Avatar (2009) Blu Ray & DVD May 8, 2010 22:21:52 GMT -5
Post by Erik Rupp on May 8, 2010 22:21:52 GMT -5
Is Avatar really good enough to warrant the all time box office record? (Unadjusted for inflation, of course...)
No, but you probably already knew that (or strongly suspected it to be the case).
It is, however, a good movie - and one of the best looking movies ever made, if not the best. James Cameron really outdid himself with the visuals here. He spent a decade preparing for this movie, making sure that the technology he wanted to make the movie his way was in place. And that massive amount of preparation time paid off.
But a movie has to be about more than visuals. There has to be a good story at the core of the film. Avatar does have a solid story at it's core. It's a compelling, engrossing story that holds the viewers attention at all times. On that level, Cameron's script works extremely well. On another level it is not quite so successful.
The good guys are so purely, "Good," and the bad guys are so purely, "Bad," that the movie becomes a little too simplistic and preachy. The story of humans having ventured out into space to obtain natural resources to keep the earth alive is told in broad, black and white strokes with no shades of gray.
In this case Cameron basically retells the story of American colonization across the west, taking the land from the Native Americans who were there before them. In this case it's the native population of the planet Pandora, the Na'vi who are being forced out of their homeland. The messages that Cameron is trying to get across (the mistreatment of the Native Americans, and of corporate greed taken to the extreme) are presented like a hammer to the head. Cameron missed the mark when it comes to presenting a message in a subtle, but persuasive way.
He also telegraphed the ending halfway through. It won't take much insight to see where the characters are headed. Predictability doesn't help the movie, but it isn't a deal breaker. Half the fun of Avatar is in watching how those events that are predictable are actually played out.
Even with it's flaws recognized and taken into account Avatar is still a very entertaining and compelling movie. The story is fairly strong and the characters develop fairly naturally. And then there are those visuals! This truly may be the best looking movie of all time. It is a wonder to behold. The world of Pandora and the Na'vi is amazing in it's beauty, and the way that Cameron has blended live action with computer generated environments and computer generated characters is nothing short of spectacular. This is a big time movie on all levels.
And so is the Blu Ray. This is a reference quality Blu Ray - a test disc to see just how good your home theater is.
The picture quality is stunning. Clean, crisp, with amazingly brilliant and accurate colors and great shadow detail - Fox did a fantastic job with this one.
The DVD, on the other hand, is merely above average. It is good, but where the Blu Ray is one of the best to date for that format, the DVD presentation is merely very good. If there is any decision to be made as to which format to buy, this one is a no-brainer. The Blu Ray is the way to go (especially since it comes with a DVD as well).
While Avatar could have been better in the plot department it's still a well told story. (But why not give the, "Bad guys," some shades of gray? How about making the ore they're mining vital to the survival of billions of people on earth? Give them a motivation beyond simple greed and the story takes on a depth that Cameron missed. Had Cameron done that Avatar would have been a significantly better movie.)
Story/Script - 3/5
Direction/Visuals/Editing - 5/5
Overall Movie Score - 4/5
Blu Ray - 5/5
DVD - 4/5