Five years in the making, three hours in the unraveling. Writer-director James Cameron (The Terminator, The Abyss, Titanic) aims for epic sweep with his story of rapacious earthlings invading the heavily jungled planet of Pandora and trying to obliterate the tall, powerful, blue-skinned natives in order to steal their minerals. The CGI visuals are certainly gorgeous — Day-Glo ferns, dino-tigers, flying dragons, raging robots, and such — but the procedurals are strictly second-hand (à la Dances with Wolves, The New World, etc.) and the dialogue is laughable. There’s a good guy, a conscientious soldier named Jake (Sam Worthington), who rebels against his role as a shape-shifting Avatar warrior — but he gets lost in the shuffle. The US military/industrial bad guys (Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi) are standard-issue, as are the Na’Vi tribespeople, including Jake’s princess girlfriend (voice of Zoe Saldana). Even the King of the World sometimes needs writing help. Special edition with nine minutes of extra footage (162 min.).
Director: James Cameron
Writer: James Cameron
Producer: James Cameron and Jon Landau
Cast: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Sigourney Weaver, Giovanni Ribisi, CCH Pounder, Joel Moore, Laz Alonso and Wes Studi