So it's now here. It's made its money and wowed the critics (even though naysayers are still prevalent and some are still suggesting it ripped off Delgo-if Cameron was going to rip off a film don't you think he would have picked a GOOD one is all I'll say about that). So what else can I add to it. Not much except I loved it-with some qualms.
First up the film is indeed the visual feast that Cameron promised. Pandora and the creatures that inhabited were fully realized (and if this doesn't win the Oscar for visual effects somebody needs to rethink the voting process). It felt like an alien world-not just some world that sort of resembles are world.
Cameron also delivers in the action setpieces. While their isn't a crowd pleasing final monster battle like Aliens Cameron still knows how to make his scenes work-and does it without the flash pans and crazy quick editing that many films post Bourne have done.
Where the qualms come up is where many are saying is the film's weakness-the story and the characters. The main thrust of the plot is the standard "primitive natives vs. technological giants" plot that has been used numerous times. The military is portrayed as the usual gun happy "wipe them out" grunts while the faceless company-represented by Giovanni Ribisi-is almost a repeat of Aliens (Ribisi even seems like a clone of Paul Reiser's character.) As for the leads Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana do the best they can but the best performance come from Sigourney Weaver as Grace who brings heart and humor to her character.
But this is a case where the visuals do in many ways overcome the story's shortcomings. And it definetly looks great in 3D. It may not be the greatest film ever but in a year dominated by such empty fare like Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen and X-Men Origins:Wolverine Cameron has made a stunning achievement. Now bring on the Tharks! (and leave the shape shifting bull at home.) My rating: **** out of 4.