Still top of the all-time box-office chart with a $2.7 billion take, James Cameron’s sci-fi eco-epic seemed to singlehandedly justify the hype around 3D on its release in 2009. I’ve seen it in both and can vouch for its power in a mere two dimensions. A stunning mix of live-action footage, motion-capture and pure CGI, Avatar is at its root an old-fashioned good-versus-evil struggle that happens to be set 150 years in the future, in which a benign, native population (the slender, blue-skinned Na’vi) find their Eden-like paradise Pandora threatened by a militaristic invader (humans mining for minerals). Sam Worthington plays the paraplegic marine who uses a Na’vi avatar to go undercover and gain the locals’ trust, complicating his corporate paymasters’ exploitative masterplan in the process. The views are stunning, the action emotionally charged, and the late James Horner’s music as awe-inspiring as the forest vistas. But I still prefer Cameron’s Titanic, if that’s not a heretical thing to say.
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