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Originally Posted by James Horner

And there is no reason in the world why [The New World] could not have been as great love story as Titanic was

Wow.
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Originally Posted by Andre Dellamorte
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Can anyone come up with a through-line with the most interesting elements of the film? Jake becomes native permantantly, and the bad guys are basically Americans, who blow up the World Trade center. If Jake is our Avatar, is this Cameron commenting on white fantasy, or is it his? My feeling is that Cameron doesn't know what he did, he just saw the archtypes. My read is he was way more into designing his own planet, and the plot, etc. was secondary. But if someone can weave a coherent commentary out of the film, that'd be cool.

There is no shortage in American film of underdog heroes who wage asymmetrical war on monolithic governmental entities. Most of the time, the irony is completely unconscious.

I think Cameron was at least partly aware of this interpretation, which is why he's careful to state that the human paramilitary forces in Avatar are corporate-employed mercenaries and not representative of a government.

The point would be clearer if Jake's arrival on Pandora wasn't heralded with a display of soldiers and heavy ordinance. After all, he's being employed in a nominally civilian capacity-- he's there because he's biologically compatible with his brother's avatar, not because he happens to be an ex-Marine.
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Originally Posted by Teitr Styrr
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For example as soon as Jake thought "I need to step it up..." to get back in the good graces of the Navi, I knew he was going to tame that big ass red dragon.

You should've known he was gonna do that the moment Neytiri told Jake the story of the Jesus Shadow Dragon.
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Originally Posted by Andre Dellamorte
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Can anyone come up with a through-line with the most interesting elements of the film? Jake becomes native permantantly, and the bad guys are basically Americans, who blow up the World Trade center. If Jake is our Avatar, is this Cameron commenting on white fantasy, or is it his? My feeling is that Cameron doesn't know what he did, he just saw the archtypes. My read is he was way more into designing his own planet, and the plot, etc. was secondary. But if someone can weave a coherent commentary out of the film, that'd be cool.

Ugh, what a chore. It probably could be done, but Cameron's imagery is all so literal. It's like trying to come up with a lacanian reading of the dioramas at the local Museum of Science. Not worth the effort.
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Originally Posted by mcnooj82
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You should've known he was gonna do that the moment Neytiri told Jake the story of the Jesus Shadow Dragon.

Ahhh, you're right. But I still wasn't surprised! Nope!
Everything in the movie is painted with broad strokes, so I can only interpret that Jake's transformation is akin to a white man covering himself in blackface.
It's weird to think Zach Snyder seemed more aware of the subtext in 300 than Cameron did with this.
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Originally Posted by Andre Dellamorte
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I'm pretty sure I would have liked this film more if Jake didn't become a Na'vi at the end.

As someone who enjoyed the movie quite a bit, I'd have to agree with this. It might have worked if Jake had at any time made a comment that he hates being human. Seems a bit of a cop-out to provide a happy romantic ending.
He got his reeeeeeeeal legs!

The lack of an actual first act really hurts his 'birth' at the end. He just ends up being this guy who stumbled onto something cool and goes with it because for him it's better than being in a wheelchair.
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Originally Posted by Andre Dellamorte
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My read is he was way more into designing his own planet, and the plot, etc. was secondary. But if someone can weave a coherent commentary out of the film, that'd be cool.

I pretty much agree with this, but I found the story to be better than expected. It was a mix of Aliens, Pocahontas, and Dances With Wolves for sure, but I was entertained by it. Cameron's always been very literal with his subtext so I wasn't surprised when things like "I need to step it up," were tossed at me.

I went into this movie just expecting to be entertained by a man who is near-perfect at creating the perfect blockbuster, and that's what I got. I will admit, I was more interested in the characters actions than I was the overall story, however how many blockbusters do we get per year that are all about their set pieces? At least Avatar was trying to give us a story. It wasn't the best story I've ever heard, but it was told fairly well and kept my interest.

I'm also going to echo that it would have been much more interesting if he didn't become a Na'vi at the end of the movie, but again, I sort of expected it.
Can I ask why it would've been more interesting if he hadn't become Na'vi at the end? Is it only because it wouldn't have been so cut and dried? I'm not clear on the reasoning here.
He should have had to make the choice between his real legs and becoming Na'vi.
You have to admit though there was more to his decision than simply getting new legs.

And I agree it would have been stronger for him to make the choice to be Na'vi before the battle. He'd certainly cast his lot with them by that point already. In fact, making the choice after the fight could be looked at as "Well, I've burned my bridges and have nowhere else to go."
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Originally Posted by matches
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He should have had to make the choice between his real legs and becoming Na'vi.

He did, even before he knew they could permanently transfer his mind over to his Na'Vi body.
Getting his new legs probably isn't even an option by the end. It was approved by Quartich. There is literally no reason to go for human legs at the end of the movie.

So I guess you guys are simply saying it would've been more interesting if there was more conflict between which life he should choose? That makes more sense.
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Originally Posted by mcnooj82
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Getting his new legs probably isn't even an option by the end. It was approved by Quartich. There is literally no reason to go for human legs at the end of the movie.

So I guess you guys are simply saying it would've been more interesting if there was more conflict between which life he should choose? That makes more sense.

It would probably be more interesting if there was any internal conflict in the film at all.
Without Jake being Na'vi before the final battle there was no real tension, and the scene of him being rescued at the end felt tacked on just to add some sort of danger to the climax.
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Originally Posted by devincf
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It would probably be more interesting if there was any internal conflict in the film at all.

No doubt. I just thought people were saying it would've been more interesting if he didn't become Na'vi by the end in itself.
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Originally Posted by matches
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Without Jake being Na'vi before the final battle there was no real tension, and the scene of him being rescued at the end felt tacked on just to add some sort of danger to the climax.

Tacked on to holy hell. Quartich HOO-RAH jumps out of the burning ship in the mech and lands right next to the station. "Hello, what do we have here!?" indeed. I think I laughed at that moment. Everything simply comes so easy in this movie.
Even if Jake had chosen his legs, and then fought as a human using the techniques he learned as a Na'vi would have really added to the impact, and been a chance for Cameron to showcase humans and Na'vi intertwined up close.
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Originally Posted by Andre Dellamorte
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If this were in Japanese, no one here would care about it.

Nah, if it were Japanese, it would be hailed as a masterpiece. Doubly so if the mouths didn't sync to the dialogue and everyone shouted their lines.
There's a lot of identity politics in play during the course of this movie, which Cameron tries to eschew, but comes with having someone pretend to be a part of a culture, only for him to obviously not belong. The version currently is the fairy tale ending. Jake gets everything he wants: the girl, the respect, the legs, and there's no real drama to any of that to be honest. Cameron obviously doesn't want to deal with what it means to change race, cross polinate, but it's definitely part of the discussion. If Jake made his decision but couldn't be I think that's more dramatically interesting, and more human, because we are who we are. Arguably the film is Cameron's white post-racial fantasy, but when you start to open the door on the film's politics, everything gets confused, unless one comes to the conclusion this was never meant to be read for its political subtext, or James Cameron hates American white people.
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Originally Posted by Andre Dellamorte
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There's a lot of identity politics in play during the course of this movie, which Cameron tries to eschew, but comes with having someone pretend to be a part of a culture, only for him to obviously not belong. The version currently is the fairy tale ending. Jake gets everything he wants: the girl, the respect, the legs, and there's no real drama to any of that to be honest. Cameron obviously doesn't want to deal with what it means to change race, cross polinate, but it's definitely part of the discussion. If Jake made his decision but couldn't be I think that's more dramatically interesting, and more human, because we are who we are. Arguably the film is Cameron's white post-racial fantasy, but when you start to open the door on the film's politics, everything gets confused, unless one comes to the conclusion this was never meant to be read for its political subtext, or James Cameron hates American white people.

But people will still get some form of subtext out of it. That's not a bad thing.
It just means they're projecting.
Or over-thinking. Tongue
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Originally Posted by Bitches Leave
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I definately think we'll get an extended cut. I saw big scenes in some of the features that never made it. One of them an attack on the main base and the control room wher the windows where blown in and Cameron explained to the cast how they should imagine hundreds of stones being hurled at them.

That would explain the confusing line in the movie, "We will fight terror with terror."
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Originally Posted by halofan1
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But people will still get some form of subtext out of it. That's not a bad thing.

He's not saying there's no subtext. He's saying it's muddled and incoherent.
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Originally Posted by Andre Dellamorte
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but comes with having someone pretend to be a part of a culture, only for him to obviously not belong. The version currently is the fairy tale ending. Jake gets everything he wants: the girl, the respect, the legs, and there's no real drama to any of that to be honest. Cameron obviously doesn't want to deal with what it means to change race, cross polinate, but it's definitely part of the discussion.

In terms of not belonging, I never ever felt that Jake finally was ready to claim a banshee. It was such an odd feeling. He kills an animal, spouts off some perfunctory Na'vi, and he's 'ready.' Never did it feel like Jake had truly become one of them or took their worldview and culture to heart.

So when he decides to up his game, it felt opportunistic in a really dirty way. Especially with how easily the tribes got suckered by it. He totally took advantage of their religion/faith/myth/culture. And if you know me, I care very little for religion and rituals in general. Yet I laughed, feeling offended. Taking advantage of religion/myth/folklore for the sake of the greater good is nothing new. But something tells me that's not really something Cameron had any interest in.
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Originally Posted by Matt M
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He's not saying there's no subtext. He's saying it's muddled and incoherent.

That's why Andre was asking if anyone could identify a (likely unintentional) throughline that would make sense. I don't think we've cracked it yet.
As people see so many parallels between Avatar and King Kong (I can admit there were moments during the movie that I was reminded of KK myself), this interview where James Cameron and Peter Jackson interview each other should interest you guys.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/227737/page/1

Link to discussion thread: http://chud.com/forum/showthread.php?t=120557
I think the evil corporation / military operressing indigenous people subtext is obviously intentional on Camerons part. But I wonder how intentionally political he was with the whole noble savage aspect, since we know he ripped this part off an old sci fi novel. He may just've been attracted to the story especially since it could allow him to do the whole evil corporation bit.

So I just caught the film and I was a little underwhelmed. I think being prepared for all the embarassing moments in the film helped, but there was still too many corny scenes for my liking. But I guess this is the guy that had a terminator give a thumbs up as it descended into lava, so its to be expected.

Maybe I was expecting a little too much, but I was a little disappointed in the 3d. I mean it was really good, but its pretty much exactly the same as Beowulf and Coraline in terms of quality. Sure, pound for pound, the 3d was better in Avatar, its probably the best use of 3d in a movie, but its still the same 3d, just implemented better. I don't see how its game changer or anything like that. I have to admit certain things looked great in 3d, the mechs in particular.
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Originally Posted by LazerRanger
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As people see so many parallels between Avatar and King Kong (I can admit there were moments during the movie that I was reminded of KK mysely), this interview where James Cameron and Peter Jackson interview each other should interest you guys.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/227737/page/1

Link to discussion thread: http://chud.com/forum/showthread.php?t=120557

Always bringing us the fun links. Thanks Lazer. The title of the interview made me laugh.

EDIT: About the Na'vi version of 'sealing the deal'...
How did they deal with the kissing between Jake and Neytiri? If the actors have facial camera rigs on their face... Is that scene still 100% performed by Worthington and Saldana as Cameron claims? Or is this a bit of blowhard rearing his face again?
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Originally Posted by devincf
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You said yourself you don't know anything about the iconic character. You read 'the first book' but don't remember anything about it. Why do you have an opinion on this? You have complete ignorance on the subject.

No, not complete.
I read tons of books (heck I learnt your language by reading), the ones that go back the longest in years are hard to remember... but I can safely report that Sherlock Holmes was never a Hollywood Action Character™ .
Seriously, are we even debating this?

But I'll give you the point, and I'll surely give the movie a shot (as I said I would).
As I'll do Avatar.
I'm all for ambitious projects: they can be meh, they can fail, but they can EVEN hit the mark (see LotR).
This is the reason why I'm moderately pro-Cameron in this debate: at least he tries, and I want more projects like this to be pursued.
Hopefully some with great scripts and music will emerge TOO and everyone will be happy at that point.
OK. Throughline. I will not succeed.

We agree it's simplistic at best to accept the Na'vi as analogous to Native Americans. So what do they represent? Nature? Our own better nature? That seems to be a good way to go.

As for Jake: he's stuck in a chair, which makes him a fitting surrogate for the movie audience (see Rear Window). We see the world of the film through his eyes, even as he sees a new world through the eyes of something else.* From that notion evolves the significance of "I see you": in the final shot, we're looking into the eyes of the Real Jake, and he's looking into ours.

Not only is Jake paraplegic, with "half" a body, we can infer that since the death of his twin brother he's spiritually hobbled as well. Since this is the most basic form of Hero's Journey, everything in the story exists only to serve or challenge the protagonist. As the film begins, with our hero emerging from a five-year spaceflight, that journey is already half-over. Thus, the crippled, cloven Jake is immediately introduced to a brand-new "better half", his dead brother's avatar-- and we can assume he earned that reward in the act of leaving Planet Earth.

*This is the sort of insight we can expect Cameron to have arrived at scientifically, in the process of finding graceful way to introduce 3D to the common moviegoer. It's also why Cameron loses interest in Jake recovering his 'real' legs-- state-of-the-art theatrical presentation doesn't extend to physical stimuli yet.

More later maybe...
I don't think we can infer anything about his brother since Jake seems to never give a shit about him the whole movie.
Neither does the movie nor anyone else except Weaver... for one scene... because she liked that he was good at science stuff! At that point, you'd almost rather that the movie did SOMETHING with the twin brother somehow involved in the plot regardless of how lame it would probably be. At least I did...