Somewhere, about ninety minutes into Avatar I was certain that this was one of the best – perhaps the best – movies of the year. The feeling didn't pass. Not really. I told The Mad Hatter a few days ago that Avatar was dangerously close to perfection, perhaps the word should have been maddeningly close. The hint of perfection was so close, so near that the failure to attain that perfection was maddening. Yet, despite not being perfect Avatar is still one of the better films I’ve seen this year.
Avatar occurs in the future in a place called Pandora. I’ll refrain from any plot excursions even though I suppose spoilers wouldn’t affect the effect of the film. In a way Avatar reminds me of incongruous musicals like Chicago or even Moulin Rouge The greatness of these films is not in their plot, but in their filmmaking and Avatar is no different. It’s a visual spectacle that’s incredibly phenomenal and enthralling. I found it to be one of the most visually satisfying film since the underrated James & the Giant Peach – probably better than that.
The thing with Avatar though is that with the visuals as characters themselves the actors are not given a feasible chance to harvest their talents. This does not stop Sigourney Weaver though. It’s folly for me to expect this to pick up any awards traction, but Sigourney does everything one can do in such a film. She emerges as the strongest of the lot [voice and body actors] giving a full performance. In fact her final moments on screen are the most poignant for me. Which is actually a contributing reason that the film didn’t get that A.
Avatar is not perfect. It would have been higher if it was. My issue with Avatar – which is essentially nitpicking – is that the climax for me occurs with fifty minutes to spare. Sigourney’s demise and the burning of the forest are all so enthralling and I’ve become so invested that there was nowhere to go but downhill. Thus the effective ending can’t but feel like a letdown. Of course, being less than a stellar is not offensive. And I couldn’t help but chuckle at the refrain "I See You" through the film. A line the more astute of you will remember from Titanic.
You have a gift, Jack. You see peopleJames Cameron puts everything into this film – Terminator, Aliens, Titanic and more and he makes a great film. Not my favourite of his. But one of the best of the year.
I see you.