Now I know that everyone and their mother loved it, but I just watched it and found it nauseating. It's a string of cliches packaged in a lame white guilt fantasy. It's like a bunch of bleeding heart white liberals were sitting around going
"gee, I feel really bad about the destruction of the environment and the way that, historically, europeans have exploited and subjugated indigenous populations for their manpower, land and resources."
"Hmm... yeah, I agree. maybe we should do something about it."
"OR, we could produce a movie that alludes to those issues, but will make billions of dollars, none of which will go toward helping the environment or improving the lives of the descendants of those our ancestors have wronged."
And everything in this movie is just so contrived. The remorseless bad guy, the way the good guy turns from his original intent (full on with a scene of "it started out that way, but now I'm changed!"), the dramatic death of their comrades. Maybe it's because I've seen this 20 times before, but I just didn't care. I didn't care that the military guy was an asshole. I didn't care that Giovanni Ribisi was a douchebag. I didn't care that Sigourney Weaver died (or did she? I kind of stopped paying attention for a while). I didn't care that Jake Sully was fortuitously saved by his blue girlfriend, twice.
And I'm not a tactician. I've had no military training. I'm not a marine like mister Jake Sully. I'm no warrior like the Navi. But it seems to me that the obvious thing to do would not be a headlong assault into a technologically superior enemy who can easily outgun you. Ever heard of a flanking maneuver? You mentioned something about having the homefield advantage. Maybe use the terrain to your advantage. Is there anywhere they would bottleneck or be particularly vulnerable?
Not to mention that when they rode their birds in, they physically assault the helicopter-esque flying machines. Now I figured the obvious thing would be to have your giant birds pick up rocks or thick tree trunks or something and drop them through the rotors, since knocking even one rotor out would cause the entire helicopter to go down. But whatever. I mean, even if the rotors wouldn't tear apart from the impact, I would assume it would cause some type of damage that would negatively impact their maneuvering capability.
Or you could put big boulders up on those floating islands and maybe roll them off onto the aircraft and the soldiers below.
Or maybe direct part of your assault toward the gunship with the super evil bad guy aboard, thereby taking down the chain of command, since your familiarity with the military probably allows you to know on which aircraft he would be.
Or maybe have your foot soldiers circle around and attack from the rear to create a diversion before your horsemen charge in.
And why waste Rodriguez's character? They had her take their only aircraft and attack the commander's airship, but had no one backing her up? Seems like while all of his guns were trained on her, it would have been a good idea for Sully to have jumped onboard and dropped his grenades then. But I guess sacrificing her needlessly works too.
Jake Sully is a moron and everyone would have died if the fucking planet didn't decide to save them by sending in all of the animals to help them.
Now, all that being said, I guess that ultimately I only found the story itself craptastic. The direction, effects, dialogue, acting, etc were all fine. So even though the movie sucked story-wise, everything else was well done. And obviously, the visual effects were amazing. I guess it depends on what you watch the movie for. If you're caught up in the visuals, you'll probably find the movie pretty interesting. If the visuals are secondary to an interesting story, you'll probably think the movie sucks balls.