Sci-Fi Avatar (2009)


An Old Friend
Title: Avatar

Tagline: Enter the world of Pandora.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Director: James Cameron

Cast: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Wes Studi, Laz Alonso, Dileep Rao, Matt Gerald, Sean Anthony Moran, Jason Whyte, Scott Lawrence, Kelly Kilgour, James Patrick Pitt, Sean Patrick Murphy, Peter Dillon, Kevin Dorman, Kelson Henderson, David Van Horn, Jacob Tomuri, Michael Blain-Rozgay, Jon Curry, Julene Renee, Luke Hawker, Woody Schultz, Peter Mensah, Sonia Yee, Jahnel Curfman, Ilram Choi, Kyla Warren, Alicia Vela-Bailey, Kyle Dryberg, Larry Rew, Dina Morrone, Rodney Cook

Release: 2009-12-15

Runtime: 162

Plot: In the 22nd century, a paraplegic Marine is dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission, but becomes torn between following orders and protecting an alien civilization.
Avatar (2009)

They say Avatar is the story of a wounded ex-marine, thrust unwillingly into an effort to settle and exploit an exotic planet rich in bio-diversity, who eventually crosses over to lead the indigenous race in a battle for survival.

We say Titanic director James Cameron’s first movie in ten years promises to be quite something: a $190 million hybrid of action and animation about a paraplegic war veteran is brought to another planet, Pandora, which is inhabited by the Na'vi, a humanoid race with their own language and culture. Those from Earth find themselves at odds with each other and the local culture. In the 52-year-old director’s own words: "We're going to blow you to the back wall of the theatre in a way you haven't seen for a long time. My goal is to rekindle those amazing mystical moments my generation felt when we first saw 2001: A Space Odyssey or the next generation's Star Wars. It took me 10 years to find something hard enough to be interesting."

"I've wanted to make this movie from the time I wrote the treatment 11 years ago. I was just biding my time for when it was going to be technically possible. I'm so invested in the 3-D, and I love the challenge of creating an alien culture. We're creating a world from scratch, so it's really fun."

Will Avatar be a classic like Cameron's other SF efforts — Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgment Day? We'll see . . .
I've just seen a commercial for the upcoming James Cameron movie "Avatar" and I'm impressed with what a visual spectacle it is. The blending of physical actors with CGI is breathtaking. Imagine seeing this in IMAX.

James Cameron already did a great job depicting Space Marines when he directed "Aliens" in 1986. With the advancement of today's Computer Generated Imagery and better techniques filming models, we get to have amazing visuals.

Take a look at the clip at
Avatar - Official Site
I'm particularly impressed with realism of the Mechwarrior-type Exoskeletons interacting with the actors who are playing Space Marines!

There's talk that this is going to be Cameron's best movie ever.

Avatar is an upcoming 3-D science fiction epic film directed by James Cameron, due to be released on December 18, 2009 by 20th Century Fox. The film is Lightstorm Entertainment's latest project, and focuses on an epic conflict on a far-away world called Pandora, where humans and the native species of Pandora, the Na'vi, engage in war over the planet's resources and existence.

The film will be released in 2D and 3D formats, along with an IMAX 3D release in selected theaters. The film is being touted as a breakthrough in terms of filmmaking technology, for its development of 3D viewing and stereoscopic filmmaking with cameras that were specially designed for the film's production, and has already been slated for two awards.


Sam Worthington as Jake Sully. Cameron cast the Australian actor after searching the world for promising young actors, preferring relative unknowns to keep the budget down. Worthington auditioned twice early in development, and he has signed on for possible sequels. Cameron felt that because Worthington had not done a major film, he was "game for anything", giving the character "a quality that is really real. He has that quality of being a guy you'd want to have a beer with, and he ultimately becomes a leader who transforms the world."

Zoe Saldaña as Neytiri, a princess of the Na'vi tribe central to the story, who is attracted to Jake because of his bravery. The character, like all the Na'vi, will be entirely computer generated. Saldaña has also signed on for potential sequels.

Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Grace Augustine, a botanist who mentors Jake Sully. Weaver dyed her hair red for the part. Her character was named "Shipley" at one point. The character reminded Weaver of Cameron, being "very driven and very idealistic".

Michelle Rodriguez as Trudy Chacon, a retired Marine pilot. Cameron had wanted to work with Rodriguez since seeing her in Girlfight.

Giovanni Ribisi as SecFor administrator Parker Selfridge, a passive-aggressive character.

Joel David Moore as Norm Spellman, an anthropologist who studies plant and nature life (like Weaver's character).

CCH Pounder as Mo'at, the Na'vi queen.

Stephen Lang as SecFor's Colonel Miles Quaritch. Lang had unsuccessfully auditioned for a role in Cameron's Aliens (1986); the director remembered Lang and cast him in Avatar.

Michael Biehn was considered for the role of Colonel Quaritch. He met with James Cameron three times and saw some of the 3D footage, but in the end it simply came down to the fact that Cameron didn't want people thinking it was Aliens all over again, as Sigourney Weaver had already been cast.

Dileep Rao as Dr. Max Patel.

Matt Gerald as SecFor's Corporal Lyle Wainfleet, the second-most prominent villain, after Quaritch.

Actors Laz Alonso as Tsu'Tey, Peter Mensah as Akwey, and Wes Studi as Aytucan are also in the film.

The film Avatar has finally been released this month after being in development since 1994. I have not seen it yet, but I have read about it and discussed it with several people who have. This prose-poem tries to encapsulate some of my initial thoughts on this blockbuster, its initial reception and some of its meaning.

James Cameron, who wrote, produced and directed the film, stated in an interview that an avatar is: “an incarnation of one of the Hindu gods taking a flesh form." In this film, though, avatar has more to do with human technology in the future being capable of injecting a human's intelligence into a remotely located body, a biological body. "It's not an avatar in the sense of just existing as ones and zeroes in cyberspace,” said Cameron; “it's actually a physical body." The great student of myth, Joseph Campbell(1), should have been at the premier in London on 10 December 2009. I wonder what he would have said.

Composer James Horner scored the film, his third collaboration with Cameron after Aliens and Titanic. A field guide of 224 pages for the film's fictional setting of the planet of Pandora was released by Harper Entertainment just five weeks ago. The guide was entitled Avatar: A Confidential Report on the Biological and Social History of Pandora. With an estimated $310 million to produce and $150 million for marketing, the film has already generated positive reviews from film critics. Roger Ebert, one of the more prestigious of film critics, wrote: “An extraordinary film: Avatar is not simply sensational entertainment, although it is that. It's a technical breakthrough."-Ron Price with thanks to Wikipedia, 30 December 2009.

Like viewing Star Wars back in ’77
some said/an obvious script with an
earnestness & corniness/part of what
makes it absorbing/said another/Gives
you a world, a place/worth visiting/eh?
Alive with action and a soundtrack that
pops with robust sci-fi shoot-'em-ups...

A mild critique of American militarism
and industrialism.....yes the military are
pure evil........the Pandoran tribespeople
are nature-loving, eco-harmonious, wise
Braveheart smurf warriors. Received....
nominations for the Critics' Choice Awards
of the Broadcast Film Critics Association &
on and on go the recommendations for the..
best this and that and everything else. What
do you think of all this Joseph Campbell???
You said we all have to work our own myth(1)
in our pentapolar, multicultural-dimensional
world with endless phantoms of our wrongly
informed imagination, with our tangled fears,
our pundits of error, ill-equipped to interpret
the social commotion tearing our world apart
and at play on planetizing-globalizing Earth.(2)

(1)Google Joseph Campbell for some contemporary insights into the individualized myth we all have to work out in our postmodern world.
(2)The Prophet-Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, Bahá'u'lláh, has been presented as an avatar in India beginning, arguably, in the 1960s. With only 1000 Baha’is in India in 1960 to more than 2 million by the year 2010. Baha’u’llah has been associated with the kalkin avatar who, according to a major Hindu holy text, will appear at the end of the kali yuga, one of the four main stages of history, for the purpose of reestablishing an era of righteousness. There are many examples of what one might call a quasi-cross-cultural messianistic approach to Bahá'í teaching in India.

This approach has included: (a) emphasizing the figures of Buddha and Krishna as past Manifestations of God or avatars; (b) making references to Hindu scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita, (c) the substitution of Sanskrit-based terminology for Arabic and Persian where possible; for example, Bhagavan Baha for Bahá'u'lláh, (d) the incorporation in both song and literature of Hindu holy spots, hero-figures and poetic images and (e) using heavily Sanskritized-Hindi translations of Baha'i scriptures and prayers.

Ron Price
30 December 2009 :cool:
Damn...that zipped right over my head dude and that doesn't happen too often. :cool:
I saw the movie and enjoyed it in spite of the subliminal BS that hollywood has become so well known for these past decades, ie. environmentalism, interracial relations, anti-militarism and so on. I did actually have the thought that the Na'vi reminded me of a Hindi god though, :eek::confused::cool:

Still I enjoyed it as a work of digital art, the FX were great and the story was decent. Kinda reminded me (alot actually) of Chris Paolini's Inheritence Cycle of books when they got to the part of riding the dragon-like creatures and also the relationship part.
Not to worry, Birdman. Alot of poetry, I find, is either over my head or stuff I just don't want to read. to each their own, eh?-Ron in tasmania
Film: Avatar

I finally managed to see this one, although it was a close-run thing. I was determined to get the maximum benefit from the much-praised 3D CGI by seeing it on the huge IMAX screen, and duly booked to go to the nearest one, a train journey away. On the morning I was due to go, a heavy overnight snowfall had added to the chaos of almost three weeks of freezing weather and snow, causing major transport disruption with doom-laden warnings for those foolish enough to poke their noses outside their homes. I nearly didn’t bother to make the attempt, but in the end I slogged the half-mile through the snow to the station, to find that not only did my train turn up (and arrive at its destination) on time, but the one home did as well. Just occasionally, everything goes right!

So, to the film. This review will contain some spoilers but I don’t think this matters because the story has been written up so widely; also because the plot is straightforward and predictable with no unexpected twists, so knowing what happens is unlikely to spoil anyone’s enjoyment of this highly visual entertainment.

The plot has been much criticised, with reason. It is very simplistic, divided into good and bad guys with no grey areas; the characters are little more than caricatures. The good guys are the humanoid natives (purely CGI) of the planet Pandora, who live in harmony with their environment at a stone-age level of technology, aided by a handful of the humans who have arrived on the planet. The bad guys are all the rest of the heavily-armed humans, who are systematically strip-mining the planet for a valuable ore without regard for the natives or their environment, and are motivated by a combination of ruthless corporate greed and gung-ho militarism.

The few good humans are mostly scientists who have developed avatars to deal with the natives. These avatars are vat-grown bodies which look like the natives but have a mixture of genes from them and from specific humans. These humans can mind-link with their avatars and effectively inhabit their bodies as if they were their own for hours at a time. One of the avatars belongs to Jake, a crippled former US marine, who accidentally becomes accepted by one of the native tribes and literally goes native himself. He eventually leads them in their fight against the human invaders, an opportunity for some dramatic – and rather overlong – battle scenes.

I’m not quite sure exactly what the director, James Cameron, had in mind (it’s never wise to assume that you can tell – I’ve had reviewers be quite wrong about the source of inspiration for my books). The film seems to me to be a condensed allegory of the 19th century clash between native North American Indians and the European-origin settlers. This is rubbed home by the fact that the culture of the natives is reminiscent of the Indians while the bad humans are American; a source of unhappiness to some in the USA, although they should take comfort in the fact that the good humans are American as well (in contrast, I am told by film buffs that Hollywood usually employs English actors only to play the bad guys…). Just to make audience support for the natives even more certain, they are preternaturally appealing - especially the females, who have huge wide eyes, sexy voices and supple bodies which move with fluid grace.

So there is nothing special or original about the plot, a standard tale of brave natives helped by a hero who has changed sides to battle against the evil members of his own kind, plus a dollop of cross-cultural (in this case interspecies) romance. It has been rightly observed that the plot closely resembles Dancing With Wolves, with a dash of Dragonflight thrown in. The only time I was taken by surprise was right at the end, when Jake’s voice-over commented on the “aliens returning home” – a nice touch which inverted normal assumptions.

However, it wasn’t the plot which made me (and I suspect most other viewers) want to watch Avatar but the spectacle, and on that score the film does indeed deliver spectacularly. The exotic landscape, flora and fauna of Pandora are richly portrayed; the quality of the CGI would have seemed miraculous only a few years ago. The 3D greatly adds to the effect without being obtrusive, and so does the big IMAX screen which allows viewers to become immersed in the film. Whatever you may think of the plot, this is a wonderful visual treat and is well worth seeing for that reason alone. It really does raise standards to a new level, and any future SFF films with fictional CGI environments will be judged technically against Avatar. Do try to see it at an IMAX if at all possible, or at the very least in 3D at a cinema. This is one film that I don’t expect I will ever bother to watch on TV since it would lose the great majority of its impact. To sum up: the story is easy to poke holes in, but the film must be seen.

(This entry is cross-posted from my science-fiction & fantasy blog.)
I am in no hurry to see this one. At all. To date, I have not seen or read anything to convince me otherwise that this Avatar is not a "Dances With Wolves... and Smurfs In Space... in 3D" mashup.

3D is not enough to drag me to a movie theater. :eek:
The Avatar effect: Movie-goers feel depressed and even suicidal at not being able to visit utopian alien planet

Obviously it needs further investigation to see exactly what people are posting in these Avatar forums to see if it is true or not, on what numbers it is happening, and to check to see if people are just trolling the forums.

Maybe someone needs to create some 3D goggles and 3D mapping environment software representative of Navi for them to get a daily fix from and not off themselves :smiley:
Avatar was great! Even in 2D, the images were amazing.

The plot may have been a variation of
"greedy civilized people taking advantage of the noble native peoples to get at their gold/diamonds",
but it was so well presented that the time seemed to fly as you are immersed in the film.

Take note that the movie is 2 hours 42 minutes long - don't drink too much sodapop.
It was actually pretty good. The forest was beautiful,
and I love how they made it light up every place they
stepped. The concept of the movie is brilliant although
it looks a bit fake. Well, I know it is, but usually in
good movies you can't even tell that it's fake. All in all
it was amazing, I give it 9/10.
Finally watched it, but only in 2D. There were some really good parts and characters, but a lot felt like filler. Probably because they covered so many bases during the long film.

Interestingly yesterday someone posted an altered Pocahontas storyline in front of me, typed up with handwritten changes to names. It was amusing to say the least.
Movie information in first post provided by The Movie Database

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