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5 years ago  ::  Dec 18, 2009 - 9:38PM #1
mountain_man
Posts: 38,782

I don't use the word like kids do now adays.... but this movie was awesome. I have not enjoyed a movie so much since Religulous.


I think I can say this without giving away anything but think of Dances With Wolves story line, but a thouand times better.


The movie critics loved this film, and I have to say that for once they got it right.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 20, 2009 - 9:45AM #2
Faustus5
Posts: 2,022

Just saw it yesterday, liked it a lot.  There wasn't a single original idea in the film and at times it was utterly predictable, but still, it was wonderful spectacle and was the most beautiful-looking film I've ever seen.


Also, Zoe Saldana was fantastic.  Star Trek didn't give her much to do as Uhura, so I wasn't expected a moving performance here, but. . .wow.

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 20, 2009 - 11:13AM #3
mountain_man
Posts: 38,782

Dec 20, 2009 -- 9:45AM, Faustus5 wrote:

Just saw it yesterday, liked it a lot.  There wasn't a single original idea in the film and at times it was utterly predictable, but still, it was wonderful spectacle and was the most beautiful-looking film I've ever seen.



I had the whole plot figured out in a few minutes. They way they did it though makes it worthwhile.


Also, Zoe Saldana was fantastic.  Star Trek didn't give her much to do as Uhura, so I wasn't expected a moving performance here, but. . .wow.



She did give a good performance. The kind of acting they did in Avatar is just about the hardest kind they can do. The actor is in a special suit with sensors on it. They stand in front of a screen and act out the scene and then the computer translates that into the animation. There's nothing there for them to play off of.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 28, 2009 - 5:06AM #4
Don't_Be_Captious
Posts: 1,035

This movie is spectacular.  First movie I've seen in 3-D, absolutely worth the price of admission.  I wasn't that interested when I first heard this was coming out, but the more I thought about it, given the fact that James Cameron has helmed some of the biggest & best special effects movies I've ever seen (Terminator 2, Abyss), I figured I shouldn't miss out on the opportunity to see it first-run, as 3-D in the theatre with special glasses.  I definitely agree, almost certainly the most beautiful spectacle I've ever seen.


I loved the combination of computer-animation-"cartoon"-meets-cinema verite, "shaky-camera" hyper-realism.


I basically absolutely loved ~ the middle 1/3rd, while the first third sort of took awhile to build up, and the last third definitely seemed like fast-and-loose lazy writing.  The concepts, while utterly outlandish, were absolutely cool, though.

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 29, 2009 - 5:49AM #5
Don't_Be_Captious
Posts: 1,035

Dec 20, 2009 -- 9:45AM, Faustus5 wrote:

There wasn't a single original idea in the film and at times it was utterly predictable, but still, it was wonderful spectacle and was the most beautiful-looking film I've ever seen.



I don't know that "there wasn't a single original idea in the film."  I don't read much science fiction so I wouldn't be surprised if many of the ideas have already been covered, very well, perhaps to the nth degree somewhere, but in movies, I don't recall seeing these ideas much if at all before.


SPOILER ALERT, I guess:


What I wonder most about is the title, Avatar.  Surely there must be a thematic tension or irony, with all the simultaneous emphasis on hyper-technology, side-by-side with the overwhelming emphasis on nature.  The Navi planet is one huge computer & neuro-studies geek's wet dream, with everything on it connected to the, what, 10^16 degree or so of "network neural net connections" running through the ground, trees, animals & Navi people?  And yet the Earthlings use hyper-technology to inhabit "avatars,' essentially in an attempt to get back to nature.  They (the Earthlings) use hyper-technology (avatars) to live vicariously in nature as the Navi do.  It seems pretty clear to me this is the overwhelming message they're trying to get across, especially since it's in the title, but I haven't heard this discussed anywhere.

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 30, 2009 - 9:03AM #6
costrel
Posts: 6,226

Dec 29, 2009 -- 5:49AM, Don't_Be_Captious wrote:

What I wonder most about is the title, Avatar.  Surely there must be a thematic tension or irony, with all the simultaneous emphasis on hyper-technology, side-by-side with the overwhelming emphasis on nature.  The Navi planet is one huge computer & neuro-studies geek's wet dream, with everything on it connected to the, what, 10^16 degree or so of "network neural net connections" running through the ground, trees, animals & Navi people?  And yet the Earthlings use hyper-technology to inhabit "avatars,' essentially in an attempt to get back to nature.  They (the Earthlings) use hyper-technology (avatars) to live vicariously in nature as the Navi do.  It seems pretty clear to me this is the overwhelming message they're trying to get across, especially since it's in the title, but I haven't heard this discussed anywhere.




I don't think that the humans are attempting to "get back to nature" through the use of the Avatars. The ones who use the Avatars are the scientists interested in studying the Na'Vi, and seem to use the Avatars as a way of once again winning the trust of the Na'Vi. The human scientists at one time ran a school where they taught the Na'Vi English (at least to that one particular community), but they don't appear to have had any contact with the Na'Vi since the school was closed. The contractors, on the other hand, apparently see the Avatars as a way of peaceably relocating the Na'Vi away from their ancestral home because people back on Earth do not approve of using genocide as a way of obtaining the ore, though the military "grunts" that the contractors hire for security apparently see the Avatars as a way of proving that peaceful negotiations will not work, as well as a way of gaining critical and technical information about important Na'Vi geographical sites.


That said, I think that the "avatar" concept in the movie that most closely connects it to the Hindu concept of an avatar is how Jake is "chosen" by the deity the Na'Vi worship for the apparent purpose of sustaining the balance of the planet. Of course, there is also the superficial similarity that, like Vishnu's avatar Krishna, Jake and the Na'Vi are blue-skinned (and I suppose that Neytiri might also then possibly be indebted to Radha). But I don't know enough about Hinduism to make any more comments about this matter.

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 31, 2009 - 5:53AM #7
Don't_Be_Captious
Posts: 1,035

I think your indication of Hinduism here is probably right, since I've seen it several other places that the Hindu def. of "avatar" is definitely intentional on Cameron's part.  However, I disagree somewhat about the parts where you say the avatars aren't used to get back to nature.  Clearly, you are correct about the scientists & the contractors.  But as the OP & several other places have indicated, there's a distinct Dances with Wolves vibe in Avatar, and DwW also had an imperial military-industrial complex, the U.S. Gov't in this case, invading Native American homelands & learning their ways in order to exploit & expel them.  But the protagonist, Kevin Costner's character, "went native," just like Jake Sully.  That's the "back to nature" theme of the movie I'm talking about.

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 31, 2009 - 9:15AM #8
Faustus5
Posts: 2,022

Dec 31, 2009 -- 5:53AM, Don't_Be_Captious wrote:


I think your indication of Hinduism here is probably right, since I've seen it several other places that the Hindu def. of "avatar" is definitely intentional on Cameron's part.  However, I disagree somewhat about the parts where you say the avatars aren't used to get back to nature.  Clearly, you are correct about the scientists & the contractors.  But as the OP & several other places have indicated, there's a distinct Dances with Wolves vibe in Avatar, and DwW also had an imperial military-industrial complex, the U.S. Gov't in this case, invading Native American homelands & learning their ways in order to exploit & expel them.  But the protagonist, Kevin Costner's character, "went native," just like Jake Sully.  That's the "back to nature" theme of the movie I'm talking about.




This is what I was getting at about the film not being very original.  Plus, me and the friend I saw it with were predicting plot points aloud as much as an hour before they happened.


That's okay, I still loved it.  Can't wait for the 3D Blu Ray now that I have a huge HD TV!

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 31, 2009 - 2:00PM #9
Don't_Be_Captious
Posts: 1,035

I never really watched Dances with Wolves, essentially fell asleep about halfway through, so on that score Avatar seemed kind of original.  Still, the writing was pretty poor & kind of (or really) hackneyed.  But the special effects sort of, you know, made up for that...


Blu Ray technology is something I'm considering actually blowing money I don't have to get, esp. since it's getting less expensive all the time.

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 01, 2010 - 3:42PM #10
Theo
Posts: 4,687


Okay, I confess, I saw the movie with my wife (my fourth time) last night, and the day before I bought the PC game. My wife loved the movie, so did I, even for the fourth time. The game is cool, I am not much of a gamer, however, so I fear its going to take me awhile to learn it.


The movie is an awesome visual spectacle, the best I’ve ever seen. I agree with those of you who paralleled the storyline with “Dances with Wolves. And although the NaVi were certainly designed to parallel early Native American culture, I found them to be more appealing than the Plains Indians Kevin Costner found himself drawn to.


The first time I saw the movie – opening day – I was totally stunned. Not just because of the visual spectacle, but because last summer I began writing my own Scifi story. And although my story line was completely different, way too many things from my story were in this movie. The location of my story was in the Alpha Century star system (although that is not stated in the Movie, it is in the PC game.) My planet was a large moon orbiting a blue gas giant, part of the B star system, where as James Cameron put his story in the A star system. My character was a cat-like humanoid, much taller than human beings, a native of the earth-like moon, and his people lived in villages among the “giant trees” – averaging 2000 feet tall. And after introducing my character, his world, his people and his quest, he happened into a “first-contact” encounter with a group of extra terrestrials – the first manned expedition from earth to Alpha Century.


My team of earth Astronauts, however, did not come to exploit the natural resources of my moon planet. Instead they came for purely scientific discovery. I focused the story upon the dynamics of culture shock. My character lived in a world where the nights were seldom dark, being illuminated by an Orange Sun, a huge blue planet, that of course goes through 21 day phases, and by a yellow Star, that takes 3.5 years to complete its orbital cycle with the B star.


In Avatar, they goofed with the Blue Giant planet. A planet that large in the sky, and that close to its primary star, (especially the A star) would shine far brighter, even with reflected light, in the moon’s sky than the Sun. Which is why I put my planet in the B Star system, it being 1/4th as bright as our sun Sol.  


The message of my story is best summed up with the phrase a “Higher Perspective.” My astronauts came from the stars, and of course thought that theirs was the higher perspective. My native was from the forest, and his quest was one of discovery, first climbing out of and then above his forest world on the slopes of a huge volcano. Then his discovery of the worlds above, (the Blue Giant and its other moons) because in the level of the forest they lived in, the worlds above and the rulers of heaven (the suns and the blue giant) are almost completely obscured by the forest canopy. And then his encounter with the earth astronauts, who at one point take him with them to the worlds above. But the twist in my story was how my native’s religious faith and relationship with God, turns out to be the higher perspective.


Of course now that Avatar has come out – I do not know what I am going to do. I kind of feel ripped off.


~ Theophilus 


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