1. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    Clumsy – Avatar?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by DragonGrim, Jan 4, 2010.

    I just watched the movie Avatar today. I was knocked over by the special effects, and the story engaged me, but one thing really seems amateurish, and I could not easily get past it.

    It is something that should interest writers because it deals with infusing one’s ideas into the story. Many people want to comment on the society they live in, even if they are writing about another world. Handling social commentary can be tricky, as demonstrated by the writers who crafted the script for Avatar – they handled it clumsily.

    I will try to explain the situation for those who have not seen the movie – and I’ll try not to spoil it. Basically, we have the human race on an alien planet ruining the landscape in search of a precious metal. The humans kind of piss off the natives, and so the blue people gather their tribes and are ready to take out the human settlement.

    The general (or whoever this guy is who is commanding the marines) makes this statement as he readies his men to fight off the incoming natives – it may not be word for word. “We must make a preemptive strike. We will fight terror with terror.”

    What? It is obviously a reference to U.S. military conduct, but how does it make sense in the context of the story. Far better words could have been chosen. The writers sacrificed an opportunity to write good dialogue, and instead thought that their “message” was more important than the story.

    What say you? What do you think about social commentary, and how much, or should it, take precedence over the story?
     
  2. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    The script was written by James Cameron. He intended to make a social commentary by using those words: "Our survival relies on pre-emptive action. We will fight terror with terror." I don't think it's a matter of him being amateurish but rather his greater desire to make a specific point (some might consider it liberal propaganda) about the way the U.S. has waged war against terrorism by conducting preemptive strikes in Irag & Afghanistan.

    From an interview:

     
  3. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I found a lot of the script quite amateurish, which was a shame as it appeared that they though great FX would paper over the cracks. The result took the shine off what could have been monumental. For example, the hero avatar's "rousing" battle speech before the film's climax was as wet, cliché and flaccid as they come. I just thought is that the best they can do? It is with no insult at all intended that I say that many members of this site could have written it much better. Simply having watched Braveheart before hand would surely have improved this particular speech.
     
  4. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Now I'm just imagining the same speech in that god-awful Mel Gibson Scottish accent... It's fantastic!
     
  5. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's fine to want to make a specific point, but it shouldn't be that obvious.
     
  6. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    I agree totally. The movie could have been more than a good movie – it could have been a great movie – if the dialogue had been interesting.

    Edit: and the climax would need to be more dramatic, imo
     
  7. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I also wasn't so keen on the smaltzy and very explicit moralising - I'd have preferred to have been allowed to make my own mind up as to the morality of certain pro and antagonists, rather than having been force fed. But this par for the course with big budget Hollywood. I can't complain overly as this is what you get if you go to see blockbusters. No one to blaim except myself. Still, great FX as stated.
     
  8. rory
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    rory Contributing Member

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    I like to have a touch of social commentary in any of the media I view. I bet there are few stories told today that lack some form of this "propaganda." It shows how influenced everyone is by the world around them, even though we try to escape it by setting our stories in far off worlds and distant times.

    The precedence it take over the story being told depends on the aim of the creator. Do they want to drive the point home or do they want to entertain? Do they want to leave the audience thinking and questioning the world they live in, or day dreaming and waiting anxiously for a sequel? Each to his own.

    My own personal preference leans toward movies with a hint of "THINGS WILL GO HORRIBLY WRONG IF YOU DON'T GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER NOW!!" I apply it to myself, and it makes me want to be better than before. This goes along with my embarrassing new habit of browsing the 'self-help' section at the book store. :p
     
  9. Forkfoot
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    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

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    Man, you're all trippin'. That movie was absolutely perfect, from beginning to end, and could not be improved upon in any way, shape or form. I mean, like, objectively, it's perfect, not just my opinion. Avatar is the greatest thing that has ever happened to human beings, period. And this includes opposable thumbs. And periods.
     
  10. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    False. Correct answer was Skinny Puppy. Come back next week, folks.

    EDIT: Alright, so this isn't spam. Skinny Poppy IS the greatest band on God's green earth but that isn't the point.

    James Cameron can moralize all he wants but in the end, let us remember: this is NOT a movie about helping the nine-feet tall cat people save the rain forest from Blackwater, it is a movie about how awesome modern special effects combined with 3-D are.
     
  11. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Is it just me, or does Avatar = Pochahontas in Space?
     
  12. Lavarian
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    Lavarian Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's what I heard.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    :eek:Ha! That’s hilarious!:D
     
  14. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, for the most part it was. I saw the script problems, but they didn't seem that terrible. I tend to focus on the things the filmmakers did right when I'm watching a movie, anyway. The acting was good and the visuals were fantastic.
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Well, Pocohontas is historically inaccurate. Egregiously so.
    Avatar is entirely fictional.

    As for similarities in storyline, members of this site should know better. Any story will appear similar to other stories at some level.
     
  16. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Of course I do know better, which is why I didn't see it as a problem. I'm just acknowledging that the paralell exists.
     
  17. Irish87
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    Irish87 Contributing Member

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    I'm going to make this as simple as possible: I hated everything about the movie.

    There... I'm done... I promise I'm not going to rant... I really should stop abusing these ellipses. God I hate James Cameron.
     
  18. SurrealOdyssey
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    SurrealOdyssey Member

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    It's one of those movies that shouldn't be taken too seriously. It's an enjoyable action flick- there's impressive special effects, characters to cheer for and characters to boo, and a story with a bit of social relevance. The pure popcorn entertainment takes precedence over social commentary in a film like this, with the special effects and action scenes being the main thing the filmmakers want you to notice above anything else.
     
  19. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    But it's been hyped by more than one critic as one of, if not the best and most significant films of the year. Beyond that, I dislike the defense that it's on the part of the viewer to 'turn off their brain' or accept a substandard quality in plot or characterisation because a film's primary aim is action or special effects.
     
  20. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Well, it probably is the most significant movie of the year, objectively speaking. It pushed the technological limits of cinema further than has been done before in terms of 3D, and given that 3D is THE big thing of 2010 (check out the CES coverage so far, its 3D everything), it's only natural that Avatar is being heralded as the first milestone of this new 3D craze.

    Quality-wise, it was entertaining enough, and certainly a great deal more intelligent than Transformers was, and really, for a James Cameron movie, I thought its IQ was unexpectedly high. Yes, it lay on its message a little thick and the story was perhaps elementary, but the acting was far from painful and its not like the script itself was of a poor quality, it was just a little too familiar.

    I think to call it one of the best movies of 2009 is a bit of a stretch, but objectively at least, it has its merits.
     
  21. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    So many people just overhyped this movie. Myself i had no expectartions and when i saw it on Vmax it blew me away. Being a JC movie i never expected much in the way of plot and story, just something that was more entertaining than the average.

    What surprised me was that it got a round of aplause from those in the cinema (almost everyone) which i have never expierenced before. A fun movie to watch esp in 3D, but nothing to really try and pull the brain.
     
  22. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    I should had clarified, my comments were in response to the idea in general that a viewer shouldn't criticize an action/effects heavy movie for its plot, and not criticism of Avatar itself. I haven't seen Avatar yet, the trailers I've seen haven't really caught my interest, but I'm thinking of seeing it based on what I've heard.
     
  23. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    The technical aspects of the movie really are the most important part of this movie. I don't think the writing was nearly as bad as anyone things it is. We're just noticing the flaws in it a bit more because of the hype. It's interesting how people so often place movies on one end of the spectrum or the other in terms of being a smart movie or a no-thinking popcorn movie, rather than somewhere in between. Sure, the dialogue has its problems, but there are much bigger stinkers out there. The performances won't be winning any awards, but they are good. And nobody can deny that it is visually awesome.
     
  24. Carmina
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    Carmina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I finally saw it last night. It is the most beautiful movie I have seen. It was about the visuals. This movie was not about the writing. There are several places where I cringed and wanted to get my red pen and rewrite something for them. The story was Dances with Wolves mixed with Fern Gully and set in space. It lacked realistic characters: Scarface and Mr. Corporate were flat and just evil, the Helicopter pilot was just a pilot and then all of a sudden picked a side with no development of her character to get there. I also didn't buy the ending. I've read history. I know what really happens to indigenous people when technologically more advanced people come to take over (look at the Native Americans). Cameron was trying to to make a beautiful movie, and also make a point. He is not the most subtle person on the planet in making that point. But I think that he succeeded in making a beautiful people.
     
  25. Yarnillah
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    Yarnillah Contributing Member

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    I saw avatar yesterday, and I liked it. But it was soooo predictable!!!! I knew exactly what happened before it even happened. It was a modern re-make of a cow-boys and indians western.
     

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