EVERY time I go to the movies and watch the latest computer generated special effects and animation, I tell myself it can't possibly get any better and every time, I'm wrong.

James Cameron - he of Avatar - is not one of my favorite movie people. As soon as I saw the trailer to Titanic - Leonard de Caprio and and some girl (whose name escapes me) canoodling in the bows of a studio ship with Celine Dion on the soundtrack - I knew this was a good movie not to see. And I haven't.

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In 2002, Cameron came up with Solaris, a sci-fi movie starring George Clooney which nobody - including me, a sci-fi nerd - could fathom out and it bombed.

Cameron likes sci-fi and has always been good with the special effects. 1980's Battle Beyond the Stars is an early offering and great stuff; a sort of Seven Samurai meets the Magnificent Seven beyond Jupiter. The critics - spoilsports - panned the movie muttering about a rip-off of Star Wars. Probably, but who cares? The movie was fun, it was entertainment and that's why we watch movies; to be entertained.

Avatar entertains with a bang. It's an adventure movie, thrills and spills; the action never lets up (Apart from a very brief bit of fondling in the ferns about half way through). There's humor, the hero's use of grunt-speak; the guy gets the girl, the enemy is defeated, we all love it and the scenery is extraordinary.

I don't know how Cameron's effects crew did it, I'm not even going to look it up. The chases through the jungle and in the skies are astonishing; where does the real leave off and the fake begin? How about the floating islands tethered by knots of vines; what imagination and what use. Even the relatively static night scenes with that great neighboring planet looming in the sky - and the shadows of passing moons - are marvelous. Will anyone beat Avatar? They're bound to.

The other big sci-fi movie of the year was the latest in the Star Trek series and it comprehensively blew away all the previous efforts. Right from the start with a marvelous score winding up to a crescendo, abruptly halting, and we realize we're panning around the hull of a starship - we're aboard a wild ride.

Stupendous imagination again - I loved Spock's little spaceship - great visual effects and bags of humor. I also liked the way the writers - obviously Trekkies - had dovetailed the new film into previous Star Trek lore. You have to go way back (Or forward?) to find the scene where Jim admits to cheating to pass the dreaded Space Academy finals.

Thirdly - always remember the rule of three - allow me to point you towards another 2009 release called Moon, a Brit film made on a paltry budget with only a couple of characters (If you can call a robotic butler a character) and a little gem it is.

Earth is as usual in dire straits with much of its energy derived from a mineral - Helium 3 - mined on the far side of the moon. Moon's automated mine has a human staff of one and it's his job to monitor and unload the 'harvester' machines. Nearing the end of a three-year tour our hero's nerves are frayed, fed up with being by himself until one day, out on the surface...

I'll not spoil the film for you. Sci-fi fans will enjoy the movie - it's way ahead of Solaris - the rest of you probably not. Never mind.