Credit: 2009 Twentieth Century Fox

OPENS FRIDAY 12/18

Twelve years after Titanic, writer-director James Cameron returns with another effects-heavy epic. Does it meet the hype? Actually, it exceeds it. This cinematic feast for the senses -- about a paraplegic veteran (Sam Worthington) who inhabits an alien body on a distant planet -- blends impressive CGI and 3-D technology with impassioned performances (particularly that of alien native Zoe Saldana).

--DAVID GUGGENHEIM