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Erad at 7:01PM, Dec. 25, 2009
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I watched the movie a couple days ago and enjoyed it.

Today I had a conversation with my cousin and he hated it.

I don't want to give away any spoilers so I'll refrain from laying out the arguments from either of us but his main problem was that the movie was “extremely shallow” and had “no story whatsoever”

Just to qualify this, he doesn't literally believe those statements above, they are merely his position on the movie but I disagreed on both counts.

I thought the perspective we were forced into in the movie was novel, maybe not for Sci-Fi but pretty good for Main Stream Cinema.

Thoughts?

Like it?
Hate it?
Thought it was the most shallow and poor story ever written?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:22PM
isukun at 8:16PM, Dec. 25, 2009
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I enjoyed the visuals and thought the story for the most part was decent. It ha a few cheesy moments and some things could have been fleshed out a bit more, but the main storyline wasn't bad. I think the facial animations were really the big showcase item, here, and it really does look like they have made some serious advancements in facial motion capture. I wouldn't be surprised to see this movie get the Oscar for visual effects.

Unobtainium was an unfortunate name and I cringed every time they said it. There were some obvious referenes to past Cameron movies, but those really didn't other me much. I wasn't too fond of the escalating “miracles” later in the film, but they did make the movie more fun to watch even if they seemed a bit stupid when you sit back and think about them.

Overall, the movie is worth seeing. If nothing else, it is a great showcase film and a fun ride, even if you aren't thrilled by the storytelling. I'll probably be picking it up on Blu-Ray when it hits, as well.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
lothar at 9:25PM, Dec. 25, 2009
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Not enuf Cross-Dressing !!!!

Seriously , i wanna see this in the theatre cuz it looks like one of those movies that is all about shock and aw and no real story . guess they jusyt cant make movies like Blade runner anymore ,. you know , a movie that is nice to look at and makes you think
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
7384395948urhfdjfrueruieieueue at 2:23PM, Dec. 26, 2009
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I really feel like this movie's being a tad overrated. Yes the graphics were very pretty and awesome but with the budget that's hardly surprising. And the plot was hilarious to me. Imperialism is bad you say? Wow, that's original! To me it just felt like another EXPLOSIONS: THE MOVIE but at least they were really really pretty explosions.

Wasn't good enough to make me not hate CGI.
i will also like to know you the more
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:08AM
lastcall at 6:19PM, Dec. 26, 2009
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The special effects were good, but I also think it was way overhyped. The story was nothing original. Remember FurnGully? ;)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:28PM
elektro at 7:37PM, Dec. 26, 2009
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I was severely disappointed. Where was the bald kid with the arrow on his head, or the crazy animal hybrids?

In all seriousness, I'm not going to see this movie because it has been incredibly, incredibly overhyped. And this is coming from someone who liked The Dark Knight.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:21PM
Freegurt at 9:06PM, Dec. 26, 2009
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I think I'm one of the only people who doesn't think it's overhyped (but that's just me and my OPINION). I've only seen a few trailers of it on TV and that's it (you know, just like any other movie out there).

I also think I'm one of the very few people who really really enjoyed it. I can agree that it was rather predictable, but I don't care. I really love that movie and it is very pretty.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:31PM
7384395948urhfdjfrueruieieueue at 11:03PM, Dec. 26, 2009
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Freegurt
I also think I'm one of the very few people who really really enjoyed it. I can agree that it was rather predictable, but I don't care. I really love that movie and it is very pretty.

Actually pretty much everyone fell in love with it.
i will also like to know you the more
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:08AM
SarahN at 1:02AM, Dec. 27, 2009
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I haven't seen it yet, and probably will just wait to rent it. When it comes to story it looks like something I would find interesting enough, even if it is predictable.

As for the cgi….hm. Yeah. It's the most impressive video game I've ever seen. >_> But at least he tried his darndest to make it look real I guess.

Still waiting patiently for more people to really try NOT slapping cgi over everything in a fantasy/sci-fi movie.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:24PM
isukun at 2:12AM, Dec. 27, 2009
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It's easy to criticize the movie when you haven't seen it. If it looks like something you would like the story of, then you would really be doing yourself a disservice not seeing it in the theater.

And the videogame comment just smacks of elitist ignorance. There is no existing technique that could have made this film look any more realistic than it did. The massive budget was well justified. Just looking at production shots and the trailors doesn't do the movie justice.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
ozoneocean at 2:38AM, Dec. 27, 2009
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isukun
There is no existing technique that could have made this film look any more realistic than it did.
That's probably not entirely accurate. There may indeed be no “technique” to improve the realism of the slightly cartoony look, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. ;)

Not with “techniques” but with hard work and artistic vision. Of course it can be done. If that's what people want… But maybe the look here was exactly what they were after? That's what it always seemed like to me. It highlights the fantasy of the thing, the unearthliness of the place and the people. That's part of the story theme afterall too, so it makes logical sense :)

I don't think what Sarah said was elitist or ignorant at all, it's just her impression based on what she's seen so far, and it's perfectly valid in it's way- it's not a critique of the film.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:35PM
Erad at 6:04AM, Dec. 27, 2009
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I'm surprised of a couple things in this thread:

I don't think that anyone has commented on the “3D Technology” used in the film, and
I haven't seen that guy who's avatar is an old pair of 3D glasses! I mean, he is so well suited for this discussion!

Anyways, the 3D tech always seemed like a gimmick to me. I actually wanted to watch the movie without the stupid tech. Having said that, I did find myself moving my head to avoid “3D images” flying right at me in the theater! I felt like a total idiot yes, but at least I wasn't as dumb as the kids sitting next to me constantly reaching out to grab something on the screen (what morons!).

Secondly, as much as the story was a total cliche (Cowboy's and Indian's anyone?), I still very much enjoyed the fact that the the alien perspective was forced upon us.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:22PM
Product Placement at 7:18AM, Dec. 27, 2009
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To sum up the plot in few short words: Dances with Wolfs meets FernGully where the “boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy saves the world” elements plays a vital part. There's nothing in that department that's gonna blow your mind. What's going to blow your mind is the visuals. This movie is essentially orgasm for your eyes. Especially if you see the 3-D version.

I saw it few days ago and I wasn't disappointed since I made the decision that I was only seeing the movie for the pretty effects. However I can certainly see why many would be disappointed because this is probably among the most hyped up movies I've ever heard of. I thought Zombieland was hyped up but when BBC made an hour long news report about Avatar, I knew that I had encountered an overhyped movie.

This movie raises the bar in CG production and even if it doesn't win the story of the year award, I greatly enjoyed it and recommend it for anyone.
Those were my two cents.
If you have any other questions, please deposit a quarter.
This space for rent.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:52PM
lothar at 8:26AM, Dec. 27, 2009
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this thread make me wanna go watch fern gully . i like dthat movie cuz it had a giant forest eating machine . wich isnt far off from the truth . the amount of forest destroyed on the Earth is prolly equal to a giant machine 50yards wide driving at 60 miles per hour 24 hours a day . smoke that !!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
isukun at 9:57AM, Dec. 27, 2009
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I don't think that anyone has commented on the “3D Technology” used in the film

I didn't mention it because the 3D seemed like an afterthought to me. There were a lot of shots where there wasn't any 3D simply because they didn't shoot any of the live action footage with 3D in mind. They went back in and added it in places where it would be easy to add but you could also find a number of shots, particularly those involving rooms of human characters with very few of the CG view screens, where they simply didn't use the 3D at all. My guess is that it would have been too hard to add it in for those shots, so they just didn't bother.

I guess on the plus side they weren't beating you over the head with the 3D, which mean that I was still noticing it up to the end of the film. Other films seem to be designed specifically to push the 3D all the time, which really just desensitizes you to it early on and you lose sight of it about a quarter of the way through the film.

There may indeed be no “technique” to improve the realism of the slightly cartoony look, but that doesn't mean it can't be done.

Sure, they could have made every character look like a real human being, but I don't really see the visuals as being cartoony just because the characters weren't human. The animation was very naturalistic and didn't use any cartoon techniques to approximate or exaggerate real life. That was one of the major points of the film, to take something totally foreign and alien and make it into something we could relate to and empathize with, not just through the dialog and voice acting, but through the visuals of each character. The trailers don't do a very good job of showing how well they pulled that off.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
PhilWrede at 1:46PM, Dec. 27, 2009
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I'm still kind of conflicted, myself. I thought the tech was great (though I think I still prefer the Coraline 3D, but this was a close second), but the story (and the characters) were little more than a hodgepodge of everything that's been on Cameron's mind as a filmmaker forever, slapped together without a whole lot of rhyme or reason. While I imagine I've never admired one of his films for its gripping narrative alone, so much of the plot was a retread of sixteen thousand movies that've come before. He's done better in the past, so I don't see why we can't expect him to do better now.

I got the same feeling during Avatar that I got watching Peter Jackson's King Kong, the one that made me think I'd never be able to see this movie again once it left the theaters. Maybe I should go and see it again, just to be safe.

Then again, I got to see a James Cameron movie in the movie theater that was more like Aliens than Titanic. Maybe I should be happy with that (and hope that an Aliens-style director's cut may some day arrive).
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:43PM
mlai at 7:49AM, Dec. 28, 2009
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I went to see this movie and I was not disappointed. Yes, you already know the entire plot going in, but really, it's not as if you're there to be surprised by a plot twist. Same as when you knew the entire plot of the trilogy when you went to watch LOTR or SW Eps. 1-3.

Yes, Terminator 1 and 2, and Aliens… they had original plots (or plot elements). But Avatar was on the shelf for what, a decade? If this movie came out 10 years earlier, we probably would've thought it has original elements.

However, there is an element in this movie that was pretty original, or surprising:
The Na'vi's “deity”, Eywa, is very real. Not a god in our definition of the word, but definitely something very big. Cameron took the idea of the Gaia super-organism and ran with it.

What this does is make you see how powerful the lure of “going native” is for the Avatar handlers. Humans in the modern world feel disconnected; they want to belong. On Pandora, Sully came to belong in a tight-knit tribe, but that's not all. He sensed a REAL belonging to the entire ecosphere. Religions on Earth are influential enough on people. Now imagine if that sense of belonging doesn't depend on faith – on Pandora, the supernatural is natural.

This also address Isukun's complaint that there were too many “miracles” saving the day near the end of the movie. The thing is, those weren't deus ex machinas. The movie showed you throughout – this is Pandora, and her basic tenets of nature are different from Earth's. The marines laughed at the “trees” and “deities”, thinking Na'vis were simply 9-ft-tall blue Indians. But they just didn't understand this world, in the scientific sense.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
isukun at 10:31AM, Dec. 28, 2009
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The thing is, those weren't deus ex machinas. The movie showed you throughout – this is Pandora, and her basic tenets of nature are different from Earth's.

Neytiri also explain in the movie that Eywa didn't work that way. That's why the miracles kind of bothered me. They were just as surprising to the natives as they were to the invaders. There were other little things which didn't make sense, too, though. They never really explain why Trudy takes their side. She just seems to be randomly sympathetic to the Na'vi. Plus, she seems to be exempt from any form of punishment when she pulls out of the first battle. It was a treasonous act and her crew was pretty aware of it, so why was she free to let them out of their cells after the battle?
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
patrickdevine at 4:10PM, Dec. 28, 2009
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I gotta say the jury's still out on whether I thought it was good. There were some elements that I thought were really cool but the unobtainium thing bothered me too. I could have accepted the name but what I found really annoying is that nobody bothered to say what humans want unobtainium for or even what it does. We're told that it's “The most precious material in the universe.” but never why. Is it a construction material? Is it fuel? Is it superconducting at room temperature? Come on! What!
The annoying thing for me is that could have been fixed with one line of dialogue but I guess it's just assumed that nobody would care but I like to think that James Cameron's a better writer than that.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:41PM
isukun at 4:47PM, Dec. 28, 2009
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I got the feeling there were a lot of little things like that cut from the film. Maybe there will be an extended cut when the movie hits DVD that will go more in depth on a few points. It's also been mentioned on a few occasions that the movie is supposed to be the first part of a trilogy. I assume it was presented the way that it was to keep it self contained in case it didn't get the reception that it did. Maybe the role of unobtainium (ugh, I hate typing it, too) was more vital to the extended plot so they didn't want to get into it in depth if they weren't sure whether or not the sequels would be made.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
Walrus at 5:59PM, Dec. 28, 2009
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Erad
Thought it was the most shallow and poor story ever written?
No, no, that's Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:45PM
mlai at 11:28PM, Dec. 28, 2009
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Spoilers In Post

Neytiri also explain in the movie that Eywa didn't work that way. That's why the miracles kind of bothered me. They were just as surprising to the natives as they were to the invaders.

I think it's because Sigourney Weaver got in there. Those dang rogue-scientist-ecoterrorist human brainwaves giving them alien tree networks all sorts of uppity ideas.

They never really explain why Trudy takes their side. She just seems to be randomly sympathetic to the Na'vi. Plus, she seems to be exempt from any form of punishment when she pulls out of the first battle. It was a treasonous act and her crew was pretty aware of it, so why was she free to let them out of their cells after the battle?

This is true, and I personally don't understand how stuff like this escapes the scripting phase. Even us little webcomics and fanfic writers get together and edit out plot inconsistencies, in our spare time. How Cameron can't hire enough PROFESSIONALs to do that for his script is beyond me.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
isukun at 1:16AM, Dec. 29, 2009
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I think it's because Sigourney Weaver got in there. Those dang rogue-scientist-ecoterrorist human brainwaves giving them alien tree networks all sorts of uppity ideas.

That seems a bit far-fetched to me. If generations of Na'vi before her couldn't influence Eywa, what makes her so special?
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
ozoneocean at 1:33AM, Dec. 29, 2009
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isukun
far-fetched
In the context of this film, the use of that phrase to describe a theory about a story element is quite funny. :)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:35PM
DAJB at 3:56AM, Dec. 29, 2009
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In a word, I found it … “enjoyable”.

Yes, you could see every plot move (can't bring myself to call anything in this film a plot twist!) coming long before it happened; yes, the “message” was trite and one-sided; and yes, we've seen this story many, many times before … But it was still entertaining enough that, despite being nearly three hours long, I never actually found myself thinking: “God, this film is dragging!”

The 3D technology was okay. Will it change the way movies are made forever? I doubt it. Some scenes were spectacular; some looked cool but the 3D really added nothing to the movie; and, in others, the effect was out-and-out distracting. I don't think this is the movie that's going to convince the money-people that 3D is anything more than a novelty or gimmick. In fact, I'm pretty sure it would have been just as entertaining in 2D.

So, not as good as the hype would like us to believe, but not as bad as the nay-sayers would have it, either. Just … enjoyable. And what more do you want for the price of a cinema ticket?!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:04PM
Erad at 1:44PM, Dec. 29, 2009
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DAJB
In a word, I found it … “enjoyable”.

I like your post. I have to agree with you. It wasn't my favorite movie of all time (Shawshank Redemption is still top dog), but it wasn't the worst either. It was an enjoyable experience that I had no regrets in watching.

My only regret is not throwing away the glasses of the kid next to me for constantly reaching out and trying to “touch” something he saw on the screen…
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:22PM
7384395948urhfdjfrueruieieueue at 10:37AM, Jan. 1, 2010
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Unobtanium is actually a classic sci-fi gag. Why he used a joke in a serious way is beyond me. It would be like if he made the Titanic sink because it slipped on a banana peel.
i will also like to know you the more
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:08AM
EssayBee at 8:49PM, Jan. 9, 2010
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In short, I loved it.

Regarding some of the points here . . .

From Cameron's original script treatment from a decade ago, the name “Unobtainium” was originally a joke name given to the material that eventually stuck. As for what it does . . . well, that's irrelevant–it's a MacGuffin.

As for swaying the will of Eywa . . . Well, it stands to reason that if the Na'vi believe she's neutral they'd never have tried to sway her will before (perhaps viewing it as sacrilege). It's also possible that she had never faced a threat like the extermination the Marines were bringing her way, thus forcing her to act. Regardless, this whole part reminded me of Final Fantasy VII and Aeris's prayer, which even she wasn't sure would be heard.

As for the budget: Some of the production costs came from Cameron developing the proprietary 3D technology to shoot the film. That's a cost that is counted in the budget, but it's earnings won't be reflected in the film's gross. Every film from here on out that uses his technology will be money back in his pocket, so it's very likely that the costs of Avatar will be offset in the production of other movies.

And the 3D was great. It was used as a tool to immerse the viewers in the world and not as a gag to shoot things at them. There were really no obvious 3D gags in the whole movie (e.g., people prodding objects into the audience's face). Cameron used the tech to push viewers into the movie and not to push the movie into the viewers. I think he was striving to make this movie as close to virtual reality as possible with today's technology.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:22PM
isukun at 11:17PM, Jan. 9, 2010
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There were really no obvious 3D gags in the whole movie

The putter shot was pretty obvious. Beyond that, though, the 3D was more subtle.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
EssayBee at 6:20AM, Jan. 10, 2010
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isukun
There were really no obvious 3D gags in the whole movie

The putter shot was pretty obvious. Beyond that, though, the 3D was more subtle.
Maybe, but what 2D movie doesn't shoot that shot exact same way?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:22PM

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