George's review: 'Avatar' worth every penny

LOS ANGELES "Avatar" tells a complex story, but the writing makes it fairly easy to follow. Earthlings have come to the planet Pandora to mine a rare mineral that will solve the Earth's energy crisis -- that's right, it's the distant future we're still in big trouble.

The scientists on Earth have used human DNA to create beings like the ones who live on Pandora, hoping to communicate with them in their environment.

Sam Worthington plays an ex-Marine whose "Avatar" is quickly intrigued by one of Pandora's natives, a beautiful princess. The ex-Marine grows to love and respect the people of Pandora. And it could easily be "happily ever after" right there. But it's not, because things turn deadly. That's all I'm going to tell you about the story.

As far as the movie-going experience, the performance capture animation and the stunning scenery is so wildly imaginative, you'll likely be floored (I know I was). I saw it in 3-D on the IMAX screen and I definitely recommend the 3-D experience.

The casting is great. As the film's hero, /*Sam Worthington*/ has strength and heart. /*Zoe Saldana*/ is the woman who helps us love the people of her planet. And /*Sigourney Weaver*/, as the lead scientist, speaks sci-fi better than any other actress. There are also some beautiful vocal performances by /*CCH Pounder*/ and /*Wes Studi*/ as the leaders of a Pandora clan. You need to feel that heart, and they deliver.

I got the biggest kick out of /*Stephen Lang*/, who plays one tough dude. You'll love hating him.

"Avatar" turns very dramatic and very sad, but it has a fighting spirit and I respect that.

Director /*James Cameron*/ has created something fascinating to watch and something that makes you think about how we treat one another. It may be the most expensive movie ever made, but that doesn't change the ticket price for you.

There are also many scary creatures. You will be floored by the special effects and the story of a once forbidden love. But I do think this is too scary for small children.

The one thing about "Avatar" that makes people cringe when I tell them is the running time of the movie -- it's two hours and 40 minutes long. No large beverages allowed!

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