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Author Topic: the other avatar  (Read 59494 times)

Nodaisho

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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #100 on: 28 Dec 2009, 21:13 »

No he is not
I actually watched that for a paper, we had to write a paper based off of the interpersonal relations in some list of media, but book wasn't in there because of the lack of visual subtext, so I wrote about the movie, and used the book for some comparisons and differences.

It isn't a bad movie, although I must say I like the Clarisse character better in the book, rather than the movie. The jetpack firemen rather than the mechanical hound was also pretty stupid, although I imagine they didn't have the budget to make a decent-looking hound.

They're also planning on making a movie out of it again, although that has been in development hell for about as long as I have been alive.

Yeah, linds, the glasses fit over my glasses just fine. I would have probably preferred it without the 3d, though, it is distracting. It was better used than a lot of 3d stuff, but it still broke my immersion too often.
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Alex C

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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #101 on: 28 Dec 2009, 21:26 »

Yeah, I'm still of the opinion that 3-d in movies is pretty damn optional. Even movies that leverage it well and can live with some of the technical limitations are still usually pretty neat to look at with or without the 3-d, which ironically renders it a bit superfluous. For example, Coraline used lower tech 3-d than Avatar and it still looked impressive because the subject matter and art design didn't really need super saturated colors to be effective. But with that said, nobody would have been interested in looking at it in 3-d if they didn't have good art design to begin with.
« Last Edit: 28 Dec 2009, 21:38 by Alex C »
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #102 on: 28 Dec 2009, 21:49 »

1. How will this work on DVD?  Won't they have to un-3-D it?  Won't they completely undermine much of the appeal of the film?

I didn't see it in 3D because 1) I wear glasses and 2)

They have larger glasses for people with glasses!

Awesome, I'll look like a super nerd
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #103 on: 28 Dec 2009, 22:10 »

Breakfast of Champions got made into a movie. It wasn't very good, but did have Bruce Willis!

When did bacon and eggs get made into a movie?
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #104 on: 28 Dec 2009, 22:25 »

And thinks Paul Verhoven should be publicly flogged for Starship Troopers
You have no love of satire. Boo-hoo.
Way to jump to conclusions. It's one thing to like satire. It's another to like it when some director signs on for a movie based off of a book he never read, reads part of it, decides he doesn't like it, and instead of stepping down for someone that will actually do something with the book, gets together with his buddy from Robocop and shits out some generic satire that has nothing to do with the book. I liked the book.

Do you like Vonnegut? What would your reaction be if they made a film adaptation of Cat's Cradle, and made it into a light-hearted kid's movie?
First, poor attempt, I guess, at being humorous. Secondly throwing taste to the wayside while I would hate it as an adaptation if done right I could see an enjoyable kiddie friendly version of Cat's Cradle. Just separate from what it is being adapted from.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #105 on: 29 Dec 2009, 00:17 »

Then why call it by the same title or anything (is I think the point that was being made the whole time)
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #106 on: 29 Dec 2009, 11:35 »

Good sounding title?
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LTK

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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #107 on: 29 Dec 2009, 15:44 »

I just got back from seeing it. I will talk about it now.

There will be spoilers.

Everywhere.

You have been warned.

I got first row seats because I was late, so that didn't do much to improve the movie, especially having only a part of my field of view in full 3D and the rest shifted out of polarity. Still, I can safely say the movie met my expectations. Paper-thin plot+characters, gorgeous beauty and impressive animation. I am particularly impressed by the small details of some of the aspects of life on the planet, like how the Pandora atmosphere coming in contact with the indoors atmosphere makes ripples. As for the rest, the animation was nearly flawless. You know how sometimes computer animations don't quite seem to follow the laws of momentum and inertia? Stuff like that stands out like a flare to me, but I don't remember noticing any flaws in this movie. The suspension of disbelief just lasts and lasts.

The amount of imagination and thought that was put into Pandora was very good too. Sure, on one hand you have the name "Pandora", six-legged horses, six-legged dogs, six-legged-other-fauna, big blue men, air jellyfish, dragons. That's taking earth and mixing things up a bit. But on the other, you have trees with nervous systems that create a brain-biosphere, domestication that relies on linking on the neuron level, and bioluminescent, well, everything. I liked that a lot. But seeing how they made a big deal about the linking, I was expecting it to happen with the sex, too. Was anyone else?

And then the final battle. After Grace died, and actually stayed dead - which is always a suspenseful event these days when the near-dead get miraculously saved, or not - I didn't think they would pull off the cheesiest, softiest, Snowy-White-esque twist ever by having the goddamn forest creatures come to the rescue. Holy crap.

Oh, and apparently the biggest budgeted movie of all time made a profit days after release! Also holy crap.
« Last Edit: 29 Dec 2009, 15:50 by LTK »
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #108 on: 29 Dec 2009, 18:07 »

I also just saw it. I went in expecting an action movie, I got what I wanted. It's better than Inglorious Basterds at any rate.
« Last Edit: 31 Dec 2009, 17:21 by Zombiedude »
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #109 on: 30 Dec 2009, 11:39 »

The amount of imagination and thought that was put into Pandora was very good too. Sure, on one hand you have the name "Pandora", six-legged horses, six-legged dogs, six-legged-other-fauna, big blue men, air jellyfish, dragons. That's taking earth and mixing things up a bit. But on the other, you have trees with nervous systems that create a brain-biosphere, domestication that relies on linking on the neuron level, and bioluminescent, well, everything. I liked that a lot. But seeing how they made a big deal about the linking, I was expecting it to happen with the sex, too. Was anyone else?

I hear they'll be showing that on the DVD.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #110 on: 30 Dec 2009, 11:44 »

I went alone, got bored, and left. It is pretty though. Also, to be fair, I saw 3/4s of the movie before leaving, so I actually do sorta think I got my money's worth. I probably wouldn't have left if I didn't have other things to get done at home that would benefit from a li'l more time spent.
« Last Edit: 30 Dec 2009, 12:12 by Alex C »
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #111 on: 30 Dec 2009, 13:57 »

The amount of imagination and thought that was put into Pandora was very good too. Sure, on one hand you have the name "Pandora", six-legged horses, six-legged dogs, six-legged-other-fauna, big blue men, air jellyfish, dragons. That's taking earth and mixing things up a bit. But on the other, you have trees with nervous systems that create a brain-biosphere, domestication that relies on linking on the neuron level, and bioluminescent, well, everything. I liked that a lot. But seeing how they made a big deal about the linking, I was expecting it to happen with the sex, too. Was anyone else?

I hear they'll be showing that on the DVD.

There better be neurotransmitters oozing all over the screen.

Most of you probably didn't get subtitles of any sort, but I wonder whose decision it was to style the subtitles of Na'vi speech in Papyrus font.
« Last Edit: 30 Dec 2009, 15:43 by LTK »
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #112 on: 30 Dec 2009, 19:30 »

My first reaction to seeing the papyrus was, "What, are you seriously too lazy now to come up with your own font?" Mostly because I really just don't like that font, but still, even a less recognizable one would have been better.
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Chesire Cat

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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #113 on: 30 Dec 2009, 19:41 »

Comic Sans FTW  :-o
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #114 on: 31 Dec 2009, 04:30 »

Oh, so the un-subtitled ones got Papyrus fonts too? I figured it only served to distinguish English from Na'vi, but in a movie with otherwise no subtitles, I don't see why a regular font couldn't do.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #115 on: 31 Dec 2009, 04:36 »

Most of you probably didn't get subtitles of any sort, but I wonder whose decision it was to style the subtitles of Na'vi speech in Papyrus font.

Actually, this was my only really negative reaction to the movie.

I cringed every time they appeared.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #116 on: 31 Dec 2009, 15:59 »

I loved the shit out of this film.  The story is nothing special.  But the experience is something else.  I saw it in 3D, and it's like looking through a window.  The CG is as close to flawless as can be done; after about 15 minutes I was ready to believe that there was this other world somewhere and Cameron had gone and sent a film crew to it.

This review (which isn't really a review, exactly) really sums up how I felt exiting the theater.  I'm not going to go super hyperbolic and say "this is my generation's Star Wars," but it's up there.  If you want to go into it with a smug sense of "I'm better than this movie and I'm not going to let it be good" then hey, you're probably not going to like it.

But if you go to it ready to experience the "magic of cinema," and be transported to another world, then you will not be disappointed.

Also on a completely different note, this writeup by a Ph.D biologist is an interesting take on the movie.

And speaking of Ph.D's, I like that they got a USC linguistics professor to create the Na'vi language from scratch.  Say what you will, but Cameron does have some serious attention to detail.

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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #117 on: 31 Dec 2009, 20:02 »

usmcnavgeek, that second link is, for some reason, not working for me.  It won't load and keeps white screening on me.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #118 on: 31 Dec 2009, 20:25 »

2.  What is stopping the company from coming back, completely obliterating everything from space and then harvesting their wonderful mineral?  The army guys were really just mercenaries, so why not just hire a crapload more of them and firebomb the hell out of the aliens.  It's not like they're people.  Think about how much money all that mineral under the tree is worth.  

According to the movie, it takes like 5 years to get to Pandora, so there will be new civilians and mercenaries landing for awhile. So, sequel.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #119 on: 31 Dec 2009, 21:29 »

  Say what you will, but Cameron does have some serious attention to detail.

Except the part where the oxygen poor atmosphere feeds flames.

Or the part when the Colonel is on fire and the flames go out when he moves to an oxygen rich environment instead of causing him to practically explode.

Or the part where an oxygen deprived brain suffers no consequences.

I'm sure there were more, but it's been a while since I saw it.
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Nodaisho

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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #120 on: 01 Jan 2010, 03:42 »

  Say what you will, but Cameron does have some serious attention to detail.

Except the part where the oxygen poor atmosphere feeds flames.

Or the part when the Colonel is on fire and the flames go out when he moves to an oxygen rich environment instead of causing him to practically explode.

Or the part where an oxygen deprived brain suffers no consequences.

I'm sure there were more, but it's been a while since I saw it.

So what you are saying is that on a planet with four-winged dragonbutterflies and every creature has a natural neural link (which, if it gave an advantage survival-wise over not having one, could happen over a long period of time, even the seemingly universal compatibility), there is absolutely no possibility that there could be elements in the air that burn with little to no oxygen?

When does he go into an oxygen-rich environment? Could be it was supposed to be turbulence blowing out the flames, which weren't exactly huge to begin with (although I would have loved to see him get engulfed and killed by the explosion he jumps out of, just for a change of pace).

I'd say the brain thing can be handwaved with 22nd century medicine, considering that they seem to be able to genetically engineer a creature out of DNA from two types of creatures with no relation to each other at all.

I'd say that the jumping out of a low pressure fireball thing was more of a glaring flaw, but that is one of those where you can't exactly blame them, because it is so universal that people expect it now.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #121 on: 01 Jan 2010, 05:56 »

  Say what you will, but Cameron does have some serious attention to detail.

Except the part where the oxygen poor atmosphere feeds flames.

Or the part when the Colonel is on fire and the flames go out when he moves to an oxygen rich environment instead of causing him to practically explode.

Or the part where an oxygen deprived brain suffers no consequences.

I'm sure there were more, but it's been a while since I saw it.

There is sure to be some other reducting element in the atmosphere that the alien metabolism is using and is unsuitable for humans.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #122 on: 01 Jan 2010, 08:30 »

  Say what you will, but Cameron does have some serious attention to detail.

Except the part where the oxygen poor atmosphere feeds flames.

Or the part when the Colonel is on fire and the flames go out when he moves to an oxygen rich environment instead of causing him to practically explode.

Or the part where an oxygen deprived brain suffers no consequences.

I'm sure there were more, but it's been a while since I saw it.

It's not an oxygen-poor atmosphere, it's a carbon-dioxide and hydrogen-sulfide rich one.  This book has all the background information and sci-fi handwaving you could possibly ask for in justifying the environments of Pandora.


Also I'm not sure why anybody's having issues with that link to the biologist's article.  It works for me...

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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #123 on: 01 Jan 2010, 08:50 »

I'm not going to buy a supplemental book for a movie that I didn't really like much.

That would still cause the humans to suffocate and cause the brain to die.  Ten minutes without oxygen and there is basically no saving the brain; after a few minutes there is certain to be brain damage.  Basically, if the humans can't breathe the air on the planet, there isn't enough oxygen to allow the brain to function.

It also still doesn't explain why the Colonel didn't end up a big charred mass when entering an oxygen-rich environment while on fire.  To give you an idea of what it would do, a patient receiving oxygen can severely burn him or herself just by smoking a cigarette; now imagine what a larger open flame would do when immersing oneself in pure oxygen.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #124 on: 01 Jan 2010, 08:56 »

If I recall correctly, the Colonel did say that in Pandora's atmosphere, you pass out in 20 seconds and die in four minutes. I don't really see why you have a problem with the atmosphere and its chemistry, especially since the indoor atmosphere is not made out of pure oxygen but presumably mimics earth's atmosphere.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #125 on: 01 Jan 2010, 09:05 »

I'm not going to buy a supplemental book for a movie that I didn't really like much.

That would still cause the humans to suffocate and cause the brain to die.  Ten minutes without oxygen and there is basically no saving the brain; after a few minutes there is certain to be brain damage.  Basically, if the humans can't breathe the air on the planet, there isn't enough oxygen to allow the brain to function.

It also still doesn't explain why the Colonel didn't end up a big charred mass when entering an oxygen-rich environment while on fire.  To give you an idea of what it would do, a patient receiving oxygen can severely burn him or herself just by smoking a cigarette; now imagine what a larger open flame would do when immersing oneself in pure oxygen.

Firstly, he was only in the native environment's atmosphere for, like, two minutes (tops, I didn't hack a stopwatch) during the final battle, so I don't know what you're angry about there.  It's enough to go unconscious but not die; you don't get brain damage from oxygen deprivation until 4 or so minutes, which happens to be the line spouted in the movie earlier. 

Secondly, what are you saying about oxygen-rich environments?  Are you saying that when the Colonel came back into the big helicopter-ship with his shoulder on fire at the end of the movie, he should have exploded?  We learned back in 1967 with Apollo 1 what happens when you pressurize with pure oxygen; I'm pretty sure they're running an equivalent of room air in all their ships.  Since all you'd have to do is filter out the CO2 and HS gases from the ambient atmosphere, that'd be easier from a technology perspective too.

What I really think here is that if you're spending your time trying to nitpick science-y reasons why you don't like the movie, and then aren't interested at all in any perfectly plausible reasonings behind them (I can understand not wanting to buy the book, but nevertheless...), you just need to take a deep breath, relax, and examine just why you're so angry about this film. 

Unless you're not angry and you just sound angry, in which case, oops.  Either way.

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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #126 on: 01 Jan 2010, 09:17 »

I'm not angry about the movie.  I just didn't like it much.  It's not because of things like that either; I just didn't care for it much beyond the planet design.

You're the one that proclaimed Cameron to be so detail oriented, and he is to an extent, but he's not perfect.

The line says you die in four minutes, not you enter oxygen deprivation.  The oxygen deprivation is what knocks you out.

There is no point in arguing on the internet so just go on with your conversations; I'm backing out.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #127 on: 01 Jan 2010, 09:23 »

I dont recall it being explicitly stated that it was an oxygen poor environment. Since it wasnt explicitly said, lets assume James Cameron is aware of the ramifications of oxygen deprivation and that it was a toxic atmosphere that can kill.

And Im assuming the "oxygen rich" environment was the power walker or whatever? I just cant agree that futuretech would pump dangerous levels of oxygen into anything, it would be a pretty standard atmosphere in there.

What 'science-y' thing that got my goat was when he jumped out of the ship in a powered walker. I couldnt imagine that not crumpling under its own weight.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #128 on: 01 Jan 2010, 09:59 »

I could, sure the armor probably weighs quite a bit (although they still have the standard bulletproof glass flaw of being designed to stop light fast things, which makes it problematic when your enemies are launching big heavy objects), but if you engineer it properly and use the right materials, it should work just fine, even after dropping (did they state relative gravity to earth in the book or the movie?) that far. It is tempting to compare it to a car, but since these are military designs, it would be more like car with everything inside the roll cage, rather than just the driver, and roll cages will survive a hell of a lot. The legs bent to absorb shock, reducing the amount of force being exerted on the armor at any given instant in time.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #129 on: 01 Jan 2010, 10:07 »

Cnl. Generikill mentioned which lifting weight something about lower gravity, but you sure wouldn't know it from watching the movie.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #130 on: 01 Jan 2010, 10:25 »

Still the other ones were lowered from a similar height by cables. And Im willing to bet those exo-skeleton things weigh considerably more than a car. In either case, that scene broke my suspension of disbelief for a couple of seconds which was easily maintained throughout the rest of the movie
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #131 on: 01 Jan 2010, 10:53 »

Ozy, the na'vi's movement did seem somewhat floaty, but I wasn't sure if that was low grav, muscle, or a flaw in CG.

The armor looked to be about 12 feet tall, I would say it weighs less than a pickup, assuming they are using light-weight alloy armor, and not some by then more than a century old hardened steel plating. I doubt reactive armor (makes a small explosion to divert shaped charges) would be used on something that size, especially something so inherently unstable as a bipedal walking robot. Maybe with payload (30mm ammo is pretty heavy) it would weigh over 3 short tons, but they would have to design it to be light enough to not sink knee-deep into most land types they would need to deal with, it would be heavy, but it would be built with superior materials to what roll-cages are made of, I'm thinking that if it were a body-on-frame design (makes it easier to replace damaged armor or make changes as needed), it would be a triangular frame for the arms and legs, lots of redundant electronics contained inside that (you don't want one bullet penetrating to cut the only connection that allows the armor's trigger finger to pull), with armor plating bolted on top. Monobody, I don't know, those things confuse the hell out of me, even though they are more common these days. You wouldn't have crumple zones, anyway.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #132 on: 01 Jan 2010, 12:08 »

NEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerds!
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #133 on: 01 Jan 2010, 12:32 »

Says the WoW addict
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #134 on: 01 Jan 2010, 15:15 »

NEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerds!

Pot, I'd like to introduce you to the Kettle.  You'll find that you have something in common.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #135 on: 01 Jan 2010, 16:21 »

Hey, if studying vehicular armor plating and weaponry as a hobby is nerdy, I don't want to be... un-nerdy? Besides, being able to spout endless streams of seemingly creepily-detailed information about modern weaponry is one of the few nerdy things that nobody is going to make fun of you for. At least in person.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #136 on: 01 Jan 2010, 16:37 »

It's also one of the few nerdy things you can do that can get you put on a government watch list so, you know, bonus.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #137 on: 01 Jan 2010, 17:16 »

Guys, I just really love Ogre.

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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #138 on: 01 Jan 2010, 20:49 »

Also I'm not sure why anybody's having issues with that link to the biologist's article.  It works for me...

Well, I don't either.

Three days, three separate tries and it still  won't load.

All I get is the dreaded white screen of death.


Talk about frustrating.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #139 on: 02 Jan 2010, 02:10 »


Well, I don't either.

Three days, three separate tries and it still  won't load.

All I get is the dreaded white screen of death.


Talk about frustrating.

That's a bummer.  Here's a copy-paste:

Quote
A biologist is moved by "Avatar"

From Shermin de Silva, University of Pennsylvania:

I just saw Avatar, and must admit that I lead a sheltered life from the media and neither saw nor heard any of the hype the preceded this film. We went in expecting the typical mix of gimmicky 3D effects and an empty storyline but got more than we bargained for. Now, no one can say that the story line is particularly original and it doesn't try to pretend that the Tribe, the planet, the worldviews being espoused are anything other than symbols for peoples, ecosystems and events in our own history. We've all seen the same storyline in one form or another (Pocahontas meets The Matrix, meets Star Wars).

But I didn't care about that. This very fact is what actually surprised, moved, and made me terribly sad.

I was first sad in watching this movie because it fantasizes about another planet in another time in which humanity might not make the mistakes it has already made on our own, having already ruined and decimated the indigenous cultures and ecosystems native to Earth. I am sad because it reminds me forever and ever of something I already know, and because it's fantasizing a about an opportunity to alter a wrong, a lesson to be learned, that it is already too late to learn.

I was also sad that the ineffectiveness of the scientists is all too accurate. I remember of course that Sigourney Weaver played a far darker role in the past, and this is just a dim and G-rated reincarnation of the Diane Fossey that was murdered in the mists.

I am also sad that the threat in this movie -- the aliens, the outsiders -- are no longer the threat here on earth. Instead it's as though the Tribes have swallowed whole the philosophies and values of the conquerors. Here on earth you really can trade a forest for blue jeans and coke, and this makes me solemn about the joke. The threat isn't from out there in many places, it's the local people trying to eke out a living on the land that was once fertile and is now barren because of all that we've done to it. And we will still mine it and we will still destroy it. Who's going to stop buying gold and diamonds, even though they've seen what it's done to Africa??

I study elephants. I see the largely privileged White Fight and White Burden that's being played out on the world stage (give them medicine, and give them schools?? for diseases we can't cure and a way of life we don't understand, never will). I know that as Europe and the World Bank throw money at so-called aid and development schemes, people still dream of blue jeans and coke, that one by one the animals are going, and the forests, and of course then who knows... Pandora may be a beautiful dream steeped in an eco-message, but it's a message whose time is long past. We already killed the Na'vi of earth, or else assimilated them into desiring the same destructive way of life.

I came out of the theater and started reading the reviews, and now it makes me sadder still that all people seem to talk about is the special effects. Finally, we have a film with CG eye candy that has enough appeal not to bore audiences while moralizing. Maybe the most I can hope for is that lots of kids see this and a few of them go on to read some history and actually understand that behind the fantasy there was Earth, and much of this Earth is already lost, but perhaps we can try to salvage what there is left.

Why I write to you is that I like and respect your reviews and thought I needed to vent somewhere besides an anonymous blog with the masses of other comments that will never get read.

Sorry if in the interest of being brief the words are strung out in stream of consciousness.

scarred

Re: the other avatar
« Reply #140 on: 02 Jan 2010, 02:22 »

Quote from: Spike
I just can't take all this mamby-pamby boo-hooing about the bloody Indians! You won! Alright? You came in and you killed them and you took their land. That's what conquering nations do. It's what Caesar did, and he's not going around saying "I came, I conquered, I felt really bad about it." The history of the world is not people making friends - you had better weapons and you massacred them. End of story.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #141 on: 02 Jan 2010, 02:25 »

I don't see the point you are trying to make.
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scarred

Re: the other avatar
« Reply #142 on: 02 Jan 2010, 02:32 »

I bow before your superior intellect
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« Reply #143 on: 02 Jan 2010, 04:35 »

guys, right now I'm just thinking that Dovey is suffering from extreme schizophrenia and has let it loose on the Internet.
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« Reply #144 on: 02 Jan 2010, 11:29 »

This movie is so good we're gonna go see it again, with my grandparents who haven't seen a movie(in theaters) in years.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #145 on: 02 Jan 2010, 12:46 »


Well, I don't either.

Three days, three separate tries and it still  won't load.

All I get is the dreaded white screen of death.


Talk about frustrating.

That's a bummer.  Here's a copy-paste:

Quote
A biologist is moved by "Avatar"

From Shermin de Silva, University of Pennsylvania:

I just saw Avatar, and must admit that I lead a sheltered life from the media and neither saw nor heard any of the hype the preceded this film. We went in expecting the typical mix of gimmicky 3D effects and an empty storyline but got more than we bargained for. Now, no one can say that the story line is particularly original and it doesn't try to pretend that the Tribe, the planet, the worldviews being espoused are anything other than symbols for peoples, ecosystems and events in our own history. We've all seen the same storyline in one form or another (Pocahontas meets The Matrix, meets Star Wars).

But I didn't care about that. This very fact is what actually surprised, moved, and made me terribly sad.

I was first sad in watching this movie because it fantasizes about another planet in another time in which humanity might not make the mistakes it has already made on our own, having already ruined and decimated the indigenous cultures and ecosystems native to Earth. I am sad because it reminds me forever and ever of something I already know, and because it's fantasizing a about an opportunity to alter a wrong, a lesson to be learned, that it is already too late to learn.

I was also sad that the ineffectiveness of the scientists is all too accurate. I remember of course that Sigourney Weaver played a far darker role in the past, and this is just a dim and G-rated reincarnation of the Diane Fossey that was murdered in the mists.

I am also sad that the threat in this movie -- the aliens, the outsiders -- are no longer the threat here on earth. Instead it's as though the Tribes have swallowed whole the philosophies and values of the conquerors. Here on earth you really can trade a forest for blue jeans and coke, and this makes me solemn about the joke. The threat isn't from out there in many places, it's the local people trying to eke out a living on the land that was once fertile and is now barren because of all that we've done to it. And we will still mine it and we will still destroy it. Who's going to stop buying gold and diamonds, even though they've seen what it's done to Africa??

I study elephants. I see the largely privileged White Fight and White Burden that's being played out on the world stage (give them medicine, and give them schools?? for diseases we can't cure and a way of life we don't understand, never will). I know that as Europe and the World Bank throw money at so-called aid and development schemes, people still dream of blue jeans and coke, that one by one the animals are going, and the forests, and of course then who knows... Pandora may be a beautiful dream steeped in an eco-message, but it's a message whose time is long past. We already killed the Na'vi of earth, or else assimilated them into desiring the same destructive way of life.

I came out of the theater and started reading the reviews, and now it makes me sadder still that all people seem to talk about is the special effects. Finally, we have a film with CG eye candy that has enough appeal not to bore audiences while moralizing. Maybe the most I can hope for is that lots of kids see this and a few of them go on to read some history and actually understand that behind the fantasy there was Earth, and much of this Earth is already lost, but perhaps we can try to salvage what there is left.

Why I write to you is that I like and respect your reviews and thought I needed to vent somewhere besides an anonymous blog with the masses of other comments that will never get read.

Sorry if in the interest of being brief the words are strung out in stream of consciousness.


A very interesting article.  Thanks for that.

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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #146 on: 02 Jan 2010, 14:17 »

For that biologist, it's as if Avatar is the only text that's done any of that.
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #147 on: 02 Jan 2010, 14:37 »

For that biologist, it's as if Avatar is the only text that's done any of that.

I'm pretty sure he's read some books before, you know, what with having a doctorate.  Sounds like he's saying that the film was touching and moving to him, and given his professional knowledge, I figured that was an interesting point for him to make.

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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #148 on: 02 Jan 2010, 15:20 »

I was a being a little facetious. From a literary perspective, if you combine near equal parts of Princess of Mars and Dances with Wolves you get...
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Re: the other avatar
« Reply #149 on: 02 Jan 2010, 16:28 »

Princess Mononoke!
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