Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Random Bits: The Avatar Edition

I don't have a lot to say about Avatar that hasn't already been said by lots of people in lots of places. It goes without saying that it's visually stunning, although you'll still find a few folks who complain about the CGI. More than any other, this film manages to take us inside the world it creates. And I didn't even get to see it in 3D.

It's a simple and predictable story, but I don't object to that. My quarrel with the film has to do with its political message of the evils caused by the marriage of big business and the military. Cameron is pushing this so hard that it made me fall out of the story a few times. A story shouldn't be a mere vehicle for someone's agenda. Further, the villains would have been more interesting and more threatening if they were less stupid and banal. Still, I very much enjoyed watching the film and want to see it again. You, too? Until then, check out these items, most of which have been making their way around the sf blogosphere...

Some people love Avatar so much that they find real life depressing: Post-Avatar Depression Syndrome? Really, CNN?

If you want to know more about Pandora, check out the Pandorapedia (which includes a video narrated by Sigourney Weaver). There's even a (farfetched) story about why mountains can float.

Is Avatar a racist film? Some say so. Mark Mardell argues not (although it might be about the U.S.)

SF author China Mieville on Avatar

SF author Nancy Kress on Avatar

SF author John Scalzi on Avatar

SF Gospel weighs in on Avatar

From Failblog we get the inevitable observation that Avatar's plot sounds awfully familiar...

The Avatar-as-a-Dune ripoff video is also entertaining.

You have anything else to add to the mix?

Oh, and yes there will indeed be an Avatar and Philosophy volume.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

What I came away with, after watching it twice, is that the movie attempts to be a call to return to nature, to discover the beauty of nature, our inter-connectedness, etc.. And yet the world Cameron creates is so much more amazing than anything in nature. After the film, both times, I really longed for a VR simulator where I could actually enter the Pandora world. Within the mechanics of the movie, becoming an alien is actually an escape from the limitations of disability.

...What makes Avatar great, in my opinion, is the way it taps into that deep childhood longing (in the same way The Last Starfighter did) to not just imagine yourself as someone different (a space alien, a starfighter pilot, etc.) but to actually *become* one. As a child, the distance between pretending to be a Jedi and being one was an emotional tension. Why isn't the world like this? Cameron gives us that cathartic release. Embarrassing now, as adults, but Avatar is a kids movie. I wish I were watching it as an 10 year old. I imagine it will be the Star Wars of kids today.