The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

A Sneak Peek at James Cameron’s Avatar

Written by: Joseph Randazzo, Special to CC2K

ImageThis Friday, I got a chance to see a sneak peek of the highly anticipated new James Cameron flick Avatar.  While I did not get a chance to see the full movie, I did get to see the trailer and several scenes from the first half.  So if I am iffy on any of the details, please forgive me, as I am trying to piece together the plot from incomplete scenes.

Avatar is Cameron’s first non-science film since Titanic. Now if you are one of those people who only remember him for Titanic, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that this was the man behind Terminator, T2 (the amazing one), True Lies and Aliens. So the man has some street cred to spare as far as action and cutting edge special effects go. However it is pretty easy to tell when the movie comes into full CGI, mainly because the actors become giant blue humanoid aliens with prehensile tails. The plot, from what I have gathered revolves around some scientists and marines colonizing an inhabited planet with a thriving population of stuff that kills you. (Picture Australia as a planet).

Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation) plays a paraplegic marine who volunteers to have his mind or personality placed into one of the gigantic blue alien creatures (hence the name AVATAR).  He then sets off and ends up among the indigenous people and befriends a female blue alien voiced by Zoe Saldana (Star Trek). Along the way he fights some amazing creatures and learns how to ride…basically a dragon type creature…basically.

The movie really shines through its amazing details, rich colors and the actions scenes. One scene where Worthington is being chased through the jungle by a massive tiger-like creature, (while shooting at it with a futuristic well-rendered machine) is particularly fantastic. It has a 10,000 BC feel to it, but without all the sucking. The 3D layering is well done and not distracting like it often has been in past films. It adds to the spectacle rather than merely amusing us with its own novelty. The dialogue seems real and the acting is solid, a welcome change from the stilted CGI crap-infused sci-fi of recent years past. (cough *Lucas* cough)

There are a whole host of other stars in the movie, but I did not see them in the clips (with the exception of Sigourney Weaver) so I cannot comment on their characters. What will probably unfold throughout the second half is an all out war between the space-aged machine-gunning marines and the dragon-riding poisoned-arrow wielding aliens. I think this one will be a hit and I will be in line with ridiculous 3d glasses in tow come December 18th.