Avatar bombards you with backstory in its opening scenes but it's never weighed down by all the fantastical exposition (for a director so fond of lengthy movies -- this one clocks in at 162 rousing minutes -- his movies sure fly). With a series of quick scenes we get the basics: Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is an ex-marine who has lost the use of his legs, he's been recruited by bossy plant-loving Dr Grace Augustine (Cameron stand-in and Aliens survivor Sigourney Weaver) for an elaborate scientific and diplomatic mission to the planet Pandora. There, he'll be animating an alien body created specifically to be compatible with his own genetic code.
Read the rest of my Avatar review in my weekly column at Towleroad
Click on any label below for more on these topics. I've been a Cameron fan for a long time. I recently reexamined and detailed the greatness of both Terminator and T2: Judgment Day