Jake Sully is a soldier who has lost the use of his legs. However, the unfortunate death of his brother may have given him the opportunity to be cured. America has found a valuable natural resource, an element called "unobtainium," on a faraway planet called Pandora. This could solve the energy crisis on Earth; however, two problems are presented by this mission. First, Pandora's atmosphere is poisonous to human beings. Second, Pandora is inhabited by a peaceful alien race of tall blue creatures called the Na'Vi, whose religious beliefs cause them to fiercely protect their world from destruction by machine. Human scientists have found a way to transport the brain of a person into a specially-crafted Na'Vi body called an avatar. This enables the human to essentially become a Na'Vi, to walk around freely on Pandora's surface without being poisoned, and to help in peacekeeping missions with the natives by giving them common ground. The scientists, led by Grace, are committed to keeping conflict at bay, but the military, led by Colonel Miles Quaritch, sees the Na'Vi as vicious savages who hate our human way of life. Sully is invited to take part in the Avatar program because his brother was part of it before his death, and Sully's genetic material makes him the most suitable match to take over his brother's avatar. Colonel Quaritch encourages Sully to spy on the scientists and the Na'Vi, and to report back daily with any information that may be useful. If Sully does this, Colonel Quaritch promises him the technology to be able to walk again on human legs.
On his first mission, Sully gets separated from Grace and the scientists, and he meets Neytiri, a Na'Vi whose father is the chief of the alien race. Sully and Neytiri begin to bond, and a strange sort of romance grows between the two. Sully is given permission to officially become a member of the Na'Vi, to go through the sacred initiation process, and to become an honorary member of the tribe. However, when Colonel Quaritch decides to destroy the tree that serves as the Na'Vi's home, it's up to Sully to win back the trust of the aliens and lead them into battle against the Colonel for the right to save their home planet.
Best part of story, including ending:
This is a spectacular film, with truly epic scope and some of the best visual effects you'll ever see in a movie. James Cameron specializes in massive sci-fi, and this absolutely fits the bill.
Best scene in story:
When Sully first enters into his avatar, he realizes that his brain inside a Na'Vi body means he can feel like he can walk again. He joyfully runs through the planet, and it's a lovely emotional scene.
Opinion about the main character:
Sully is a bit of a jarhead soldier type, but watching him get in touch with his emotions and fall in love with Neytiri makes him a sympathetic hero by the time Act 3 rolls around.