Here's Judy's brothers review of Avatar. He works in film.
Spectacular. Seriously, Cameron delivers. The 3D and CGI are wonderful but it's the story and characters that make it a great movie. And the direction; it's beautifully paced. It's an ecological morality tale, a romantic fantasy, a love story, a coming-of-age story, a war story, an epic clash of cultures -- Dances With Wolves meets The New World meets the kick-ass marines from Aliens, with 1000 times as much firepower.
Predictable, simplistic, sentimental, cheesy at times (the night time bio-luminescent) scenes have an unfortunate black-velvet-painting look ... but ... awe-inspiring, intense, heartfelt and moving. Some of the most moving moments are quiet ones when Jake is awestruck by the Pandora forest world. The flora and fauna of Pandora are beautifully realized, and it's all CGI!!
The battle scenes are amazing; they really work story-wise because, once again, you care about the characters. Nicely worked out theme of seeing and being seen, quite spiritual.
The Na'vi are believable, you forget you're watching CGI and buy them as characters -- they're like big cats, very lion-like. Unfortunately, their tall elongated slender shape makes their movements seem a little stiff at times. Quibbles aside, I can't wait to see it again.
I cannot say it enough - if we care about your characters - we'll love your story.