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RoderickE

Puritan Board Freshman
The late 2009 big buzz in movies is a scifi action film called AVATAR. The plot is the classic big guy against the little guy, underdog theme. It is reminiscent of how Native Americans are portrayed as being victims of European expansionism. An "avatar" is a character controlled by another person, much like any video game you might play -- the character you control is an avatar. It follows your commands, but when you stop telling it what to do, it does nothing. In the movie, scientists are controlling hybrid human-alien avatars in an attempt to gain the trust of the indigenous population of a planet called Pandora (alluding to Greek mythology of Pandora, the first woman, and the tale of a box that once opened let's out events that cannot be contained). But there is also a military and corporate element that is attempting to mine resources from the planet, ironically from the main home site of the indigenous population.

Once you get past the not so nuanced play against the capitalistic mindset, the movie is really a remarkable feat. You have seen movies where the computer generated characters are a bit wobbly and fake looking, but this movie almost has it down to a believable point. As a matter of fact, since the alien race is supposed to be much like the Native Americans, expect to see some implied nudity.

Now, I know there has been and will be some controversy over the apparent promotion of paganism, as the alien race is very religious or "spiritual" in an evironmentalist way -- but again, if we were recounting the history and culture of the Native Americans, to leave out this aspect would not be framing the entire story. However, I have noticed something interesting in space-based scifi flicks and tv shows -- humanity seems to never really believe anything. Are humans to be thought of as having no faith? I mean, society has been for centuries trying to downplay if not altogether expunge religion and especially Christianity from the human record. Yet, we see movies and tv shows that fault humanity for being disconnected from "spirituality". The true history of humanity, especially Europeans is that of a people so connected to a spiritual sense, that it permeated everything. But for centuries, the elites in societies have shunned that spiritual sense and promoted instead a cold, calculated "scientific" approach. I just find it a bit ironic if not hypocritical that those same elites are now faulting humanity for not being a spiritual race.

Past all of that, the movie in my opinion ranks as one of the best scifi action movies. And I suspect AVATAR is really the first of a new kind of film where computer generated characters and scenes will dominate. I even suspect in the near future, live actors will give way to computer generated actors. Let's see the paparazzi chase that.

SEE TRAILER:

Avatar Official Movie Website | In Cinemas December 18
 
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Dao

Puritan Board Freshman
"Avatar" is a combo of anti-American propaganda promoting pantheism as it's sub-plot. Seems to me to be a bit of global warming environmentalism *&^%$ ...but the graphics look great and I'll see it this week. Apparently a lot of religion thrown in, too. It just sounds like a stupid movie to begin with. The aliens look like Smurfs on steroids, very religious Smurfs, however. They practice some kind of tribal naturalistic pagan pantheism, which is one of the main plot themes ( along with anti-Capitalism and the irrepressible American impulse toward genocide).
 

Jon Peters

Puritan Board Sophomore
I saw it and thought it was great. The effects are amazing. The "religious" element is a bit over the top and probably the only weakness to the film. The main idea of the religion is really the same concept as the Force in Star Wars, only taken to a different level.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Yes, the "they killed their mother" was gaia worship, but hey, it was a great flick, without *much* in the way of bad language and sex, which was *relatively* refreshing. Great action and special effects.
 

Jon Peters

Puritan Board Sophomore
"Avatar" is a combo of anti-American propaganda promoting pantheism as it's sub-plot. Seems to me to be a bit of global warming environmentalism *&^%$ ...but the graphics look great and I'll see it this week. Apparently a lot of religion thrown in, too. It just sounds like a stupid movie to begin with. The aliens look like Smurfs on steroids, very religious Smurfs, however. They practice some kind of tribal naturalistic pagan pantheism, which is one of the main plot themes ( along with anti-Capitalism and the irrepressible American impulse toward genocide).

Anti-American propaganda can make for a good film. The aliens do not come off as smurf-like, they are quite well done. They look real. I thought the story was good, basic, but very entertaining. The story is almost certainly based on the exploitation of native, underdeveloped populations by the West, much of which deserves to be criticized.
 

Zenas

Snow Miser
I doubt I'll see it as it appears to be the stupidest plot they could have concieved. Why couldn't they drop half a billion dollars and make the last 3 Star Wars episodes or get someone other than Guillermo del Torro, who can't seem to refrain from putting the same type of wierd junk in all of his films, to direct The Hobbit?

Not helping them recoop the cost of their bad movie with what only appears to be a horrible plot that's so woefully overdone its cliche'.
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
I don't think I'd see it again for a million bucks. I found the paganism so over the top, that I really got creeped out. The actual, physical, 'connections' to the planet, the way people were healed, the intercession of Eywa the almighty goddess, it was SO over the top, it was like watching 'Luther' for pagans/enviro-wingnuts.

I think there were also 4 instances of taking the Lord's name in vain. Big fail on my part for not walking out after the first one. Big.

Andrew, ditto on the review. I really liked what he had to say, I just found the film a real slap in the face with respect to my worldview. I know this is not surprising as it is a secular movie, but it was almost like a 'teaching' movie to the malleable minds of the enviro-sensitized children in the audience.
 
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Megan Mozart

Puritan Board Junior
Eh? I'm surprised everyone disliked this movie so much! :eek: (though I'm not surprised at the anger/whatever at the pantheism, it really creeped me out too)

I went to this movie anticipating that I would love it and that the special effects would win me over. Well, I ended up loving it more than I thought (it's easily the best movie I've seen in the last ten years) but not because of the special FX (though those ended up being a million times better than I thought they would). The message was so powerful.

I don't think this movie was necessarily bashing capitalism. It was bashing corporations and corporate greed. Which needs to be done. Corporations should not exist. They restrict capitalism. And the point this movie was making that it is utterly evil for man to destroy homes and lives of people simply for money. It reminded me of how so many corporations in our country exploit people in third world countries to make them work for us 12+ hours a day, including their children, and barely make any money to support their family. It's disgusting and the CEOs should be punished for it.

And duh, European expansionism needs to be criticized. I am so glad that was done.

And finally, this movie made the point that it is NOT ok to kill people and destroy their homes for resources. 900,000 people have died in Iraq. I might not be popular for saying this but that is ridiculous and it needs to stop. God did not give the US the right be the policemen of the world.

This message needs to be heard by everyone in this country. I hope this movie is so popular that almost every adult sees it.

All that said, here are some things I didn't like about it:

1. Men were generally brutes while women were smart
2. pantheism
3. the bad rap the marines got.
4. Lord's name used in vain a few times
5. short sex scene
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
Indeed, Wayne, that was an excellent review.

And, Megan, I do not mean to be overly harsh in saying this, but your statements about "cooperate greed, slave labor, European expansionism, countless killed in Iraq for American resource mongering", and the slam against the U.S. being the world's police force sounds far, far too much like the revisionist left wing fantasies that I received from my professors during my public university education than it does a sane analysis of events.
 

matthewd2013

Puritan Board Freshman
:( Wishes that the republican party hadn't deviated so far that they criticize the views of Thomas Jefferson, Madison, and peleo-republicans as left wing fantasies. It is funny how the ideas of Marshal, Madison and the early democratic party of centralization of power, and manifest destiny are now held by today's replublicans (and democrats) and the libertarians are criticized by the republicans for being left wing nuts and by the dems for being tea party wackos.

I think the movie was a great commentary on many of the evils that have beset the american government both historically and today. The x-army corporation had blackwater parallels. White settlers have always moved the Native's to whatever land doesn't have the resources (trees, gold, farmland) that are wanted by whites just like the humans tried to relocate the Navis and cared little about their sacred lands. The natives were marginalized in the minds of humans by using pejorative terms like "terrorists." Their was very little attempt to try to understand the people and the motives and the only reason for understanding was to try to manipulate them so that the army could get their way.

I think all of these analogies of criticism in the movie are worthy to be considered especially since most of them are criticisms that Jefferson made 200 years ago while contemplating the future of the states.

And by-the-way, I used the be the biggest neoconservative, nuke them and let God sort it out kinda fellow until I started critically analyzing what I had taken always taken for granted.
 
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