Hi JP and KathyP Happy New Year :)
I downloaded it and watched it but need to give a different opinion. I really enjoyed the interaction of humans and avatars in the beginning, seeing the scale difference and later how the main star had the freedom from his paralysis through the avatar was the enjoyable parts, but then it went cliche' and became the same old movie where humans in the future go to an alien planet for greedy reasons and start killing off peaceful creatures.
Last year an animation called Battle for Terra
which was also breathtaking but all-in-all had the same plot.
Mind you I did not see Avatar in 3D which I'm sure is truly the best 3D film ever, but in Battle for Terra, a human pilot who was part of a massive ship holding the only remaining humans who were quickly running out of life support on their ship.
The human (Stanton I believe) was saved by an alien young woman, befriended her and later fought with her race against the humans who were attacking and destroying Terra. Sound familiar? This also goes with ALIENS IN THE ATTIC where a small alien sides with humans to stop an armada of ships from taking over the planet.
This same theme sort of applies to District 9 when the low ranking human governmental employee chosen to head the relocation process of aliens we saved from their broken down ship. They didn't like the idea of relocation, humans started killing them off and the human who favored a alien and his son, took up arms against the humans (more in self preservation) but then helped get the alien ship running again to escape our slaughter of their species.
My point, we are always the bad guys, the aliens are always peaceful (even if they can rip us a new one due to their size and strength) and some sympathizing ends up being the hero after turning on his own evil human race.
I also add this to the DANCING WITH WOLVES category where you EARN the right to be accepted into another civilization by accomplishing what the local natives do. We have seen that in a Man called Horse, seen a variation of the above theme in the DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and others.
So was Avatar beautiful yes, was it original - I don't think so. I enjoyed it, although the whole cliche' aspect made the ending inevitable.
I hope, if you haven't seen it, that you see Battle for Terra, it is an amazingly beautiful animation that best explains why originality is lacking in Avatar.Battle for Terra Trailer!