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Avatar post-release discussion - Printable Version

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- duke fleed - 12-19-2009

Count Floyd, Thank you for your support.

Hadjimurad, I was not making fun of anyone, I was just answering...Felix's query. Also, there are not any...Unnecessary Ellipsis.


- wadew1 - 12-19-2009

Mixed feelings about this one. The story is extremely predictable and gets really lazy at the end.

I'll win them back by jumping on the biggest flying lizard I can find! No one has ever thought of flying over it before!
The Tree just woke up and saved everyone at the last minute!
Huzzah! the humans have formed a line and are leaving!

However, I thought the two leads were solid and I loved the villian. Stephen Lang was one grizzled, bloodthirsty son of a bitch. I got a kick out of how relentlessly evil he was.

*kicks open door, almost kills everyone in the room*

MASKS ON!

*tries to take down a gunship with his pistol*

The cgi effects are the least of this movie's problems. The forest looked amazing and the aliens were usually convincing. The facial expressions were great. The limited amount Na'Vi human interaction looked decent.


- chet ripley - 12-19-2009

It was enjoyable, and the visuals were amazing (once they got out into the forest), but the dialogue and plot was laughable at times. It's too bad Cameron couldn't be as ambitious with his script as he was with the technology on display. The tagline should have been: Avatar: Cowboys and Indians in Space.

I still found myself getting goosebumps in the finale and the 70's stoner blacklight scenes.

Did anyone else get distracted with some of the shitty narration, and notice how bad Sam Worthington's accent went all over the place? I thought Worthington put in a decent performance, but it sounded like he struggled to sound american throughout the entire running time.

On a separate note, does anyone know if Worthington's legs were altered with CGI to make them look like chicken legs (form atrophy)? If not, he must have picked up some weight loss secrets from Christian Bale on Terminator: Salvation.


- wadew1 - 12-19-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bloody Wanker
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Did anyone else get distracted with some of the shitty narration, and notice how bad Sam Worthington's accent went all over the place? I thought Worthington put in a decent performance, but it sounded like he struggled to sound american throughout the entire running time.

The way Worthington spoke didn't really bother me. I guess that's because his accent never sounded "American".

Quote:

On a separate note, does anyone know if Worthington's legs were altered with CGI to make them look like chicken legs (form atrophy)? If not, he must have picked up some weight loss secrets from Christian Bale on Terminator: Salvation.

Of course they used cgi. I don't think Cameron made him have all of the muscle and fat sucked out of his legs.


- Felix - 12-19-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by Count Floyd
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Fleed does not make fun of anyone. Also, Felix, I'd like to point out that Fleed had to explain the end of the movie to you.

I've seen two 3D movies at the giant Lincoln Square theater and they were both in Real3D, and yes, there is definitely a loss of brightness.

Well the thing is that when Jake brings Grace to the Navi for her to be "healed". I thought they were going to heal her physical wounds. Later i realised that they were trying to transfer her to her Navi form. But the point wasn't entirely clear. That was why I was wondering about Jake at the end.

AVATAR was my first 3D film in over 20 years. So Real3D causes a loss of brightness? I was wondering about that. I orginally thought it was my own eyesight myself (I suffer from high Astigmatism).


- neoolong - 12-19-2009

Worthington's accent was worse in Terminator Salvation. Realistically, it's the future so I didn't mind the accent, even if it wasn't "American." Consistency was more important.


- neoolong - 12-19-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by Warren Peace
View Post
I liked the movie quite a bit, but wish they'd have resolved the "What happens if you die in Na'vi-ville/in your own body?" earlier on. Apparently, if your Avatar body dies, your real body is just fine. I thought it would end up that killing your human body while plugged in meant that you were stuck in the Avatar (which would have been a better way to permanently turn Jake Na'vi than how they did).

Well, they kind had that with Norm. His avatar was shot up and he was transferred back to his human body. Though he looked visibly traumatized by the experience, at least for a little while.


- Nooj - 12-19-2009

Accents pretty much never bug me. I guess I simply don't have an ear for them. Or even if I notice something, I just pass it off as whatever.


- dan - 12-19-2009

Film's beautiful and the story's forgettable.

It'll make a killing.

Shame really. He created something that almost felt real and yet it was something I wouldn't want to touch again.


- Felix - 12-19-2009

Another thing that hit me. When does Jake really sleep?

When he's asleep in his Navi body he wakes up in his human body. After that he needs to do debriefings with Grace and Lang's group. Seems like he has very little time for shuteye since he also spends most of his Navi time doing training.


- dan - 12-19-2009

He fell asleep during the film, as did I. Weaver has to shuffle him to the bed at one point.

So - he sleeps once during 3 months.


- bhww - 12-19-2009

Saw Avatar recently and it's...incredibly dumb. And boring and condescending, especially the grating Worthington voiceover which, like most of the script, states the obvious over and over.


- khaunshar - 12-19-2009

Regarding the "Dreamwalker" thing:

Think of the many alien movies and legends we have, like Stargate, Star Trek and others, where the "aliens" are basically slightly altered humans.
Now, since the Navi seem to see the world through a very spiritual lense, what we humans use to show "aliens" (masks, makeup, minor stuff like bone ridges for Klingons etc.), its probably the "dreamwalker" aspect, maybe a soullessness, or a different spiritual image than a true Navi. They dont know about the outside world much. Note how all the construction vehicles etc. are automated, chances are they have seen humans, if at all, from afar. The Navi are a primitive civilization, and thus they would probably automatically assume that "aliens" would be slightly different versions of their own.

I think it makes perfect sense, and actually deepens the concept of the Navi as a primitive, spiritual people with very very little knowledge of the greater situation at hand .


- sonic boom - 12-20-2009

I absolutely loved it. The most visually amazing film I've ever seen. As for the story, it's predictable. We all know that. It's Dances With Wolves. That said, I found myself completely invested. I can't wait to see it again.


- tcd - 12-20-2009

There was a guy with an eyepatch at the 3-D screening of Avatar I attended. I saw him in the lobby on his way into the theater with 3-D glasses in hand, and I wondered if would ever figure out why they didn't seem to work.


- phil - 12-20-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by felix
View Post
Another thing that hit me. When does Jake really sleep?

When he's asleep in his Navi body he wakes up in his human body. After that he needs to do debriefings with Grace and Lang's group. Seems like he has very little time for shuteye since he also spends most of his Navi time doing training.

He's in REM sleep while he's in the Na'vi body, so his body is getting rest, but there's a line about how his sense of time is out of whack due to being "conscious at all times.

Quote:

Originally Posted by TCD
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There was a guy with an eyepatch at the 3-D screening of Avatar I attended. I saw him in the lobby on his way into the theater with 3-D glasses in hand, and I wondered if would ever figure out why they didn't seem to work.

He probably has figured out by now that he has no depth perception, and he'd still need the glasses to lose the two-field blurriness.

There's a muddiness to the criticism of the movie for me in that it's just not a movie for grownups. If I were 12 years old in 2009, this movie would knock me on my ass. I would not have seen Dances With Wolves or most of the "noble savage" movies this one is lifting from. If I were 12 years old, I might not have yet seen Aliens, and would be digging the hell out of the macho Space Marines bullshit. If I were 12 years old, I might not have seen Wizard of Oz, and would actually need the extra line spelling out what "you're not in Kansas anymore" means. If I were 12 years old this would very likely be one of the most amazing film spectacles I've ever seen. (I guess if you're looking to hate, the downside to that is, what does that 12 year old have to look forward to next year?)

So I dunno - it's dopey and cliched to grown men, but really I'm curious to know what little kids think of the movie. I think the only con in their eyes might be that the movie is three days long.


- Nooj - 12-20-2009

Eh. Supposedly kids loved The Phantom Menace. Though time will tell if we ever see some hotshot filmmaker of the future say that TPM was the reason he/she got into movies.

But then there's all the stuff 12 year old kids are exposed to these days.


- phil - 12-20-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by mcnooj82
View Post
Eh. Supposedly kids loved The Phantom Menace.

That's a murky comparison in that The Phantom Menace, whether Lucas likes it or not, was a follow-up to a 22 year old franchise that had a large adult (though admittedly possibly arrested) following. Calling it "Episode I" didn't change the fact that it was a sequel to a well-established brand, full of callbacks and references to the older films. The Phantom Menace wasn't for kids the way Avatar is for kids, I don't think.


- kingfan - 12-20-2009

I thought Sigourney Weaver was quite good.

By the way Paul Thomas anderson and Maya rudolph were at the show. They were far back in the line though so they didn't get the greatest seats. I went up to him and said hi and said you're a great writer/director. I don't think he liked being bothered but i'm glad I did it anyway.


- frankcobretti - 12-20-2009

My comments from another forum:

I saw AVATAR with my wife. We agreed that Cameron has created a beautiful and interesting world, but she lost her suspension of disbelief during the second-act crisis while I kept it going right up to the end credits.

I think that where she saw a simplistically anti-military romanticization of neolithic culture, I saw a golden age of science fiction, Edgar Rice Burroughs - type story brought to life. This is "Astounding Science Fiction," illustrated by Frazetta and rendered in fabulous 3-D.

So what if the story is standard pulp? This is pulp done right, filled with treats for science fiction fans (Sigourney Weaver taking on "the corporation," a Vasquez - type character kicking butts, multiple nods to _Dune_ and other classics of the "warrior gone native" subgenre), astoundingly beautiful environments for the spectacle - seekers, and good old-fashioned Hollywood liberalism for everyone else.

You wanna see a completely realized alien world? Here ya go. You wanna see stuff blown up real good? Here ya go. You wanna revel in a favorite genre's pulpy past? Have at it. AVATAR offers all these delights, and in spades.

I got what I paid for.


- count floyd - 12-20-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by Khaunshar
View Post
Regarding the "Dreamwalker" thing:

Think of the many alien movies and legends we have, like Stargate, Star Trek and others, where the "aliens" are basically slightly altered humans.
Now, since the Navi seem to see the world through a very spiritual lense, what we humans use to show "aliens" (masks, makeup, minor stuff like bone ridges for Klingons etc.), its probably the "dreamwalker" aspect, maybe a soullessness, or a different spiritual image than a true Navi. They dont know about the outside world much. Note how all the construction vehicles etc. are automated, chances are they have seen humans, if at all, from afar. The Navi are a primitive civilization, and thus they would probably automatically assume that "aliens" would be slightly different versions of their own.

I think it makes perfect sense, and actually deepens the concept of the Navi as a primitive, spiritual people with very very little knowledge of the greater situation at hand .

I don't know, maybe I'm inferring too much but I would assume the humans initially attempted to contact them as, well, humans. And then they developed the Avatars because they were getting nowhere as humans.


- stelios - 12-20-2009

OK, someone has to explain to me about the Dune parallels because I keep hearing about them and I don't get it.


- Nooj - 12-20-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by kingfan
View Post
I thought Sigourney Weaver was quite good.

By the way Paul Thomas anderson and Maya rudolph were at the show. They were far back in the line though so they didn't get the greatest seats. I went up to him and said hi and said you're a great writer/director. I don't think he liked being bothered but i'm glad I did it anyway.

You should've offered to let them cut in front of you! You could've become the best of friends! Hehehe.

Sigourney Weaver's avatar always looked a little off to me. I think it's because she looked so much like Sigourney Weaver. I can't really say whether or not she was good or not. I was too distracted by the fact that I was watching Weaver in a Cameron movie. I have read a review that thought she was bad, but it seemed like the reviewer didn't like her in general.


- Felix - 12-20-2009

Riding the Sandworm. Riding that Air creature, Stelios.


- ocallaghan - 12-20-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by FrankCobretti
View Post
I saw a golden age of science fiction, Edgar Rice Burroughs - type story brought to life. This is "Astounding Science Fiction," illustrated by Frazetta and rendered in fabulous 3-D.

So what if the story is standard pulp? This is pulp done right, filled with treats for science fiction fans (Sigourney Weaver taking on "the corporation," a Vasquez - type character kicking butts, multiple nods to _Dune_ and other classics of the "warrior gone native" subgenre), astoundingly beautiful environments for the spectacle - seekers, and good old-fashioned Hollywood liberalism for everyone else.

You wanna see a completely realized alien world? Here ya go. You wanna see stuff blown up real good? Here ya go. You wanna revel in a favorite genre's pulpy past? Have at it. AVATAR offers all these delights, and in spades.

My problem with the film is that somehow Cameron made a movie that had all of these elements in spades, but i was bored during it.
After reading Phil's post re: 12 year olds, I'm inclined to agree and just realize that this film wasn't made for me as such.


- phil - 12-20-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by mcnooj82
View Post
Sigourney Weaver's avatar always looked a little off to me. I think it's because she looked so much like Sigourney Weaver. I can't really say whether or not she was good or not. I was too distracted by the fact that I was watching Weaver in a Cameron movie. I have read a review that thought she was bad, but it seemed like the reviewer didn't like her in general.

Weaver was terrible in her first scene, like the worst kind of Kathy Bates character. As the film went on, Weaver's innate likability came through. And she looked sexy as a blue alien. Her avatar was the 80s model Weaver. Meow.


- Nooj - 12-20-2009

Hahahahh... so old.

Yeah, that first "Gimme a cigarette" scene felt off. Trying to be too much of a hard-ass, I guess.

I thought Weaver's avatar felt a little more cartoony than the others. Maybe because her avatar didn't get all that much screentime?


- wadew1 - 12-20-2009

Probably because it was the most human looking avatar.


- thecynic - 12-20-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by OCallaghan
View Post
I assume you meant to write Fully Fledged.
This is such a silly thing to say. Big Genre stories usually have awesome characters; it's one of the (admittedly many) things that makes the original Star Wars trilogy stand so high above the prequels: great characters, so it's not ok with me when you get shit like this trucked in and we are supposed to give a shit about characters the film maker clearly doesn't.

I meant full-fledged, it was a typo or brain fart or whatever.

And the characters aren't bad as I said. The execution of it is bad, the exposition and some dialogue, and not even all of it. If the characters were just flat-out bad characters and the story really was bad then no one would care when a CGI Jake tames his banshee or when he's falling in love with his girl or when they are getting attacked and hometree is destroyed etc. The girl Na'vi is a good character, the colonel is a good character, Jake is a pretty good character... They don't reinvent the wheel and that's not what they are trying to do. The reason it's seen as disappointing is because everything else is of such high quality. As a visual filmmaker Cameron has done something magnificent, as a screenwriter he's done something half-good, half average, and with moments of crap.

Quote:

Giving the film a free pass because it looks awesome invalidates any complaints you ever have of other blockbusters with shitty scripts.

No it doesn't, because this isn't a shitty script. It has some shitty elements to it. Pretty considerable difference. If every action movie was like this I wouldn't a ton to complain about as a fan of Hollywood action flicks.


- thunderbird - 12-20-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by felix
View Post
AVATAR was my first 3D film in over 20 years. So Real3D causes a loss of brightness? I was wondering about that. I orginally thought it was my own eyesight myself (I suffer from high Astigmatism).

Yes, Real3D causes a loss of brightness which frustrates me because its being touted as such a great thing for the movie going experience. I saw Avatar again today but with the Dolby3D system and it was so much better. No loss of brightness. It made a sunny day on Pandora actually look sunny instead of cloudy or overcast as it does with the RealD system.


- hammerhead - 12-20-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by wadew1
View Post
Probably because it was the most human looking avatar.

Yes, her avatar's eyes are smaller and closer together.

So alright. One of you guys who read the scriptment: Which backstory elements got dropped, and which just weren't there to begin with? I seem to have missed the bits that explained (a) why Weaver's team got kicked out of Na'vi society the first time around, (b) how Jake's brother died and whether it was related (or what his damn name was), and © when hostilities with the Na'vi escalated-- we see arrows in tires, but it seems to me that our first look at them should have reinforced the 'savage animal' perception.

And did I catch this right? Jake's specific reason for traveling to Pandora is to take over for his dead brother. The trip takes five years. Did everyone just wait around for him to show up, or was the timing even more coincidental?

ETA:
Quote:

Originally Posted by HarleyQuinn22
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I don't know about every theater, but I know for a fact that the real Raleigh IMAX used 2 projectors. They have a camera set up in their projection booth so that when you are in the lobby, you can look at a flat-screen TV and see what's going on in the projection booth. There were two projectors being used.

Were they running simultaneously, or did they change over midway through? I seem to recall that IMAX used to have a problem running films longer than two hours.

Man, I wish there was an IMAX projectionist on these boards.


- thecynic - 12-20-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Rain Dog
View Post
I thought the uncanny valley only applied with actual cg rendered human beings. Don't Navi sort of not qualify as a consequence?

That's the reason the Na'vi are more alien-looking version of humans, with eyes further apart and a much wider nose and blue skin and longer limbs... to avoid the uncanny valley. It worked magnificently well I thought.


- ocallaghan - 12-20-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheCynic
View Post
If the characters were just flat-out bad characters and the story really was bad then no one would care when a CGI Jake tames his banshee or when he's falling in love with his girl or when they are getting attacked and hometree is destroyed etc.

I didn't care.
You enjoyed it; I wish I had more to be honest. The boring, bland characters and lame predictable script stopped me from doing so.


- arjen rudd - 12-20-2009

I wish I'd loved it. Or hated it. Great spectacle, and it passed the time.


- tcd - 12-20-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by Phil
View Post
There's a muddiness to the criticism of the movie for me in that it's just not a movie for grownups. If I were 12 years old in 2009, this movie would knock me on my ass. I would not have seen Dances With Wolves or most of the "noble savage" movies this one is lifting from. If I were 12 years old, I might not have yet seen Aliens, and would be digging the hell out of the macho Space Marines bullshit. If I were 12 years old, I might not have seen Wizard of Oz, and would actually need the extra line spelling out what "you're not in Kansas anymore" means. If I were 12 years old this would very likely be one of the most amazing film spectacles I've ever seen. (I guess if you're looking to hate, the downside to that is, what does that 12 year old have to look forward to next year?)

So I dunno - it's dopey and cliched to grown men, but really I'm curious to know what little kids think of the movie. I think the only con in their eyes might be that the movie is three days long.

If Avatar was rated G, or even PG, you might have a point. But a PG-13 movie, by definition, is not made for 12 year-olds.

Besides, it's not so much that the plot was dopey or cliched. I can handle a derivative story and ham-handed thematic elements when they're offset by such breath-taking visuals. The problem with Avatar (and I say this as someone who liked the film) is an unengaging protagonist and an uneven narrative.

What ends up being a good film could have been great, even a classic of the genre, had Cameron spent a little more time on the writing and a little less on the special effects.