I felt for the characters. I cheered for them in their successes and teared up in their losses. Plus, there were plenty of action sequences that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Perhaps one of the most interesting facets of the story to me was the concept of Ewya. I believe in God and I believe He created the universe. However, I am not sure that on a different planet, with a completely different species He wouldn’t take a different form. Then the question is raised, if humans traveled to another planet would their particular rules for religion follow them? Which version of God would they be held accountable to? I suppose it’s all speculation since we don’t seem to be anywhere near discovering another planet that could support life, let alone another life form. To me it is an interesting thought process, although perhaps one I should explore more in a blog post of it’s own.

I highly recommend you go see it while it’s in theaters. No home theater set up, no matter how high tech would be comparable. So, there you have it, my first movie review. I give it 5 stars. Avatar made me think and feel and took my breathe away. To me that equals a great movie.