Late night thoughts on Avatar

So I just watched this fantastic film yet again. I’ve also been keeping up on the news articles and blogs concerning its politics and such, and I find that most pundits are just pushing hot air out of their lungs rather than really looking at what is going on in the film itself.

The number one cry is from my own political side of the fence, the conservatives: The movie is a political statement crying out against progress and technology, they whine.

I say phooey and a few other choice words that direction.

The film calls for balance and a respect for nature, not one extreme or the other. The Nav’i don’t become hostile to the “sky people” until YEARS into the story, and only because the humans have begun to use deadly force against them. Cameron sets up a story where things are spiraling out of control due to hubris as well as a lack of balance.

The conservatives also cry foul that the film is anti-American. What crap. Jake is the very DEFINITION of an American hero. The underdog fighting for truth, justice and….well you get the drift.

They also use the marines/army guys and the evil corporation as their straw man. Of course if THEY’D WATCHED THE FREAKIN’ THING, they would know its a solo corporation who have HIRED MERCENARIES. Its made crystal clear at the VERY BEGINNING that the soldiers in the film are hired guns. Not military. And oh jeez, since when has every company digging for dollars been lily white? S&L anyone? Wall street paper shufflers looking to make money by destroying companies? And the list goes on. In the movie, the company is after a spectacularly rare element worth more than platinum. 4.5 light years from any regulatory agency or enforcement. Hmmm.

This film is science FICTION. The very idea of this genre’ is speculating on the future while telling a story. It isn’t current events. Its not even set on Earth. The only gotcha is toward the end in a reference to how Earth’s people have “killed their mother”, and that, in a fictional setting is perfectly acceptable. In this tales ‘world’, it happened.

On our current world, it hasn’t…although it COULD if we let it. So…speculation. A possible “Future”. Good stories need conflict. This is as good as any for this particular story, and in my opinion done extraordinarily well.

On the liberal side of the fence, the same arguments are reversed, and I still say phooey for the same reasons.

Oh, the newest bits are the ‘racist’ arguments. This is, of course, spat out by “intellectuals”.

Now there is a term that has come to mean the opposite of its intent. Sigh.

They claim that the poor Nav’i need to be saved by the superior “white man”. If they would have watched the movie, Jake himself admits to being a cup that is “empty”, and isn’t any better than the Nav’i, and in fact is a “scoun” (moron) for most of the film. He has one good idea (riding Last Shadow), but it isn’t his fighting that wins the day, its his plea to Eywa the night before that turns the tide. And what is Eywa made up of? Yep…the peoples and life of Pandora. But they gotta whine about something, might as well be white guilt, right? (insert me cussing at liberal angst and stupidity here.)

Another whine by the nanny-statists is the fact that in Cameron’s world, smoking is on the screen.

They think that it is sooo politically incorrect. Of course, human beings have been smoking nicotine and other substances for THOUSANDS OF YEARS. They also forget that the story is set a 150 years into the future, yet can’t imagine that perhaps what is being smoked in the film isn’t quite the same material that is sold at the corner gas station today. Its an inconvenient thought to their world view.

A. Its legal to do.
And B. LOTS of people smoke. Heck…I do. Look around in the morning rush hour sometime, and you’ll see that more folks smoke than the statistics would admit to. Its in our genes to do so.

The part in the film that made PERFECT sense to me about this little bit was…there ain’t no way to smoke outside the building. (me, laughing uproariously at the thought.)

I wish people could just sit down and enjoy the entertainment for what it is. A thoughtful story set in a future time with James Cameron telling us a rip-roaring yarn as only he seems able to do.

My own take is that this movie is probably the best film I’ve ever seen in the ‘big picture/event’ genre.

E V E R.

Its logic and flow make me yet again realize what a steaming pile of crap Star Trek was.

Oh, and for the whiners:

Unobtanium is a time honored term used in science and science fiction. Cameron was right on the money to use it as the name of the super-conductive element at the heart of the conflict.

The floating mountains? Perfectly valid given the location and the composition of the rare elements:

This is a moon orbiting a gas giant. Tidal forces from the gas giant would cause fractures in the surface due to gravitational stress. Magnetic “vortexes”, ditto courtesy of our Mr. Gas Giant. Now we have hot magnetic fields such as the “flux vortex” in the film. Now add in a room temperature super-conductive element…and you get chunks of rock that would “float” above the surface of the world, especially if they had large amounts of said element in their bulk.

Cameron is god of getting the details right as well as a logical flow to the story without having to resort to deux ex machina. This film is no exception on that track record, and I consider myself a lucky man to have been around and breathing when this wonderful film was released.

I have seen something that I consider better than Star Wars, and that film changed my life. This doesn’t, but if I were 14 again and put the two films side by side…Avatar, to my mind, would blow ol’ Georgie “ewok” Lucas’ stuff away. (And I’m not referring to efx, I’m referring to STORY!)

Now if Cameron’s Avatar sequel can be as good as the Star Wars sequel…well put me in cinema heaven!

Casey

p.s.
To make things crystal clear here…the sequel I’m referring to was The Empire Strikes Back….NOT the 2nd set of dreck that Lucas put out years later. Just sayin’! 😀

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