Avatar: An “Out of This World” Film

Paola Hernandez Olvera, Co-editor-in-Chief

Almost the entire nation is in quarantine due to COVID-19. Confined in your own home for days on end, going out only to take out the trash or to get the mail. It’s no wonder people are losing their minds due to boredom. I get it. It’s understandable, because I, too, was bored out of my mind until I decided to watch Avatar.

Avatar tells the story of the alien world of Pandora, where the Na’vi, beings who appear primitive but are highly evolved, live. Because the planet’s environment is poisonous, human and Na’vi hybrids, called Avatars, must link to human minds to allow for free movement on Pandora. Jake Sully, played by Sam Worthington, a paralyzed former Marine, becomes mobile again through one such Avatar and falls in love with Neytiri, a Na’vi woman played by Zoe Saldana. As their relationship grows, he is drawn into a battle for the survival of her world.

James Cameron’s Avatar was released Dec. 18, 2009, but the development of the film actually began in 1994, meaning that the entirety of the film’s creation took about 15 years. Filming for Avatar was supposed to take place just after the completion of Cameron’s ongoing film at the time, Titanic, but Cameron decided to wait because the technology necessary to fulfill his vision simply did not exist at the time.

The budget for Avatar was officially set at $237 million, but other estimates go as high as $310 million for production and another $150 million for promotion. The film made the most out of the budget, using new motion capture filming techniques and groundbreaking cinematic technology like stereoscopic filmmaking. Stereoscopic filmmaking essentially uses the characteristics of human “binocular” vision to create the illusion of depth, making objects appear to be in front of or behind the screen.

After a few years, in which the language and fictional world of the Na’vi, and the film’s screenplay were created, the film was released, effectively breaking box office records, becoming the world’s highest-grossing film at the time, at over $2 billion. Avatar held that title for nearly a decade until the release of Avengers: Endgame.

Avatar is truly a complete cinematic experience. The film’s visuals are astonishing, considering that they are nearly 70 percent computer generated, the digital and live action elements are almost inseparable. Cameron truly thought the world of Pandora out, as its flora and fauna, bioluminescent night environment, floating mountains, and blue Na’vi people resemble a work of art. The music and message of Avatar also contribute a great deal to the film’s success.

Avatar is truly an experience. Each of the film’s elements come together to form a true masterpiece, which I loved and truly do recommend. The film is set to have four sequels, each released two years apart from each other, starting with Avatar 2, being released December 17, 2021. Avatar is available for streaming on Disney +, Youtube, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu and Google Play.