Avatar is a science fiction movie by director James Cameron that was released in theaters in December 2009. The story is set on the fictional moon of Pandora, where the indigenous people are blue cat-like creatures almost twice the size of humans called the Na’vi. They survive in the wilderness much like human tribal cultures, living together in giant trees. The Avatars are hybrids of humans and the Na’vi, and are covert spies designed to look and integrate with the natives, with RDA Corporation employees controlling them virtually. The film is set in the year 2148, when the RDA Corporation had been mining for minerals on Pandora for several years. They discover there are rich veins of the minerals beneath Hometree, the home of the Na’vi. The company’s private army plan an attack on Hometree, and several of the RDA employees turn against the company and instead fight for the Na’vi.
Avatar is currently the highest grossing film of all time with a worldwide box office of $2,782,275,172. James Cameron plans to make at least two sequels.
The film received mostly positive reviews from critics, partially due to the hype surrounding its release, with some calling it the Star Wars of its time. Some criticized the film for having a clichéd, predictable storyline, and for relying too heavily on special effects. Since its release it has gradually fallen on the IMDB top 250 and, as of 2012, is no longer on the list. The various themes of the film drew strong reactions too, both for and against. Some conservative critics criticized the film for being liberal, anti-American and pro-environmentalist. Other critics felt the film had a racist theme, where the white hero once again saves the primitive natives. There was also criticism about the fact the lead scientist of the Avatar project (played by Sigourney Weaver) was a chain smoker.