Avatar is worth seeing for the visuals alone, which will set a new standard going forward.
The setup will irritate some people as it embodies many of the usual Hollywood political and social enthusiasms: corporations are evil, the military is evil, scientists are noble and good and the noble savage native good guys are pantheists who seem not to have any private property (nor, indeed, do they seem to ever do useful work of any sort). About the only thing that could be said against the natives is that they have hereditary rulers and that a couple of the young male ones are a bit headstrong. The movie would have had more depth if the natives had some moral diversity to match that of the humans.
There are some obvious oddities in the story - e.g. why do the natives have a well-developed ritual for transferring souls from their human bodies to their avatar bodies when presumably the issue has never come up before, why don't the soldiers wear their breathing apparatus when flying helicopters full of easily broken glass windows, why would the main character be sent out in his avatar to interact with the natives without any training, and so on - but the plot, and everything else, is really secondary to the truly astounding visuals.
Fine NYT review here.
Recommend for the visuals. Be sure to find a comfy chair as this one lasts a long time.
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