When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Dusty Ayres, Dec 24, 2009.

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  1. Michael Chris

    Michael Chris Admiral Admiral

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    Nothing wrong with imperialism that isn't negative.
     
  2. The Naughty List

    The Naughty List Working the Pole Moderator

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    You were just saying how they should have spent more time demonstrating how MNU was a multinational corporation, and now you're saying the simple offhand mention of its multinational status was an obvious and clumsy sledgehammer. Wouldn't it have been those things if they spent more time during the movie trying to drive home the comparison to real-life multinationals instead of just letting the audience figure it out for themselves?

    It would only be hypocrisy is 'Avatar' actually was anti-technology, but it's not, and I question how well the reviewer was paying attention if he thinks it was anti-technology considering the name and central plot of the film hinges on a rather spectacular piece of technology in the Avatar Program.

    Just because the bad guys of this film were more technologically advanced doesn't mean the tools they used were wrong or evil or anything more than just tools. That's like saying that 'Star Trek' taught us that technology was bad because of the Borg, while ignoring the fact that the Borg were themselves defeated by technology.

    The film is anti-destruction of the environment, but that and technological development are not necessarily mutually exclusive. In fact, technology can be used to help the environment just as much as it can be used to destroy it. It's all about how it's used and whether you recycle or replenish what you take away, not that technology itself is inherently bad.

    The Na'Vi fully understood the concept of the Avatars and never thought of them as an abomination or something magical. They were simply a tool to help the two sides learn about each other (when in the right hands).

    We see no indication of this during the film, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was revealed that Pandora's symbiotic lifeforms and ecosystem were itself a massive biotechnology experiment left to develop on its own. The USB hair, downloadable consciousnesses, and wireless connections between Eywa and all the lifeforms of the planet could essentially be looked at as technology of another form.
     
  3. firehawk12

    firehawk12 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    While the show is based on the hook of the avatar technology, the film ends with some magical mystical "spirit walk" process allows the dude to transcend his body and step into his Na'vi avatar.

    Whether their natural abilities is a form of technology might be a conversation to have, but the film as it is presented clearly privileges what we know as "natural" - up to the point where Avatar technology isn't even needed any more.
     
  4. Brit

    Brit Captain Captain

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    I wouldn't be surprised either, technology isn't just one ridged path. It can take a lot of forms and I too will not be surprised to find that when we get to see more, that the Na'vi have the superior technology.

    Brit
     
  5. The Naughty List

    The Naughty List Working the Pole Moderator

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    Presenting an alternative is still not "anti-technology" though, and the Avatar tech was still needed insofar as it gave Jake a body and a means of jacking into Eywa so his consciousness could be transferred from his human to his Na'vi brain.
     
  6. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I heard MNU and heard a variety of accents and saw the clips of all the foreigners and promptly forgot that they were mostly supposed to be South Africans. I didn't wonder why Wikus didn't call his parents or didn't call his local paper or call his lawyer because I didn't think of him as being a local. Not knowing Afrikaner accent, I just sort of blended the Afrikaners with miscellaneous white foreigners. Only the very specifically named "Nigerians" seemed to be Africans, but of course they too were foreigners in District 9, which seems to be somewhere near Johannesburg.

    In retrospect, they still seem all blended together, so now it seems they were all Afrikaners (aren't there white South Africans who aren't Afrikaners?) I've read that the head was a US national but none of them are distinct in my memory.

    I suppose the purpose behind calling it MNU is to distinguish it from the old apartheid regime. (In my case, it worked way too well.) I'm not sure how this contributes. But then, I find the whole thing very confused. Perhaps that's mainly because I got very confused, not the movie. But perhaps it's because the movie's confusion is contagious?
     
  7. firehawk12

    firehawk12 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    What about the whole unobtainium thing though? The main motivation for the humans is some need to extract this ore that the Na'vi a perfectly fine ignoring. In fact, it's not even clear that they would even have a use for this extremely rare and somehow useful resource.

    I don't know - if the movie ended with Jake remaining in the Avatar machine or the Na'vi keeping some of the technology (space ships, come on...), I might be more inclined to agree. But the message I got was that the only way Jake could be happy is if he gives it all up and embraces nature.

    And heck, even if you look at it as Jake being forced to choose between a technological solution to his paralysis - as offered to him by that Colonel guy (or whatever his rank was) and the "mystical" solution offered by the Na'vi, he forgoes "modern" medical treatment for a more natural cure.
     
  8. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^^^Jake foregoes the medical cure because he's fallen in love with Neytiri.
     
  9. Brit

    Brit Captain Captain

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    The assumption is that the "cure" for Jake is a natural one, that doesn't mean that it isn't some kind of technology, biological to be sure but still technology.

    Brit
     
  10. Lt. Trull

    Lt. Trull Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Your assuming that Eywa doesn't have a fix for that.
     
  11. firehawk12

    firehawk12 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, but given that all we know is what Cameron chose to tell us, I don't think you can be conclusive about the nature of Pandora without making assumptions.
     
  12. Myasishchev

    Myasishchev Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Oops, I deleted this pending looking at some more of the thread--but yeah, I'm assuming that the bacteria-ridden arboreals aren't able to heal spinal injuries.

    True, it's completely possible that Na'vi are able to regrow nervous tissue. That's a human problem. :)

    Although some discussion I was having in another thread about their nanotube skeletons--specifically nanotube cytotoxicity--suggests that a smashed bone might be even more deadly for a Na'vi than a human...
     
  13. Brit

    Brit Captain Captain

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    Very true, and we all have to take our assumption's with a grain of salt, because we don't know everything that Cameron does. What I think this does prove is that the plot may seem simple on first glance, it really isn't. We wouldn't have all these questions and extrapolations if it were all that simple.

    Brit
     
  14. barnaclelapse

    barnaclelapse Commodore Commodore

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    Stupid, stupid honkies.
     
  15. T'Baio

    T'Baio Admiral Admiral

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    I think we all know now that the answer to the thread topic is "when they stop making over a billion dollars." :lol:
     
  16. Hyperspace05

    Hyperspace05 Commodore Commodore

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    LOL indeed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2010
  17. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    On that day, affirmative action will finally be repealed.
     
  18. Lapis Exilis

    Lapis Exilis Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Several people in this thread are misunderstanding the concept of white guilt. It is not so much about the crimes of our ancestors as it is about the privilege we enjoy as a result of their crimes. Many white people will deny that they enjoy special privileges, but that is because whiteness is obscured by being the dominant norm. That is, we are not trained to see the actions, behaviors and benefits that accrue to our race as being a result of our race (even though they are) because we are not trained to see our race at all - which is another psychological benefit of being white.

    There's a lot more to this concept and it can be difficult to grasp - I still struggle with understanding it. But anyone who is interested can read this fairly good introduction:

    White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy MacIntosh
     
  19. The Comedian

    The Comedian Captain Captain

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    Who do we owe, and what do we owe them?
     
  20. firehawk12

    firehawk12 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You're probably much more forgiving than I am, because I just chalk it up to poor/lazy writing.

    The problem with SF is that very few people actually think about what they are writing - especially in film, where the emphasis is on generic action sequences and "money shots" more than plot.

    Maybe I'm wrong and there's some "Avatar bible" on Cameron's desk that explains everything about the universe that's about as detailed as the revered JMS Babylon 5 bible. But I somehow doubt it.
     
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