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Parents' Guide to

Avatar

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Action-heavy epic has dazzling effects, familiar story.

Movie PG-13 2009 161 minutes
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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 249 parent reviews

age 17+

Very well done. Make sure you are not only an older teen, but a mature one too. Watch the family edition.

Watch the family edition. That gets most of the language out of the way. The movie is great, and I can't wait for the sequels! There is a hugging and kissing scene... references mating... but it is pretty mild. The Navi have little clothing... I didn't catch anything explicit. Still, If this is a stumbling block for somebody, don't watch this one. I would recommend this to older teens.
age 10+

Great

Great but has at least 25 swear words

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (249 ):
Kids say (637 ):

James Cameron, director of the highest-grossing movie ever made (Titanic), risked a rumored $500 million on a spectacular futuristic sci-fi epic whose main characters are blue aliens and settings are mostly CGI. The good news for epic movie lovers everywhere is that Avatar was a massive success. It's more like the story of Dances with Wolves crossed with the breathtaking visual effects of Lord of the Rings and the love story of Titanic, with a splash of the assimilation to a native culture aspect of Apocalypse Now thrown in. Even though Cameron seems to have gone to the same hammy dialogue school of screenwriting as George Lucas, he can certainly immerse viewers in a thoroughly enjoyable spectacle. Every shot of Pandora is amazingly detailed, from floating mountains to flying beasts to the feline-featured Na'vi, who are inspired by several Indigenous cultures. The movie's scale is undeniably impressive.

Cameron owes a huge debt to his movie's female characters, all of whom are much more interesting than the stereotypical men -- especially the outlandishly evil Quaritch and Giovanni Ribisi's greedy corporate overseer. Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez (as soldier Trudy Chacon), like Aliens' Ripley or Terminator's Sarah Connor, could take on anything or anyone, and Saldana follows up a memorable turn as Uhura in Star Trek with another strong performance as Neytiri. It's quite a feat to create romantic electricity between fictional alien creatures, but Saldana and Worthington manage it surprisingly well. If you allow yourself to get lost in Cameron's Pandora, it's impossible not to root for the Na'vi (or Neytiri and Jake). Part sci-fi, part romance, all James Cameron, this is the sci-fi epic that will suck everyone in.

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