I am not a great fan of "something for everyone" movies. Because, I sincerely believe that when you try to please everyone, you inevitably compromise on many other aspects and the result comes out to be mediocre at best. And yet Avatar has breached some grounds on this forte. A fantastic combination of action, mystery, romance and beauty, all of this with great plot. Movie running time does not matter to me, as long as it is good and has an interval :).
A movie involves 2 major components: A great story (the what?) and the way it is told (the how?).
These days, with the visual effects and sound technology constantly improving, movie experience has been constantly improvising that many movies are doing a wonderful job in providing the "eye-treat". However, once in a while a movie comes that sweeps the audience and lifts the movie watching experience to a whole new level. AVATAR is one such movie. (I can remember The Matrix doing this kind of effect before).
3D being the highlight, Avatar provided a wonderful world PANDORA, injecting beauty of colours, the art in the wild and grace in the humanoids. I was actually a little somber at the end of the movie to come out the avatar world. (I later visited Pandora 2 more times by the time i wrote this review). Even though the discomfort of wearing the 3D glasses persisted throughout, this is a movie which can be watched more than once, as it was treat to the eyes and ears even the third time.
With all that hard work being there in the behind-the-scenes, it is even more hard to tell a story in such a way as to convince the audience to side with aliens in a war against humans. Certainly good story telling there.
None of these would have worked well without a strong plot.
The WHAT (the deeper aspects)
True, the movie had a huge wake-up-call-for-humanity message; which is a recurring theme in recent past, like inDistrict 9. But what i appreciated was the thought on how all the living beings - the plants, animals, entire planet - all connected together and a network of energy flowing in them acting as a communication channel. At one point, I wondered if the movie talking about earth and the humans had become those wonderfully evolved beings.
Also, Since being a human is all about connecting with others, I did not find the romance out of place at all. Rather, the movie was made more delightful because of the romance and the on-screen chemistry was way more enjoyable than just palatable, even though it was romance between alien species.
Science-wise speaking (as they often refer in the initial scenes), In the pandora world, defining the network of energies as a advanced bio-chemical phenomenon, trying to provide an explanation as scientifically as possible instead of leaving it as a spiritual-unknown was quite respectful of the director. However, even the basic science behind the AVATAR concept, (the transporting of human-in-dream-stage into the avatar body) was ill-explained, which was rather disappointing, making the movie less of science in the science-fiction part.
As with the epic movies, Everyone in Avatar has strong characters and a deep sense of attachment with their principles and a clear boundaries on their actions, except for Jake, the protagonist, for who is the only character forced to go through a lot of challenging situations, forcing him to constantly question his own faiths and actions. Highlighting the bravery and deep sense of adventure in Jake, the tremendous growth in the character is shown impeccably, i think every child should watch this film.
The Punch-line: AVATAR was not a movie, but an EXPERIENCE.