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skfinkel's avatar

Finally saw Avatar last evening. Is there any doubt that the US would be back to destroy the natives and take the minerals?

Asked by skfinkel (13478points) February 24th, 2010

Hasn’t this happened in history every single time? What is this movie saying to us?

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30 Answers

FutureMemory's avatar

Special Effects Are Neat. I think that’s the message.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

inb4“dances with the wolves in space!lawl“or anything similar

syz's avatar

I had the same thought. I intentionally decided to console myself with the thought that the few humans invited to remain would warn of the hazards of human nature. That doesn’t address the issue of the incredible advantage that technology would give to the invaders.

I loved Avatar, but it was essentially “Dances with Wolves” in space – the same, tired story of a representative of a powerful culture meets “savages”, representative grows to respect and loves “savages”, fights against his own kind as a statement against “advanced” culture.

TexasDude's avatar

I get it, I get it… we should feel bad about colonialism. Haven’t heard that over and over again, and I’m a good chunk Cherokee!

Pseudonym's avatar

That is actually a very valid point that I highly doubt James Cameron thought about much.

The question is whether the Navi would become better at fighting battles. Possibly with the help of whatever-his-name-is, the main character, they could fight back.

Qingu's avatar

Floating mountains could be positioned to deflect kinetic/nuclear strikes from orbit.

Natives, with the help of their magic computer network Gaia, could also perhaps take advantage of or redirect tidal forces to orbiting space stations and weaponry. Perhaps to throw said floating mountains into orbit.

I am certainly looking forward to the sequels.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

I’m pretty sure they will. Otherwise there would be no reason to have a sequel. :P

Qingu's avatar

@FutureMemory, no, that’s not the message of the movie.

The message of the movie is Alien elves ride flying dinosaurs into awesome battle against gunship- and mecha-piloting Republicans

My name is Qingu and I endorse this message.

Jeruba's avatar

Here’s a pretty compelling (or at least diverting) take on what Avatar is really about.

Parrappa's avatar

Honestly, the Na’vi wouldn’t have won in a real, actual battle. Because it’s a movie, the underdog (big surprise) comes out on top. In a real battle, especially that far ahead in the future where we can travel to other stars, we could easily conquer anyone that primitive. It’s not even a question.

Personally, I would have liked to have seen the humans win the fight. It would be sad, but a lot more realistic and not what you’d expect.

Qingu's avatar

I don’t buy the criticism that Avatar is anti-technology because the technology-using scientists were the good guys. (How many other movies can you name where scientists were the good guys? That weren’t directed by James Cameron?) Also, the Navi’s network bears a stronger resemblance to transhumanist-style collectivism, not some luddite fairy tale.

I think the movie, while certainly falling into the “going native” story template trope (or cliche), is more nuanced than its critics give it credit for. And the going-native trope is hardly more cliched than the monomyth template found in, for example, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, the Matrix, Dune, Harry Potter, etc.

fireinthepriory's avatar

I think that was the point. It was like Fern Gully for grownups. In space. My biggest problem was the name “Unobtanium” for their stupid new mineral or whatever the hell. God that was just the worst, least creative name.

To enjoy the movie you really have to ignore the plot and ignore most of the dialogue. That had all been done before. Its creative merit is in pure aesthetics. That had not been done before.

Qingu's avatar

@fireinthepriory, did you like Star Wars?

And engineers have been using the name “unobtanium” for decades.

I’d also that “pure aesthetics” are the whole point of most movie-going experiences. The point of seeing a movie—as opposed to reading a book—is to experience a “lucid dream.” Chastising Avatar for being “purely aesthetic” is like criticizing Super Mario for being “purely gameplay.” You play games for the gameplay. You go to movies like Avatar to experience another world… through aesthetics.

The aesthetics alone make Avatar a masterpiece. The plot wasn’t wonderful but it was entirely serviceable, and the pacing was among the best I’ve seen in any movie.

Arisztid's avatar

I do not have a doubt in the world that the marines would act like that.

Basically, this movie is Dances with Wolves in space with a nice outcome that would not have, in reality, happened… as has been pointed out in this thread.

I have to agree with those who say that, in order to enjoy the movie, focus on the fantastic special effects. I think that the special effects made the movie worth the money and then some.

One of the silliest things I have seen is complaints that the movie is racist because it was a white guy that saved the planet in the end. That is just silly.

Nullo's avatar

Erm, that wasn’t the government. RDA is a corporation, slightly more benign than Weyland-Yutani.

@fireinthepriory I got the impression that they were using “Unobtanium” as a nickname.

It’s a very pretty movie, but waaaaay too heavy-handed. And narmy.

Nullo's avatar

@Parrappa
It’s pointed out on TvTropes that the Na’vi lost, miserably, and that the evil corporation was thwarted by the planet.

fireinthepriory's avatar

@Qingu Honestly I haven’t seen Star Wars in a good number of years, and when I did I wasn’t paying all that much attention. I liked them all as far as I remember!

Huh, I didn’t know that unobtanium was a real term. I still think it’s a ridiculous name, but I’m glad they didn’t come up with it. :)

Pure aesthetics is clearly why many or perhaps even most people go to the movies, but I like to have the story enrich my experience as well. I think great movies are an amalgamation of art (driven by aesthetics) and books (story-driven). For me, if the story is bland or predictable, the movie looses something. I can call it a wonderful aesthetic experience – as Avatar definitely was! – but it’s not a great movie. Same if the story was amazing, but it was shot by a five-year old using a camera phone. Both aspects are important to make a truly great movie, for me at least. I’d never call Avatar a bad movie, not by a long shot, but for me, it did leave something to be desired.

downtide's avatar

Of course the humans are going back – the cast are already signed up for two more movies…

talljasperman's avatar

I think that they were trying to mine Upsedasium you know from “rocky and bullwinkle” that would explain the floating mountains

talljasperman's avatar

does anyone remember “Upsedasium”?

Nullo's avatar

@talljasperman
I do, I do!
Though the Pandora Wiki explains how the mountains were floating. Real science; I was impressed.

@downtide
The next movies will focus on the other moons.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

The whole point of the movie was this…

On Monday, January 25th, Avatar touched USD 1.859 billion, officially passing Titanic (USD 1.843 billion) to become the Industry’s Biggest Film in history at the Worldwide Box Office.

Hollywood movies are objectively made to make money. Subjective meanings are in the eyes of the beholder (i.e. ticket buyer or, latter, renter or media purchaser)

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

Plot point: So if this ore is what’s levitating the flying mountains, why bother with the ore that’s stuck underground? The easiest thing to do would be to corral and break up those mountains.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

@Jeruba thanks for the tip on the review. Though that blogger’s English needs a lot of work.

Here it is: part one and part two. Hilarious quotes abound!

Nullo's avatar

@hiphiphopflipflapflop TvTropes has an extensive discussion on the matter of mining the floating mountains. A synthesis of the most useful input seems to indicate that it would be too expensive how would you get the mountains down?, too dangerous mining the ground out from under their bases – I think that they said something about it in the film, or even less popular with the natives than the Hell’s Gate station, since there are places important to them in the Hallelujah Mountains.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

For those things to be levitating, they’d have to be almost 100% high grade ore. Strap rockets to a chunk and blast it into orbit. I’m not going to strain my eyes looking for the discussion on that horrid page, thank you.

Nullo's avatar

@hiphiphopflipflapflop
It’s a good site for this kind of thing, really. Just make sure you go poking around the Main part of the site and not the JustBugsMe.
The Pandora wiki might be helpful.

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