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Richard Hasey
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At $30 for the 2D version with no extras, there's a strong temptation to get a pirated copy. After all, there still are a lot of folks out of work nowadays. I'll probably wait until after the 3D version with extras comes out and the price for the 2D version drops to $5.
Toggle Commented Mar 22, 2010 on More AVATAR DVD Details Confirmed at Avatar Blog
I would like to modify my earlier comment about the need for a great script. Apparently, while it is necessary to have a really good script for actors to get an Oscar, it is obviously not necessary for a film to be awarded "Best Picture" or a director to be awarded "Best Director". Hurt Locker proves that the voting is hopelessly biased in favor of small movies that break no new ground whatsoever. Hurt Locker was so boring that I almost fell asleep twice (but maybe that was because I've actually disarmed a bomb and used a sniper rifle myself). They didn't make the job of Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams look anywhere near as difficult as it actually is.
My favorite thing about Pandora is that it's a work of fiction. As such, it is interesting in it's many contradictions, virtually all of which have been forced upon it by its creator. The peace which the Na'vi experience must have been created by an outside force as it could not possibly have been created internally by the people themselves. The things which the movie deliberately ignores or failes to educate us about are extensive, and argue for us having a very incomplete, artificial, and idealistic "understanding" of Pandora. Take, for example, the matter of dealing with waste. With thousands of beings living in and around "Hometree", why is it that there is no refuse? Is there some sort of plant that naturally processes all of the Na'vi waste products? What about the bones of all of the animals that they have killed for food? Then there's the whole life cycle of the Na'vi themselves. We saw one Na'vi being buried, and we saw a few "Elders" who were in charge, but of the thousands of Na'vi that appeared on screen, there were very few who were old. What happens to old Na'vi? Aggressive behavior is clearly part of the Na'vi culture (even to other Na'vi, under the "right" conditions), and yet we are led to believe that they are a people who are only at peace with each other, and only at war with the "invading" humans. But it's not out fault for thinking that, since the 3-D glasses they handed out to watch the movie were all rose-colored. So, a work of fiction. Wonderfully vivid, detailed, breath-taking and artfully conceived fiction to be sure. but fiction nonetheless. As to the external force that could have been applied to create the "Eden" we thought we were seeing, could it be possible that Eywa is not a god, but instead is a global plant-mind that actually controls all that happens on Pandora, and that the Na'vi only appear to be "free"?
Toggle Commented Mar 7, 2010 on AVATAR: What We Know About Pandora at Avatar Blog
Interesting discussion, what was the question again? Oh, yeah ... In answering the question, I am reminded of an old saying, "If I ever found a perfect place, the first thing I would have to do is leave it. To do otherwise would be to destroy the perfection." While I do not believe that humankind is scum, I think that it is painfully obvious that we are not perfect. Living in the Matrix would be to deny reality, embrace the imperfection, and to not aspire to rise above it or outgrow it. Living on Pandora would also be a mistake in that we would be denying who/what we really are, and leaving someone else to "clean up our room" while we go outside and play with the "pets" and other kids. If those are my only two choices, then I pick Pandora, if for no other reason than that it's more fun to be a kid again, "see" life in simple black and white, and avoid all of those adult responsibilities. And if I did, I'd probably go all the way to full transformation from Human to Na'vi like Jake did. And I pity the poor fool who would be put in charge of the military expeditionary force that would be sent to regain the foothold on Pandora, because I wouldn't allow the Na'vi to die as easily as Jake did. But since neither of those is a real choice, I'll just enjoy the "visit" at the movies and try to make the real world better when I return.
Toggle Commented Feb 28, 2010 on The AVATAR/Matrix Connection at Avatar Blog
IMHO making a sequel would be the best choice. Doing it next, while the demand for the original is still high would produce a large enough "war chest" to produce any other films that Mr. Cameron has in mind regardless of their success (or lack thereof) in the box office. Not that I think that he'd produce anything that was bad, but this would allow him the opportunity to fully express himself artistically without having to be concerned about profits in the process. Of course, if profitability did raise itself as an issue at some point in the future, he could always do another sequel.
The interactive trailer for Avatar is the best trailer that has been put out for any movie yet. Outstanding job! Having said that, I'm glad that I didn't see it before I saw the movie itself. Given the predictable nature of the script/storyline, if I had seen the interactive trailer before the movie, I would not have enjoyed the movie anywhere near as much as I did. Therefore, my recommendation is not to do this kind of trailer in advance of the theatrical realease of a movie unless there enough plot twists and highlights that the trailer won't capture them all.
Let me start by saying that, technically, I categorize myself as a conservationist and not an environmentalist. Only a short-sighted fool would ignore the adverse impact on the environment that a variety of industries have created over the years. But then again, only a short-sighted fool would try to stop progress for the sake of some small element of the eco-system that could easily be relocated to a more favorable environment where it could thrive. As a conservationist, I strive to support ways where progress and environmental health can both be achieved, and recognize that they need not be mutally-exclusive ends. Having read a review or two before I saw the film did not deter me from seeing it in the slightest, because, as a conservationist, I can "see" (as in "I see you") and appreciate both sides of the environmental debate, and still form my own opinions based on the facts instead of the hype. Also, as a conservationist, I don't get into personally attacking those who disagree with me. Instead, I encourage them to have the intellectual honesty and integrity to actually examine the facts for themselves instead of just believing what they are told, and once they have done that, take positive action to make a difference. Oh, and "positive action to make a difference" does not include name-calling on a blog, especially if you don't even have the intestinal fortitude to even use your real name.
Toggle Commented Feb 28, 2010 on AVATAR's Eco-Political Message at Avatar Blog
As sure as humans are going to return to Pandora, there is going to be a sequel. And probably more than one.
Toggle Commented Feb 28, 2010 on AVATAR: Will There Be a Sequel? at Avatar Blog
I agree with you that the imagination that "created" Pandora and the technology of performance capture is incredible. Mr. Cameron deserves all of the praise in the world for having a creative vision in both of these areas that is among the best ever. And then having the intestinal fortitude to stick with it to actually bring it all the way to the screen - awesome! I also agree with you that the script was waaaaay too predictable. So at least Herr Director is still human after all. While "predictable" does not even come close to being "bad", I do believe that it cost one or more of the actors the opportunity to be nominated for an Oscar. As to the whole " the nose of Sigorny Weaver's Avatar was wrong," critique - sorry, I don't agree. Dr. Grace's avatar was probably [one of] the first created, and the mix of human vs. Na'vi DNA was either off a little, or they guessed wrong on whehter or not the "locals" would have problems with the nose. The fact that it was changed by the time Tom/Jake's avatar was created actually seemed much more realistic to me.
Toggle Commented Feb 28, 2010 on AVATAR Review: Ho... Lee... Frak! at Avatar Blog
To me, "I see you" means that I see past the "package" that you are wearing to the soul within the package. In this context, the nature of the outer package - hair color and type, skin color, height, weight, eye color and shape, wealth, family, etc. - are an ultimately unimportant distraction in determining who it is you see. This is especially true because how lucky or unlucky you are in the "birth lotterty" says nothing about the content of your character, nor does it do anything to shape your character. Instead, it is the decisions each of us makes about how we actually live our lives that determines the content of our character, and therefore who we ultimately are. Difficult as it may be to truely understand this concept, the intellectual understanding of it is far, far easier that the actual living out of the understanding in how each of us relates to those around us. This is because in living out this understanding, we must apply it to those we love and those we hate with equal integrity - and in doing so, we will discover that there are many whom we think we love that we do not, and many of those whom we think we hate that we do not. On the other hand, the fact is that most of us choose to simply use lables to prejudge those around us rather than "see" each one for who they really are. And why do we do this? Most often it is simply because we allow ourselves to be too busy moving through life to actually live it.
Toggle Commented Feb 28, 2010 on James Cameron to Oprah: "I See You" at Avatar Blog
Of course Avatar has a social-political message! Actually several of them! And as a number of folks have already said, they are so obvious a 5-year old can get them. I knew that it had these messages (as all Mr. Cameron's works do), I knew I would probably disagree with both the messages and the "over-the-top" way they were delivered, and I went to see the movie in spite of all that. And I am open-minded enough to say that I really enjoyed the movie anyway. 1) Did the movie have racial overtones? Yes. But to suggest this means that it is therefore "racist" demonstrates a serious error in judgement. 2) Was it critical of a duly constituted armed military (as opposed to a bunch of guns-for-hire)? No. 3) Does it have an anti-war message? Not exactly. It was actually an "anti-bullying" message. 4) Does it advocate for a radical environmentalist agenda? Yes. 5) Does it subscribe to a "new age" religious system? Yes. 6) Did it have a cohesive storyline about a battle between good and evil? Yes, and the "good guys" win. (Which is the way I like movies to be, even if I don't agree with whether or not the "good guys" are all that "good".) 7) Was it well acted by the entire cast and especially by the leading actors? Absolutely. 8) Could the script have been more predictable? Not much. (Sorry, Mr. Cameron, it was the one weak spot.)
I'll buy the 2-D version, and then wait to see how well my book sales do before examining the cost of the 3-D equipment.
Toggle Commented Feb 26, 2010 on AVATAR DVD Arriving on Earth Day? at Avatar Blog
A lot of interesting input from your fans Mr. Cameron. I agree with a fair amount of it and I believe that the storyline for the sequel should embrace: 1) base most of the movie on Pandora, with some scenes from Earth and space, 2) include all of the existing Na'vi characters, and the humans who stayed behind, 3) Jake should do a "walk about" to discover more about his new homeworld, to be complemented by an Eywa-enhanced "vision quest" which should be much greater in scope than the "Dream Hunt" on pages 85-88 of the Avatar script that was put out on the web, and 4) the humans come back to Pandora. But the leader of the humans needs to be substantially different than either Selfridge or Quaritch. There needs to be more drama is the script that includes unpredictable plot twists, there needs to some humor to convince us that the characters have some semblance of a real life and powerful enough that the audience in the theater laughs out loud, and there needs to be some tragedy that the audience can react to that should be powerful enough to bring us to tears. (Yes, even macho military veterans like me.) Simply keeping us spellbound with the absolutely uncredible special effects was good enough for Avatar 1, but a sequel demands a great script, too. I have no doubt that you can do it, but if you'd like some help, let me, or any of the others who have posted good ideas here, know.
Toggle Commented Feb 26, 2010 on AVATAR Sequel and Details Confirmed at Avatar Blog
One more observation and I'm on to other issues. As a veteran and a military history buff, I found the tactics used by both sides in the big battle to be amateurish and wasteful. It is clear that the author of the battle has never studied Sun Tsu. The objective of a battle should be to secure victory as cheaply as possible. Instead, the humans commit their forces in a manner they hope to have produce genocide, and the Na’vi discard their tactical advantage of surprise and ambush in favor of committing their forces in what amounts to a war of attrition with a series of frontal assaults and suicide attacks. The movie is supposed to be set almost 150 years in the future and yet the belligerents use tactics that I outgrew when I was six. But if your only objective is to show just as much carnage as possible, then it was OK.
Toggle Commented Feb 26, 2010 on The Complete AVATAR Script Online at Avatar Blog
Given the success of this film, I know that you'll probably ignore this, but I would like a chance to make a few suggestions that can make the second movie better than the first. The second movie will be about when the humans come back. The obvious beginning will be that they send a military expeditionary force to reestablish a foothold. Here's a free suggestion about how to make the story better. Have the general commanding the MEF be an American Indian, and have him agonize over the challenge of determining what the right thing is to do, and then doing it. Sound interesting? If so, there's more ... If not, well, there's lots of unemployed writers that you can turn to instead.
Toggle Commented Feb 25, 2010 on The Complete AVATAR Script Online at Avatar Blog
I agree completely with Dean's post on the 22nd. No matter how good the capture of a love scene is, moving from there to a sex scene is often unnecessary. More should be left to the imagination of the moviegoer. The way the scene was done for general release was appropriate. The script was even more predictable in reading it than it was seeing it on screen. The only thing missing from the script was the visual aid of white hats for the "good guys" and black hats for the "bad guys". The way this is written, there is no possible way to have any sympathy for the bad guys, and there is no possibility of their actually doing anything right. Similarly, the good guys are always good even when they betray everything they have ever stood for. Please! The only theatrical tension here is in how long it takes for the bad guys to lose and how high the body count gets in the process.
Toggle Commented Feb 25, 2010 on The Complete AVATAR Script Online at Avatar Blog
It is sad that these two actors, who are so obviously talented in their own right, will not be given fair or appropriate consideration for their efforts. Such has often been the case for those who are on the leading edge of new innovations, and although it is sad to see that SAG cannot recognize their talent for what it is, at least the actors will have the "vendication of the box office" in that the profits from this movie will keep them successfully employed in their craft for years to come. Hopefully long enough to have SAG wake up and step into the future. However, there is one other note that should be added to this discussion that hasn't appeared yet. SAG seldom gives awards to actors who are working with less than great scripts. And the Avatar script was nowhere near as groundbreaking as the technology behind the movie. Given how realtively weak the script was, I can see why SAG didn't nominate any of the cast.
The Prequel could be interesting. It's good to know that you're only doing it as a book, as the movie would take too long and would no doubt adversely impact the production of the Avatar 2 Sequel. Loved the technology and the cinamatography of the movie. Breathtaking stuff! It's too bad that the storyline was so predictable. The blending of "Pocahontas" with "Dances with Wolves" with "Ferngully", was fun, but nowhere near as ground breaking as it could have been. If you want a storyline that's worthy of the technology, let me know.
Toggle Commented Feb 25, 2010 on AVATAR Prequel Coming Soon at Avatar Blog
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Feb 24, 2010