Rating: 5/5 stars (Some might argue with me on this point, but taking everything together as a whole, the movie is stunning.)
Simply put, Avatar is AMAZING! Not the most original story ever told (best described by varying comments overheard in the theater and discussed amongst ourselves afterward: Pocahontas meets Fern Gully meets Dune while the boys play Cowboys and Indians), I can honestly say that I have not seen so visually stunning a film as this in a long time. Everything about Pandora, from the Na'Vi to the flora and fauna to the actual landscape itself was breathtaking and beautiful. So much detail went into every aspect of the creation of Pandora, it's just unbelievable.
Again, the story is not all that original (and really, at this point James Cameron just needs to stop going on about how original it is!) but the movie is so encompassing that you do get lost in the film and can forgive the minor story flaws that creep in. Which is another point that S and I were discussing after the movie; we each had a point at the beginning of the film that just didn't seem right to us, but by the end is was just blurred in with the rest of the film and forgotten, so apparently not all that particular. The one thing that I still can't get over, though, and I've thought this since I saw the very first trailer for the film: It's 140+ years in the future, we have the ability to travel to other planets and survive on them, and they haven't come up with anything better than a wheelchair for Jake Sully? It's mentioned at one point that his spine can be repaired and his legs fixed, but that costs money. Understandable. But really, a wheelchair? You can't come up with something better than that? Just a personal nag.
Really, a stunning piece of cinema. If you are wondering about seeing it in 3D, I'd recommend it. I've only seen the 3D version so I can't give an honest comparison, but I can tell you that the 3D version is spectacular. Very engrossing, and it doesn't really detract from the film at all. I also didn't see too many of the "look at our sweeping, amazing 3D shots that are going to look ridiculous in 2D" moments that I think many of the 3D films are guilty of these days (A Christmas Carol, I'm looking at you). Now I'm just hoping that our local IMAX theater will be able to acquire a print of the film, because I'd really like to see it again on the IMAX screen.
For more information on the film, visit the official site.