Jump to content

Avatar


John Drew
 Share

Recommended Posts

Stephen Lamb wrote:

: Ebert twittered this earlier today: Avatar is communalistic, New Age pagan, PC, Marxist, racist, ugly, dirty, has alien sex and bestiality! http://j.mp/5WTcrg

Gosh, that's almost a description of Star Trek. Inter-species sex is, of course, part of the very DNA of Trek because, like, y'know, Spock is half-human and half-Vulcan and all that. (Now, if he were half-ROMULAN and half-Vulcan, like Saavik, then he would arguably be the product of merely inter-racial sex, rather than inter-species sex. But that just begs the question of when speciation occurs, and that's one subject evolutionists and creationists have never agreed upon.)

Oh, and let's not even mention that scene in Star Trek: Nemesis where the half-human, half-Betazoid Troi is having sex with her fully-human husband Riker, and then a Reman (an offshoot of the Romulan race/species, which itself is an offshoot of the Vulcan race/species) projects both his mind and that of Shinzon (a Romulan clone of the fully-human Picard) into Troi's consciousness, causing her to visualize that she is being raped by those other guys instead. There's all KINDS of inter-species stuff going on there!

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 509
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I've commented on Ebert's blog drawing attention to the reviews from Jeff, Todd and me. (It hasn't gone up yet -- comments at Ebert's blog are moderator approved.)

Uh oh, it looks like my comment may not be going up ... I see comments with time stamps well after mine. I wonder why? I see other comments from people linking to their own reviews, so it's not like anything self-promotional gets axed.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ebert twittered this earlier today: Avatar is communalistic, New Age pagan, PC, Marxist, racist, ugly, dirty, has alien sex and bestiality! http://j.mp/5WTcrg

Before we go too far with the "sex and bestiality" wording -- we're such typical Christians :) -- what about "communalistic, New Age pagan, PC, Marxist, racist, ugly, dirty"? Does everyone here reject these accusations across the board? I don't. I'm not sure what "communalistic" means, or why it might be a horrible thing, but "New Age pagan, PC"? Yeah, I could see that, sure. "Marxist"? I've seen that applied so many times to so many films that I'm not sure it means anything to me anymore.

"Racist, ugly, dirty"? No, no and no.

"Dirty?" In the "sex and bestiality" sense of the term, or in that the imagery looks the opposite of "clean" and/or "clear"?

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Christian wrote:

: Before we go too far with the "sex and bestiality" wording . . .

It's even funnier when you realize what that "bestiality" charge stems from. Apparently these guys like riding their horses (or whatever) a little too much. Real men, see, don't actually form a physical bond with their horses. They use bridles and stirrups and saddles and stuff.

: "Racist, ugly, dirty"? No, no and no.

Agreed, to a point. By "racist" they might mean the way the film skews anti-human, or the way it excessively loves and praises the Na'vi without treating them as real people with real dimensions. I think that would be far too problematic a use of the word "racist", myself, but I can see where it might be coming from.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually liked the film quite a bit. Did not see it as ugly, dirty or overly pc. I see it as amazing cinema - a blending of science fiction with mythology. I liked the incarnational nature of the avatar who needs to "become one of" the Na'vi in order to save them. It is undoubtedly New Age with thie Gaia life force - but that is certainly not new in science fiction going back to the Star Wars films. In this instance we have a biologist giving a possible explanation of how all the trees could be "communicating." The ancestor worship/communication through the port in each of the Na'vi's ponytail is a fascinating mixture of soma/spirit which has some fascinating implications.

In my review I am going to say - after it is edited and cleaned up - (warning some spoilers)

"Some might say that Cameron has a political agenda since he sets his story on a planet named Pandora where an evil corporation has gone to mine its natural resources because humans have killed “mother earth.” But to take such a simplistic view of the story is to miss the vast array of ideas Cameron used as both writer and director to tell his story. Using virtually every idea of science fiction and mythology available, Cameron strums a variety of themes.

In the realm of science fiction the central idea is that scientists have discovered how to join human DNA with that of the Na’vi, a humanoid species that is native to the planet. What makes this different is that these hybrid creatures become avatars of the humans. Using an electronic sleep chamber that joins their nervous systems, the humans live through the avatar’s bodies.

In the mythical realm the central focus is that the Na’vi live in direct union with the life force of their planet. in which everything is connected to one life force symbolized by their sacred tree. Similar to the New Age belief that all of life shares Gaia - the life force in which everything is connected, on Pandora the scientists discover this as a measurable biological reality using electrical impulses. They discover that the Na’vi have a port at the end of their ponytails that allow them to literally bond with the animals and trees on their planet as they attain a respectful dominance over their shared life.

But these two central themes are only the beginning. The story Cameron tells is full of love and betrayal, jealousy and greed, death and rebirth, incarnation and prophecy, ancestor worship and warrior rituals. The natives of Pandora walk a “trail of tears” as the evil corporate warriors devastate their home and yet when they battle against forces far more advanced their counterattack is savage in its retribution."

Since 1995 we have authored a commentary on film, cinema in focus. Though we enjoy cinema as an art form, our interests lie not so much in reviewing a film as in beginning a conversation about the social and spiritual values presented. We, therefore, often rate a film higher or lower due to its message rather than its quality of acting or film-making.

Cinema In Focus Website

Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara Website

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Denny Wayman wrote:

: I liked the incarnational nature of the avatar who needs to "become one of" the Na'vi in order to save them.

That's an interesting angle that hadn't occurred to me yet. But if we were to follow that allegory/analogy, wouldn't it kind of be in the same ballpark as those people who say that Jesus was saving us from God himself? (Given that Jake saves the Na'vi from his fellow humans, that is.)

: It is undoubtedly New Age with thie Gaia life force - but that is certainly not new in science fiction going back to the Star Wars films. In this instance we have a biologist giving a possible explanation of how all the trees could be "communicating."

One thing I find fascinating is that, for the most part, the film allows us to think that all this "spiritual" stuff is just a matter of residual biological energy; the Na'vi are connected (literally, physically) to their planet and so they commune with the spirits of the dead and all of that. But there is just a hint that there might be something MORE going on here; there is just a hint that this planetary spirit might be capable of prophecy or foreseeing someone's destiny. That suggests there is something more to the "spirituality" here than, say, the fact that the residents of Pandora are plugged into an elaborate and organic memory storage device.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Peter said:

"That's an interesting angle that hadn't occurred to me yet. But if we were to follow that allegory/analogy, wouldn't it kind of be in the same ballpark as those people who say that Jesus was saving us from God himself? (Given that Jake saves the Na'vi from his fellow humans, that is.)"

If you take the allegory fully then that would be implied. But I don't think Cameron takes any of the original sources he is borrowing from fully. But to follow your line of thought, I suppose you would have to go back to distinct theologies of the atonement. One, that has been rejected by the church overall but which was fairly popular in the early church, is that Jesus redeemed us from the power of Satan. Using that theology, Jake was saving the Na'vi from Satan. An analogy that fits a little better but has other inherent problems.

As to the film making the GAIA simply biological - I agree that the inclusion of prophecy - which saves Jake's life - implies some consciousness to it. I also found it interesting that when Jake prays to the Sacred Tree - Neytin explains that their deity does not take sides - but then she does in the final battle. However, the soma/spirit connection which is basic to life on Pandora - does not, in itself - undermine the spiritual. To find, for example, that there is a place in our brain that "processes" spiritual experiences, does not mean that spiritual experiences are only biological imaginations.

On a corollary note it is interesting that the leader of the Na'vi clan is a man but the spiritual leader is a woman. Is it pagan or pc or enlightened that causes Cameron to do so? As a Free Methodist we ordain women and I have three women pastors working for me. I find their inclusion in my staff very balancing and helpful to myself and the other male pastor - not only in their gifting/strengths but in simple intuitive abilities. In the film they use the word psychic – but the level was at the level of intuition or discernment – a “good heart” – “courage” – that kind of thing.

Denny

Since 1995 we have authored a commentary on film, cinema in focus. Though we enjoy cinema as an art form, our interests lie not so much in reviewing a film as in beginning a conversation about the social and spiritual values presented. We, therefore, often rate a film higher or lower due to its message rather than its quality of acting or film-making.

Cinema In Focus Website

Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara Website

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On a corollary note it is interesting that the leader of the Na'vi clan is a man but the spiritual leader is a woman. Is it pagan or pc or enlightened that causes Cameron to do so? As a Free Methodist we ordain women and I have three women pastors working for me. I find their inclusion in my staff very balancing and helpful to myself and the other male pastor - not only in their gifting/strengths but in simple intuitive abilities. In the film they use the word psychic – but the level was at the level of intuition or discernment – a “good heart” – “courage” – that kind of thing.

I was under the impression that having a female shaman was part of the huge hodgepodge native culture, like in King Solomon's Mines and other tales of technicized wanderers in alien cultures. These "wise women" seem to show up a lot.

I saw the movie in 2D (couldn't make a 3D showing); honestly, while I could see some places where the 3D would have been amazing, it didn't feel like we were missing anything. But this is definitely a movie to see on a big screen; it's beautiful, it's detailed, it's tactile.

It's also the movie for Princess of Mars to beat. Honestly, a lot of the creature-design (like those six-legged horses) seem to owe a lot to Barsoom. The articulateness of the Na'vi here seems to give hope that the eight-foot-tall Green Martians can be similarly realized. The stories, too, are similar--washed-up soldier is "projected" into a native culture and must learn its ways from the beautiful and proud (and exotically alien) princess, and at last

wins her heart and unites the tribes of her planet before saving it from certain destruction.

They're superficial similarities, and probably owe their origins to older "gone-native" myths, but that comparison (and, thanks to keeping up with this thread, Lawrence of Arabia) kept emerging while I watched.

Plot, characters--these are not nearly so robust as they could be. And calling the unobtainium "Unobtainium" was really jarring for me; perhaps because I spend too much time at TVtropes, I found myself laughing every time the stuff was brought up. Calling it "Berylium" would have worked better, for pete's sake (though also laughter-inducing). But the world of the movie itself was so intensely realized that I can forgive it, at least enough to try to make a 3D viewing.

Edited by NBooth
Link to comment
Share on other sites

D'Angelo:

Cameron first announced the project back in 1996, claiming that his vision was so far-reaching that he might have to wait years for the state of the art to catch up. Turns out he wasn't kidding: The avatars in Avatar—giant blue-skinned extraterrestrials, some of which are "inhabited" (for lack of a better word) by human beings lying prone miles away—are by far the most photorealistic imaginary creatures ever devised. Their jungle world, likewise, makes previous CGI environments seem remote and insubstantial by comparison. Take this movie back to 1984 and the gasping would never stop. But arriving as it does on the heels of a series of incremental digital revolutions—arguably dating back to Cameron's own Terminator 2—Avatar comes across as merely the next obvious step, leaving us free to look right past its singular visual effects and be only marginally absorbed by its clunky, painfully derivative storyline.

...

Zoë Saldana never actually appears onscreen, yet there's no question that we're seeing her full performance in Neytiri's eyes.

Trouble is, Neytiri is about as interesting and memorable as Stands With A Fist. (I had to look that name up.) Cameron's wizardry may be too effective for its own good—he makes his otherworldly beings and fantastic locale so naturalistic that they can't distract you for long from the characters' one-dimensional pulpiness or the narrative's plodding inevitability....Granted, Avatar boasts some reasonably exciting action sequences, but not enough to fill up a three-hour picture; there's a whole lot of dull exposition, sappy romance and back-to-nature boilerplate to endure.

Speaking of which, there's a bizarre irony in seeing so much hardware and software employed in service of a film that so firmly allies itself with a non-tech society. Cameron sometimes works to split the difference, even going so far as to have the Na'vi plug their ponytails into the pterodactyl-like "banshees" they ride, as if these creatures have a sort of biological USB port. In the end, though, Avatar is yet another Hollywood movie that romanticizes the alleged purity of people in loincloths, creating a patronizing and simplistic dichotomy between technology and nature—as if space stations are somehow less "natural" than beaver dams. Which is the very line, actually, that Avatar's mundanely sensational F/X strives to erase.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Denny Wayman wrote:

: I liked the incarnational nature of the avatar who needs to "become one of" the Na'vi in order to save them.

Has to become one of them to save them because they really aren't as intelligent or cunning as humans? So the Navi really are ontologically substandard to the human corporate raiders? And then at the end of the film he decides to become like them permanently rather than lead them to the glory of the existence the plotline has already implicity suggested is beneficial to their survival? That is a direct inverse of incarnation. If we push the incarnational idea too far, the film gets alternately odd and despicable in a hurry. I laughed out loud when he jumped on the red dragon and the hottest chick in the village hopped on back. In mere days the white boy comes in and gets the coolest ride, the best chick, and total fist bump respect.

And then he stepped on the new chief's lines with an "I'ma let you finish, but..." Braveheart number. Classy.

This is a storyline that has steeped for 15 years? I heard characters say "Come get some" at least three times.

Edited by MLeary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Denny Wayman wrote:

: But to follow your line of thought, I suppose you would have to go back to distinct theologies of the atonement. One, that has been rejected by the church overall but which was fairly popular in the early church, is that Jesus redeemed us from the power of Satan.

So the Eastern Orthodox Church is not part of "the church overall"? :)

And hey, it's Christmas -- isn't there a carol that everybody sings right now, that talks about how Jesus came "to save us all from Satan's power"? :)

: As to the film making the GAIA simply biological - I agree that the inclusion of prophecy - which saves Jake's life - implies some consciousness to it.

Not just consciousness -- that much is implied by the connection to the spirits of the dead, etc. -- but a sort of foreknowledge that we might consider supernatural, and not merely a different kind of natural.

: I also found it interesting that when Jake prays to the Sacred Tree - Neytin explains that their deity does not take sides - but then she does in the final battle.

Well, sort of. What we are told is that Eywa protects "the balance of life". Presumably Eywa is not taking sides between, say, rival Pandoran tribes here, but preventing humans from upsetting the "balance of life" permanently.

: However, the soma/spirit connection which is basic to life on Pandora - does not, in itself - undermine the spiritual. To find, for example, that there is a place in our brain that "processes" spiritual experiences, does not mean that spiritual experiences are only biological imaginations.

Agreed.

: On a corollary note it is interesting that the leader of the Na'vi clan is a man but the spiritual leader is a woman. Is it pagan or pc or enlightened that causes Cameron to do so?

It seemed like stereotyping, to me: men provide the brute strength while women provide the "female intuition".

NBooth wrote:

: It's also the movie for Princess of Mars to beat. . . .

Fascinating!

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In mere days the white boy comes in and gets the coolest ride, the best chick, and total fist bump respect.

And then he stepped on the new chief's lines with an "I'ma let you finish, but..." Braveheart number. Classy.

:lol:

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

MLeary wrote:

: In mere days . . .

FWIW, don't they specify that it's more like mere MONTHS? Next time I see the film, I'll pay more attention to the dates at the bottom of the video logs.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, it is a few months. But the white guy does totally dominate their culture and fulfill a pretty significant component of their mythos in a very short period of time. On account of this awful narrative arc, there is a lot of implicit contempt for the blue people in this movie. It is hard to pose religious naturalists as intelligent people. We tend to say: Yeah, well they have a different kind of intelligence. What we really mean is that they lack the complexity and sophistication that allows us to navigate modern living with such aplomb. Same issue with Cameron and the blue people.

All they had to do all these generations was to hop down on the big red bird. Simple as that. Fly over him and hop down. Silly blue people.

Edited by MLeary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I so wanted him to shout "I'm king of the world!" when he landed on that thing. That would have been awesome.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know what you fellas think of Devin at CHUD (I find him irritating at times, but he makes enough insightful observations that I check up on what he's got to say from time to time), but his latest article on AVATAR had some interesting comments. I've quoted what I deem to be the most significant remarks for you below:

"Many people are going gaga over the world design in Avatar and the 'immersive' nature of the FX and the 3D. I found the 3D in Avatar to be really good... just like the 3D in Coraline. I wonder if many of the people talking about this stuff simply don't see many films in 3D, because 3D has had a banner 2009. Coraline was spectacular, Up was delightfully subdued and artful and while I haven't seen it, I've been told that Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs was eye popping. This isn't me trying to put down Avatar - I do think that Cameron has done sublime work with the application of 3D - but it is me trying to put it all into context. And maybe to stick up for some of the guys who have been doing terrific work in the field but who don't have the publicity machines behind them that James Cameron has.

Even setting aside my personal problems with the designs of the creatures in Avatar I didn't find any of them all that groundbreaking. Critics have said that the world of
is unlike anything you've ever seen and I have to wonder how much science fiction or fantasy they've consumed in their lives, as the world of Pandora is an awful lot like what I've seen. Plenty of times. That's setting aside the fact that the animals on Pandora are just slightly weirded up analogues to real (or familiar mythological) animals on Earth - space horses, space wolves, space dragons. I thought the ice planet monster in Star Trek was more unique in design than anything in Avatar, and all the direhorses and viperwolves and whatever else could have easily been part of the menagerie in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

[...]

And that jungle - yeah, it looked real, but the fact is that photoreal CG environments have been here for a while. I think that Avatar certainly improves on what has come before, but it's no leap. It's not a jump. You've sat through a dozen movies in the last two years that had invisible tiny CG effects and background elements and you never, ever noticed them.

[...]

The faces of some of the Na'vi are impressive in their range of emotion, but I still think the Na'vi themselves are a cheat. Their faces are designed to mitigate that uneasy Uncanny Valley feeling - you're not getting weirded out by the soulless doll problem that Robert Zemeckis keeps facing because these characters just don't look human. It's the same reason you don't get weirded out by Buzz Lightyear's face. Interestingly, it seems like Zemeckis is catching on to this - Scrooge in A Christmas Carol has a fairly cartoony face, and he works much better than Zemeckis' previous protagonists."

I haven't seen the movie yet, for what it's worth, I won't until after Christmas.

Edited by Ryan H.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, it is a few months. But the white guy does totally dominate their culture and fulfill a pretty significant component of their mythos in a very short period of time. On account of this awful narrative arc, there is a lot of implicit contempt for the blue people in this movie. It is hard to pose religious naturalists as intelligent people. We tend to say: Yeah, well they have a different kind of intelligence. What we really mean is that they lack the complexity and sophistication that allows us to navigate modern living with such aplomb. Same issue with Cameron and the blue people.

All they had to do all these generations was to hop down on the big red bird. Simple as that. Fly over him and hop down. Silly blue people.

Heh. So you're on-board with Movieguide's critique of the film as "racist", then? :)

For what it's worth, there are times when I'm tempted to mount a similar critique of the film, but -- but -- I have to keep in mind two things:

One, as noted above, the "blue people" have a spirituality that is revealed to be "more real" than anything the humans have figured out, to the point where the mother goddess even makes an implicit prophecy about "the white guy" by giving Neytiri a "sign" that prevents her from killing him; what is more, the day is ultimately saved not because the "white guy" mastered the "blue people's" spirituality, but because Eywa -- the "blue people's" deity -- answered his prayer and turned the forces of nature itself against the human invaders. (Of course, this begs the question: Why couldn't Eywa have defended her planet on her own, WITHOUT the "white guy's" participation? Why did she have to wait for his prayer before intervening? I mean, especially since Eywa intervened in the first place to PROTECT Jake Sully -- so we've known from the beginning that she's not above intervening on her own initiative. Ah, but perhaps this deity likes to give people a ROLE of some sort in her miraculous acts of grace ... and perhaps this deity wanted to bridge the gap between humans and Na'vi somehow.)

Two, no matter how "complex" and "sophisticated" the human understanding of Na'vi spirituality might be, the person who actually articulates this objective, modern, scientific understanding of their spirituality -- i.e. Grace Augustine -- undergoes a Thomas Aquinas-like character arc in which her great scientific/scholastic knowledge ("I should be taking samples!") ultimately pales next to her direct subjective EXPERIENCE of this spirituality ("I'm with her").

I don't see any attempt in this film to pooh-pooh the Na'vi for lacking modern sophistication. Quite the opposite: I see modern life itself pooh-poohed (or at the very least put in its place) quite thoroughly, however ironically.

Devin Faraci wrote:

: I wonder if many of the people talking about this stuff simply don't see many films in 3D, because 3D has had a banner 2009.

FWIW, James Cameron gave an interview recently in which he said that most recent 3D movies have either been really expensive cartoons, like Up, or really cheap horror films, like My Bloody Valentine, and Avatar is one of a few projects he is involved with right now that are meant to show that 3D can be used in regular films that don't fall into one of those two categories. (But, hmmm, what about Journey to the Center of the Earth?)

: I thought the ice planet monster in Star Trek was more unique in design than anything in Avatar . . .

Good point -- though "unique" doesn't equal "original". I think even J.J. Abrams jokes on the Star Trek DVD that the ice-planet monster owes a debt of some sort to the main monster in Cloverfield.

: And that jungle - yeah, it looked real, but the fact is that photoreal CG environments have been here for a while. I think that Avatar certainly improves on what has come before, but it's no leap. It's not a jump. You've sat through a dozen movies in the last two years that had invisible tiny CG effects and background elements and you never, ever noticed them.

Yeah, and I wouldn't have noticed many of them here, either, if I hadn't read all the bumpf about how there was not one single bit of on-location shooting for this film.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had Homer's "Epic of Peace" speech from Wings of Desire running through my head most of the time I was watching Avatar. As pretty as the scenery was and as exhilarating as I found some of the exploration scenes, I knew it wouldn't last. I knew everything would 'splode sooner or later.

Also, did I miss why Unobtainium was supposed to be so valuable on Earth? I don't remember any explanation of what it did. But since it's the symbol of the empty dread destructive greed of imperialist capitalism, maybe the whole point is that whatever it does, it isn't worth the price.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
Twitter Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So you're on-board with Movieguide's critique of the film as "racist", then? :)

I haven't read the review, so I don't know. If the film is racist, it is unintentional. There are just a lot of very lazy storytelling choices made.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We can all breathe a sigh of relief now:

- - -

'Avatar's' final tally bigger than expected

Performing far better than expected on Sunday, 20th Century Fox and James Cameron's "Avatar" finished the weekend with an opening gross of $77.3 million--instead of $73 million--to secure the best December debut ever at the domestic B.O.

Avatar" dropped a mere 3% from Saturday to Sunday, a rare feat, and a sign that the 3D sci-fi fantasy is already benefiting from powerful word-of-mouth.

The previous No. 1 December opener was Warner Bros.' Will Smith starrer "I Am Legend," which bowed to $77.2 million.

Fox insiders cautioned that the $77.3 million could shift as last numbers are calculated later this morning, but said they are confident that the December record will hold. "Avatar," the widest 3D release to date, opened in 3,452 theaters, of which 2,023 were 3D runs.

Variety, December 21

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ross Douthat @ New York Times:

It’s fitting that James Cameron’s “Avatar” arrived in theaters at Christmastime. Like the holiday season itself, the science fiction epic is a crass embodiment of capitalistic excess wrapped around a deeply felt religious message. It’s at once the blockbuster to end all blockbusters, and the Gospel According to James.

But not the Christian Gospel. Instead, “Avatar” is Cameron’s long apologia for pantheism — a faith that equates God with Nature, and calls humanity into religious communion with the natural world. . . .

The question is whether Nature actually deserves a religious response. Traditional theism has to wrestle with the problem of evil: if God is good, why does he allow suffering and death? But Nature
is
suffering and death. Its harmonies require violence. Its “circle of life” is really a cycle of mortality. And the human societies that hew closest to the natural order aren’t the shining Edens of James Cameron’s fond imaginings. They’re places where existence tends to be nasty, brutish and short.

Religion exists, in part, precisely because humans aren’t at home amid these cruel rhythms. We stand half inside the natural world and half outside it. We’re beasts with self-consciousness, predators with ethics, mortal creatures who yearn for immortality. . . .

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...