Avatar is movie magic
While we sit transfixed on the images before us, a story unfolds, told with command and passion. A fallen soldier, wounded and paralyzed from battle, is sent to a foreign land to help eradicate the indigenous locals. Savage and brute, the locals are making things hard for globalization and forced modernization, not to mention the mining and stripping of valuable minerals from their native lands. As our hero begins to intermingle with the savages, his heart awakens to the beauty of their civilization and simple purity of their traditions. Also he falls for a girl.
As good a story as this makes, its been made a few times. THE LAST SAMURAI and DANCES WITH WOLVES follow this exact formula, to great success. Its not a bad story, and there are only so many stories to tell, but it feels very old here.
This is a great BIG movie though, and no one should miss it in its theatrical run. And though its story may seem a bit old, to quote Roger Ebert in his critique of TITANIC, "You don't choose the most expensive film ever made as your opportunity to reinvent the wheel."