OK for kids 13+
Action-heavy epic has dazzling effects, familiar story.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know this highly anticipated James Cameron sci-fi epic may be too intense (and long, at 161 minutes) for some tweens. There are several effects-heavy battle and hunting sequences that include missile-launching military aircraft, nerotoxin-laced arrows, scary Pandora-dwelling fauna and flora, and lots of explosions -- all of which has more impact when the movie is seen in 3-D. Salty wartime language includes many uses of "s--t" and comparable words. As in his previous epics, Cameron infuses the action-driven story with strong female characters and a morality tale centered in a romantic relationship -- though the human-Na'vi relationship in question gets a bit complicated, because the human is actually in his avatar. The romantic leads' chemistry is made more sensual by the barely dressed bodies of the Na'vi. (Note: Fans of the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender should know that this movie is in no way connected to that show or the movie based on it.)
- Families can talk about the movie's revolutionary special effects. Do they overwhelm or support the movie's story? How does the portrayal of the Na'vi affect the movie's emotional impact?
- What themes does Cameron consistently work into his films? Compare the strong female characters in Avatar, Terminator, and Titanic. Any similarities?
- What political messages is Cameron exploring in the movie? How are its themes relevant to what's going on in today's world? Do you think these messages will stand the test of time?
The good stuff
Messages: Overall, the movie's message is that we could all stand to learn something from a (fictional) peaceful, nature-loving alien population. Strong environmental and pro-peace themes. Some viewers may see the message of occupying a foreign land to usurp their cultural riches as a political dig at America's involvement in the Middle East.
Role models: Several characters make difficult but moral choices. Jake chooses to defend the Na'vi even though it's against orders to do so and means he must fight (and kill) fellow human soldiers. Neytiri, Grace, and Trudy all make personal sacrifices to help the clan; they're strong, courageous, and assertive female characters. (In both the human and Na'vi populations, female characters are just as brave and important as the males -- even the Na'vi mating ritual requires that a female accept/choose the male who chooses her.) On the flip side, the Colonel and corporate boss Parker are portrayed as bloodthirsty and greedy.
What to watch for
Violence: Characters (supporting and extras) die due to explosions, bullet wounds, arrows (some treated with toxins), precipitous falls, and asphyxiation. There are several intense scenes involving frightening Pandoran creatures and plants, as well as tension between Jake's rogue group of pro-Na'vi humans and the rest of the humans sent to Pandora.
Sex: Many longing looks between Jake's avatar and Neytiri, which eventually leads to kissing and "mating" (only kissing and touching are seen on screen). The Na'vi's humanoid bodies are barely dressed.
Language: The word "s--t" is said several times (as well as its brothers, "bull s--t" and "holy s--t"). Other colorful language includes "goddamn," "piss," limp-dicked," "hell," "oh my God," "ass," and mild insults like "stupid," "ignorant," etc.
Consumerism: No product placement in the movie, but there are dozens of tie-in merchandising deals tied to the title -- including toys and books aimed at young kids.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Sigourney Weaver's character, Grace, smokes cigarettes and somewhat glamorizes the activity.
Fan Reviews provided by
Avatar Movie Review by Asianfreak
91 out of 100 The Color Blue.
Best 3D Movie Ever/Average Story by the13thletter
I have to say the technology in filming/creating this movie is amazing, from the CGI to the stereoscopic cameras to the amazing 3D. I really felt like I was inside a video game the entire time. Thanks for that experience James Cameron. The story is just very generic though. I mean we already learned about this in American History class. Yes, James Cameron we get it. We understand what your trying to tell us about native people and nature and all the stuff that we as humans have done to destroy this. I kind of felt I was watching Blood Diamond mixed with a little bit of Pocahontas and throw in a big scary corporation (USA, UK, etc.) that is hell bent on getting what it wants (gold, diamonds, oil, land) and bam you have Avatar.
I really think that they could've done so much more with the story then what they came up with. You know when you hear about a movie for so long, you think you're going to walk into this Epic Film....but I came out of it thinking good movie, not great.
Avatar (2009) review by SimbaUno
Epic movie that I almost made a must go for the pop culture significance alone. Good movie, but there are better that came out in 2009.
Completely boring and predictable. by Arzus
Ever seen Pocahontas? Then you've seen Avatar. James Cameron takes cliche to the extreme. He steals his whole movie from countless other movies such as Pocahontas, adds a few machines obviously inspired by various science-fiction like Halo, and probably (I have no doubt) even steals a couple lines from said movies. The plot is generic. There are only a few things that are different than Pocahontas. 1. It's on another planet, so obviously it's a science-fiction movie. 2. The native americans are now giant, smurf-cat people. 3. The white hero is in a wheelchair. Other than that, it's pretty much the same. Even then, it doesn't make any difference whatsoever. Jake Sully proudly plays the part of John Smith. Neytiri proudly plays the role of Pocahontas. Tsu'tey proudly plays the part of Kocoum. Eytukan proudly plays the part of Chief Powhatan. The Tree of Souls proudly plays the part of Grandmother Willow (except for the fact she doesn't talk). You get the point. It's pretty cliche.
This was one of my favorite movies, but the avengers kills this movie in every way possible. You think this movie has great special fx, the avengers has 10x the fx, and they spent less than half of what cameron did. Avengers all the way!!!!!