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release year: 2009
genre: sci-fi drama/action
viewing setting: home DVD, 7/31/11

synopsis: In the name of mining for big money, humans threaten to destroy the culture of an alien world, while one soldier experiences that culture firsthand through a body swap.

impressions: So some of the humans get their consciousnesses transferred into alien bodies, which allows them to study this other species. The military wants the one guy to be a spy, but in the process, he has a change of heart. This is an epic-level story of a great conflict and the people who caused it and are affected by it. The visual effects are groundbreaking and breathtaking, and there's plenty of action. The body-switching plot point reminds me of Lin Carter's Green Star series of novels, in which a crippled man is able to insert his consciousness into the body of a mighty alien warrior and achieve great things. On a greater level, this has something in common with several major historical events (the 9/11 towers' collapse, the U.S. occupation of other countries, and the English takeover of North America many centuries ago.) At almost three hours long, it's a big undertaking, but well worth it.

something this movie has that no other movie has: Mountains floating in the sky.

acting: Sam Worthington is the soldier who learns about the aliens' culture firsthand, and eventually realizes that the humans are wrong. Zoe Saldana is the female alien who helps convince him. Stephen Lang is a total military type who goes above and beyond. Sigourney Weaver is the scientist who actually wants to learn about and respect the alien culture. Michelle Rodriguez is a military pilot.

final word: Outstanding.

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