I can honestly say the £300 million budget for Avatar was well spent! I take my hat off to James Cameron, in my opinion Avatar was one of the most entertaining films I've seen (it was a close second after the Lord of the Rings Trilogy). I saw it in 3D but felt that for that real "jump out of the screen" effect it really needs to be watched on an IMAX screen instead. I think that might be the only complaint I would have to make because for nearly three hours I was completely engrossed in the story! Shamefully, I actually felt a bit miserable when the film ended and I was brought back to the real world with a bump. On the other hand, that's a sign of a story that completely draws the viewer or reader in.
Avatar is based around the planet Pandora, which is beautiful but deadly as the deadly gases in the air can kill a human in under five minutes. Pandora is inhabited by the native Na'vi, a race of blue humanoids whose deity is known as Eywa or the "Tree of Souls". There are also a variety of animals (mostly dangerous!) and plants that look like all of the weirdest things you could find in the Amazon Rainforest put together. On Pandora there are floating mountains held by vines, seeds that look like jellyfish and plants that illuminate by night.
The plot revolves around man's greed for the precious minerals that could only be found on Pandora and the mystical power that Eywa has throughout its forests. The viewer first encounters ex-marine Jake Sully as he arrives on Pandora to assist a team of scientists in infiltrating the Na'vi. Their home just happens to be sitting on the biggest mine on Pandora. The scenes where the army bulldoze and blow up the Na'vi's home to get to the mine reminded me very forcibly of parallels in our own history.
As the story unfolds, Jake visits the Na'vi through an avatar body linked to his mind, quickly becoming absorbed by their way of life. After falling in love with the beautiful Neytiri and learning the customs of the Na'vi, they accept Jake as one of their own. As a result, Jake has completely forgone his mission to persuade the Na'vi to move, incurring the anger of Col.Miles Quaritch, who decides to destroy the Tree of Souls.
The action is a thrill ride as the Na'vi amass an army to stop their deity being destroyed forever. The ending is spectacular as the whole of Pandora fights back, with some brilliant performances from well chosen actors. Personally, I really enjoyed the final scene where Jake is made into a true Na'vi, allowing him to be with Neytiri and stay on Pandora.
All in all, I'm sure people will pick holes in it's plot and fire off negative reviews, but it's been a long time since I've seen a film as entertaining and engrossing as Avatar. There's something for everyone in Avatar- sci-fi, romance, action and stunning special effects.