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Originally Posted by Hammerhead
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As the film begins, with our hero emerging from a five-year spaceflight, that journey is already half-over.

This part bothered me, they waited 5 years for Jake to get there? Seems a little hard to believe considering how much they wanted Unobtanium, and that Earths fate hangs in the balance.
Unobtainium is the worst name for something ever.

The opening of this film is very poorly done. It's a rush to reach the Na'vi and everything beforehand is barely touched upon. And damn were the characters uninteresting, I doubt that anybody said more than ten lines to each other in a single scene and even then they just say what they're about to do.
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Originally Posted by devincf
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I don't think we can infer anything about his brother since Jake seems to never give a shit about him the whole movie.

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Originally Posted by mcnooj82
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Neither does the movie nor anyone else except Weaver... for one scene... because she liked that he was good at science stuff!

That's why I want to try building up the dead brother's significance through my interpretation. It's this huge loose end and it could tie up a lot.

ETA: "Unobtanium" could have worked if they'd fleshed out the idea. Say that Earth scientists theorize a compound that would possess the properties necessary to solve humanity's urgent needs. As far as they know, it doesn't exist so they give it a jokey place-holder name. Then they actually find some.
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Originally Posted by dreary louse
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Unobtainium is the worst name for something ever.

The opening of this film is very poorly done. It's a rush to reach the Na'vi and everything beforehand is barely touched upon. And damn were the characters uninteresting, I doubt that anybody said more than ten lines to each other in a single scene and even then they just say what they're about to do.

I feel embarrased just writing Unobtanium, its something I'd expect from Lucas.

Man the characters were so basic, and 2d. But Lang, even in the scope of this one note character universe, was pretty awesome.

Jake Sully may have been the most boring of them all. So far Sam Worthington has not impressed me, nothing especially wrong with him, but nothing impressive either. The guy is like oatmeal.
Finally caught this, the peeps at my screening ate it up.

I liked it well enough, I think the movie is worth seeing in the theater but I doubt it will hold up very well over time or on video. I happen to agree with Devin that once the "wow" factor is gone people may not be so kind.

Let's get one thing straight though, the special effects are incredible. Some of the larger animals look too CGI, as do very large groups of Na'vi but other than those moments no film approaches Avatar in terms of seamless integration of mo-cap, live action and CGI. I think calling the special effects "revolutionary" is fair. Let's get another thing straight, Cameron can flat-out direct.

As an unabashed Cameron apologist I have to admit that the storytelling was a mess though. I think more than the lame noble-savage riff, what bugged me was the lack of character development and the lack of any kind of real internal struggle. In my mind the most complete character in the film was Ribisi's scummy corporate suit. He was given just the right amount of screen time, with just the right balance of avarice (90%) to humanity (10%). Sam Worthington was fine for the most part (though his accent could use work), he just didn't have much to work with. The same could be said for all the characters even Quartich, who as great as he was didn't seem to get enough screen time.
I've seen people defend the word Unobtanium being used in the movie because it's not something Cameron created himself and is an actual term people use to shorthand describe uber-precious minerals that are hard to get to, but it doesn't change the fact it's a shitty name. It's like if you found out Midichlorians were a real thing that wafted about the place: who cares it ,still sounds stupid.
In my opinion, the movie plays better if Jake's brother was killed just so Jake could take his place in the mission. It gives a little more depth to the story, and motivation for Quaritch's actions. It makes him a true villain, and not just some pissed off jarhead with a bad case of butt hurt.
Several other Avatar "pilots" came along with Jake on the five year flight from Earth, so it wasn't like they were just waiting for him. More than likely his brother died before the scheduled flight and they rushed to replace him with Jake.
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Originally Posted by Hammerhead
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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...

Please take your time, it's going to take a while to digest the truckload of BS you just excreted there.
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Originally Posted by Richard Dickson
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Several other Avatar "pilots" came along with Jake on the five year flight from Earth, so it wasn't like they were just waiting for him. More than likely his brother died before the scheduled flight and they rushed to replace him with Jake.

None of the other Avatar pilots do anything the whole movie. One must assume they were doing nothing the whole time Jake was in transit.
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Originally Posted by devincf
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None of the other Avatar pilots do anything the whole movie. One must assume they were doing nothing the whole time Jake was in transit.

They were working as field scientists, but ever since the Navi cut off contact with the Avatar pilots all they could do was go on field trips studying the environment and collecting samples untill they were accepted back.

I wish we could have found out more about the mining base's backstory besides just the pictures on the mirror. I assume that Navi were curious and helpful to the human avatars when the human base was just a small outpost. The school probably closed down after the Navi got pissed when the strip mining began.
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Originally Posted by joeypants
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I nearly shat myself with unintentional laughter during that one montage where Jake's digging into his training and he and Neyteri give each other their take on their flying technique or whatever.

To each his own. I loved that scene of them bonding over a shared interest. One of my favorites in the movie.
Someone asked why they waited five years for Jake. They weren't just waiting for him, they were waiting for several pilots. It doesn't seem like there was a delay due to his brother dying.
Hmm, doesn't the game have you be in the avatar program and working with the other avatars before the events of the movie?
I wanna see what happened when the humans introduced the Na'vi to light beer. Expand the mythos! See how far Cameron can take the Native American parallels!

The Omitacasino! Where you can win your very own banshee without mindraping it!
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Originally Posted by NoahtheStud
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To each his own. I loved that scene of them bonding over a shared interest. One of my favorites in the movie.

I had no problem with that scene. I think that maybe because it sounds so off-the-cuff amidst 2.5 hours of Cameron's very scripty dialogue that it can sound odd for some?
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Originally Posted by mcnooj82
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I wanna see what happened when the humans introduced the Na'vi to light beer. Expand the mythos! See how far Cameron can take the Native American parallels!

If they go all alcoholic because of light beer, they deserve to get wiped out.
Just got back from seeing Avatar at the Lincoln Center IMAX in 3D in Manhattan; you know, the real one as opposed to the LIEMAX on 34th St. and the Air and Space museum dome IMAX here on Long Island (not a pleasant way to watch a movie, on a dome).

In short, I thought the movie was hugely entertaining. Yes, the story is a retread of Dances With Wolves and any odd Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, and Pandora is lifted from generic fantasy world paperback covers as in those of Piers Anthony's.

What wins the day is the execution of the action sequences and the perfect marriage of the story-telling with the 3D.

I think the film would definitely suffer viewed on DVD on your home TV or even on a regular sized, non IMAX, 2D movie theater screen.

The most memorable character was definitely the villain, but I also have to give props to the motion capture work, which was nicely done.

My other criticism, besides the been-there-done-that story, is Worthington. I'm sorry but the guy's a cipher (or was that the point?). He had the alternating Australian-generic American accent, but I also never really got a sense of him as a personality or as a real-seeming fictional character. I think the flick lacked some of the emotional dynamism of a Russell Crowe. As of now, for me, Worthington has shades of the early work of Colin Farrell, when he was in every other movie, and was being pushed by the Hollywood machine as the next big thing. And nobody bought it.
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Originally Posted by ElCapitanAmerica
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Please take your time, it's going to take a while to digest the truckload of BS you just excreted there.

If you'll be my Avatar, I can be your long-lost pal.

Quote:

Originally Posted by devincf
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None of the other Avatar pilots do anything the whole movie. One must assume they were doing nothing the whole time Jake was in transit.

Clearly, they were playing basketball.
I'll have more to say later, but Devin's review was too nice.
Just saw the IMAX movie, and it popped my 3D cherry (my first 3D movie). It might take me a day to get my thoughts straight, since I don't want the 3D to cloud my judgment, but the film's story seemed to go to shit about an hour in. It was cliche, predictable, but I think it was entertaining at times. It seemed to be one too many things in the end, and it probably needed 20 min cut out.
Hours later, the only thing that has still resonated me with me is the cool use of 3D, like the spark effects from fire, and the effect of 'levels' in particular scenes, as if you could walk into the screen and go off into the horizon point. The shot that instantly impressed me was the opening: on the left is Worthington emerging from a cryo tube, on the right of the screen an interior chamber of a ship in space, with guys floating around. That was a great shot, equal to anything thought up by Spielberg in his awesome early days.

Nothing about the characters or story stuck with me. It's basically a big Saturday morning cartoon, with the same depth. The goofy enviro-mysticism didn't help the film any.

Story detail question: so what happened to Sigourney Weaver's and Worthington's bodies when the Soul Tree tried to merge them with their Navi counterparts? Did it absorb their human bodies? I'm sure you could actually tell a pretty decent horror story about a body absorbing, soul-sucking tree and the cult of blue people that worship it.
I saw this on 3D but not IMAX 3D, and yes the only interesting thing about this movie is the use of 3D, which caught my attention in the initial moments of the film but the novelty wore off pretty quick for me unfortunately.

Somebody said (Devin?) that the use of 3D here was as good as that in Coraline, I think most people would agree that in this movie it's use is even more skillful.

But oh God, what a long cheesy boring story. I didn't even think the action sequences were all that exciting, maybe I was just too tired as we were getting closer to the almost 3 hour mark.

Johnny's post reminded me of something that really irked me about the movie. I mean, c'mon how convinient is it that the Na'vi have a ceremony for transferring one soul to another body? To the point that the queen/enchantrees/whatever alien there knows why it wouldn't work (she's too weak)?

Dumb stuff.

Anybody else find it funny how Sigorney's body was weirdly cover in vine leafs? What the heck was that, I thought she was disguised as Eve.

Yeah some people clapped at the end of this movie, about 5 people I guess. I have no idea why they clapped, maybe they were happy the whole ordeal was finally over?
Saw Imax 3D
Blew me away visually. Literally the best thing i've ever seen.

Now, the story? Cliched as fuck. And it's way too long. Also hated the narration and some scenes/dialogue were embarrassing.

Cameron can certainly deliver an action scene though.
Just saw the movie in non-imax 3D.

The Good

-Cameron knows how to edit his action scenes. No Michael Bay or Jason Bourne confusion. That would have been intolerable in 3D

-Good Acting by everybody in the cast. Even Michelle Rodriquez who sucks.

The Bad:

-Confusing political context. "Shock and Awe" being uttered. The line that goes something like "if something is valuable under the ground, then the corporation will take it". Like OIL!

-Unobtainium?!? UNOBTAINIUM!?

-Cameron has always been a cornball, unsubtle, and bad with dialogue. The John Connor lines in T-2 come to mind.
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Originally Posted by Johnny Tremaine
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I think the film would definitely suffer viewed on DVD on your home TV or even on a regular sized, non IMAX, 2D movie theater screen.

I was worried about the same thing, but I had a friend tell me today that he and his girlfriend accidently bought tickets to the 2D version and they loved it anyway. Now he's eager to go see it again in 3D.
Quote:

Originally Posted by devincf
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None of the other Avatar pilots do anything the whole movie. One must assume they were doing nothing the whole time Jake was in transit.

Wasn't there an implication that Weaver's school had been shut down and the Avatars banned from interacting with the natives?

On Jake's first mission out they are just doing sample collection, yes? It appears the Avatars have been relegated to use in exploring the planet because of the atmosphere issues.

Neyteri brings Jake "home" and they talk about how he isn't welcome there.

Of course, this thread is 900 responses long and I just nosed around so if I missed some line of questioning please forgive me.
2 movies in a row where Sam Worthington gets told that he's got a "Strong Heart".

Kill him!
He's a warrior!
Ok then, teach him our life!
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Originally Posted by TzuDohNihm
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Wasn't there an implication that Weaver's school had been shut down and the Avatars banned from interacting with the natives?

I think the idea was that the Na'vi severed relations with the avatar team after the mining started. It's one of the things I wish had been dramatized onscreen.
Yeah, that whole exchange was way awkward. "Kick everyone out who is here for learning and science and teaching and culture!"

"Hey, this guy got through."

"Kill him!"

"I'm a warrior."

"Teach him everything about us. What's the harm?"

I know it was really the tree-god that picked Jake, but that didn't make the scene revolving around it any less awkward.
CCH Pounder read his heart and realized he was strong and noble. It didn't bother me that much.

Not saying it was a sufficient explanation to advance the plot, I just really enjoyed typing that.
Anyone would enjoy typing CCH Pounder.

What i didn't like about the story was that EVERYTHING was a fucking lesson. Two hours of screentime showing him so many different places or animals and the ways around them. Kinda boring.
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Originally Posted by Tati
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Anyone would enjoy tapping CCH Pounder.

How I read this at first.
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Originally Posted by ElCapitanAmerica
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Johnny's post reminded me of something that really irked me about the movie. I mean, c'mon how convinient is it that the Na'vi have a ceremony for transferring one soul to another body? To the point that the queen/enchantrees/whatever alien there knows why it wouldn't work (she's too weak)?

Dumbest part of the movie, and conveniently shoehorned in just before it's really needed at the end. The whole time it was going on I was thinking "Really? This is where they're going, and how they're going to get there?" Though I'm easily won over by psychedelic bioluminesence. Anyone else watching that chant think of Baraka?
What makes it really dumb was the Naavi insisting on dancing in unison like complete dorks during the ceremony, as if the whole affair wasn't hard enough to swallow.