Avatar (2009) – 12, 162 min
Director: James Cameron
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver
A paraplegic Marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home.
When his brother is killed in a robbery, paraplegic Marine Jake Sully decides to take his place in a mission on the distant world of Pandora. There he learns of greedy corporate figurehead Parker Selfridge’s intentions of driving off the native humanoid “Na’vi” in order to mine for the precious material scattered throughout their rich woodland. In exchange for the spinal surgery that will fix his legs, Jake gathers intel for the cooperating military unit spearheaded by gung-ho Colonel Quaritch, while simultaneously attempting to infiltrate the Na’vi people with the use of an “avatar” identity. While Jake begins to bond with the native tribe and quickly falls in love with the beautiful alien Neytiri, the restless Colonel moves forward with his ruthless extermination tactics, forcing the soldier to take a stand – and fight back in an epic battle for the fate of Pandora.
Strip away from this movie the director’s massive reputation, and you have a truly weird story about an aggressive futureworld corporation bankrolling avatar-technology so that human beings can insinuate themselves into the lives of aliens to seduce them. What an indie-freaky idea it is – and that is what makes it an experience.
TRON: Legacy (2010) – PG – 125 min
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde
The son of a virtual world designer goes looking for his father and ends up inside the digital world that his father designed. He meets his father’s creation turned bad and a unique ally who was born inside the digital domain of The Grid.
Sam Flynn, the tech-savvy 27-year-old son of Kevin Flynn, looks into his father’s disappearance and finds himself pulled into the same world of fierce programs and gladiatorial games where his father has been living for 20 years. Along with Kevin’s loyal confidant, father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe that has become far more advanced and exceedingly dangerous.
Tron Legacy – review Steve Rose guardian.co.uk, Sunday 5 December 2010
Any sequel to Tron was always going to be a tricky task but Disney may just have pulled it off – if you don’t think too much
Tron Legacy is best enjoyed as a showreel of cutting-edge visuals – an extended Daft Punk video, perhaps, or a computer simulation of Bridges’ inner turmoil since he won his Oscar last year. He won’t win any for this but the visual effects departments might.
It is often beautiful to look at, and could come to represent the fashion tropes of its era as faithfully as its predecessor did. And the silliness somehow adds to the enjoyment rather than detracting from it. It’s the best kind of bonkers.
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The Awakening (2011) 15, 107 mins
Director: Nick Murphy
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Dominic West and Imelda Staunton
In 1921, England is overwhelmed by the loss and grief of World War I. Hoax exposer Florence Cathcart visits a boarding school to explain sightings of a child ghost. Everything she believes unravels as the ‘missing’ begin to show themselves.
In 1921, in London, the arrogant and skeptical Florence Cathcart is famous for exposing hoaxes and helping the police to arrest con artists. The stranger Robert Mallory tells her that the headmaster of a boarding school in Rookford had invited her to travel to Cumbria to investigate a ghost that is frightening the pupils to death. He also tells that many years ago there was a murder in the estate and recently pupil Walter Portman had died. The reluctant Florence finally accepts to go to Cumbria. On arrival, she is welcomed by governess Maud and the boy Thomas Hill. Soon Florence discovers what had happened to Walter and then the students, teachers and staff are released on vacation, and Florence remains alone with Robert, Maud and Tom in the school. Florence is ready to leave the boarding school when strange things happen. Florence comments with Robert and he tells that there is only three people in the boarding school, leaving Florence scared.
Giardian Review by Peter Bradshaw guardian.co.uk, Thursday 10 November 2011
“Here is a supernatural melodrama in the tradition of The Innocents, or Alejandro Amenábar’s The Others….. I have to say I found the final, colossal revelation to be contrived, but there are some nicely creepy moments, and director and co-writer Nick Murphy interestingly dramatises some of the neuroses feeding the appetite for ghostly phenomena – repressed sexuality, guilt and self-harm.”