Matthew Lickona 3 p.m., July 25
Ambitious merger of live action and computer animation, with at least one groundbreaking 3-D effect: English subtitles for the language spoken on the celestial body of Pandora inserted on a plane in the middle distance between a foreground figure and an upstage figure, as if the foreground one could look down and read the subtitle himself. This effect is silly, is pretentious, is pointless, and nonetheless is fun. Much the same could be said of the movie as a whole. Silly, pretentious, pointless, and fun is surely less than writer and director James Cameron had in mind for his first feature film since Titanic twelve years before, a two hour and forty-five minute “visionary” science-fiction epic that dishes up an allegory on globalism, a warm-over of the old science-versus-military debate, a dose of Noble Savage romanticism, a Capt. Smith and Pocahontas culture-clash romance, an ecological message, and a tree-felling that insistently recalls the toppling of the World Trade Center. There appears little doubt that Cameron drew upon all his mental powers, yet happily those powers prove too feeble, too reliant on convention and stereotype, or if you wish to make it sound better, on tradition and archetype, to ruin the fun. The powers themselves, with their rumble of self-importance and their straining for significance, are part and parcel of the kitschy fun. Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi, Michelle Rodriguez. 2009.
- Rated PG-13 | 2 hours, 40 minutes
- Official website