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I don’t remember exactly when word of this movie started to surface, but I do remember I was very intrigued by it. I like a lot of Cameron's work. Aliens, The Terminator, T2, True Lies, the guy has done some truly classic stuff. I even think The Abyss is pretty damn cool.

Though when the trailer finally surfaced, I was less than impressed with what I saw. In fact, I was actually pretty disappointed by it. I thought it looked very artificial. Considering the effects were supposed to be this movie's bread and butter, my initial reaction was not a good one.

Well when I finally saw it, I had a very mixed reaction. The Na'Vi's (the aliens) faces look very good close up, but aside from that they look very fake. Their movements don't look believable and the extremely artificial environments around them don’t help either. The creatures and just about everything else on the planet of Pandora looked like one big video game (and not a particularly good one either).  
As far as the storyline goes, I’ve heard some call this Dances with Wolves with blue people.

That actually turned out to be pretty accurate. I’ve heard others refer to it as a FernGully knockoff. I’ve never seen it, but after reading a plot outline, I can see that too.  
There are also some sappy, cliché, eye roll-inducing moments that rival Cameron’s other most overrated movie of all time: Titanic. I expect some of that in a movie like this, but it’s all about execution. Something can be can be corny, but endearing (think Star Wars or Indiana Jones).  This movie was just plain hammy at times though.  

There were some well-acted moments though. Zoe Saldana’s performance stood out to me. She was the emotion behind the movie. I read she put in a lot of time and effort and I felt that it showed. It’s just hard to take it seriously when the movie takes itself too seriously. Sam Worthington was quite bland. He has kind of this stoic thing going on. At least that’s what I think he is trying to do. Sometimes it seems ok, others he just seems wooden. Stephen Lang, was an excellent villain. He made me really hate Colonel Miles Quaritch. He was so good that I was actually disappointed to see his performance wasted in an otherwise average-to-subpar movie.  

If you don’t like long, epic, sci-fi/fantasy films I do not recommend it. I even exercise some caution if you think you’d like it, because it’s really not that unique of a movie. Even the effects, which are what’s supposed to make the movie, are not anything special. When I first saw this movie, I thought it was ok, but the more-and-more I come across it on TV, I just roll my eyes at it.

Rating: Thumbs down.

This movie review was written sometime in December of 2009. It was updated approximately one year later.

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