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I've turned down two invitations to this movie already, one of them in 3D at an IMAX theater. It's TLOR all over again, but harder to explain.

I like movies. I like going to a large, dark theater with a huge screen and state-of-the-art sound system (or even plain old stereo). Any movie is experienced better in a theater than on a TV at home. I'd say even a below avergae theater gets you a better experience than the latest LED 52" screen iwth a full THX Blue Ray DVD home theater system.

But I like movies so much I'm very picky about which ones I'll invest time and money on. If I think I won't like amovie, or that the movie will merely be ok, then I either skip it or wait fo rthe rental to come out. Therefore I very rarely go to a theater (when I do I often go alone, which I like best).

Avatar, for all the hype about its visual innovations, clearly belongs in the rental pile. There are two reaons for this: 1) the theme and plot, what I know of them, will likely bother me; 2) I've seen enough in the way of visual effects that it would take a lot more than what I've heard and read about Avatar to get me to a theater on visuals alone. A holographic movie, perhaps ;)

You know, I've hard that when TV was new and stattions ran limmited broadcasting, people would often turn the sets on and stare for hours at the test signal being shown (at the time that would have been a channel logo, later they switched to color bars). I don't know whether that's ture, but I can believe it. Naturally as TV became a staple, people changed and would watch it only when there was something good on.

Well, for me even major visual breakthroughs now are like the old TV test signals: they're no longer a novelty. Now I watch only when something good is shown.

This year I plan to see The Blind Side. It seems like a decent story, and Sandra Bullock looks stunning in the previews.

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I still intend to judge the movie for myself. I'm seeing differing interpretations as to whether or not it is "anti-man", etc.

Best way to make up one's mind. I'm not the kind of person to say "DON'T SEE IT." I heard the debates, and wanted to make up my own mind as well. As for the debate: no contest.

Edited by spaceplayer

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Best way to make up one's mind. I'm not the kind of person to say "DON'T SEE IT." I heard the debates, and wanted to make up my own mind as well. As for the debate: no contest.

I'm not clear though, have you seen the movie already and does the side of the debate you agree with actually represent the movie as you've seen it?

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Ed Hudgins wrote a good critical review of AVATAR, check it out. Having seen it, I wish I hadn't.

I'll second that - it's an excellent review. Ed Hudgins masterfully cracks all of Cameron's politically-correct allegories.

An excerpt :- "It is the height of irony - to say nothing of hypocrisy - for Cameron, the master of movie-making technology, to have as the theme of this movie the utter evil of technology."

I suppose movie-buffs would find some benefit in viewing it for the techniques alone.

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A case can be made that Cameron has an anti-technology bias. Remember who the villains were in Termiantor? The implication is that our technology will destroy us.

But of course the rebellious machines that kill off humanity theme is a lot older than Terminator or even Cameron. It goes as far back as Capek's R.U.R. play, or even to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein's monster. If not farther back than that.

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That is not the theme of this movie.

I agree "technology is evil" is just overblown, that is not the theme of the movie.

There is a theme of "technology is dangerous" in all of Cameron's movies, with varying degrees of centrality. Even Titanic put a spotlight on the hubris of the builders who dared call their ship unsinkable. Terminator (and its sequel) was the most explicit at expressing it. Avatar puts a non-technological society in a morally superior position and they duplicate the consciousness transfer trick as well, which means technology is not significant in any way. Depending on the perspective that is either a lesser or an even greater damnation of technology.

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Reading these various reviews I'm getting a sense of what this movie is about, but obviously I'm going to have to watch it first hand to figure this thing out. Sheesh! :P

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Why do writers insist on making "Corporate" villains so STUPID? I mean seriously.

I didn't watch it because of how stupid it was. I heard the villains were stupid that they decided to kill billions of people to make profit. Oh, come on!

Edited by Black Wolf

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There might be some spoilers here, and I don't know how to do the spoiler tag, so stop reading if you can't handle knowing something about a movie you've never seen.

Saw it today and was simply awestruck. I wasn't so keen on seeing it in 3d since 3d has always been annoying to me, but "this ain't your daddy's 3d." It was simply a fantastic visual experience. Yup, the story was simplistic, but with an interesting twist in the main character's chance at experiencing walking again despite being paralyzed. Yup, there were some "government is evil," "corporations are evil," "the military is evil," "love your mother earth" jabs and nods to the Hollywood intelligentsia and other liberal moonbats. But none of these were themes of the movie - the theme of the movie was: fight for what you value. Would it have been a better movie without the jabs and nods? Of course, but if I were to confine myself to movies where these little arrows were not thrown, I'd probably never watch any movies.

For visuals alone, this movie is entirely worth both the movie ticket, and the upgrade to 3D. The special effects in rendering the Na'vi characters was simply mind blowing. You don't fully realize it until you see Sigourney Weaver as a Na'vi. The other stuff - military hardware, flora, and fauna - were equally impressive, but the ground this movie breaks in rendering the nuances of movement, and especially facial characteristics, of what are essentially animated characters is out-and-out stunning. You quickly forget that virtually nothing of what you see on the screen is real.

I've been reading this thread from the beginning, and it makes me laugh to see people take a form of entertainment like this so seriously. Sometimes, movies can just be escapism - a chance to get wrapped up in someone's imaginative efforts. Enjoy the journey; leave the philosophy for books and real life interactions.

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But none of these were themes of the movie - the theme of the movie was: fight for what you value.

What does the movie value?

I've been reading this thread from the beginning, and it makes me laugh to see people take a form of entertainment like this so seriously. Sometimes, movies can just be escapism - a chance to get wrapped up in someone's imaginative efforts. Enjoy the journey; leave the philosophy for books and real life interactions.

I suggest you re-read what Ellsworth Toohey says to Gail Wynand when he gets fired off The Banner.

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I've been reading this thread from the beginning, and it makes me laugh to see people take a form of entertainment like this so seriously. Sometimes, movies can just be escapism - a chance to get wrapped up in someone's imaginative efforts. Enjoy the journey; leave the philosophy for books and real life interactions.

This is itself a philosophy. An indefensible one.

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What does the movie value?

It's a movie. It values nothing.

I suggest you re-read what Ellsworth Toohey says to Gail Wynand when he gets fired off The Banner.

To what purpose?

This is itself a philosophy. An indefensible one.

Perhaps. But you presume it's a philosophy one wishes to defend, and even that it requires defending.

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; leave the philosophy for books and real life interactions.

When the filmmaker does that, I do that. Otherwise, the intelligent thing to do is evaluate what the artist is trying to say with his art; try to understand what values is he/she demonstrating through his/her medium.

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It's a movie. It values nothing.

Movies are made by people, and almost always convey values and a view of the world, explicitly or implicitly. Quite often an author has a view of the world he wants to get out there, and judging from the reviews of this movie -- I haven't seen it -- Cameron had a point to make. If you miss that point, then you really haven't experienced the movie fully.

Still, that doesn't mean you can't watch it just for the fun ride and ignore the essence of the story. There is nothing wrong with that.

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Still, that doesn't mean you can't watch it just for the fun ride and ignore the essence of the story. There is nothing wrong with that.

I think there is something wrong with that, it is a kind of evasion. But for Avatar at least, the essence of the story is character arc of Jake Sully and he does act bravely and morally throughout the story. Two dimensional villains, tired movie clichés, bizarrely out of place dialogue about fighting terror with terror, all these things are very relevant to the overall experience and bring down the movie from its excellent production level but they are not essential to the plot-theme.

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I think there is something wrong with that, it is a kind of evasion. But for Avatar at least, the essence of the story is character arc of Jake Sully and he does act bravely and morally throughout the story.

** Spoilers**

I concur with this wholeheartedly. Although I thought it was obvious that Cameron was trying to make some kind of environmental statement, I think it fails because he creates a situation in which that world, Pandora, does not parallel our world. The Na'vi essentially are a rational race of beings, but in a primative state of development where they do not fully understand the science of their world. What they misunderstand to be mysticism is an ACTUAL biological connection to their world and the other creatures on that world. We as the audience have the benefit of understanding that in the world of Pandora, there is something of a neural network to which all life is connected and which serves to preserve the knowledge of their people and their world. They were not nomadic, the hometree was their home. They had not initiated any force on their soon-to-be attackers. Additionally, I did not see any connection to the Unobtainium being critical or crucial to human survival. While they state that the substance is very valuable, they do not further that with any indication of dependence on the substance.

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When the filmmaker does that, I do that. Otherwise, the intelligent thing to do is evaluate what the artist is trying to say with his art; try to understand what values is he/she demonstrating through his/her medium.

While important, I don't see understanding what the artist is trying to convey as the most important objective in viewing art - especially when the "art" we're discussing is a mass-marketed, popcorn-pushing, toy-selling, over-the-top-Hollywood-behemoth like Avatar. Even if we were talking about something more important than a movie, what would it benefit me to know what the artist is trying to convey? If the artist created something I really liked, but then I find out he actually meant to convey a sense of altruistic conformism, should I then hate the art? If the artist intended to convey rational individualism, but I can't stand the art, should I automatically love it?

Still, that doesn't mean you can't watch it just for the fun ride and ignore the essence of the story. There is nothing wrong with that.

Exactly my point. If I don't "get" what Cameron wanted me to "get," then that's his problem. The movie exceeded my expectations for what I go to those types of movies for.

I think there is something wrong with that, it is a kind of evasion.

Good lord - it's just a movie. If our rationality and reason are so fragile that a movie can threaten them, then we have far greater worries.

But for Avatar at least, the essence of the story is character arc of Jake Sully and he does act bravely and morally throughout the story. Two dimensional villains, tired movie clichés, bizarrely out of place dialogue about fighting terror with terror, all these things are very relevant to the overall experience and bring down the movie from its excellent production level but they are not essential to the plot-theme.

Agreed, on all points.

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Even if we were talking about something more important than a movie, what would it benefit me to know what the artist is trying to convey?

Had your comment simply been reserved to what you found important, it would not have evoked my comment. Instead, you take a poke at others in the thread just because you don't find it particularly important to critically evaluate a movie for it's message. Past that, if you are fine with just watching a movie and not considering the point of view that the movie is trying to communicate, that is up to you. But "laughing" at other people who are concerned with the potential impact of a mass media movie on our society is uncalled for. Some folks may take ideas a little more seriously than you and perhaps they do not like it when bad ideas a propagated, regardless of the format.

If our rationality and reason are so fragile that a movie can threaten them, then we have far greater worries.

It only takes chipping away at our society in small bits at a time for movies to have some undesirable impact on our culture. People should not be "all good" with that just because the whiz-bang factor was high for a particular movie.

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Had your comment simply been reserved to what you found important, it would not have evoked my comment. Instead, you take a poke at others in the thread just because you don't find it particularly important to critically evaluate a movie for it's message. Past that, if you are fine with just watching a movie and not considering the point of view that the movie is trying to communicate, that is up to you. But "laughing" at other people who are concerned with the potential impact of a mass media movie on our society is uncalled for. Some folks may take ideas a little more seriously than you and perhaps they do not like it when bad ideas a propagated, regardless of the format.

I'm glad you put it that way. Ayn Rand admonished people who don't take ideas seriously. This is one of the big lessons I learned from her, that ideas matter! Philosophical ideas are the engine that drives your life and civilization, so we all have a stake in them.

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