Well I've noticed a trend going around with the movie Avatar, where it's completely ass backwards in terms of review. All of the respectable film critics of our day (Roger Ebert, Jules Brenner, and A.O. Scott just to name a few) deeply expressed their adoration for James Cameron's latest film, while every "hard ass" viewer out there has turned it into something of a scandal in their eyes.
IMO the movie was brilliant. From start to finish I was in the world of Pandora, my emotions were tied to the progression of Jake Sully's character development and even with Neytiri. I found myself (although as predictable as the movie may have been to some) wondering what would happen next, personally I didn't make the initial leap to accusing it of a story I've seen before. Sure it had its similarities to other stories of the same genre, but the way it was presented and the believable acting made it feel like I was watching a wonderful fiction novel that pulled me right in from the get go.
I see some wanna-be critics claiming that the movie is a recycled Pocahontas script, or Fern Gully, or Dances With Wolves which are similar to Brother Bear, or The Last Samurai, or District 9 which are similar to Memoirs of a Geisha... We get it, it's been kinda done before. Big freakin deal! No matter what your favorite movie is, I guarantee it's been done before (The "simpsons did it" accusation gets no props). What you people should focus on is not spending your time trying to identify what movies a popular movie reminds you of, but rather the way the movie is presented. In my opinion this movie had heart. I found I could easily appreciate and follow the main characters, fiction or not there weren't any loopholes in the story and it was also easy to follow, which in turn made the venture more enjoyable since I was never facing a momentary "that doesn't make sense because...".
In all fairness if you were to go into the movie expecting what James Cameron promised to deliver, you would not be disappointed. He promised viewers a visually stunning and captivating world, he delivered, end of story.
Here are some of the things I personally liked about the movie. Aside from the two main characters, the rest of the supporting cast also had a temporary place in my heart (Although watching them die wasn't too depressing), it seems like it was designed to keep your mind on the love story while also enjoying the benefits of a supporting cast, mission complete. The world of Pandora was so realistic! Every little detail of the CGI was amazing, nothing felt fake to me. Everything from the facial expressions to the simple drifting of leaves when Home Tree fell sold my mind the lie that I was looking at something tangible.
The Colonel was a great villain. He possessed a certain air of righteousness, as if in his mind he was doing the right thing, as evil as it might be. The fact that the world of Pandora could communicate with its inhabitants as its own life form was a great concept, and actually left me many reasons to cheer for the defense.
The action/suspense sequences (even the tiny ones) were very very enjoyable and the battle at the end of the picture had me on the edge of my seat, and honestly being a James Cameron flick I expected Jake Sully to die. The beginning was well done, the filler story was done well, it couldn't have ended better, and all for the presentation of this visually stunning world. This story possessed a wide range of emotions and backstories without taking our eyes away from the target focus of the picture, mix that with a visually stunning and believable world and captivating characters and IMO you've struck gold as a storyteller.
So far I've seen the movie twice and both me and Angie appreciated every moment. Sure it could've run shorter, but I wouldn't change a thing about it (It sure didn't feel long to me). I also guarantee that if this exact movie was done with not-as-great graphics, with a differently named director, it would've gotten greater reviews from the outspoken public. It seems the only people who have really taken to disliking this movie are the same type of people who only appreciate indie music and/or think Stephanie Meyer is the greatest author in the world.
As a final note I wish to state that Pocahontas, Fern Gully, and Dances With Wolves were all great movies too!