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Movie Review: Avatar

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Sam Worthington as Jake Sully's Avatar Sam Worthington as Jake Sully's Avatar
Neytiri on a Mountain Banshee Neytiri on a Mountain Banshee
Zoe Saldana as Neytiri Zoe Saldana as Neytiri
Jake Sully with the Na'vi Jake Sully with the Na'vi
Sam Worthington under Performance Capture Sam Worthington under Performance Capture

By Terry Hunter

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - James Cameron's "Avatar" cost 300 million dollars to make and another 100 million to market. It's being shown in sold out theaters everywhere. Should you join the large crowds? 

The simple answer is "yes." "Avatar" is definitely worth seeing for its astonishing, often exhilarating 3D cinematography and its performance capture technology. But at two hours and forty minutes, the film is an hour too long, and its trite adventure/love story is something you've probably seen before.

In the year 2154. Sam Worthington is Jake Sully, a paraplegic ex-marine taking part in a mission to the planet Pandora where his 12 foot tall avatar infiltrates the 12 foot tall native humanoids known as Na'vi. The purpose of the mission is to move the Na'vi away from their home in a sacred tree so that earthlings can take the valuable material beneath the tree. But instead of helping to carry out that mission Jake falls in love with Neytiri, a Na'vi maiden played by Zoe Saldana. Fortunately, the too obvious plot is secondary to the wonderful visuals. The look of this film is spectacular.

So please take my advice. If you intend to see "Avatar" by all means see it in 3D. For the first 90 minutes, I was thrilled by the exotic world "Avatar" creates. But in the last hour the film turns into an endless epic battle between the earthlings and the Na'vi with Sully's avatar now leading the Na'vi.

I wish the storyline of this film had been even half as inspiring as the visuals. But whatever its story telling weaknesses, "Avatar" will go down in history as the first film in which motion capture animation was able to duplicate even the subtle facial expressions of its actors.