James Cameron writes and directs Avatar, his follow-up to the all-time box office champ Titanic, which is filled with 3-D visuals and motion capture CGI (computer generated images). Avatar stands as an amazing experience showcasing the special effects company LightStorm Entertainment and collaborator Weta Digital, Peter Jackson’s special effects company. The outstanding CGI scenes encompass more than half of the film, packing the screen with incredible visuals while the story centers on the 10-foot tall Na’vi people on a moon called Pandora.
Set in the 22nd century, the Na’vi world, inspired by Cameron’s recent underwater documentary film work, has a unique culture, language, and belief system. Their homeland rests on an incredibly valuable resource called Unobtainium, which sells on Earth at $20 million dollars a kilogram. Earth needs more resources (explained only in character dialogue), so mobilized forces work towards obtaining Unobtainium from the Na’vi. Some forces are ready to fight and harvest this special resource at the expense of the Na’vi homeland while others want to ensure peace.
The scientific team includes its leader Grace, well played by Sigourney Weaver, while Col. Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) aggressively prepares for hostile action using mercenary-type armed forces. Other key characters like pilot Trudy Chacon (Michelle Rodriguez) portray honor while Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi) only displays corporate greed as a Resources Development Administration (RDA) executive/field manager.
Enter a paraplegic marine named Jake Sully, played by Sam Worthington, who finds himself suddenly caught between both parties in a special scientific project aimed at diplomacy with the Na’vi people. Worthington (Terminator Salvation) contributes another fine performance though he slips into his Australian accent near the end. As a Na’vi avatar, Jake gleefully walks again and becomes an important commodity due to his accidental close encounter with the Na’vi. Jake’s eagerness and confidence keep the story moving quickly as he encounters Neytiri, played by Zoe Saldana, and her parents Mo’at (CCH Pounder) and Eytukan (Wes Studi), plus fierce creatures and flying banshees, which all have a special biological connection with the Na’vi.