Author Topic: James Cameron's Avatar  (Read 22522 times)

Offline KIP LEWIS

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Re: James Cameron's Avatar
« Reply #30 on: December 21, 2009, 11:08:44 am »
The thing I'm not seeing you address is that by totally embracing the Na'vai, Sully became a better Na'vai than those born to that culture.  So basically the white guy becomes a better blue guy than the blue guys.  He doesn't become one of them, he becomes their legend.

Of course, you could make a comparison to a sortoff reverse Christ metaphor--father (commander) sends son (soldier) to another people as one of them, except the father sends the son to enslave, and he turns on the father to save the people. I wonder how many other metaphors you could read into this.

Offline Redjack

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Re: James Cameron's Avatar
« Reply #31 on: December 21, 2009, 12:07:59 pm »
Even that is part of his embrace.

Other Na'Vi have done what he did. None of them were "religious" figures, only people who were remembered for having done somehting unuusal and brave. He is number six.

He doesn't become the ruler. He doesn't become the spiritual leader. Both of which happened to the hero in DUNE, for instance.  He doesn't even hold onto the his "legendary" status but lets the great "Dragon" go, preferring to "just" be part of the circle. Which is, once again, the POINT of the film. Ultimately he doesn't even win on his own but is saved by the Alpha Female TWICE in as many minutes. hardly the King Arthur/John Carter/Tarzan mythology at work.

All he did was set himself as a rallying point using imagery he would never have had had he not learned Na'Vi ways and embraced them.

At every turn, when he tries to do the human thing, he's taught that the Na'Vi way is better. If anything this is a love letter, not an expression of so-called "white guilt" which, as I've said elsewhere, is itself a myth.

« Last Edit: December 21, 2009, 12:19:18 pm by Redjack »
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Re: James Cameron's Avatar
« Reply #32 on: December 21, 2009, 01:08:56 pm »
This is why I advise seeing it again with a sober mind and simply watching the hero's journey.

And when if we still disagree? Then what?

Offline The Rah

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Re: James Cameron's Avatar
« Reply #33 on: December 21, 2009, 01:57:14 pm »
I saw this movie yesterday with my family.

I thought it was eye candy. It was a visual masterpiece.

The story...

I've seen this story a million times.

The weakest possible white person who can barely stand by himself has a few weeks of training sessions and becomes the best out of all who has been living (insert artform/lifestyle/martial art here) and beats the (master, king, leader) all because of his "heart"  ::)and the color of his skin.

Wanted, The Karate kid, the forbidden kingdom, Kungfu panda, any Jean Claude movie (you can always tell before he beats the master because he does the splits on top of something), star wars...

Why does hollywood keep making the same movie?

Because only two white people saw "The Last Dragon."


Rah

Offline Emperorjones

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Re: James Cameron's Avatar
« Reply #34 on: December 21, 2009, 02:17:20 pm »
In response to Redjack, I don't think you can be so confident to assume that Sully isn't the leader of that particular Na'vi clan now. The two male leaders died, and Sully is unquestionably a savior who rallied the planet together to fight off the humans. Netyri (sp) is designated to be the next spiritual leader, and her mother remains the spiritual leader, though that wasn't addressed either.  Just because Sully lets the dragon go doesn't mean he doesn't retain the legend. He's the guy that tamed the beast. Even if he wanted to forget that do you really think the other Na'vi would? I think the twist is that he actually became an alien which sets it apart from the other examples in the article, but the basic point of the article is not overturned by that act. What boggles my mind is why no other Na'vi could think of hopping on that beast? Or attempt to rally the clans? Why did it take a white guy/human to figure it all out and piece it together? Though as you pointed out, I've got to give Cameron credit that other Na'vi back in the day had tamed the beast so it wasn't Sully doing it for the first time.

I don't doubt that Sully's journey was a hero's journey, but it was a white heroe's journey. Cameron clearly took influence from Native Americans in developing the Na'vi and the he also made a point about using people of color to voice them. Racial subtext is there, now you can debate what type or what it all might mean, but I can't divorce it from watching the film.

Personally I question the idea of white guilt, particularly on a broad scale. I don't think most white folks feel guilty about anything pertaining to race. So, perhaps the article is wrong to call it that. But the article was right to point out how everything boils down to whites being in control, driving the action, of everything revolving around them, and I think many whites often do this even when they have good intentions not to. It's almost like a default thing. Perhaps its something we as humans all do. We want to make it about us.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2009, 02:25:18 pm by Emperorjones »

Offline Seven

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Re: James Cameron's Avatar
« Reply #35 on: December 21, 2009, 04:12:11 pm »
When will white people stop making movies like Avatar?


When they stop making tons of money.


lol...

But I co-sign Jenn.
when I saw the movie, I was like wtf. Great visual,but the same ole, same ole.

It's the reason why I don't buy video games that don't let you change the race of the lead character.

Offline Redjack

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Re: James Cameron's Avatar
« Reply #36 on: December 21, 2009, 05:11:51 pm »
This is why I advise seeing it again with a sober mind and simply watching the hero's journey.

And when if we still disagree? Then what?

Then you would have my sympathy for missing the point. And I don't mean that in a snarky way.
Soon you will come to know. When the bullet hits the bone.

Jenn

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Re: James Cameron's Avatar
« Reply #37 on: December 21, 2009, 05:54:11 pm »
Yes, you do. Or if you don't, that says a lot about you. Then again, I feel the same way about Maberry fans, so...

*Kanye shrug*
« Last Edit: December 21, 2009, 05:59:49 pm by Jenn »

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Re: James Cameron's Avatar
« Reply #38 on: December 21, 2009, 06:50:24 pm »

Offline Redjack

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Re: James Cameron's Avatar
« Reply #39 on: December 21, 2009, 07:47:19 pm »
Yes, you do. Or if you don't, that says a lot about you. Then again, I feel the same way about Maberry fans, so...

*Kanye shrug*

No, I promise. No snark. I actually feel sorry if someone can sit through that amazing, magnificent artistic achievement and come out feeling like Cameron took a shot at them.

The real question, one I've been asking myself since I was a child and will continue to ask until I get the chance to do something about it myself, is why don't "we" make these films? We lead the pack in EVERY artistic form but, somehow, when it comes to hope, fantasy, scifi, we fall off.

Reg and Dwayne seem like the only ones who even get near this sort of thing. Where the hell is Oprah? Octavia Butler died without one sentence of her work being translated to mass media and that is something no one is angry about or writing longwinded articles about. Why isn't she producing the PARABLE books as a mini-series? Or Steven Barnes' LION'S BLOOD books? After COSMIC SLOP, who took up the torch? No one. That's where my anger and irritation come from. Where is Spike Lee?

That article/rant was obvious, small-minded, common and cheap, in my opinion. Facile.  Just more easy rabble-rousing to no effect whatsoever.

Let's say you guys are right about this film. You're not, but let's say you are.

Why in the hell are you expecting James Cameron to appease your ethnic sensibilities? Precisely how is he meant to live in your skin enough to understand how to make the film you wish he'd made? It's ludicrous.

That's what I meant about bringing in the wrong lens through which to watch this film.

« Last Edit: December 21, 2009, 08:13:30 pm by Redjack »
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Re: James Cameron's Avatar
« Reply #40 on: December 21, 2009, 08:11:57 pm »
Let's say you guys are right about this film. You're not, but let's say you are.

Will you give it a f*cking REST already?

Offline Redjack

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Re: James Cameron's Avatar
« Reply #41 on: December 21, 2009, 08:14:17 pm »
Let's say you guys are right about this film. You're not, but let's say you are.

Will you give it a f*cking REST already?

Nope.

this is where i live.
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Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: James Cameron's Avatar
« Reply #42 on: December 21, 2009, 08:20:32 pm »
I didn't feel attacked or insulted by the film.  I think his intentions were entirely noble.  I adore him as a filmmaker, and enjoyed the film. But the comparisons to POCAHANTAS and DANCES WITH WOLVES are unavoidable.  he even has two of the my favorite characters from ALIENS - Vasquez and the slimy corporate tool guy - appear in the film exactly as they were before.  The biggest surprise in the film for me was the luminescence of the plants at night, which was a beautiful image, but speaks to how familiar the plot was.

I think this might be one of his most personal films.  It feels like a movie about the two conflicting sides of his personality:  The scientist and lover of nature delivers some passionate filmmaking in the "documentary" first hour of the film.  Then the tech warrior delivers the action that will deliver the crowds to hear the message he wants to say.  

Look, I'm a guy who would watch THE ABYSS over TITANIC any day, so I know my tastes may not be what the general public feels.    

From THE LAST SAMURAI to SCHINDLER'S LIST, mainstream Hollywood doesn't tell stories where oppressed people free themselves.   That's unfortunate, because that's the story I want to see.

As for why "we" don't tell these stories, which is the heart of the matter and the only solution....well, some folks aren't interested in telling those stories.  Some are, but don't have the resources. Most importantly, James Cameron is a uniquely talented man.  

Jenn

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Re: James Cameron's Avatar
« Reply #43 on: December 21, 2009, 08:32:21 pm »
Wrong. WRONG. You are sooooooo wrong. Why can't you figure out that you're WRONGWRONGWRONGWRONG? Stop being so OBTUSE! Because you're WRONG!!!!! If you don't feel how I feel, then you're WRONG!!!! (And probably stupid.) I feel sorry for how WRONG you are.

PS: You're WRONG!

Offline Redjack

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Re: James Cameron's Avatar
« Reply #44 on: December 21, 2009, 08:51:53 pm »
Wrong. WRONG. You are sooooooo wrong. Why can't you figure out that you're WRONGWRONGWRONGWRONG? Stop being so OBTUSE! Because you're WRONG!!!!! If you don't feel how I feel, then you're WRONG!!!! (And probably stupid.) I feel sorry for how WRONG you are.

PS: You're WRONG!

"Misguided."

Not stupid. I just think the concerns expressed in the article are unfounded and somewhat insulting to the reader. Facile, as I said.

Re: Reg:

I'm not really calling out Spike. He has never made a film that indicates he'd have any facility for fantasy or scifi. And, aside from Reg himself, there hasn't been much in the way of that in the non-white community but there's STACKS of us who dream that way. Why the disconnect? And why all the fist shaking at "the white guy?"

I saw something in AVATAR that put me in mind of Michaelangelo. It's that good. I really don't understand this bizarre need to find offense where none was meant in a piece of art that is so groundbreaking.




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