Software

TechRepublic editors review Avatar 3D's merits

The Avatar 3D reviews are in from TechRepublic Senior Editors Mark Kaelin and Sonja Thompson. Find out whether they give high marks to this box office hit.

Last week, James Cameron's Avatar became the highest grossing movie of all time worldwide; the film has now grossed more than $2 billion worldwide. For the most part, the critics have praised the film's technological merits. But I've been more interested in what my colleagues have to say about the movie that cost $400 million to make. I asked Senior Editors Mark Kaelin and Sonja Thompson if they would be so kind as to share their thoughts about the film, and they both graciously agreed. Here's what they had to say.

Avatar reviews from Mark and Sonja

Introduction Mark: I'm old and set in my ways, and I have never been a big fan of 3D, at least in its current technological incarnation. However, being the cool uncle, I was required to attend the 3D version of Avatar by my nine year-old nephew over the holiday break. I approached the movie with as open a mind as I could muster and sat down looking to be entertained for a couple of hours. Sonja: According to the numbers, I'm officially old as well, but I prefer to call myself "particular" rather than "set in my ways." I've always been a fan of 3D, so I was pretty psyched when a friend asked my son and me to go see Avatar. I filled my lightweight, cloth tote with several boxes of candy (10 for $10 at the local store vs. $3.50 per box at the theater), microwave popcorn in a large Ziplock baggie, and three bottles of flavored water. I threw the bag over my shoulder and walked right in to the theater without any problems, so my movie experience was definitely off to a good start! 3D Mark: First, let me say, the 3D was very well done. I could tell thousands of hours by some very creative people were put into the making of the movie. The artistic ability of those involved was unquestionable. However, with that being said, I found the 3D aspect of Avatar to be a complete and totally unnecessary distraction. From my perspective, the 3D was just plain annoying.

In one scene, there were little firefly-like things floating around, and my reaction was to brush them away -- they interfered and obscured what was taking place on the screen. I'm sure the intention was to enhance the "magic" of the scene, but all I remember is wishing the stupid bugs would go away. I actually thought about a steamy summer evening on the patio swatting away the mosquitoes.

Sonja: As I stated in my introduction, I've always been a fan of 3D, and so Avatar didn't disappoint in this area; in fact, the 3D experience just keeps getting better and better. For example, we used to have to wear those flimsy glasses with one red and one green lens. The 3D glasses that they now pass out at the movie theater are really sturdy -- and while they might not be considered fashionable, they are certainly more comfortable to wear for an extended period of time (or at least for two to three hours).

I still think it's cool when objects appear to come out of the screen. Unlike Mark, I'm not tempted to try to swat them away -- but I confess that I did duck a time or two to avoid getting hit by objects that appeared to be closer than they were in real life. The only thing that would make the 3D experience even better is if they incorporated smell and touch, like the 3D movie called It's Tough to be a Bug at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Imagine a few sprinkles of water hitting you while watching it rain in the lush Na'vi forest, being able to smell flowers and other plant life as they appear on the screen, feeling wind in your face as the main character, Jake, rides the Toruk (that's a really big dragon, for those of you who haven't seen the movie), and your seat literally rumbling when missiles hit the Na'vi holy tree. That truly would be an experience for all of the senses.

Story Mark: The story was okay, but it was very derivative of many movies that have come before. It was your basic American Western set on an exotic moon with aliens taking the place of Indians, and greedy corporations filling in for greedy ranchers. Other cultures have value; greed blinds one from simple beauty; doing what is right means sacrifice; love conquers all, yada, yada, yada. But, it was not poorly told or plotted, and the basic American Western always makes for a familiar story that everyone can follow.

The major complaint in this department I have is the length. The movie is just plain too long at three hours. My nephew and I had to make several trips to the men's room wearing those crazy 3D glasses. Another annoyance I could have lived without.

Sonja: True, the storyline was very similar to other movies I've seen, especially the animated film called FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992). Maybe it was this familiarity that also made it seem fairly predictable. However, I'm rarely disappointed when good conquers evil. This movie was no exception.

I do agree with Mark that the movie could have been a little shorter, but I'm not sure what scenes I would have chopped and left on the editing floor. Remember, I was completely set --lots of candy, popcorn, and a beverage, but yet I never had to make a trip to the ladies room during the entire length of the movie. Guess I was lucky.

Technology Mark: From a purely technological perspective, Avatar sets a very high mark. Like Terminator 2, James Cameron has seamlessly integrated CGI into a movie so that where reality begins and ends becomes a moot issue. Everything becomes "real," and a new world is created, and imagination is unleashed. With the techniques pioneered and proven in Avatar, the possibilities of creating new worlds where stories can be told are limited only by the imagination. That is actually an exciting prospect for future movie-making and is probably the real enduring legacy of Avatar. Sonja: I know that this may come as a surprise to some TR folks, but I'm not really up on all of the technology that goes into the making of a film like Avatar -- 3D or no 3D. Instead, I'm one of those people who says, "I'm not sure exactly what it is or how they did it, but it's super cool, and I like it!" For a more knowledgeable review, please see Mark Kaelin's response.

An interview with Avatar's director

In this 60 Minutes interview with James Cameron, the director talks about how he got started as a filmmaker and offers some insight into how he created the fantasy flick. (The interview is from November 2009.)

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Share your thoughts about Avatar

We'd love to hear what Geekend readers think of Avatar, particularly the technological aspects of the film. Also, if you have no plans to see the film, let us know that too in the discussion.

About

Mary Weilage is a Senior Editor for CBS Interactive. She has worked for TechRepublic since 1999.

78 comments
the other GeorgeW
the other GeorgeW

Ultimately the film is not about technology, it is about a greatly enhanced visual experience that in this case anyway, served the story. What will happen with the next generation of 3D movies - hard to say.

smatteson
smatteson

I completely missed the boat on Avatar, and subsequently missed understanding what the big deal is about this movie. This film was so boring and dull that I left the theater after 45 minutes. Unimpressive 3-D + unlikeable characters + zero plot = pointless film. No reason for me to stick around. I left to take a walk around a Lowe's for want of something more interesting to do. To each his own and I'm sure the people here who loved it have their own valid reasons to do so (and will tell me I can't judge the film since I didn't bother to invest more than 45 minutes in it). I'm not interested in debating the topic, as I don't intend to attempt to watch any more of the subject. Personally, as far as my own outlook is concerned, I got nothing out of what I consider a sad excuse for a movie other than the annoyed sense of having been ripped off. People said "Titanic" was bad, but Titanic had everything Avatar did not, in my mind.

dogknees
dogknees

The only part of the 3D effects that annoyed my was the way they occasionally blurred the background to make you look at the foreground. One of the things I like most about high-def digital TV is that you can see what's happening behind the actors. I spend half my time looking at what's hapenning in the background when I watch. It's more like the real world in that you can look around rather than staring at one thing. The way they blurred the background threw me. I understand depth of field, but it's up to me where I look, so I wanted it to be in focus everwhere. I also realise this is done for dramatic effect, but I think directors should instead start thinking about how to catch our attention without forcing the issue. 3D is going to be a whole revolution, like color and sound were and will require a change in the way movies are shot and the way we watch them.

jfuller05
jfuller05

and technology were the best parts of the movie. Like I said in a previous post, the movie was Ferngully on steroids and the steroids were the best part: the mobile suits, big guns, spaceships, airplanes; it was all awesome. The story was just too predictable for me. I gave the movie a 5/10 and the 5 was just for what I mentioned above.

gabrielbear
gabrielbear

anybody dissociated enough from their own life to not acknowledge an visual illusion overcoming their own sensory skills (wanting to bat away the bugs) is probably unqualified to discuss techniques for enhancing reality. and "tech" people not getting the point of biologic cloud computing as a social model probably need to lose their face book, twitter and google earth gps, and go back to re-ordering their eudora folders.

wolfshades
wolfshades

Someone else stated this much more eloquently but...this movie blurred the technology of the store, with the CGI with the human/alien (who was the real alien in the story anyway?), to such a great extent that it made watching this a memorable experience. I was so totally engrossed in it, that the three hours flew by, unnoticed. Well, except for my bladder. :) I rarely watch any movie more than once, but I've seen this one twice and plan to see it one more time. It should be worth noting: to get the full effect of the story, including and especially the spiritual side, I think seeing it in 3D is a must. Which is why I won't be renting or buying the DVD when it comes out. There is no point.

eclypse
eclypse

That's the part of the storyline that is overused IMHO. Otherwise, the movie was fantastic. I also thought the presentation was excellent. Did they copy from other stuff? Sure (think Nagrand from World of Warcraft). Was it really cool? Sure! I was entertained and as much as I paid to get in there, they better give me three hours. I could have probably stayed another hour and not been bored. Made me wanna be one of the big Smurfs. =)

tecug
tecug

The new 3D that Avatar brought was a advancement but a limited one. If we use the screen plane as the bas for 3D depth of field then we can begin to judge exactly how far this new 3D extends from a flat plane. To my judgement the 3D extends about 30 feet back into the screen, before exerything behind becomes the traditional flat plain. The 3D in front of the screen plain ( while I was siting about half way back in the theater ) was about 20 infront of the screen ( this is where those anoying bugs were zipping around my head.) The 3D was truely an advancement over the old red and blue lenses, but it did not truely give the deapth of field effect that I had expected. There was not the "RUSH" anticipated when the screen shot dived with the character into free fall. Or glided in a swoop of a bird. 3D still has quite a ways to go to give the theater goier the full experiance

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

When you think about it, 90% of all Sci-Fi movies have almost no relationship with any existing Sci-Fi books. Think about all the SF movies in the past, and you'll find books based on the movies, but rarely movies based on books. With the technologies introduced by Cameron, almost any one of those Golden Age books by the greats could be recreated as a movie and truly take us places we've never been before. Imagine Alan Dean Foster's [i]Flinx and Pip[/i] stories, beginning with [i]The Tar-Ayam Krang[/i]; Imagine E.E.'Doc' Smith's [i]Lensman[/i] series; and what about Robert A. Heinlein's [i]Future History[/i] stories. Or maybe you want something more light-hearted. How about Andre Norton's [i]Moon of Three Rings[/i] or [i]The Zero Stone[/i] or really any of her novels? Anybody remember [i]The Time Traders[/i]? Why go epic when there's so much already out there to work with? Oh, and who can forget Keith Laumer's [i]Retief[/i] and [i]Bolo[/i]? Demand better! Demand stories that really deserve the treatment that James Cameron introduced with [i]Avatar[/i]!

elk
elk

I loved the movie. It was very well done science fiction with an old, understandable plot. The CGI was fantastic, I only saw it in 2d, my theater didn't have the 3d capability, and I didn't fell cheated at all. Consciousness transferring and the other technologies were made believable, it worked. I can't wait to see it in 3d now!

Slvrknght
Slvrknght

I've seen it 8 times. 4 in a regular 3D theater, 4 times in IMAX. Loved it every time. I sat there and enjoyed the movie as much the 8th time as I did the first. Now, to clarify, I'm a hopeless romantic, so that appealed to me. Plus, I love James Cameron's approach to "futuristic" technology (i.e. it has to look like it would actually work), so the human tech was awesome. As for the detractors and their claims of "same old movie, new coat of paint." The Greeks had codified all stories into one of 13 types (Joseph Campbell and the monomyth... anyone?) so, for me, it's the telling of the story that's the thing. And this one is told very, very well.

info
info

I'm one to be able to watch the same movie over and over again, and have it impact me almost the same each time. I saw 'Avatar' three times (2 regular 3D, 1 IMAX 3D) and of course, I could go see it again. Oddly enough, the last movie I saw three times in the theatre was 'Titanic'... Has the story been done before? Yes, but how many stories haven't? The problem here is that as many people are comfortable with familar plotlines as the others are bored with them. And if you go TOO far out on a limb, you alienate the audience because they can't relate (and therefore, UNDERSTAND) the movie! This was an immersive (hence the 3 hours) 'retelling' of a familiar tale, and very well done. Mark sounds like my grandfather, complaining that 'moving pictures' are distracting and annoying from the story being told, which was BEST when heard sitting around a crystal set radio... So even his complaints about 3D are an unoriginal rehash of familiar ones. See how hard it is to be original? I jokingly said how I'd be able to resist the allure of the new 3D-capable TV sets that are on the way in. I've never been one to be a full 'techno-geek'. But we went to see 'Sherlock Holmes', and while it was also a great movie (disregarding the fact that it 'ruins' Holmes' nobility from the books) I was immediately struck by how it was now hard to immerse myself in the story. Cinema will never be the same...

iain.obrien
iain.obrien

I went and saw the 3D version of the movie but I had the unfortunate limitation of only being able to see 2D, as I lost one of my eyes. Despite that, I really enjoyed the movie and would willingly go to see it again. My only gripe would be that the plot was far too close to Dances With Wolves although not having Kevin Costner in it was a big plus.

erica.j.henson
erica.j.henson

Okay, I flirt with being a writer, so I agree the movie used a tried-and-true formula to tell a story. It was predictable in the sense that you knew in the end the bad guys were going to get it in a spectacular way. Like Sonia said, I knew this and was okay with it. The story was solid and, these days, that is enough for me. The shocking thing to me wasn't the 3D, although it was cool. I had never seen a 3D movie, nor had I ever seen an Imax movie. ('Tis true. Sad, but true.) The visual presentation of the seamless connection between the Navi and their world was gorgeous and jaw-dropping, at least to me. The scenes where their connection was made obvious and how spiritual it was really hit me. The visualization of those moments, all technically generated, showed visually how beautiful Pandora was and seemed to be treated as an unscripted character. It was in the little things, the fluffy flowers, the way the characters disappeared in their environment... To me, this was the most breathtaking experience throughout the film. The technology blurred into the story which blurred into the technology. I think that is why it has gotten the majority of its audience praising it. I rarely, if ever, leave a movie and call up my mom and say, "you, of all people, MUST see this movie," but I did. (She still hasn't...very disobedient parent.) I am looking forward to going back and seeing it again.

bckerr
bckerr

The movie plot was fairly typical, but well done. I think most people didn't go there to see the plot of the movie. That's not what Avatar was about, it was about stunning the audience with mind blowing 3-D, and it did not disappoint in that category. Let's face it, Cameron wanted to make a visually stunning movie and bring back the feel of great cinemas again, which he did in this movie. Over all, Avatar is a top notch, visually unparalleled movie.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... Alien. I just couldn't see watching a film that tries incessantly to startle you to death. Not in the least scary, just startling. I walked out immediately after the chest burster scene.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Photographers and moviemakers have made getting true depth of field in their work an art. It's not nearly as easy as you think. "Oh, Sure," you say. "Depth of field is just 'blurring the background.'" Wrong... The 3D effect of developing 'selective focus' on the subject is progressively decreasing focus as foreground and background elements move away from the focal point, and I don't mean the center of the image. To make this effect in a cgi film to me is a [i]tour de force.[/i] I'll grant that you might have wanted to look at a different area, but the camera is considered to be the observer's point of view, and the characters are the subject of view. In all honesty, I think the depth of field was very artistically done and didn't distract when it didn't need to.

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

Anyone who purports bioligic(al) cloud computing theories from fictional movies, probably needs to go back to organizing their collectors edition D&D game pieces. :p ;\ {Insert $1.99 for SarcMark here}

rpbert4
rpbert4

I thought it was fantastic. I was completely unaware of the length of the movie (no bladder problems). The 3d was a little lost on me since one eye is a "lazy eye", but I did get some effect. I was surprised nobody commented on the "avatar concept". That was what intrigued me the most. The "out-of-body" concept in an alien form.

RipVan
RipVan

And this is one of them! The glasses were an improvement over the old glasses, but the 3D wasn't better, it seemed a little step back. I saw better 3D at Disney's "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" in Florida. But that isn't to say it was bad, it just wasn't as good as I expected. I could also wear those glasses over my own for 3 hours without discomfort. I tried both ways, I needed to keep my own on for the sharpest images. And yes, the villains were a little too "cardboard" for me, but the overall experience turned out to be quite positive.

jfuller05
jfuller05

*clears throat* What? I'm not going to argue about Sci-Fi having no relationship with Sci-Fi books because it would be an infinite loop probably, solely based on opinion; I'm right, you're right, you know how it goes. Anyway, I was just disappointed because there was not a better story. I didn't want this "blockbuster" movie to be a cover of the American Western, save the forest, kind of story; it's played and redundant in my opinion. This movie didn't take me anywhere new because I knew where it was going and the only good thing about it what was the technology side of it, which isn't a good thing. Story is key. Without it, you just have good effects, if you're good at that and of course, J. Cameron has vision for effects.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I, Robot Starship Troopers Dune, twice Blade Runner Battlefield: Earth Watchmen 2001, 2010 (okay, so the first one was based on a short story, not a novel.) Oh, and that Arnold movie based on PK Dick's 'We can remember it for you wholesale' The problem with most of these is the Hollywood interpretation bore no resemblance to the books. Look at 'Tar-Aiym Krang'; the amount of action isn't a very big part of the book. What do you do with the final sequence, show Flynx on the couch with his head in a helmet? 'For Love of Mother-Not' might work better. 'Lensmen' might have enough action to satisfy the masses, but I've given up on Hollywood doing justice to anything other than pure space opera (Trek, Wars, etc.).

dave the IT guy
dave the IT guy

Like Mark, I found the 3D effects to be distracting. I actually wound up seeing the movie twice over the holidays. The first time was in 2D, and the second time in 3D. I liked it in 2D better. I found the 3D took away from some of the visual spectacle that I was impressed with the first time I saw it. But from a story perspective it really is a reprise of Dances with Wolves....

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I may sound like your grandfather, but I really like geek gadgets and new technology most of the time. I just don't like 3D and the whole glasses thing. I know some people really love it and I get the feeling that they are seeing it differently than I am. For me, it is a distraction. But if you find the experience enjoyable, I say more power to you.

mike
mike

My thoughts exactly--it's a tired formulaic plot of a "soldier" "going native," and there's no way this movie can claim much by way of original screenplay. Great special effects, utterly predictable plot.

Bob the Brit
Bob the Brit

One critic described it as Dances with Smurfs.

MLScout
MLScout

In almost 40 years of togetherness, I think my husband and I have revisited the theater to see the same movie 3 or 4 times - mostly after telling someone else it was good and dragging them to it. After seeing the "flat" version of Avatar one weekend because we didn't want to spend more money, the following weekend we got up Saturday morning and almost simultaneously said, "Let's go see the 3D version!" We both absolutely loved it - both the story and the visual impact.

dadown
dadown

I don't go to see many movies, but I'm sure glad I spend the time and money to see this one (I brought my own food and drink to avoid the rip-off in-theater prices). While the plot was predictable, the alien world was so well done that it was very believable and make it easy to feel like you were participating in the adventure instead of just being a casual observer. The CGI blended so well that it was hard to tell the difference. The 3D enhanced the experience without being excessively showy like some are, so DVD viewing just won't compare.

M.Smith
M.Smith

As most of you can imagine, my anticipation to see Avatar was out of this world. A sci-fi Cameron movie? in 3-D? and in IMAX? You've got to be kidding. I couldn't wait to go. I took my wife and three of our kids to dinner and headed to the theater, having already bought our $15 tickets online ($75 total!). We got there just as the initial previews were starting. The only seats left were in the front row. We sat in the center of the front row. After putting on the glasses, I quickly realized that I couldn't see the whole screen without moving my head side to side. I also had to nod up and down to see the top and bottom of the screen. Once the movie got going and the 3-D effect started happening, I got a sick feeling in my stomach. I hoped that it would go away. It didn't. As more and more of the action whizzed by, I got sicker and sicker. My head started pounding. Not wanting to throw-up in front of a theater full of people, I excused myself. It took 10-15 minutes for me to start feeling better out in the hall. I stepped back inside the theater, only to start feeling sick again. I left half-way through the movie and didn't return. I received a pass for a future movie. Maybe I'll go back to see the 2-D regular version one day.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm no longer moved by CGI, 3D, or other visual effects. Everything I've heard confirms my suspicion that I've seen or read the story many times before. New frosting on the same old yellow cake.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Did you walk in -- with a dare that you would walk out? Do you do this only with film?

dogknees
dogknees

My point is that this was inconsistent. I'm looking for a completely immersive experience. In the real world, I choose where to focus my gaze, and the distance at which I focus. When the director forces me to look at something at a certain distance, I dont' like it. It only happened in a few spots in the movie, which is why it threw me. I was looking at the background and it suddenly blurred out for a few seconds. I know it's a normal part of film-making, but we're looking at a revolution here. Out with the old ideas that worked in 2D, in with some new concepts. As for creating it in CGI, it's relatively straightforward to modify a renderer to blur things based on distance. It's even been an option in POVRAY (popular ray-tracing renderer) for 10 years or more. It just chews up more time/cycles.

bckerr
bckerr

Considering the brain "is" a biologic cloud computer, I guess we are all organizing our D&D collections.

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

Not too dissimilar to the recent Bruce Willis movie 'Surrogates' really. Except for being alien life forms and not robots.

jfuller05
jfuller05

you're right, the Star Wars saga is very good, but I have to say that I think the LOTR trilogy was done well to be based on a book. The books are better, but the movies were done well in my opinion.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Star Wars? Star Trek? The Thing? The Blob? Invasion of the Body Snatchers? How about Titan AE? How about Avatar, itself? I'll grant that most fantasy movies are, in one way or another, based on a novel or short story, but I still say that most Sci-Fi movies (and I have to include the ones on the SyFy Channel) are rarely based on existing novels. Even the Arthurian movie on not too long ago was based on legends, not on any single existing story.

Jindicator
Jindicator

I've seen the movie in all 3 formats: 3D, 2D and IMAX 3D (in that order). Never found myself ducking because by 3D standards this movie is pretty tame (typically, there is always the knife or some other pointy object that inevitably comes flying out at you but not in this movie). Anyways, I guess I don't get distracted that much by things floating around so I thought the movie was the best one I had seen in 2009. For being 3 hrs long, the movie keeps on a good pace (even after watching it 3 times. Although there are some things that drove me nuts such as an unimaginative naming of the precious metal. I definitely agree that the storyline was very similar to a cross between Fern Gully and Dances with Wolves though. My preference for the movie format was IMAX 3D, 3D, and then 2D. Even going from 3D to IMAX 3D there is a definite jump in 3D immersion. Things pop out at you better and the sound is better.

info
info

But that's why they didn't like moving pictures or colour, they felt it distracted them from the story. I just see it as another step towards something like the Star Trek Holodeck... It's sort of like saying you don't use a GUI because it detracts from the 'experience' of the operating system, a CLI... ;) And oddly enough, I'm NOT a big fan of geek gadgets or new technology, for newness' sake. But if it's usefull...

shawn.chambers
shawn.chambers

I can't get enough of this movie! I love the part about taming a dragon and learning to fly. I know it's crazy but I have seen it 8 times now.

DABowers
DABowers

My wife was immediately sick. I felt queasy a couple of times, but found myself feeling bad all day after leaving the movie. I would love to see it again from further back. My wife . . . I couldn't drag her back in.

QA_In_Vegas
QA_In_Vegas

Avatar is NOT all about 3D. Not even close. Don't take one posters word as a reason to miss out on a landmark film. I've seen the movie in 2D and then in 3D. And I actually preferred the 2D but that may be because the 3D just seemed to blur some of the fastest moving scenes. So see it in IMAX 3D, or 3D, or 2D...but do yourself a happy treat and enjoy the adventure (even if yes, its a story we've seen before, but then so was Star Wars). You'll be glad you did.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...Dances with Aliens. They already had Sigourney Weaver; casting Kevin Costner would have been the cherry on top. Visually, it is a very impressive film, and I'm glad I saw it in the theater. You can definitely tell the difference between this and other CGI-heavy films. From a story perspective, though, this was the plot equivalent of a Salisbury Steak TV dinner. You know what you're getting & good enough to get you by without much complaint, but not all that fulfilling and leaving you wishing you had something else afterwards. I find it ironic that Cameron is up against his ex for best director and best picture. I won't watch the telecast, but I may DVR it, just to see them both fake smiles when the nominations are read, and one or the other wins the award.

darpoke
darpoke

Bruce Lee was way too rock-hard to wear pyjamas at all. I suppose by going commando he could have been acknowledging Chuck Norris in return... :-)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

the Matrix gets plugged into ME. Kids wear Superman pajamas. Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas.

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

You don't get plugged into the Matrix at night? :p

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

Some are more in the clouds than others. ;)

darpoke
darpoke

is when the protagonist, Manfred Macx, transfers his consciousness to a distributed intelligence manifested as a flock of pigeons in Accelerando by Charles Stross. It's his way of taking a holiday, although it lasts longer than it ought to. One of the best extrapolations I've ever read that starts with near current-day and just throws you forward, decade on decade, to completely unrecognisable societies, economies and technology. Just fantastic.

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

I am not a big SF reader, or even watcher. Man, I don't think I have seen Quantum Leap since I was 16. :p

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Or Anne McCaffrey's 'Ship Who Sang' series. Or 'Second Life'. Or some aspects of 'The Matrix'. Maybe the reason there's little hubbub about the avatar concept itself is 'cause it's a very old concept, at least in science fiction. Edited - Switching to fantasy, Terry Pratchett's Granny Weatherwax once transferred her consciousness to a swarm of bees. Now that's not your run-of-the-mill avatar.

jfuller05
jfuller05

because there are many, that I know of, that think science fiction and fantasy are one genre, but I disagree with that assumption.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

since it's fantasy, not sci-fi. I'm old school enough to still draw a distinction. If we erase that line, we can toss in the entire Harry Potter series, the Twilight series, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and too many more for me to try remembering this close to quitting time.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Waltrip Tower, Turn 3, Section HH, Row 45, Seats 19 and 20 on the aisle. Also Darlington, Brasington Tower, Turn 1, Section I, Row 8, Seats 21 and 22.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Ton Loc had the song of the year in that movie: ~/* If I'm gonna eat somebody...it might as well be you! ~/*

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Where's your sense of adventure? :^0

jfuller05
jfuller05

when a friend asked me what Avatar was like I said, "It's Ferngully, on steroids."

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I don't enjoy sitting in a dark theater wiht uncomfortable seats and a sticky floor, unable to prop my feet up, seated beside some guy who won't shut up, nursing an overpriced watered down drink, wishing I could turn the blasting volume down, or pause it while I pee. I don't have any problem suspending my disbelief. I doubt I would have any problem doing it with 'Avatar'. But I'm not going to pay to see a story I've already seen several times in other forms. (Kinda like an iPad :D ) You might not enjoy a trip to the race track. I'm not going to call you unadventurous or stand-offish just because we don't enjoy the same forms of entertainment.

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

I am glad Avatar did not have the singing. :p I did enjoy the movie Fern Gully over all though. We actually went to the Fern Gully rain forest in Jamaica on our first cruise. :D

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

It was named "Fern Gully" back then.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Stand-offish. Now I know where he gets it. And if you can't suspend disbelief for even a couple of hours, you truly don't have any sense of adventure. I respect you for your service, but you're not an artilleryman any more. Loosen up and live. Have fun for once. Go see a movie. I hear Avatar is well worth the watching if you go with a sense of fun in mind.

QA_In_Vegas
QA_In_Vegas

How did you get that sitting in a theater is the adventure? Umm...there's a big screen at the front...watch what happens on there, its pretty cool!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I wish I'd known that before I wasted 21 years in Army Artillery :D

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I wasn't trying to use Al's words to defend either Cameron or Moore. I was just reminded of his words; that's all. While it is possible to present ideas contrary to one's own without being a hypocrite, I don't think most of Moore's work or this particular Cameron piece qualify.

jfuller05
jfuller05

It's like Michael Moore being an advocate of conservation/moderation, when he's probably 400+ pounds! Why should I take this guy seriously? *edit for wording

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...is that he'll bring up problems, but never offer any semblance of an idea of how to combat them. Even if I thought the ideas were horrifically bad, I'd at least respect the effort in proposing a solution. In defense of Moore, in comparison to Cameron, Moore at least uses art house distributors when he's attacking the wealthy. (of course, that may be like driving a Cadillac Escalade trimmed to the T while bemoaning the indulgence of an Aston Martin). I get that railing against the rich & powerful is a time honored tradition in ensuring that a story appeals to a larger base. But c'mon, at least have the integrity to either live by your words, or show the flip side of things (I work for a large firm in the financial markets that made a substantial contribution to relief efforts in Haiti and Chile...not all big firms are necessarily bad).

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...that Weird Al is trying to be funny/satirical. Cameron seems as though he is trying to make a serious point; which just falls flat due to the hypocrisy. Sort of like the automakers crying poor the minute they stepped off of the private jets behind their private security details, or Rush Limbaugh spouting off against drug dealers/users. Puhleeze! Don't get me wrong, I think Cameron is a fantastic director, and has a strong creative vision (I loathed Titanic, but will admit that for what it was, it was well done). I just don't like the fact he seems to want to have it both ways (big corps bad...but big money from big corps good). That, or maybe I am just too hard on people! ;)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

When asked how, as a vegetarian, he could sing songs about Spam and bologna and other meat products. He said something to the extent that he sings about ax murders and stomping weasels too; that doesn't mean he's going out and commit those acts.

highlander718
highlander718

not to jump over the horse, but it is a little bit like that man, what's his name ... Michael Moore (or something like that) making good millions out of his activist movies.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...that Cameron continually rails against all things corporate and rich; and yet, without those, his movies would have never been made (except maybe the undersea Titanic exploration). The marines probably needed gas masks because the odor of hypocrisy was far too strong on Pandora! ;)

highlander718
highlander718

I do not normaly go to cinemas, but I went to see this one in 3D, as all my colleagues and friends were so hype about it. OK, the 3D was impressive, and some views and sceneries were fantastic. The plot was absolutely sub-par and the political messages sprayed all around ...please... they were beyond embarasing - even for a liberal :-)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

We must make trouble for Moose and Squirrel!" Now I'd watch a couple of hours of that, and not that live action abomination somebody trotted out several years ago.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...but with the way both of these two films have received the Winston Wolf Popsicle Treatment, I'd be totally shocked if they go 0-fer in both best pic and best director; especially with all the pre-Oscar awards going to them. It would be funny, though! ;)

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]...I may DVR it, just to see them both fake smiles when the nominations are read, and one or the other wins the award.[/i] ...when neither wins.

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