I saw "Avatar" last night and I have to say that it's easily the most visually stunning film I've ever seen. James Cameron creates a world that's not only believable, but beautiful as well.
Set well into the future, a corporation is exploiting a world they call Pandora. A rare and incredibly expensive mineral is found there and the mining company has set up shop to mine it and bring it back to Earth.
In an attempt to keep good with the locals, scientists work with the corporation to create "avatars" -- genetically similar cloned aliens that have both human and Pandoran DNA. The human counterparts can then link with these clones via a brain/mind link at the corporate mining base. The goal is to convince the local Pandorans that us "sky people" aren't all that bad.
Well, as you can imagine, all that doesn't necessarily go as planned.
I found myself deeply caring for the characters, the planet, and the spiritual aspects of the Pandorans. And that's what really drives this movie. The story itself isn't terribly original and the script won't necessarily win any awards, but Cameron works with it in such a way that you don't really care that you know what's going to happen -- you just are in awe of how he gets there.
See this film. Even if the story doesn't amaze you, the world Cameron unfolds in its 160-minute length definitely will.