disclosure: I was sent a digital code for Avatar(2009) in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own. No other compensation was received.
Shortly after seeing Avatar: The Way of Water, I wanted to explore and experience again how the journey of the Na’vi came to be in James Cameron’s 2009 box-office record setter, Avatar. The entire planet was engulfed by the technological wonders of cinematography, CGI, and 3D immersion that stunned audiences in 2009. Avatar set records and continues to be the worlds highest grossing film of all-time, surprising $2.93 billion worldwide. Avatar has been James’ Cameron’s passion project dating back to the Titanic filming, and for the past 25 years, has been designed in his head, ultimately arriving on screen first in 2009.
Avatar is a technical breakthrough that provides an eco-friendly, green and anti-war message through humans and Na’vi. The visually detailed world of Pandora, the creation of a Na’vi language, and the theme sets the tone for the movie industry to come. The tall blue like creatures, the Na’vi, know by living in harmony with nature and sharing their planet with the creatures that call Pandora home, is the only way to survive.
This story begins in the year 2154, where the U.S. Armed Forces setting off on a mission to an earth-sized moon to explore the wonders of Pandora. Pandora is host of an atmosphere not breathable by humans but full of an assortment of rich and valuable materials that the humans want, such as unobtanium.
We follow a paraplegic unlikely hero, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), who’s recruited to join this mission to become linked to a Na’vi, called an avatar. In the avatar state, Jake has his feelings back and can walk. If Jake can successfully complete the mission, the military will pay for his real surgery to restore his movement. However, if the avatar is destroyed, his human form stays the same. We learn about the Na’vi and the Avatar Program that was created by the Program head, Dr. Grace Augustine (Signorny Weaver), and while she is undecided on the skillset of paraplegic Marine, Jake Sully, she accepts him as her bodyguard for the mission. Shortly, Jake is attacked by a wildlife creature of Pandora.
To understand the Na’vi, Jake is rescued by a brave Na’vi named Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), and to what Col. Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) informed Jake before entering Pandora as an Avatar — everything on Pandora that lives, wants to eat him. Neytiri takes Jake and Grace back to what we call, Hometree, or base, and this is where Jake confesses to being a spy, and is held captive. Col. Quaritch is beyond furious and orders the destruction and murder of Hometree and countless Na’vi that stand in his way — including Neytiri’s father. Grace is shot, and Jake is detached from his Avatar, entering a world of chaos and destruction to Pandora.
Repulsed by Quartich’s brutality, a few of Jake’s buddies rescue and airlift Jake and Grace to safety. It is there Jake is reunited with his Avatar and regains the trust of the Na’vi by returning with a linked Toruk, a dragon-like, beastly banshee that is revered by the Na’vi. An instant battle of the ages takes over the storyline, with subplots incorporated including the emotional unsuccessful reunification of Grace and her Avatar, ending the storyline of the beloved Dr. Grace Augustine.
Circling back to the importance of the Na’vi respecting the wildlife that call Pandora home — in the midst of the battle, the Na’vi are rescued and aided by the Pandoran wildlife and overwhelm the humans in their sheer size and magnitude. To Neytiri, this is seen as Eywa (the Na’vi God) answering the prayers of Jake. A turbulent air-battle and land-battle culminate with a showdown between AMP suit wearing Quaritch, and Jake Sully.
Quartich is able to discover Jake’s avatar liking unit and breaks open, exposing Jake’s human body to Pandora’s poisonous atmosphere. Just as Quaritch is about to kill Jake’s Avatar, he is shot by Neytiri and killed. Neytiri rushes to Jake’s human form, and rushes both bodies to the Tree of Souls for hope from Ewya.
With the exceptions of Jake, Norm, and a select few others, all humans are expelled from Pandora, and we begin to see a new rebirth of Pandora, and with the help from the Tree of Souls, a new rebirth of Jake Sully — permanently as an Avatar.
This nearly three-hour long exploration and adventure on Pandora provides audiences a whole new world to experience and thrilling moments that captivate and intensify movie-goers. James Cameron creates a scene of serenity that allows the audience to explore the human stories, the Na’vi culture and stories, and the ultimate warfare that raises the stakes. When the film was released in 2009, James Cameron promised audiences goers that they will experience a 3-D masterpiece like never before, utilizing next-gen 3-D technologies and CGI masterclasses the world, in 2009, has never experienced before. Avatar exceeded the hype, breaking box-office records every week to become “King of The World,” as the world’s highest grossing film of all-time, surpassing $2.93 billion.
Audiences can experience the long-awaited return to Pandora, in Avatar: The Way of Water, now streaming on Disney+ and Paramount+. In 2025, Avatar 3 is slated to continue the world of Pandora and explore the new challenges that await the Na’vi.
Avatar (2009), is rated PG-13 for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking.