Avatar is indeed a spectacle, especially if one has 3-D glasses on. It actually reminded me of the opening ceremonies of the Olympic games - one has seen it all before, but it gets more extravagant & spectacular as the years go by. The colours, images, the magnificent wild beasts & birds, and the elegant movement of the Na'vi people are all beautifully constructed.
Well, is it the "path breaking" film that its being heralded as? Certainly not. Well maybe, if you were born recently or never watched any of the legendary sci-fi / fantasy films over the years. Conceptually, it's all familiar ground and therefore making it nothing more than "exciting".
In my mind, nothing can take away the title of "path breaking" from The Matrix.
Rating: * * +