From this 2007 article
How did you come up with this story?
Well, my inspiration is every single science fiction book I read as a kid. And a few that weren't science fiction. The Edgar Rice Burroughs books, H. Rider Haggard — the manly, jungle adventure writers. I wanted to do an old fashioned jungle adventure, just set it on another planet, and play by those rules.
Your premise reminded me a lot of the Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter, Warlord of Mars series.
It's definitely got that feeling, and I wanted to capture that feeling, but updated. To be certain, I wanted a film that could encompass all my interests, from biology, technology, the environment — a whole host of passions. But I've always had a fondness for those kind of science fiction/adventure stories, the male warrior in an exotic, alien land, overcoming physical challenges and confronting the fears of difference. Do we conquer? Exploit? Integrate? Avatar explores those issues.
If I squint my eyes I guess I see the homage. Lone earth hero on a strange alien jungle world. I think the 60's idealism of Cameron runs much more rampant in the movie.
Like Abram's Star Trek the plot of Avatar is not it's strong point. You will be swept the away by the stunning images that are displayed on the screen. Like Cameron's Titanic the plot's weakness and predictability only bumps the film to an A from A+. And as a bonus there is no Leonardo DiCarpo so my friend Tim of Gothridge Manor may actually may see this. Plus seeing Signourney Weaver back in Sci-fi was great and I am beginning to like actor Sam Worthington.
Finally the 3D version was the best damn use of 3D I ever seen. There is are no cheap 3D "moments" in the film. It's use definitely enhances the film. I will go as far as say that its use made a scene work far better than it's 2D counterpart. It was a scene where you see something burning with ashes falling down in the foreground. The 3D version made it far more hard hitting.
You definitely should see this in the theater preferably in 3D.