Avatar, once more with feeling

Lisa and I went to see it again over the weekend with a friend, in 2D this time. We both enjoyed it more this time, Lisa because she didn’t have to fight with her glasses and me because I knew what was coming and could just go with it rather than fighting the story and characters with my own expectations. I’m still not in love, but I am more impressed by what Cameron accomplished, and I definitely think it says something that I still wasn’t bored. The friend we saw the picture with was unreservedly blown away (she declared it this generation’s Star Wars, not really a decision people over forty get to make I think, but still), and Lisa’s parents, who saw it in 3D down where they live, also really loved it.

A few other Avatar links of note:

* Via Research Maven, Chud.com describes “Project 880,” James Cameron’s original script treatment for what became Avatar. This sounds like a picture I really could have loved.

* John Crowley gives his reaction to the film here.

* Ta-Nehisi Coates’ post about the movie (actually, it’s more about the comparison between Avatar and Dances With Wolves) generated an interesting comments thread. (I also thought this post about Crash was hilarious, all the more so because some people didn’t get the joke.)

Lisa and I also finally saw District 9 on DVD. We both really liked it, but I want to listen to the director commentary before I post about it.

14 thoughts on “Avatar, once more with feeling”

  1. My tip for fellow snub-nosed myopians watching 3-D movies is to bring one of those nerd-straps that are supposed to keep your glasses on while you’re playing basketball. They cost $2 or $3 at the local drugstore, and they are well worth it.

    Though I would love a 3-D lorgnette!

  2. the story and characters never engaged me the way, say, Titanic’s did

    i haven’t made it to Avatar yet, but that statement fills me with dread. all Titanic had going for it was the eye candy.

      1. the Cameron film that makes me weepy is The Abyss.

        BTW, we’re going to Sherlock Holmes on Friday night. we’re unintentionally up to a party of nine now – ping me if you want to make it eleven.

    1. Yes, that was my thinking all through the final battle. But then, Cameron is now saying that he wants to make two sequels, so I guess he thinks bows and arrows will hold out against spaceships and nukes as well.

      1. When the gunships and the dragons were converging for the final battle I started laughing my head off, because I knew the Na’vi were going to win, even though that was ridiculous.

        The key, of course, is that the Na’vi worship a nature goddess who is real and answers prayers and has access to some serious anti-Maxim gun mojo. I will not be surprised if she can stop nukes, too.

        My guess for a sequel plot: the company figures out that the nature goddess is some kind of alien plant creature, and bio-engineer a virus (“It’s like an industrial-strength Dutch elm disease”) to rob her of her powers. But Jake and Neytiri manage to find a cure just in time to stop the bombs from falling…

        1. Two thoughts:

          How many times in the last few centuries have the Afghans defeated adversaries believed to be substantially more technologically advanced than they?

          What do we have that the Afghans want so much they’ll stop fighting us?

          I know, I know, that’s real life and fiction is supposed to be more consistent than real life. At least, that’s today’s fashion, not unlike the classical unities in the 19th century.

          1. How many times in the last few centuries have the Afghans defeated adversaries believed to be substantially more technologically advanced than they?

            In open battles, I think almost never. The way the Afghans defeat superpowers like the Russians is by waging guerrilla warfare against them, using weapons supplied by other superpowers, until the invaders get sick of bleeding and go home.

            What do we have that the Afghans want so much they’ll stop fighting us?

            Which Afghans? Hamid Karzai isn’t fighting us right now, because he wants our money and our military support. If there were a supply of unobtanium underneath Kabul, I’m sure Karzai could be talked into letting us dig it out — unless the Russians or the Chinese offered him better terms.

        2. Or, another way to look at it:

          “”We don’t have anything they want.” This is one of those statements, like Star Trek’s “We don’t use money,” that’s meant to make a people sound noble and unmaterialistic but really, if you think about it, doesn’t make any freaking sense.”

          I don’t see that statement as unmaterialistic. On the contrary, I see it stating what the Na’vi have as being materially better and more abundant, so we can’t compete.

          I’ll bet I don’t have anything BillG wants, for example. Or at least, nothing he wants so badly he’ll change his behavior to get it.

          1. I’ll bet I don’t have anything BillG wants, for example.

            If that’s true, it’s because Bill has already spent a lifetime wanting things he didn’t have, and working to get them. Even now, I’m sure there are plenty of things that an interstellar corporation could tempt him with.

          2. …also, Bill’s an individual, not a society. One Na’vi being perfectly happy with the status quo I could buy. Where my suspension of disbelief starts to collapse is when they’re all perfectly happy.

  3. Hallo, followed you over from Crowley’s blog and love your writing and am now following.

    Had the same problem with the 3D glasses. Can’t they make slip-ons for us bespectacled people?

    I wanted to love it, was deeply dissatisfied. I didn’t like that the white guy was still the superior guy (I know, he’s the protag chosen one but… also that). I really didn’t like the message that you can’t be anyone (blue or otherwise) without two good legs. So let’s fix that, pronto.

    I like broken people. The worst part of it for me was that his brokenness was completely swept under the carpet.

    Well, that and if I were his girlfriend I would have slit his throat for being a cowardly traitor and saved my own damned people.


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