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Old December 27 2009, 12:13 AM   #76
USS KG5
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

The human race is often pretty shitty to each other, there are no out-and-out good guys in history or in the present.
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Old December 27 2009, 12:21 AM   #77
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

USS KG5 wrote: View Post
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Naturally. But I don't think one can claim that the film is rejecting or not advocating a new age-type viewpoint because it's rational in that universe.
Well I'd object to the term "new age" in that context. Again the point has sort of been made by yourself that the Na'Vi really CAN talk to Ey'Wa and they really CAN commune with trees, which is a very different kind of thing to many "new age" practitioners, who lets face it are often massive wankers, to use an Eglish phrase.
Yeah, but this is the sort of thing you'd expect in a new age fantasy, no? That's the essence of my point, really. Of course new agers can't really talk to the whales via whalesong, but damn it, if they're writing their own fantasies they might literalise their mystical assumptions like that. Hey, maybe extraterrestials speak to whales with their space probes (to reference this other movie.)

But yeah, I guess I'll leave 'at be.
I don't think Avatar has an agenda in the same way as, for example, Farenheit 9/11. It clearly has a MESSAGE about environmentalism but I think agenda really is thoroughly the wrong word.
You may be right there. I'm not trying to suggest Avatar's message is a bad one, anyway, but I think we can all agree there is a message.

You see a villain I see a professional US soldier, now it is quite possible that it is merely a matter of perspective.
I don't see those as an either/or. He's a professional and he' also a villain. He's pretty much the archetype of the evil American general, much like America getting stymied in a jungle war Quadritch seems to have shades of Vietnam in him (unsurprising, given this is Cameron we're talking about).

I mean, he's basically rather cartoonish in his villainy. I thought he was a lot of fun but I do find it sort of perplexing anyone would find him deep at all.
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Old December 27 2009, 03:46 PM   #78
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

Kegg wrote: View Post
I mean, he's basically rather cartoonish in his villainy. I thought he was a lot of fun but I do find it sort of perplexing anyone would find him deep at all.
I would not go as far as to say I found him deep, merely more interesting as a character than a lot of similar characters in other movies.
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Old December 27 2009, 03:54 PM   #79
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

Haven't seen the movie yet, but the presumption that yet another tiresome screed harping on white guilt is so offensive needs justification. Once you've mentioned Dances with Wolves, Little Big Man, Soldier Blue, some versions of Pocahontas, you've already mentioned most all of this supposedly vast catalog of insults to White People. Doesn't this thread rather confuse a pin prick with a decapitation?

Charges of racism rather get lost in that nonsense, I think. Is it more the Magic Negro trope in reverse? Or, Role Models For White People?
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Old December 27 2009, 04:03 PM   #80
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

stj wrote: View Post
Haven't seen the movie yet, but the presumption that yet another tiresome screed harping on white guilt is so offensive needs justification. Once you've mentioned Dances with Wolves, Little Big Man, Soldier Blue, some versions of Pocahontas, you've already mentioned most all of this supposedly vast catalog of insults to White People. Doesn't this thread rather confuse a pin prick with a decapitation?

Charges of racism rather get lost in that nonsense, I think. Is it more the Magic Negro trope in reverse? Or, Role Models For White People?
If you've not seen the movie then I suggest you do.... every one of these turds when they left the movie theatre enjoyed the movie... it was not until their analytical mind got a hold of what they saw when they convinced themselves they didn't like it...
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Old December 27 2009, 04:29 PM   #81
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

Kegg wrote: View Post
Hell, District 9, which now that we have this movie to compare it to, was initially slammed by lots of kneejerks because of all sorts of simplistic and "racist" overtones in in. Funny enough, now I'm seeing tons of people holding up District 9 as the "right way" to do it compared to Avatar.

"LOL."
I never slammed it as that. The only racist overtone I wasn't comfortable with, really, was the evil Nigerian flesh-eaters. You know what? Still not cool with that.
I didn't think it was out of place. In Tanzania, where an extraordinary number of albinos are born every year, albinos get hunted and eaten because people believe their body parts have special powers. Children are more at risk because they're easier to hunt down. So if people do that with human children, it stands to reason that they would have even less scruples about doing that with aliens that have very little in common with them. I'm not sure how widespread this belief about albinos is in Africa, but to me the 'alien bodyparts have medicinal effects' thing made sense in that context.
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Old December 27 2009, 04:53 PM   #82
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

You mean all Nigerians aren't evil, flesh eating gangsters!?!

The movies lied to me again.
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Old December 27 2009, 05:08 PM   #83
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

stj wrote: View Post
Haven't seen the movie yet, but the presumption that yet another tiresome screed harping on white guilt is so offensive needs justification. Once you've mentioned Dances with Wolves, Little Big Man, Soldier Blue, some versions of Pocahontas, you've already mentioned most all of this supposedly vast catalog of insults to White People.
It's not a catalogue of insults, as the article quoted by the OP rather appropriately pointed out. They're white fantasies in reaction to the injustices perpetuated upon other races.

Is it more the Magic Negro trope in reverse?
More of a corrollary. They're both tropes which deal with racism from a fantastical, white perspective.
T'Baio wrote: View Post
You mean all Nigerians aren't evil, flesh eating gangsters!?!

The movies lied to me again.
Birth of a Nation lied to you too, but a glib quote isn't much of comeback. The Nigerians were rather indelicately handled as simplistic villain-types - though to be fair, District 9 had pretty much the same attitude towards the evil corporation, so this mostly reflects the film's didacticism.
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Old December 27 2009, 09:30 PM   #84
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

The film is a sci-fi moral fable in the mode of classic Twilight Zone episodes, so didacticism doesn't feel out of place; I think my real problem with Nigerians is that they were foreigners, and that seemed to tacitly accept the anti-immigrant, xenophobic attitude towards other African ethnicities that we've seen growing in South Africa over the last fifteen years, with deadly demonstration in the 2008 riots. I don't know how much of the film might have been in the can already at that point, but it left a vague sense of unease nonetheless. It's easy to attack an obviously Afrikaner, white-privilege organization like MNU and all the apartheid implications it carries; it would have been bolder to speak against the popular scapegoating of African immigrants for South Africa's high crime rates instead of pandering to the belief. Oh well.

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Old December 27 2009, 09:45 PM   #85
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

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I think my real problem with Nigerians is that they were foreigners, and that seemed to tacitly accept the anti-immigrant, xenophobic attitude towards other African ethnicities that we've seen growing in South Africa over the last fifteen years,
Quite. Ironically there's a similar attitude towards Nigerians specifically here (with similar crime attitudes), which is why I may have particularly taken objection with it, consciously or otherwise.

Besides, through our protagonist, District 9 gives the privileged Afrikaners something it doesn't give the Nigerians: A heart. der Merwe is far from a hero, but he's ultimately a likeable, sympathetic guy when the cards are down and the action sequences up the ante.
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Old December 27 2009, 10:10 PM   #86
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

As a Nigerian when they popped up in District 9, your ears kind of perk up in shock and you shrink in your seat a bit in embarrassment. That said, I figure that's how Russians, Afghan's, Chinese etc, etc have felt over and over again in most American movies. Most action movies need a bad guy and they're often exaggerated. I don't personally know any cannibals or flesh eaters, but I don't doubt it probably goes on in some dark corners of the country.

In truth I was just glad Blomkamp got the names and accents right for the majority of Nigerians in District 9, there was definitely a greater effort made than say in Wolverine, where "Lagos", was definitely not Lagos, and the Nigerians were obviously not Nigerians.

Shame to know that Nigeria's still a hell-hole in the Avatar universes future.

Ahem. To address the thread's original question though; it's just a fantasy that happens to be told with a white man as a lead actor. As a black comic book artist, I've written similar stories from a black characters point of view. The "white man atoning for his sins via racial integration" theme is only a theme because so many directors working in Hollywood happen to be white when.
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Old December 27 2009, 11:07 PM   #87
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

dragunzng wrote: View Post
In truth I was just glad Blomkamp got the names and accents right for the majority of Nigerians in District 9, there was definitely a greater effort made than say in Wolverine, where "Lagos", was definitely not Lagos, and the Nigerians were obviously not Nigerians.
Interesting, because I believe that movie (which I did not see) was done by the same guy who did the South African picture Tsotsi, which I, in all my total ignorance of whatever the hell it is like in Africa, thought was rather excellent.
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Old December 28 2009, 02:43 AM   #88
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

Kegg wrote: View Post
dragunzng wrote: View Post
In truth I was just glad Blomkamp got the names and accents right for the majority of Nigerians in District 9, there was definitely a greater effort made than say in Wolverine, where "Lagos", was definitely not Lagos, and the Nigerians were obviously not Nigerians.
Interesting, because I believe that movie (which I did not see) was done by the same guy who did the South African picture Tsotsi, which I, in all my total ignorance of whatever the hell it is like in Africa, thought was rather excellent.
I agree that Tsotsi was a fantastic movie. When Gavin Hood, the director of that movie, was slated to helm Wolverine, I thought for sure it had a chance of being good. Then I saw Wolverine, and I was clearly wrong.
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Old December 28 2009, 02:47 AM   #89
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

Trent Roman wrote: View Post
The film is a sci-fi moral fable in the mode of classic Twilight Zone episodes, so didacticism doesn't feel out of place; I think my real problem with Nigerians is that they were foreigners, and that seemed to tacitly accept the anti-immigrant, xenophobic attitude towards other African ethnicities that we've seen growing in South Africa over the last fifteen years, with deadly demonstration in the 2008 riots. I don't know how much of the film might have been in the can already at that point, but it left a vague sense of unease nonetheless. It's easy to attack an obviously Afrikaner, white-privilege organization like MNU and all the apartheid implications it carries; it would have been bolder to speak against the popular scapegoating of African immigrants for South Africa's high crime rates instead of pandering to the belief. Oh well.

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When I tried to bring up this very point at a certain blog about District 9, I got my ass handed to me in a bloody plastic bag-10 seconds flat(the name I posted under is Neville A. Ross, my real name.)

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If you've not seen the movie then I suggest you do.... every one of these turds when they left the movie theatre enjoyed the movie... it was not until their analytical mind got a hold of what they saw when they convinced themselves they didn't like it...
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Old December 28 2009, 03:56 AM   #90
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

Kegg wrote: View Post
It's not a catalogue of insults, as the article quoted by the OP rather appropriately pointed out. They're white fantasies in reaction to the injustices perpetuated upon other races.
Well, the OP quote said "But Avatar is just the latest scifi rehash of an old white guilt fantasy." Sure seems like it thinks white guilt is lame, as in old and tired. The numerous objections that this poster and that don't feel any white guilt (and are offended they should be expected to) seem to be regarded as pertinent comments, too.

The point remains, I think, that white guilt fantasies are not common enough to be called cliches. The otherwise dramatically pointless Black Friend whose presence validates the nonracism of the Hero is a cliche.

Following the link, it is amusing to note that the article cites Dune, a novel, but omits Lawrence of Arabia, which is much more likely to be an influence on a filmmaker.

Just saw District 9 last Thursday. The Nigerians are indeed so ludicrous as to be repulsive. They are essentially the only African characters in the movie, but even they are gratuitous, save for nonsense plot mechanics. (As in, they show up to interfere with Wikus' recapture by the authorities.) But the basic story has a white antihero reluctantly helping an alien hero. But the story has the "tragic" ending of van der Merwe becoming alien. Which means the thuggish, technologically illiterate aliens who can't use their own mother ship. District 9 is quite mixed on its racial subtexts, which is to be expected to a novice who has less conscious control of his material.
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