Jim A.

AVATAR

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I'll be very interested to hear how people react to the new film Avatar, from director James Cameron.

Cameron's Aliens is a sort of lesser favorite of mine, especially for its focus on the importance on facing one's own fears and thereby possibly conquering them. But all the excitement and hype over special effects these days starts getting old, for me at least; I want--and hunger--for films that communicate highly conceptual yet concretized ideas through the composition of their images, the dialogue, the actions of the characters, the music, editing, etc. That's why I gravitate to so many older films, even though, as I may have said before, I have never yet seen a film that I can call a truly great work of art.

I'll probably see Avatar at the theater, but I won't rush out to do it.

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[...] I have never yet seen a film that I can call a truly great work of art.

This is an interesting comment. What are your utmost favorites in other art forms? I'm trying to find out what kind of response you are looking for in film that you've experienced in other forms. (I'm guessing Atlas Shrugged in literature.)

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Yes, in literature, Atlas Shrugged is up there. So are The Fountainhead (my personal favorite of all books I've ever read), Anthem, Ninety-Three, Toilers of the Sea, others. In drama, Cyrano de Bergerac and Inherit the Wind. In music: The Etudes of Chopin, Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto, Tschaikovsky's Violin Concerto, Brahms' Second Piano Concerto, others. In painting: I haven't learned how to actually look at a painting, so for now I'll say I really like Quent Cordair's "Lunch Break", Bryan Larsen's "The Anchorage", and Han wu Shen's works, especially "Innocent World" (all at the Cordair gallery: www.cordair.com).

There are many films I love, especially Chocolat, The Stranger (with Edward G. Robinson), The Shawshank Redemption, Fahrenheit 451 and The Fountainhead. However, none of these films, even The Fountainhead, which was scripted by Ayn Rand, seems to maintain the conceptual level, focus and intensity of the great works of literature, music and painting I cite above. For me, these are the criteria for a great work of art.

If Fritz Lang actually had a sign in his office that said: "Nothing in this film is accidental", he was expressing a "motto" for great art. But this motto must apply on all levels of a film: the style of the film, the visual images, their composition, the use of sound (or silence), the editing, the acting, the writing, the philosophical consistency of the ideas behind the story, and the philosophical validity of those ideas.

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In painting: I haven't learned how to actually look at a painting, so for now I'll say I really like Quent Cordair's "Lunch Break", Bryan Larsen's "The Anchorage", and Han wu Shen's works, especially "Innocent World" (all at the Cordair gallery: www.cordair.com).

Do you think this (in bold) might affect your view of movies [moving pictures]? I'm not saying I have a better understanding than you do - I'm just probing.

There are many films I love, especially Chocolat, The Stranger (with Edward G. Robinson), The Shawshank Redemption, Fahrenheit 451 and The Fountainhead. However, none of these films, even The Fountainhead, which was scripted by Ayn Rand, seems to maintain the conceptual level, focus and intensity of the great works of literature, music and painting I cite above. For me, these are the criteria for a great work of art.

If Fritz Lang actually had a sign in his office that said: "Nothing in this film is accidental", he was expressing a "motto" for great art. But this motto must apply on all levels of a film: the style of the film, the visual images, their composition, the use of sound (or silence), the editing, the acting, the writing, the philosophical consistency of the ideas behind the story, and the philosophical validity of those ideas.

Have you seen Gattaca? And El Cid? If so, what do you think? And what about the David Lean movies, e.g., Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago? Your thoughts?

Regarding validity, that would be an unreachable expectation given that philosophic validity is very hard to find in any art, and Objectivism is only fifty years old. So, you would have to leave that out in the same way that, before Ayn Rand, one could still call the works of Hugo, Rostand, and Shakespeare great art even though they were philosophically invalid.

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Just back from a 3D showing (dubbed in French, unfortunately).

This is extraordinary - groundbreaking on a level perhaps on par with talking movies - it really *redefines* cinema. I know 3D tech has been around for a while, but 10 years ago it didn't overwhelm me - this time, it did. When the film opens, and you are inside that spaceship, and you can see every hair on the man's face... wow! (in fact, the figure that teaches you how to use the glasses pre-film is terrible in comparison, so you really know the good work was done by Cameron's team)

The plot is predictable, irrational, somewhat "eco-friendly". But I took this film to be like Star Wars or Toy Story. A serious SF film would be like Dune (1984). This isn't it, so actually I didn't mind it so much. I mean:

- this is 2154. They can fly to another planet, they have reentry vehicles that comfortably double as transport and attack ships (the "ORCA" - erm, Aliens anyone?), and they've been on this planet for quite a while. And yet, when it comes to destroying a large tree, they come with gunships that shoot bullets and missiles whose power barely grazes the tree (and on that note, if the normal bullets don't dent the armor of the beasts, why not upgrade to cheap, easily available explosive bullets?). Ok, first time I understand - want to minimize local casualties. Second time suggested solutions:

cruise missile

ICBM (not affected by the "vortex")

nuke sent by canon or catapult

etc.

Let's not mention missiles with that weak an explosion, and that few incendiaries, could most definitely not fell that huge superstructure of a tree. I doubt a nuke would have more than dented it. Physics = fail.

And if you can afford spaceships that routinely travel in and out of orbit, you can afford a bunch of nukes. Period.

- the gas - what the hell? they send them tear gas?!

- the planet - "everything that moves attacks you" - no it doesn't, the plant life is pretty tame even by our standards. No insects. Couple of wild dogs that don't even look like real animals (more like zombie creatures from some B movie).

- the tech is advanced enough to stream, real time, brain waves over thousands of kilometers (go talk to drone pilots about the lag they experience in Iraq, and the limits of RC). But they can't even plug into this data stream and display it on the screen.

- carbon fibre bones. I'll let the engineers on the board pause for a good laugh. And then a second one when you see the stuff that happens to those skeletons, and the way they escape intact.

- the locals are REALLY retarded. To the point that I was very, very surprised that idiotic giant smurf of a "woman" manages to work out 1. Jake is choking to death 2. this is because he breathes a different air 3. the weird contraption that just fell off the wall is actually a gas mask 4. put it on his face and he'll live again. In fact, how did she work out he was in that box? That film alone was a justification for 19th century Africa!

- it has to be said, Cameron is saying something with these people. Just check out the hairstyle, the way they dress, and their cranial structure. Racist leftists :D

But at the end of the day, this is exactly Star Wars - a fun movie to go see with kids on a Saturday afternoon with popcorn. Everything is SO unrealistic, even if so absolutely well painted, that you cannot possibly take this film seriously.

This was the first film in a while that made me dream again - and this IS what science fiction is about! Therefore, totally worth the hype, and I cannot wait until the next film comes out with this tech. Wow.

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By the way, one (potential) influence that has never been mentioned is Harry Harrison's first Deathworld novel, Deathworld (had been looking for the name for months, just rediscovered it today).

It features a somewhat less physically able man (dinAlt, who is just a normal human, not one of the stronger humans who live on the planet), who decides as a challenge to come visit an extremely hostile planet where fauna and flora alike combine to destroy any exposed human life, continuously attacking the human base. He accidentally ends up behind the "lines" where he finds a separate human civilization (more believable than giant smurfs) which lives in relative harmony with nature, where the lifeforms seem not to be continuously attacking humans. Sound familiar yet? (ignoring the fact that the guy is an individualist who comes to the planet willingly, and that there is no evil corporation)

The rest spoils both movie and book:

Strangely enough, the fauna and flora is conscious, and telepathic, and his special skill is telepathy too. So he realizes the life around the base is communicating just one message, "kill this enemy" (all the plants are doing is reciprocating the behaviour of the humans), and also that the plant energy or whatever seems to come from a cave in which dwells the same kind of tree of life you see in Avatar.

Except the evil colonel that refuses the diplomatic solution in this one is more realistic and actually does use a nuke, which annoys the planet (whilst achieving the goal of destroying whatever that was) and doubles the intensity of attacks.

All's well that ends well however, since the two human civilizations decide to trade what they can both offer each other: food and an understanding of the planet from the nature guys, access to space and civilization from the civilized bunch who own the only ship. How's that for a message.

That would have made a much better film...

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Interesting that Michael Jackson, that great scientific visionary, was way ahead in his show-made-movie "This is it."

In it, he has one number in which a bunch of happy dancer-people are happily dancing in a forest, until the rotten Corporate Giants with their rotten Corporate Giant Bulldozer drive right onto the stage and literally uproots their beautiful world leaving a scarred, smoking wreck. Hey, that took under 10 minutes, probably a whole lot less than $500 million.

But, yes, I agree that "Avatar" was technologically breathtaking and visually beautiful. I enjoyed it in spite of it's best efforts at theme, plot, and story. The technology was just too much fun. I wish James Cameron and Hollywood could just leave their colossal ignorance and hatred of the civilization and technology that makes their work possible behind and just try to tell a decent story.

subliminal message: Dae Jang Geum... BTVS...

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I'll be very interested to hear how people react to the new film Avatar, from director James Cameron.

I liked this movie a lot.

It was not an anti-man movie, or anti-capitalism, or-anti technology. Analogy: criticizing bad business practices (like eminent domain) does not make one anti-business.

I encourage you to go see it and form your own opinion paying attention to what kind of values it FOCUSED on and defended as good. It was more about the essence of all rational beings and proper politics between rational individuals.

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Well, in light of what you and Alann said, Sophia, maybe I'll give the film a try.

It kind of sounds like a movie from the 1950's I liked--but would like to see re-made: This Island, Earth. There are some things in it about the evil--and impracticality!--of forcing the mind. If anyone decides to re-make it, I hope someone who is a student of Objectivism, admirer of Atlas Shrugged, or, ideally, a "confirmed" Objectivist is selected to write the screenplay.

For now, maybe Avatar is the next best thing.

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I gave this piece of claptrap an hour to entertain me, another hour not to piss me off too much and then cried uncle. I sat through it and yes, the visuals were stunning, but it was *so* tedious and so easy to predict every Rousseau-ean turn of events that I tuned it out at the 3/4 mark. You know you're bored at the movies when your iPhone is begging you to play with it.

Ordinarily I would call this kind of movie 'evil,' but it was so thinly veiled and so poorly written that I doubt anyone is shocked or even disappointed. Toohey is a far better villain and far more insidious. This stuff is pure 'West evil/native good' after school special nonsense. The stuff about trees with special powers reminded me of the 'science' of 'mediclorians' from The Phantom Menace. It's meant to lend some plausibility to the story, but it's so silly and lacking in explanation that it merely distracts from the rest of the noise.

How about this: until a brilliant writer teams up with a brilliant visionary in film, I give up. I will stick to interesting detective plots or the occasional straight drama.

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I am a giant science fiction / fantasy fan, so I had to see this no matter what. It is a James Cameron film. Anybody who knows what that means should have no surprise when seeing it.

Think Dances with Wolves meets Fern Gully with Cameron's usual anti-science/technology, anti-wealth hypocrisy. Hypocrisy, because he uses and is those things.

That said, it was a truly beautiful visual spectacle that certainly raises the bar for the genre in technology. Themes for the non-retarded are still up for grabs though, the bar moved not an inch here.

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Think Dances with Wolves meets Fern Gully with Cameron's usual anti-science/technology, anti-wealth hypocrisy. Hypocrisy, because he uses and is those things.

Oh, and toss in that corporation that Ripley worked for in the Alien films replete with the man-machine-walker vehicles.

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Think Dances with Wolves meets Fern Gully with Cameron's usual anti-science/technology, anti-wealth hypocrisy. Hypocrisy, because he uses and is those things.

Oh, and toss in that corporation that Ripley worked for in the Alien films replete with the man-machine-walker vehicles.

Interesting how in Aliens, the company was evil, but wanted to protect the alien creatures, regardless of harm to human life. Ripley and her crew set out to destroy the aliens to PROTECT human life. Flash forward 23 years to see how low Cameron (and the culture at large) has sunk that protecting and advancing human life is viewed as evil, but doing nothing and letting savages do whatever they please is lauded as the good.

Cameron has successfully encapsulated this cultural slide, if nothing else.

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This was terrible.

The plot was from The Last Samurai and countless other films: Westerner is thrown into strange land; to survive, he must adopt their ways; they mock him as he tries to blend in, but he eventually wins them over; he wins the heart of the leader's daughter; he confronts his old people and takes a stand to defend his new ones, in the process becoming The Best Warrior and The One Savior, by virtue of learning the lessons of the new tribe (invariably consisting of rejecting reason and civilization for the emotionalism, tradition, blind faith, mysticism, and supposed "honor" of brute tribalism). All this serves as a critique of the failings of Western civilization, but the noble savages are white-washed in the worst way (i.e., they are presented as utopians who live a perfect life until the evil western world interlopes), with no aspect of their culture criticized or questioned; their ways are treated as inherently perfect and beyond question.

Welcome to the new religion.

Speaking of which, did anyone notice how the "carbon offsets" are modern-day indulgences? By that analogy, Al Gore and his ilk are aiming higher than POTUS: they want to be Pope! If you commit the sin of producing pollution (like CO2, which you do by breathing), you can assuage your guilt by making out checks to Gore and Co.

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their ways are treated as inherently perfect and beyond question.

Like the "best warrior of the tribe" easily knocked down by a Marine who hasn't been on a battlefield in years and until recently couldn't even use his legs :D

I actually thought that moment symbolized the difference between an emotional and a thinking civilization. The emotional civilisation has the fastest/strongest guy eventually rise to the top because he's better at rolling around in the grass; the humans think about the mechanics of combat and develop a martial art which makes an average human warrior far superior in a confrontation with the best of the emotional tribe.

(let's leave aside for now 1. the fact martial arts don't really give you this magical superiority, training and taking hits does 2. USMC martial arts are not designed to take down opponents, but to allow young, aggressive males forced to live together with plenty of idle time and a stressful job to let go of their pent-up energy without causing grievous damage to each others' bodies)

Jason, awesome point. When I was at university (which was recent enough) there were far more protests about Coca Cola's evil stripping down of rainforests and the damages done to rainforest by the imperialist oil companies than there were of the usual kind about abusing poorer civilisations and destroying human lives; and the latter didn't get much attention from human-sacrifice-loving lefties. But I remember that the 1968 generation (the hippies) were far more concerned about corporations being oppressive to people and government control (at least government control they didn't approve of - I'm not saying they ever had a coherent set of ideas).

Galt's Gulch... it's never been so tempting. It would be so amusing to put all these enviros in a big country (perhaps we can give them the East Coast north of Atlanta and West of the Great Lakes) and see how well they fare without pollution. I suggest a big wall to protect the indigenous plant species from all the damage us "Westerners" would be causing with all our emissions and loud noises that stress the sensitive personalities of wild deer*. They could even implement free healthcare using all those wonderful plants mother nature donates them.

*You laughed at that? Read Everett Rogers' "Diffusion of innovations" (or rather, don't; the ideas are easily summed up in the wiki page and the book is heavy with academic nonsense). Seems like an odd place for enviro talk? Well, setting aside the usual African tribe worship, he talks about Nordic regions, where deer farming was done by foot. When the snowmobile was introduced, instead of 10 reindeer per farmer, there could be 200 reindeer per farmer. Immediate consequence: the better farmers got all the reindeer, the others left for the city. He deplores it, partly because of all these people now forced to live better, and partly because the "reindeer are more stressed".

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I think the plot in this movie was very cliché and unengaging. My impression was that the plot and theme was made to attract a large audience, and what the movie really "sold" was the stunning visuals. For that reason I also find it hard to criticize it philosophically, beacause it's simplistic and there's not much that's actually made exlpicit(though there certainly was a fair share of mysticism and other things that, at times, was a bit hard to stomach).

As a visual experience though I think it was absolutley amazing. The trailers and screencaps i've seen did not make it any justice at all, and I thought they looked pretty good. I'm probably going to buy the DVD just to study it, that's how good it was.

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Well there seems to be a pretty general consensus here, and I completely agree with it. I have never been so confused about rating a movie as I was with Avatar, because of the enormous dichotomy between the story and the visuals. Of course, as is unanimous, the visuals were amazing. I felt I never wanted to leave the world that was created - at least the physicality of it. It's a stunning and enveloping experience.

The story line was horrible, cliché, shallow, and safe. With a movie of this budget, there is no way any risks could be taken with the story line. It is formulaic to the tiniest detail. I wanted so badly to be intellectually engaged in the same way it visually engages you, but it never happens. On top of a plot that falls flat, it is acted out horribly more often than is acceptable. Michelle Rodriguez looks good on camera, but her acting doesn't. Cliché fist pumps while simultaneously yelling "yes," head bobbing extras becoming way to overly motivated by a big military showdown speech...all of it takes you out of the moment.

All in all, you get the feeling that if James Cameron could have displayed his technology without having to have a movie to do so, he would have. Being that to do so was impossible, they had to come up with some sort of motion picture simply as an excuse to show off the technology. As Red above me said, the technology is what's being sold, the movie is just an excuse to sell the technology.

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I have to disagree about the visuals. Yes the technology is astounding and yes there are pretty things to look at in the movie, but that is ALL. Without any substance, the visuals are completely useless. I can stare at a room full of winking lights in a computer room and be just as dazzled - and maybe more so because at least a computer room in a modern company serves a rational purpose.

Let's face it: Cameron made an ugly turkey of a movie and put lipstick on it to lure people on the promise of a good popcorn movie. No way am I going to give him credit for that.

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Well there seems to be a pretty general consensus here, and I completely agree with it. I have never been so confused about rating a movie as I was with Avatar, because of the enormous dichotomy between the story and the visuals. Of course, as is unanimous, the visuals were amazing. I felt I never wanted to leave the world that was created - at least the physicality of it. It's a stunning and enveloping experience.

The story line was horrible, cliché, shallow, and safe. With a movie of this budget, there is no way any risks could be taken with the story line. It is formulaic to the tiniest detail. I wanted so badly to be intellectually engaged in the same way it visually engages you, but it never happens. On top of a plot that falls flat, it is acted out horribly more often than is acceptable. Michelle Rodriguez looks good on camera, but her acting doesn't. Cliché fist pumps while simultaneously yelling "yes," head bobbing extras becoming way to overly motivated by a big military showdown speech...all of it takes you out of the moment.

All in all, you get the feeling that if James Cameron could have displayed his technology without having to have a movie to do so, he would have. Being that to do so was impossible, they had to come up with some sort of motion picture simply as an excuse to show off the technology. As Red above me said, the technology is what's being sold, the movie is just an excuse to sell the technology.

I don't buy the "he just made up a story to sell the tech" or "he was forced by the studio to do this" line. It's very clear from his interviews that the story is his.

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WARNING: SPOILERS TO FOLLOW:

Well, I finally went and saw Avatar yesterday. I didn't see it in 3-D (yet); we don't have that capability in our theater here in town.

I came out of it with the same impression I thought I would have: the movie is visually breathtaking (though not as compositionally great as a Fritz Lang or Alfred Hitchcock film), and has great special effects, but is intellectually vapid. And though it's basic philosophy and politics are not made explicit, it certainly hints that nature itself has a spirit, reason has no place in an alien world, the good is to be part of "the People", business is by its very nature evil and plundering, and that the military is, by and large, composed of mindless, robotic, un-questioning brutes (just the kind of message we need to hear while there is a "War on Terror" on. In fact, there is an implication, when the movie's main villain speaks, that "pre-emptive strikes"--such as those that may be contemplated against Iran?--are evil, because they "fight terror with terror").

When I go and see a space picture, I want to see the glory of Man conquering alien environments and, if there any rational aliens on other worlds, trading with them: trading goods, services, knowledge and ideas. I will say that this movie depicts an alien environment pretty well, and to that extent, is fascinating. But that is about all the sci-fi pleasure I get from Avatar.

(I wish Peter Jackson would make a film based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars, despite its mysticism. At least in that story, technology is not attacked, as I recall, but "the evil idea of community", as the character Dejah Thoris puts it, is.)

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SPOILERISH

I was thinking about what bugged me about this movie and one big thing is the premise that this greatly advanced, future Earthling culture, the "bad guys," (except those who defend the indigenous population, of course), has the kind of technology that allows for intergalactic travel, they are conducting mining operations on foreign worlds, they can even project fragile and even defective humans into much tougher life-forms that can breath the atmosphere on those worlds, but they apparently have absolutely no awareness of drilling & mining technology that has been widely available since the middle of the 20th Century that allows us to control drilling and mining operations underground, able to navigate around and into substructures, to domes thousands of feet below the Earth's surface, without much more than a wellhead somewhere in the vicinity.

I guess the idea that they could have drilled under the trees and other flora with little damage and extracted the obtainium (well, if it was obtainable, then the unobtainium would have to lose the un-, right?) with no rape and pillage and power struggle and Dances with Smurfs / Last Samurai retelling required. I know, in an alternate universe, these brilliant intergalactic miners might just not have ever developed such technology, maybe because their home world had oil, gas, and gold available from the tap in the kitchen. And putting in a sprinkler system on that world would require the comlplete demolition of the backyard, because the dirt was composed of high-explosives. But come on, guys!

That mining technicality was one minor issue, but it militates against a good story, at least a good version of this story, so all they had to do was to dispense with the option, like any good horror film has to convince us that the heroine would really walk down that pitch-dark alley with scary music playing in the background, because of [insert really compelling reason why she's not a complete idiot]. But they didn't.

If anything, this is part of the reason that I think the intent of the story is to show a guy who has come from an evil culture being introduced into a new, superior one, and making the courageous decision to cross over and join with the Blue Man Group. Cameron made no effort to consider such issues; he just assumed his businessman would order murder and destruction as a he would order a cheeseburger and the general would have no problem with what looked to him like an easy massacre of vastly inferior and unprepared peaceful smurfs. That said, story was so subordinate to whizz bang that I found it easy enough to ignore the message and enjoy the shooting and roaring. With caveats.

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SPOILERISH

I was thinking about what bugged me about this movie and one big thing is the premise that this greatly advanced, future Earthling culture, the "bad guys," (except those who defend the indigenous population, of course), has the kind of technology that allows for intergalactic travel, they are conducting mining operations on foreign worlds, they can even project fragile and even defective humans into much tougher life-forms that can breath the atmosphere on those worlds, but they apparently have absolutely no awareness of drilling & mining technology that has been widely available since the middle of the 20th Century that allows us to control drilling and mining operations underground, able to navigate around and into substructures, to domes thousands of feet below the Earth's surface, without much more than a wellhead somewhere in the vicinity.

It actually gets sillier than that. At one point, we're told that the hometree is the only good source of obtainium within 200 kilometers. Like, these people have come a couple of hundred light years and they can't go the extra 200 klicks? And what the hell is obtainium good for? We're never told. But the whole movie is just the cinematic equivalent of a roman à clef -- it's supposed to be about the Indians, and Vietnam and even Iraq ("shock and awe") all rolled into one. But cinema à clef, just like roman à clef, makes it easy to stack the deck and make false analogies (The situation in District Nine, for example, was not really analogous to that of apartheid in South Africa, where white people conquered and oppressed black people who were already there.). It's possible that Avatar takes its cue from Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Word for World is Forest" (1974), not one of her best stories, which has to do with imperalist exploitation of a forest planet and its natives -- in that case, the imperialists wanted to ship lumber back to Earth across many light years in NAFAL (not as fast as light) ships. Not very plausible economically, given both the distance and the bulk.

But there are other silly things about Avatar. Like the floating mountains. What keeps them up? Not only does nobody know, but nobody seems to have the slightest curiosity about it. I have a vague recollection of that idea, and the sacred tree, being used in some Japanese anime movie more than a decade ago. The rider robots certainly come from anime; they were used in one Japanese live action movie, Gunhed (1989), and Cameron adopted the idea for the climax of Aliens (1986). Other ideas in the movie do come out of genre sf -- the avatar bodies first appeared, I think, in Poul Anderson's "Call Me Joe" (1957) -- indeed, the human operator in that story is disabled. James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon) used the idea in a different way in "The Girl Who Was Plugged In" (1973). The idea of nerve taps for symbiotic relationships goes back to the Ichthyoids and the Arachnoids in Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker (1937), and was reprised by Anderson in The Rebel Worlds (1969) -- only Cameron insists on having every life form connected to every other life form in this manner. Won't work that way, unless you posit that the Great Ones from Beyond (going quantum leaps further than Le Guin's Hainish) set the whole system up.

Notwithstanding all these obvious (to an sf scholar and historian like myself) criticisms, I am not unhappy to see Avatar becoming a billion dollar blockbuster. It is indeed an awesome visual spectacle and, if you can get past the ideological blindness, an appealing story of redemption. Moreover, by showing what can be done with the latest state-of-the-art CGI technology, it opens the door to more and, hopefully, better science fiction on the screen by other hands. Think of Larry Niven's puppeteers and kzinti....

--John J. Pierce, author of IMAGINATION AND EVOLUTION, an sf history now in the process of revision and updating

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The mere fact that they actually call the material "unobtanium" is a strike against the movie. It's like calling a bad guy "Dr. Evil" but being serious about it.

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The mere fact that they actually call the material "unobtanium" is a strike against the movie. It's like calling a bad guy "Dr. Evil" but being serious about it.

Did they run out bolonium and stupidium? It's like Cameron was sneering at the audience, even while trying to win it over. The most inexplicable thing in the naming of names, as opposed to the conceptions.

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