by on December 18, 2009 at 9:10 pm in Film | Permalink

Yes, it is showing already in Leon, Nicaragua, as Bryan Caplan had predicted.  You should see it.  Cameron has absorbed a lot from Princess Mononoke.  The aliens don't seem to trade much or accumulate capital.  Like the Olympics ceremony in Beijing, it raises the bar for a lot of subsequent efforts.  The crowd seemed unmoved by the theme of "las indigenas."  It has interesting themes on disability and also the diversity of intelligences.  The three hours go by very quickly.  It's not perfect.  People who can reach other planets still fire bullets from machine guns.  Dubbing makes all the dialogue sound corny and thus it limits the impact of the real clunkers, which do come every now and then.  I'll see it again, in 3-D next time.

1 Brandon Robison December 18, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Ha. During the movie, I leaned over to my wife and said, “This feels like a live-action Miyazaki movie.”

2 altereggo December 19, 2009 at 2:45 am

Yes, the noble-savage theme seems to be getting popular again. I can hear the anti-materialists sharpening their (Walmart-purchased) knives in anticipation of coming social trends…

One Princess Mononoke theme that didn’t get copied is that being in harmony with nature doesn’t make you immune to bullets! Fighting a nature god? Just get your lepers to make a bigger gun.

Interesting audience reaction. I’m reminded of District 9; the people portrayed analogously don’t seem to like the oversimplified pop-portrayals we lap up.

3 blabla December 19, 2009 at 10:41 am

People actually started laughing at some of the more ideological lines in the movie, though I went to a movie theater in midtown NYC, so it might not be a representative audience.

4 Nick Husher December 19, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Why wouldn’t people who can travel to other planets use machine guns? You were expecting lasers, perhaps?

5 2999 December 19, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Yeah, I haven’t seen it, but machine guns and interstellar travel don’t seem to make sense together. The bullets should at least have antimatter warheads or something.

6 Andy McGill December 20, 2009 at 10:40 am

Actually, bullets are far more effective than most sci-fi weapons, at least in person-to-person combat. Look at Star Wars, where blaster shots can be batted around by Jedi, and Star Trek, where phasers are fired from the hip and take a few seconds to disable even one person. One person with a machine gun would dominate battles in those universes.

7 mgoodrum December 20, 2009 at 11:00 pm

“It has interesting themes on disability”

Yes, one of the best depictions on film of the difficulty of circulating in both mainstream society and an often more sympathetic found community.

8 Matt December 21, 2009 at 6:07 pm

I didn’t really have a problem with people using bullets. It fit within the technology outlined in the movie (as in there wasn’t something you saw that made you go “hmm why aren’t they using that to kill people instead of bullets”). And as far as technology goes, guns are one thing that don’t have an obvious technological successor to use in a sci-fi flick.

As far as technological dichotomies go, it’s not nearly as egregious as something like Ghost in the Shell, where you have all sorts of far fetched cyberpunk technology but people riding around in manually controlled, internal combustion powered vehicles.

I really enjoyed the movie overall. A lot of people have faulted it for its lack of originality, but I’ve never been one who subscribes to the notion that originality is a prerequisite for quality when it comes to entertainment media. I was entertained by the story and I was wowed by the effects, and that’s just about everything I wanted to get for my $10.

9 steve January 2, 2010 at 9:43 am

The new Mythology that David Korten idealized has been realized by James Cameron in the movie Avatar. There are many themes and concepts in this movie that, although may go over the heads of many mainstreamers, in their hunger for special effects and violent behavior finally we have someone serious addressing of the battle between the technocratic cooperate world and its insatiable craving for power and control and the biological marvel of creation and people who live within its delicate and magical web…. It seems to me this is one of the few movies that brings to realization, that manifests the collective unconsciousness that Jung so often refers to and brings thought animation, our interconnect ness to all of life, of the whole planet and the cosmos. This movie places a higher value in our spiritual connection rather than on the myth of corporate personhood and the materialistic material industrial complex that have possessed the human spirit for the last 5000 yrs.
As in Myth, and movie the archetypical figures, fantastic places and forms come out of our dream world but the underling themes are of our true nature, to experience a world of abundance, cooperation and love rather one than one constructed around, our fear, scarcity and the need to control. “Only animation seems to be able so far to do justice to the world we are supposed to be living in… everything on Earth seems small and stunted in its magnificence and our atmosphere feels harsh after glimpsing into the world of the Na’vi.† In this new myth John Wayne and the “Marlborough† man sufferers a crushing defeat and the Indians prevail. This is the contemporary myth of the our Green revolution and in the fulfillment of the dream of Thomas Jefferson,† I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” Which one of us shall find our archetypical heroes face, untie this Gordian’s Knot constructed by greed, and slay the corporate dragon?

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19 discount ugg boots September 8, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Why wouldn’t they use mass propelled projectiles, Tyler? Is there a better way to kill someone? (If there is a good way to kill someone that is …) I mean, lasers use a lot of heat and even than only slowly burn away (when the focus is right), so they are out. As long as you cannot manipulate gravity, there are only some sort of rail guns or plasma bullets, but they are sub-par in cost-benefit. Of cousre, they could use EMP guns, or Microwave guns, but since the former isn’t good against less sophisticated enemies and the latter is not good for the movie 😉 I don’t see why machine guns aren’t an option?

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