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United Kingdom, United States · 2009
Rated PG-13 · 2h 42m
Director James Cameron
Starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang
Genre Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction

In the future, a paraplegic former marine is chosen to infiltrate an indigenous alien tribe on a planet housing much-needed resources. To do so, he'll assume the form of an alien avatar, but as he gets closer to the tribe, his loyalty to the human invaders begins to wane.

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What are people saying?

Megan Rochlin Profile picture for Megan Rochlin

You know why no one talks about Avatar anymore? Because it wasn't good! Strip away the visual effects and this is just a fairly derivative adaptation of Disney's Pocahontas with all the problematic colonial messaging intact.

Eddie Godino Profile picture for Eddie Godino

Avatar has the unique problem of simultaneously being both overrated and underrated. The staggering box office figures give the movie a reputation that it simply doesn't live up to, but conversely, it also causes many critics to be overly harsh. The premise of inverting the classic alien invasion story so that humans are the invaders is a very intriguing concept, and Avatar excels at immersing the audience in the world of Pandora. The Na'Vi feel like a full-fledged species with their own cultures and lore, which speaks to the efficacy of the storytelling, though movie could stand to be shorter. Ultimately, Avatar doesn't redefine the genre, but it's still a solid sci-fi flick with a lot of world-building potential.

What are critics saying?


Empire by Chris Hewitt (1)

It's been twelve years since "Titanic," but the King of the World has returned with a flawed but fantastic tour de force that, taken on its merits as a film, especially in two dimensions, warrants four stars. However, if you can wrap a pair of 3D glasses round your peepers, this becomes a transcendent, full-on five-star experience that's the closest we'll ever come to setting foot on a strange new world. Just don't leave it so long next time, eh, Jim?


Village Voice by J. Hoberman

Avatar is a technological wonder, 15 years percolating in King Cameron's imagination and inarguably the greatest 3-D cavalry western ever made. Too bad that western is "Dances With Wolves."


Time Out by Keith Uhlich

The question lingers as the movie comes to its triumphant body-swapping close: Is this a pro-environment parable or a prophecy of virtual realities yet to come? Cameron's new world may very well be a verdant Matrix.


The Hollywood Reporter by Kirk Honeycutt

A fully believable, flesh-and-blood (albeit not human flesh and blood) romance is the beating heart of "Avatar." Cameron has never made a movie just to show off visual pyrotechnics: Every bit of technology in "Avatar" serves the greater purpose of a deeply felt love story.


Chicago Tribune by Michael Phillips

The first 90 minutes of Avatar are pretty terrific - a full-immersion technological wonder with wonders to spare. The other 72 minutes, less and less terrific.


Time by Richard Corliss

Embrace the movie -- surely the most vivid and persuasive creation of a fantasy world ever seen in the history of moving pictures -- as a total sensory, sensuous, sensual experience.


Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

Once again, [Cameron] has silenced the doubters by simply delivering an extraordinary film. There is still at least one man in Hollywood who knows how to spend $250 million, or was it $300 million, wisely.


Variety by Todd McCarthy

Avatar is all-enveloping and transporting, with Cameron & Co.'s years of R&D paying off with a film that, as his work has done before, raises the technical bar and throws down a challenge for the many other filmmakers toiling in the sci-fi/fantasy realm.

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