In the year 2154, Jake Sully(Sam Worthington) is transported to the Pandora, an earth like moon of a plant. Jake is a former marine who is a paraplegic now. On arriving at Pandora, he meets Dr Grace Augustine(Sigourney Weaver). He learns from Grace that he is brought in to step in the shoes of his murdered twin brother.
Pandora possesses a valuable mineral named unobtanium in abundant quantities. RDA corporation wants the mining rights to this mineral. In order to obtain the rights, the corporation uses a group of scientists headed by Grace who are protected by a group of mercenaries for security reasons. The administrator for the corporation is Parker(Giovanni Ribisi). Till now, all possibilities for an exchange have failed.
Pandora is inhabited by Na’vi, an alien form of life which resembles humans but are taller than humans, blue in color and has a tail. In order to interact with them better, Grace develops the Avatar program where in artificially created Na’vi bodies are operated by humans. Jakes’s brother was a part of this program. After his death, Jake has been called in take over his brother’s role in the program.
Grace and a fellow biologist named Norm(Joel David Moore) are skeptical about Jake as he lacks the necessary experience. But when Jake starts operating his Na’vi avatar, he is ecstatic as he regains the use of his limbs. He gets up from the chamber and navigates inside the perimeters created for the scientific experiment.
Grace is impressed by Jake’s enthusiasm and allows him to accompany for a tour inside the jungles of Pandora with Norm and Trudy(Michelle Rodriguez), a marine fighter pilot. During the tour, Jake is lost in the woods following an attack by the predators found in the jungle. While trying to survive in the forest, help arrives in the form of Na’vi princess, Neytiri(Zoe Saldana). Neytiri takes Jake to her tribe Omaticaya. The tribe warms up to him.
Sensing this as an opportunity, Colonel Miles Quaritch(Steven Lang) asks for vital information regarding Omaticaya from Jake in exchange for a chance to walk on his legs again. Jake has three months. In the three months, Jakes learns a lot about the tribe and successfully integrates with them. What happens when the Jake’s real world collides with the Jake’s avatar world forms the rest of the story.
James Cameron comes out of the self imposed hiatus after the successful Titanic to direct this movie. The tug of war between two different forms of lives is a favorite subject for Cameron as evident from Aliens, Terminator(1 and 2) and also The Abyss. Like the earlier outings, Cameron effortlessly takes us into a world he creates with effective use of technology and makes us believe it is real. His Pandora resembles the underwater world in The Abyss at some places. Cameron embeds the importance harmony with nature and also wrath of the nature in the movie. But the metaphors are lost in the breathtaking action sequences. Here, you are awestruck in the visual imagery, forgetting the absence of an original plot.
Performances have nothing much to do in this movie. In spite of all this being a director’s movie, Sam Worthington leaves a mark as the paraplegic who suddenly regains the use of his limbs. He gives a spirited performance in this movie even though the movie or the role do not require him to.
Zoe Saldana’s Neytiri is a computer generated character created using the motion capture technique. But her smile make us wish if there was a human form for Neytiri.
The presence of Sigourney Weaver reminds you of Aliens in the beginning. As for Stephen Lang, he ends up as a caricature with a role lacking complexity while mouthing dialogues that are straight out of the TV headlines. Giovanni Ribisi and Michelle Rodriguez is perfect for their roles.
Watch it for the fantasy world created out of nothing. Watch it for the breathtaking action scenes. And watch it only on 3D.