Ph.D. Octopus

Politics, media, music, capitalism, scholarship, and ephemera since 2010

Thoughts on Avatar

with 4 comments

Just saw Avatar in IMAX 3-D. Very cool, though the story and dialogue were as awful as critics say. I suppose there’s a lot for a historian to say about the image of the “noble savage,” and the “othering” of natives, but it’s probably already been said elsewhere, and I really don’t think Avatar offers much sophisticated commentary on anything. If you really want interesting examples of using “the other” to examine ourselves, check out Montesquieu’s Persian Letters, or its more recent incarnation, Borat. Anyway, here are five of my other initial reactions to Avatar:

1) Though the dialogue was generally atrocious, the villain got to deliver the best lines. Almost made you wanna root for him.

2) IMAX 3-D magnifies actors’ facial blemishes. You can see covered up zits on the big screen fairly clearly.

3) Ok, one little piece of social commentary. According to Avatar, all the humans have to offer the people of Pandora are “blue jeans and light beer.” First of all, blue jeans are pretty cool. Been wearing them my whole life. Second, why not regular beer? And third, what about books? And pastrami? And baseball? I’m just saying, our civilization isn’t all bad. Reminds me of the famous Life of Brian bit, “What have the Romans ever done for us?”

4) When watching the movie, you can picture James Cameron behind the camera of each scene, saying to himself “I’m fucking awesome!” This is not a pleasant thought.

5) Michelle Rodriguez is kind of sexy. Especially in 3-D.


Written by David Weinfeld

February 3, 2010 at 23:01

Posted in film, Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. Or…you could look at it from the perspective as to What Seems to be the Aggregate of the (You put in your preferred word here) Legacy, which seems to be nuclear weapons and fear of and eventual additional use of, from two World Wars to the Cold War (and all the garbage that came with that) to the what seems to be the new Never Ending Story that is 21st Century Terrorism (and/or the perceived threat of) pollution orbiting the Earth, continents of garbage floating throughout the ocean, ice caps melting, the air you breath in a city, blah blah blah…again, if you look at what appears to be the likely aggregate of what humans have done to this planet, the Human Legacy if you will, and then Avatar (I don’t if you realized this or not) but the movie takes place in another solar system so (I’ll paraphrase the story) the people have now gone elsewhere to do what’s been done to Earth…everything you accused Avatar of doing, you basically just out did yourself with your post.

    Smokey J

    February 3, 2010 at 23:39

  2. This is what always happens. A movie like Avatar comes out or, say, Thomas Pynchon writes a book and the Political Right hates it and blah blah blah, but then the Intellectual Left (for reasons that seem deeply out of some need to prove something) attacks and distances and blah blah blah’s their own. It’s a James Cameron film. It took eights years of nonstop work to make and God knows how much money. Isn’t that enough of achievement for now? That it’s doing so well despite it’s heavy overtones within this Political Brainscape. Isn’t OK that it isn’t perfect? That it is a Hollywood Blockbuster that has the marine choosing the freaks (not the noble savage) but the freaks (think of that way) over his Marine Core. Isn’t that really the message? Isn’t the idea about the struggle of the main character and whether or not the story is exquisite or the dialogue refined or whatever, just the fact that a movie like this could be made, was made, and is doing so well, can’t that be fine? Really? Avatar is a James Cameron Hollywood Blockbuster – that’s fucking amazing.

    Smokey J

    February 3, 2010 at 23:51

  3. Michelle Rodriguez was born to be in a James Cameron movie.

    Dave Hughes

    February 4, 2010 at 01:08

  4. […] doing any damage to the movie. And of course, there’s James Cameron’s Avatar: very visually impressive, though I doubt all 162 minutes were […]

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