Author Topic: Avatar (3D)  (Read 23033 times)

philip918

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Re: Avatar (3D)
« Reply #140 on: December 29, 2009, 03:35:08 AM »
Listening to the /filmcast and they have Annalee Newitz from io9 talking about race in Avatar and she's made the astounding connection that Avatar has a lot of plot similarities to Dances With Wolves and (gasp!) the aliens in Avatar are a lot like Native Americans.

Then she goes on to say why not just make the film about the Na'vi fighting the Earthlings, which I think was mentioned earlier in this thread.  That could certainly offer the same spectacle, but a movie in which no one fundamentally changes is hardly ever very interesting.  We'd just see two intractable opposing forces with their set philosophies and goals fighting one another.

Also, she wants white people to stop making this story and make films from different racial perspectives.  Um, how about watching the million other films available made by people from all around the world, some of whom are even white?

There is certainly room for a lot of debate about race in film and, this film in particular, but she has failed to make remotely convincing arguments.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2009, 04:15:38 AM by philip918 »

enzobot24

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Re: Avatar (3D)
« Reply #141 on: December 29, 2009, 04:33:48 AM »
As to FLY's act question, I think the three acts in most movies are based on time--each should be roughly a third of the movie, so there are X minutes to accomplish whatever plot and character development requirements you have for that segment.

Traditional three act structure is actually 25% Act 1, 50% Act 2, 25% Act 3.

Act 1 begins the journey/conflict, Act 2 is where the meat of journey takes place, and Act 3 is were it all falls apart and/or a transformation occurs.
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FroHam X

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Re: Avatar (3D)
« Reply #142 on: December 29, 2009, 09:55:16 AM »
Listening to the /filmcast and they have Annalee Newitz from io9 talking about race in Avatar and she's made the astounding connection that Avatar has a lot of plot similarities to Dances With Wolves and (gasp!) the aliens in Avatar are a lot like Native Americans.

Then she goes on to say why not just make the film about the Na'vi fighting the Earthlings, which I think was mentioned earlier in this thread.  That could certainly offer the same spectacle, but a movie in which no one fundamentally changes is hardly ever very interesting.  We'd just see two intractable opposing forces with their set philosophies and goals fighting one another.

Also, she wants white people to stop making this story and make films from different racial perspectives.  Um, how about watching the million other films available made by people from all around the world, some of whom are even white?

There is certainly room for a lot of debate about race in film and, this film in particular, but she has failed to make remotely convincing arguments.

I think you completely missed her point. She never made the Dances with Wolves connection a big deal, just bringing it up as a means to prove her point. And why does the idea of having the film centre on the Na'avi mean that we can't have a Na'avi character who doesn't grow or change? Just for shits'n'giggles here's one idea:

Young Na'avi woman who, despite being a strong warrior, is expected to be other things for her tribe. She forms a bond with an Avatar human and through him learns of the plans to destroy all of her people. She attempts to warn her tribe, but they don't hear her out. When a preliminary attack is staged by the humans and the Na'avi see what is truly going on she is outcast for her involvement with the Avatar man. In her isolation she eventually is able to devise a method of beating the humans. She figures out how to ride that red dragon, and basically takes the position Worthington took in the third act of the movie. In fact, the final battle could be nearly the same as it is now and it would have different meaning.

Now don't take my idae as me thinking that it's better than what was in the movie.I'm just offering and idea as to how a story that fit in the same general place and timeline could be interesting from the Na'avi perspective. If you think that a Na'avi focus would mean a character that doesn't develop then you must think less of the writing of those characters than even I do.

And I'm pretty sure she wasn't arguing that the films she wants to see aren't being made. It's that prominent films are not made with other points of view for the most part. She wants to see Hollywood start making films that offer a perspective regarding race relations that isn't always from the angle of white guilt. It's an argument, and you have the right to disagree of course, but I do think she gets her points across rather well.
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philip918

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Re: Avatar (3D)
« Reply #143 on: December 29, 2009, 01:47:44 PM »
Sorry, but I did not miss her point at all, I just thought it was poorly argued and fairly tenuous.  I pretty strongly agreed with the other guest that Sully first and foremost represents a universal desire to explore, learn and discover new things: be they places, cultures or philosophies.  I also agree that deep down most people want to be a hero, to do great things and be someone people admire.  I think that's also pretty universal.  I see that the choice of the white guy to be that hero is what's at the center of this argument.  Call me cynical, but I think that's just what the studio and Cameron think will get the most butts in the seats.

Overall, I just think you can show a white person coming to respect another culture (even ones that specifically are or represent peoples that were previously/currently conquered, enslaved, embattled, etc.) without ascribing it to white guilt.  I just think it's much more about ideas than race.

That said, I really like your idea for how the story could have played out differently.

Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Avatar (3D)
« Reply #144 on: December 29, 2009, 02:02:38 PM »
The ending battle is great except when the mech pulls out a knife with was really beyond stupid.
That's the only time I audibly groaned at the film. I try to respect others and not voice negative reactions during a film but I couldn't help it. Sooo bad. Why the hell do you even have a three foot knife in your mech? Makes no sense.

I'd call this video game logic but that would be an insult to video game storytelling. 

Why have a knife on a  mech, a knife never runs out of amo.

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Re: Avatar (3D)
« Reply #145 on: December 29, 2009, 05:22:18 PM »
Sorry, but I did not miss her point at all, I just thought it was poorly argued and fairly tenuous.  I pretty strongly agreed with the other guest that Sully first and foremost represents a universal desire to explore, learn and discover new things: be they places, cultures or philosophies.  I also agree that deep down most people want to be a hero, to do great things and be someone people admire.  I think that's also pretty universal.  I see that the choice of the white guy to be that hero is what's at the center of this argument.  Call me cynical, but I think that's just what the studio and Cameron think will get the most butts in the seats.

Overall, I just think you can show a white person coming to respect another culture (even ones that specifically are or represent peoples that were previously/currently conquered, enslaved, embattled, etc.) without ascribing it to white guilt.  I just think it's much more about ideas than race.

That said, I really like your idea for how the story could have played out differently.

The white guilt doesn't come from him learning the culture. It's more than that. Many factors play into it, such as the oppressive "white people" and the "noble savages" cliches. Also, her point was more than just that white guilt was going on, but the contrived story idea that a white person would learn a culture so thoroughly and become part of it while still maintaining the privileged status he had as a white person. It's a point I somewhat agree with, and I thought she argued it fine enough. You're free to disagree of course.
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FLYmeatwad

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Re: Avatar (3D)
« Reply #146 on: December 29, 2009, 05:24:24 PM »
I haven't listened to this yet, just started the Avatar review show today, but in what world was Sully privileged prior to entering Pandora as an Avatar? Thought he was just another Marine, except not as useful because he was a person who required a wheelchair.

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Re: Avatar (3D)
« Reply #147 on: December 29, 2009, 05:37:56 PM »
Relativism. The idea is that because he is White he is already at an advantage as far as the White people are concerned. He joins up with the natives and instead of being on a low rung in their social ladder he ends up their leader.
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St. Martin the Bald

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Re: Avatar (3D)
« Reply #148 on: December 29, 2009, 11:19:38 PM »
wank wank wank
Hey, nice marmot!

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Re: Avatar (3D)
« Reply #149 on: December 29, 2009, 11:23:50 PM »
wank wank wank

These are the theories of an actual film critic for starters. I'm just saying what she said. I'm not even saying that I totally agree with what she said, just that she raised some very valid points. And if we aren't allowed to discuss this sort of thing because it comes off as mental "masturbation", then what the hell is the point of coming on this forum at all?
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