For James Cameron thinks big. He dreams big. He spends money. He pushes to the very edge of what's possible and then pushes again. He doesn't hold back. And his films are always, at their heart, beneath the flash and noise, romances.
James Cameron's follow up to the mega-blockbuster Titanic, had to flop. Right? I mean, it's been – can you believe it – twelve years since then. Since he'd written and directed his last feature film. Since he won his Oscars and proclaimed himself the King of the World! How could he top it?
It is - and this is a massive understatement – a visual feast. At the end of the film the first thing I said to my hubby was that I was fairly sure I hadn't blinked for two and a half hours – just in case I missed something. I can't hope to come close to truly describing the beauty of Pandora, the planet upon which it is set. I will say Pandora is pure movie magic from the stunning view in her heavens, to her floating mountains, to her fluorescent nightscapes, to her most vicious creeply crawlies.
Our hero, Jake Sully, is a bit of a visual feat himself ;). Played by Sam Worthington - with his deep husky voice and super masculine, blokey Aussie male mien he's like a young Russell Crowe - Jake ain't pretty, but with the rough around the edges thing he has going on, boy is he yummy!
The story goes like this... Jake is an ex-soldier. A wheelchair paraplegic injured in the field. A man whose twin brother has died. With seemingly nothing else to look forward to, he agrees to fulfill his scientist brother's destiny, by taking part in an Avatar program on planet Pandora. Pandora is a planet rich with a mineral being mined by humans. A planet whose local inhabitants do not want them there.
The Avatars in question are bodies created in the image of the beautiful natives, but controllable only by the sleeping minds of the specific humans liked by DNA to each. Avatars have been on planet for a while in order to make peace with the locals - biologists, researchers, teachers. Jake's arrival gives the local military presence a way to get a man on the insde. In case diplomacy fails.
When Jake wakes in his Avatar form, he is able to use his legs. With this freedom he is reborn. With this newfound power giving him wings he heads into the wilds of Pandora.
'Princess' Neytiri, played by the elfin Zoe Saldana, is a kick ass creature herself. She is the daughter of her people's leaders, she is a warrior, an earth mother, and a woman who needs convincing our hero is as worthy as her ancestors claim he just might be.
Thrown together by circumstance, from different social standings, with different ways of understanding life - from different species even! - they are an unlikely match. But both have strong hearts, open minds, and wild tendancies. They better one another. They compliment one another. They fall in love. As a romantic pair they are so beautifully matched it's just heavenly to watch their relationship unfold.
And then you remember, he's not really there. He's a human paraplegic soldier whose mind is only linked to his Avatar body. He's been on a mission to destabilise her people. To pillage her land. Aaah!
Caught between the only life he's known, as a solider, and the promise of getting his legs back if he follows through on his mission (this is 300 odd years into the future, mind you) and his growing attactchment to Pandora and her princess, Jake in the end has to take sides.
What's a hero to do? You'll have to get on your bike head down to the ceinma today and find out!!! I promise, you won't regret it.
Part environmental message, part sci-fi boys own adventure, part travelogue, part romance, Avatar is a movie that has everything.
My rating? A very rare 10/10. And that's without even having seen it in 3D.
Anyone free to babysit?!!
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Ally's next Harlequin Romance, MILLIONAIRE DAD'S SOS is out this April across the world.
Before then her WANTED: OUTBACK WIFE is reappearing in a beautifully packaged reissue of the Brides of Bella Lucia miniseries. Check out "Unexpected Proposals" and "Secrets Revealed" - 4 fabulous books in each volume. Pre-order now from The Book Depository and get 25% off, and free postage worldwide. Find out more on Ally's website and blog.