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  1. Standard member Surtism
    Prof.
    31 Aug '11 12:31
    http://cinemaroll.com/cinemarolling/avatar-2009-the-movie/

    I wrote the above article having just watched Avatar for the first time, wondered what your thoughts are on both the article and the film.

    Thanks
    S
  2. 31 Aug '11 15:27
    No real comment on the article, but I thought the plot of the movie was formulaic and I want to fall asleep boring - to give it credit.

    I also was not at all impressed with the acting.

    I think the only things I would give it good marks for are the visuals and the simple immersion into the world in which it takes place. Everything else appeared to be an excuse to have the visuals there.
  3. 31 Aug '11 17:16
    I wouldn't call it a sci-fi film, but few really are. For example Star Trek is really Wagon Train to the Stars. If it were filmed with regular humans and was about a tribe dealing with an exploitative logging operation, it would IMO be called a drama. It just happened to be set in a futuristic and exotic world.

    About the film, the story was simple and easy to follow, and so didn't get in the way of the visual and aural spectacle which was worth the ticket price. As so many such movies do, it idealized the tribe and villainized the exploiters. You are right to regret not seeing it in 3D.
  4. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    31 Aug '11 18:32
    Originally posted by JS357
    I wouldn't call it a sci-fi film, but few really are. For example Star Trek is really Wagon Train to the Stars. If it were filmed with regular humans and was about a tribe dealing with an exploitative logging operation, it would IMO be called a drama. It just happened to be set in a futuristic and exotic world.

    About the film, the story was simple and easy ...[text shortened]... ealized the tribe and villainized the exploiters. You are right to regret not seeing it in 3D.
    I'm curious as to how you define sci-fi.
  5. Standard member Soothfast
    0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,
    31 Aug '11 22:40 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by JS357
    I wouldn't call it a sci-fi film, but few really are. For example Star Trek is really Wagon Train to the Stars. If it were filmed with regular humans and was about a tribe dealing with an exploitative logging operation, it would IMO be called a drama. It just happened to be set in a futuristic and exotic world.

    About the film, the story was simple and easy ealized the tribe and villainized the exploiters. You are right to regret not seeing it in 3D.
    Are you just referring to the latest Star Trek movie? Or did you mean Avatar?
  6. 31 Aug '11 23:28
    Originally posted by Palynka
    I'm curious as to how you define sci-fi.
    Well maybe you've got me there. If the main story of the movie/play/book is not dependent on (currently) fictional science it's not IMO sci-fi. Avatar's main story is the beleaguered, noble, nature-loving tribe against the industrial destroyers. That could even be a documentary. How what's-his-name got injected into that world, or how it got enacted in his mind, is secondary to the plot.

    So it's fair to ask for an example of sci-fi. Basically, all dramas have to do with someone being put up a tree and getting them down. But I've read that sci-fi explores the effects of a scientific fact that is different that what we think is such, on people. I suppose an example would be if someone developed a drug that stopped aging at say, 18. It would still involve people up a tree, but the fictional science would be central. I didn't see the fictional science being central in Avatar.

    I remember reading a pulp sci-fi story called Brain Wave. I had a copy for a while. I think it's a good example.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_Wave

    "At the end of the Cretaceous period the Earth moved into an energy dampening field in space. As long as Earth was in this field all conductors became more insulating. As a result almost all of the life on Earth with neurons died off, causing the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event. The ones that survived passed on their genes for sufficiently capable neurons to deal with the new circumstance. Now in modern times the Earth suddenly moves out of the field. Within weeks all animal life on earth becomes about 5 times as intelligent. The novel goes through the triumphs and tribulations of various people and non-human animals and groups on earth after this event."
  7. 02 Sep '11 08:57
    I loved it.
    The animation was far better than other movies.

    Did you notice the mistake when the main character, Jake Sully shoots the arrow with his left hand, but uses the knife with his right hand? Or maybe, he was just ambidexterous.
    And they didn't keep any pets, not even the dog-like creatures.

    Maybe I am wrong but I felt it may have been a little condescending to / or too stereotypical of the American-Indian or African tribal people.
  8. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    02 Sep '11 10:36
    Originally posted by JS357
    Well maybe you've got me there. If the main story of the movie/play/book is not dependent on (currently) fictional science it's not IMO sci-fi. Avatar's main story is the beleaguered, noble, nature-loving tribe against the industrial destroyers. That could even be a documentary. How what's-his-name got injected into that world, or how it got enacted in his min ...[text shortened]... lations of various people and non-human animals and groups on earth after this event."
    Nice post, thanks. But wouldn't that rule out books like "The Dispossessed", for example? Seems that many sci-fi classics wouldn't really be sci-fi in that definition...

    I see sci-fi as anything that involves future technology, central or not. This goes from brainless space battles, to hardcore science buffs to philosophical points about human condition and the direction society is taking. The Forever War is such an example, it is a book about Vietnam, set in space, where the future setting serves to highlight some of the absurdities of war. But technology isn't really any more central than in Avatar.

    I think sci-fi is a very overarching field, so that is obviously going to include A LOT of crap. I think there's a tendency to say something isn't REALLY sci-fi when we think it doesn't use sci-fi's potential very well, but I prefer to just call it crap and leave it within sci-fi...
  9. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    02 Sep '11 10:40
    That said, I enjoyed Avatar. It's not particularly deep, but it was a very good action blockbuster, IMO. If you don't like action films...well, that's another issue.
  10. 02 Sep '11 15:53
    Originally posted by Palynka
    Nice post, thanks. But wouldn't that rule out books like "The Dispossessed", for example? Seems that many sci-fi classics wouldn't really be sci-fi in that definition...

    I see sci-fi as anything that involves future technology, central or not. This goes from brainless space battles, to hardcore science buffs to philosophical points about human condition a ...[text shortened]... 's potential very well, but I prefer to just call it crap and leave it within sci-fi...
    The real world (the reel world?) can't be pigeon-holed as neatly as our classification systems would imply, so I guess the best we can do is try to understand each other's criteria.

    I did find this: Ursula Le Guin once responded to the question, Why do you write science fiction? thus: "I write science fiction because that is what my publishers call my books. Left to myself, I should call them novels" (Language 16). Elsewhere, perhaps in a more serious mood, she reflected that adopting science fiction as her genre has given her complete freedom of invention and "an inexhaustible supply of absolutely beautiful and complex metaphors for our present situation" (Interviews 73), coupling her own interest in science fiction with that of science fiction writers Doris Lessing and Angus Wilson."

    http://www.dancingbadger.com/greenthtf.htm
  11. 03 Sep '11 17:17
    I've seen it twice. Found it didn't hold well the second viewing.
  12. 04 Sep '11 10:19 / 1 edit
    I saw it in 3D and thought it was an excellent visual spectacle with a simplistic storyline. The movie was somewhat spoilt for me by the shallow and slightly condescending political message, epitomised by the ridiculously named "unobtainium".
  13. Standard member Surtism
    Prof.
    04 Sep '11 21:49
    Originally posted by divegeester
    I saw it in 3D and thought it was an excellent visual spectacle with a simplistic storyline. The movie was somewhat spoilt for me by the shallow and slightly condescending political message, epitomised by the ridiculously named "unobtainium".
    I agree that 'unobtanium' was a dire name, it had the feeling of a script filler that was not taken out on the final draft when a true precious metal/commodity was discovered.
  14. 04 Sep '11 23:15
    Originally posted by Surtism
    I agree that 'unobtanium' was a dire name, it had the feeling of a script filler that was not taken out on the final draft when a true precious metal/commodity was discovered.
    I first heard the word "unobtainium" used with its obvious meaning, by a fellow who worked at the UC Berkely RAD Lab. This was in the '80s.
  15. Standard member karoly aczel
    the Devil himself
    06 Sep '11 01:57
    my view: whatever hundreds of million bucks wasted!

    I've got a way better script and would only take a tenth of the price to make.😛😛😛