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weatherc
2009-Aug-21, 08:15 PM
I saw the trailer for James Cameron's upcoming film Avatar, (http://www.apple.com/trailers/fox/avatar/) and I must say I'm a bit disappointed. If I can find this many issues in just the teaser trailer, it doesn't bode well for the rest of the film.


Giant floating rocks. I thought this was supposed to be a science fiction film, not a fantasy film. While I might accept giant floating rocks in a Dungeons and Dragons type of setting, in a serious science fiction film it's just laughable. Somebody needed to tell Mr. Cameron that this was just a dumb idea. I mean, really, giant floating rocks? Seriously?
The blue guys. While I can accept a bit of a humanoid appearance, the blue aliens still look just a little too human. The females even have human-style breasts, for crying out loud, a feature not even found on most species on earth. There's also a scene in the trailer that shows a blue alien female crying tears of sorrow. As far as I know, there is only one species we know of here on earth that sheds tears for emotional reasons, and that's us. I'm supposed to believe that an alien species happens to show grief in exactly the same way as us, when countless species on earth don't?
The lead's wheelchair. If the humans possess the technology to have big mecha/gundham things walking around, why would the main character need a wheelchair? Wouldn't the technology be available to hook him up to a mini-gundham to walk around with?
Where have I seen this before? The big beastie in the woods bears more than a passing resemblance to the beasties from the movie Hellboy to me.

I'll probably still rent this one, but I was hoping for better. I thought Cameron's attention to detail would make for a better science fiction film than this, but I guess I was wrong.

M311
2009-Aug-21, 09:11 PM
I saw the trailer for James Cameron's upcoming film Avatar, (http://www.apple.com/trailers/fox/avatar/) and I must say I'm a bit disappointed. If I can find this many issues in just the teaser trailer, it doesn't bode well for the rest of the film.


Giant floating rocks. I thought this was supposed to be a science fiction film, not a fantasy film. While I might accept giant floating rocks in a Dungeons and Dragons type of setting, in a serious science fiction film it's just laughable. Somebody needed to tell Mr. Cameron that this was just a dumb idea. I mean, really, giant floating rocks? Seriously?
The blue guys. While I can accept a bit of a humanoid appearance, the blue aliens still look just a little too human. The females even have human-style breasts, for crying out loud, a feature not even found on most species on earth. There's also a scene in the trailer that shows a blue alien female crying tears of sorrow. As far as I know, there is only one species we know of here on earth that sheds tears for emotional reasons, and that's us. I'm supposed to believe that an alien species happens to show grief in exactly the same way as us, when countless species on earth don't?
The lead's wheelchair. If the humans possess the technology to have big mecha/gundham things walking around, why would the main character need a wheelchair? Wouldn't the technology be available to hook him up to a mini-gundham to walk around with?
Where have I seen this before? The big beastie in the woods bears more than a passing resemblance to the beasties from the movie Hellboy to me.

I'll probably still rent this one, but I was hoping for better. I thought Cameron's attention to detail would make for a better science fiction film than this, but I guess I was wrong.

Who said it was going to be a hard core Science Fiction based on known physics?

Its official classification so far (Its still in production) is, Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0499549/

Just put your pre-conceptions aside, wait until it its actually released, go watch it with an open mind ... you might just enjoy it.

For me ... I'm avoiding the trailer and looking forward to seeing it on the big screen.

Tuckerfan
2009-Aug-22, 12:04 AM
Meh. I don't see anything in the trailer which has my alarm bells pinging that it'll be a total suck job and I am not a huge Cameron fan by any stretch of the imagination (I think that T2 was lame and cliched, I preferred The Abyss when it was called 2001: A Space Odyssey, never saw the boat movie, and think that Alien 2 is over-hyped.), I am a bit concerned by the fact that there's only one line of dialogue in the trailer, since that's what Cameron's really bad with.

peter eldergill
2009-Aug-22, 01:28 AM
Alien 2 (Aliens) is on Spike TV right now. I'm guessing due to hype over Avatar?

Pete

matthewota
2009-Aug-22, 01:59 AM
I wish they would make movies like they used to, with more emphasis on plot, character, and interaction instead of quick cut flashy special effects.
Too many action movies are out. But I guess that is what the 16-30 demographic wants.

novaderrik
2009-Aug-22, 06:30 AM
I wish they would make movies like they used to, with more emphasis on plot, character, and interaction instead of quick cut flashy special effects.
Too many action movies are out. But I guess that is what the 16-30 demographic wants.
yeah, and what's with all this fancy "sound" and "colors" that all the kids these days want to see in their moving pictures..

Rift
2009-Aug-22, 06:46 AM
Jame Cameron's a bully. He told Nickelodeon that he would sue the live action movie "The Last Airbender" based on the cartoon "Avatar: the Last Airbender" or aka "Avatar: the Adventures of Aang", when Nickelodeon clearly had the rights because name for Avatar the cartoon was around about six years before James Cameron even named his stupid movie.

It was a case of 'who blinked first', and money always wins out on those situations.

Not that I'm going to waste money to see either movie... (And I'm a huge Avatar: The Last Airbender, i just prefer cartoon to lame CGI and lamer casting choices)

Paul Beardsley
2009-Aug-22, 08:27 AM
I knew nothing about Avatar until I saw the trailer on the news yesterday (I think) when I caught the end and rewound it to watch the whole thing.

Clearly it isn't hard SF. My overriding impression was that the ground-based scenes are from a dreamy fantasy and the spaceship scenes are from an unrelated project (though I quickly realised I was wrong about this). Anyway, the upshot of it is that it shouldn't be watched as hard SF. It's a film about imagery that can be made to work with the available 3D techniques rather than a film based on the latest speculations about ET life.

Enjoy it as a dreamy fantasy with spaceships, or not. Thanks to the trailer, Cameron is playing fair with the audience. He might think he's made his own 2001, but he's demonstrated that he's actually made his own Star Wars.

jokergirl
2009-Aug-22, 10:08 AM
For a second I thought this was about the upcoming Cartoon-to-Film adaptation Avatar-the last Airbender, which I also would have liked to like but was utterly destroyed by the casting already (making a purely ethical cast purely white).
But that explains the Avatar announcements with the blue-skinned guys at least, I didn't remember those from the cartoon.

;)

HenrikOlsen
2009-Aug-22, 01:28 PM
Clearly it isn't hard SF. My overriding impression was that the ground-based scenes are from a dreamy fantasy and the spaceship scenes are from an unrelated project (though I quickly realised I was wrong about this). Anyway, the upshot of it is that it shouldn't be watched as hard SF. It's a film about imagery that can be made to work with the available 3D techniques rather than a film based on the latest speculations about ET life.
I first though the spaceship scenes were screen captures from an X3-reunion game played on a sub-par machine until I realized they're supposedly state of the art CGI.
I'm going back to wasting time with X3 rather than waste time on that movie, it's more fun and I get to be the one to blow up capital ships with a fighter:D

KaiYeves
2009-Aug-22, 04:20 PM
For a second I thought this was about the upcoming Cartoon-to-Film adaptation Avatar-the last Airbender, which I also would have liked to like but was utterly destroyed by the casting already (making a purely ethical cast purely white).
Purely white? But shouldn't the waterbenders be Inuit or something, seeing as they live at the poles?

jokergirl
2009-Aug-22, 04:54 PM
Purely white? But shouldn't the waterbenders be Inuit or something, seeing as they live at the poles?

Yes, they should. But they somehow morphed into a blonde girl and an equally white guy.
(I don't mind Aang and Zuko so much as they could go either way for me - but the waterbenders should definitely be Inuit!)

;)

Cruithne3753
2009-Aug-22, 09:48 PM
Good to see I'm not the only one underwhelmed by it. Blue magick pixies? Meh.

SkepticJ
2009-Aug-22, 10:57 PM
Well, I, for one, will be seated fourth-row opening night at the IMAX.

I know Cameron is a hack writer/director, creator of such schlock-fests as The Terminator (and its even more pathetic sequel), Aliens, The Abyss, True Lies and Titanic, but I just can't help myself.

I mean come on, the highest rating the man's movies can manage is "100% fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes. If this doesn't show him to be the incompetent he so clearly is, I don't know what can.

timb
2009-Aug-22, 11:00 PM
Who said it was going to be a hard core Science Fiction based on known physics?

Its official classification so far (Its still in production) is, Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0499549/

Just put your pre-conceptions aside, wait until it its actually released, go watch it with an open mind ... you might just enjoy it.

For me ... I'm avoiding the trailer and looking forward to seeing it on the big screen.

Why pay to see rubbish?

KaiYeves
2009-Aug-23, 01:53 AM
Yes, they should. But they somehow morphed into a blonde girl and an equally white guy.
(I don't mind Aang and Zuko so much as they could go either way for me - but the waterbenders should definitely be Inuit!)
It's a whole world. It has climate zones and biomes. People live all over it. They're going to have different skin tones!

Tuckerfan
2009-Aug-23, 02:32 AM
For a second I thought this was about the upcoming Cartoon-to-Film adaptation Avatar-the last Airbender, which I also would have liked to like but was utterly destroyed by the casting already (making a purely ethical cast purely white).
But that explains the Avatar announcements with the blue-skinned guys at least, I didn't remember those from the cartoon.

;)

So, having M. Night Shamalamadingdong (or however you spell his last name) direct wasn't a deal breaker for you? I've never seen any of his movies, but the word "trite" comes to mind, based on the comments I've heard from people I trust, who've seen his movies and found them to be lacking.

SimK81
2009-Aug-23, 04:08 AM
Hi guys, this is my first post here. I pretty glad to have found a forum with people that actually give a crap about science. I love science first, and my interest in science fiction is born of that, but it drives me insane that I have to sit through the dumbest non-science "very small rocks float" logic in hollywood sci fi movies... but enough venting.



I'm a big fan of James Cameron's movies, so I've been keeping a close eye on the progress of this movie.




Giant floating rocks. I thought this was supposed to be a science fiction film, not a fantasy film. While I might accept giant floating rocks in a Dungeons and Dragons type of setting, in a serious science fiction film it's just laughable. Somebody needed to tell Mr. Cameron that this was just a dumb idea. I mean, really, giant floating rocks? Seriously?

Yeah I had a definite WTF? moment myself. I read the extreme human interest in Pandora's resources has to do with some form of exotic mineral ore, so I suspected the giant floaty rocks had something to do with it, turns out I was right. I just read today in a video game magazine that the "mineral" is some kind of exotic monopolar magnetic material called funnily enough "Unobtanium" LOL. I gotta admit I love the name as it is a reference to a form of handwavium tech that may never be possible. So in other words, it's a potential source for "antigravity". No more "dumb" really, and somewhat more realistic than "spice" or "dilethium" crystals ; ).





The blue guys. While I can accept a bit of a humanoid appearance, the blue aliens still look just a little too human. The females even have human-style breasts, for crying out loud, a feature not even found on most species on earth. There's also a scene in the trailer that shows a blue alien female crying tears of sorrow. As far as I know, there is only one species we know of here on earth that sheds tears for emotional reasons, and that's us. I'm supposed to believe that an alien species happens to show grief in exactly the same way as us, when countless species on earth don't?

The good news is that Wayne Barlowe did the conceptual designs for the aliens! I would go see this movie just for that. A far as the humanoid aliens go, the movie is love story told mostly from their perspective as victims of a human invasion (think ID4 in reverse) so they had to be very humanoid for the audience to be able to relate. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to see a love seen with the aliens from D9 LOL Plus it's far more important to me that the aliens look like they could have actually evolved, (which they do) which means they are possible, albeit an EXTREMELY unlikely case of highly (and I mean highly) convergent evolution.

BTW you missed one. They have very human chins, something that is largely unique to H. sapiens.



The lead's wheelchair. If the humans possess the technology to have big mecha/gundham things walking around, why would the main character need a wheelchair? Wouldn't the technology be available to hook him up to a mini-gundham to walk around with?


Or better yet, wouldn't they use that extremely advanced neuroscience to create a new spinal cord? I'm going to hope he was freshly injured and he doesn't have health insurance due to it being a preexisting condition lol.


Where have I seen this before? The big beastie in the woods bears more than a passing resemblance to the beasties from the movie Hellboy to me.


That's because Wayne Barlowe designed both of them = ) Good eye!



BTW I'm surprised the Hard-SF guys didn't noticed the only realistic starship (and dropship) I've ever seen in the beginning of the trailer. BTW 2001 doesn't count since it wasn't a FTL starship.




I wish they would make movies like they used to, with more emphasis on plot, character, and interaction instead of quick cut flashy special effects.
Too many action movies are out. But I guess that is what the 16-30 demographic wants.

From what I've read the movie will have a pretty good plot with the focus on character, hence the overly humanoid aliens.



yeah, and what's with all this fancy "sound" and "colors" that all the kids these days want to see in their moving pictures..

LMAO


Jame Cameron's a bully. He told Nickelodeon that he would sue the live action movie "The Last Airbender" based on the cartoon "Avatar: the Last Airbender" or aka "Avatar: the Adventures of Aang", when Nickelodeon clearly had the rights because name for Avatar the cartoon was around about six years before James Cameron even named his stupid movie.

I like the cartoon too, but I think Cameron had the script written 14 years ago, long before Avatar ever came out.



I knew nothing about Avatar until I saw the trailer on the news yesterday (I think) when I caught the end and rewound it to watch the whole thing.

Clearly it isn't hard SF. My overriding impression was that the ground-based scenes are from a dreamy fantasy and the spaceship scenes are from an unrelated project (though I quickly realised I was wrong about this). Anyway, the upshot of it is that it shouldn't be watched as hard SF. It's a film about imagery that can be made to work with the available 3D techniques rather than a film based on the latest speculations about ET life.

Enjoy it as a dreamy fantasy with spaceships, or not. Thanks to the trailer, Cameron is playing fair with the audience. He might think he's made his own 2001, but he's demonstrated that he's actually made his own Star Wars.

once again, humanoid aliens and flying rocks aside, the alien wildlife is supposed to be very alien. Check out the critters show in the game > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5LA9rc0ZVs




Good to see I'm not the only one underwhelmed by it. Blue magick pixies? Meh.


They looked like 10 foot tall cat people to me :shrugs:

jokergirl
2009-Aug-23, 06:52 AM
So, having M. Night Shamalamadingdong (or however you spell his last name) direct wasn't a deal breaker for you? I've never seen any of his movies, but the word "trite" comes to mind, based on the comments I've heard from people I trust, who've seen his movies and found them to be lacking.

Not really. He's done OK movies as well.

Back on the topic of the other movie though, I'm not quite sure what I should think about the plot - humans fighting against indigenous aliens? Isn't that somehow politically incorrect?

;)

SimK81
2009-Aug-23, 07:24 AM
That's the whole point really. Considering human history, I think it's a pretty realistic guess to how we would interact with a less advanced alien culture if it happened to be in the way of an important natural resource. Makes me think of a recent war in fact....

HenrikOlsen
2009-Aug-23, 09:10 AM
The lead's wheelchair. If the humans possess the technology to have big mecha/gundham things walking around, why would the main character need a wheelchair? Wouldn't the technology be available to hook him up to a mini-gundham to walk around with?
Because the pilot controls them with limb movements, arms linked to arms, legs linked to legs. Like the loader Ripley used in Aliens. At least that's always been the only way I've been able to consider the controls for such a beastie.
A cripple couldn't use such controls.

jokergirl
2009-Aug-23, 09:41 AM
That's the whole point really. Considering human history, I think it's a pretty realistic guess to how we would interact with a less advanced alien culture if it happened to be in the way of an important natural resource. Makes me think of a recent war in fact....

Sure, but don't expect me to root for the humans, then.

;)

KaiYeves
2009-Aug-23, 05:50 PM
Back on the topic of the other movie though, I'm not quite sure what I should think about the plot - humans fighting against indigenous aliens? Isn't that somehow politically incorrect?
Aliens are the recourse for stories it's politically incorrect to tell using people now.

novaderrik
2009-Aug-23, 07:52 PM
Aliens are the recourse for stories it's politically incorrect to tell using people now.
aliens have always filled in for some group of humans. it's kind of the main point behind science fiction- to talk about things on earth using places and creatures from somewhere else.

Delvo
2009-Aug-23, 09:59 PM
Where did the idea come from that the blue characters are aliens? Did someone connected to the movie say that? The trailer indicates pretty clearly that they're humans with modification, and the title goes along with that...

SkepticJ
2009-Aug-24, 12:46 AM
Where did the idea come from that the blue characters are aliens? Did someone connected to the movie say that? The trailer indicates pretty clearly that they're humans with modification, and the title goes along with that...

You know, that's a really good point, there.

The only indication I know of that they're supposed to be aliens is something I read awhile back on the movie that the movie is about a conflict between humans and the indigenous inhabitants of a planet. Indigenous doesn't necessarily have to mean they originated there. Australian Aborigines are indigenous to the Land Down Under, but their ancestors came from elsewhere, of course.

Maybe the "aliens" are just the descendants of people who wanted to play World of Warcraft for real.

SimK81
2009-Aug-24, 12:48 AM
The Na'vi are the natives of the planet/moon. The one you see in the tank is actually a na'vi human hybrid. The true na'vi have thinner bodies and four fingers and toes. I really don't see the problem with them, since they could evolve, it's just very unlikely they would end up looking so much like us. Unlikely does not = impossible. let's put it this way, what if out of a million different sentient species in the galaxy, they just happen to be the most humanoid? Where it would be bad is if the movie had dozens of fugly headed english speaking huma... I mean aliens. I'm looking at you Star Trek.

novaderrik
2009-Aug-24, 03:14 AM
Star Trek has the Universal Translator. apparently, everyone from every species is issued one.

SimK81
2009-Aug-24, 05:47 AM
That instantly teaches them perfect English, even to species that may have completely different vocal cords lol. Actually in this movie they designed an entire language for them and some of the na'vi have learned to speak very broken english. I also like how they pulled it off in D9. I for example can understand more Chinese than I can actually speak, so it makes sense that they could understand each other's language but not speak it.

BTW Star Trek would be great if in the reboot they explained that all the humanoid races come from early humans taken from Earth 200,000 years ago OR if it took place 10,000 years in the future and they were all descended from us. Actually suggested the idea to some Trekkies on the Trek forum.... they hated it.

Tog
2009-Aug-24, 06:16 AM
BTW Star Trek would be great if in the reboot they explained that all the humanoid races come from early humans taken from Earth 200,000 years ago OR if it took place 10,000 years in the future and they were all descended from us. Actually suggested the idea to some Trekkies on the Trek forum.... they hated it.

That's because it was a plot of a Next Gen Episode from late in the series. Some great puzzle hidden in the DNA of all the races. When they worked together to link the bits they found a hologram program that told them that they were all descended from the same parent race.

The Klingon summed it up the best: "That's it?"

The episode was panned and ridiculed pretty much from the original air date on.

It also was completely at odds with the entire premise for the end of the series.

Edit:

As for the lead's wheelchair, mecha limitations or not, he's got full use of his arms, so controlling a motorized chair doesn't seem to be an issue. You know, if they had a motorized chair.

Also, he seems to be wearing the same outfit at the soldiers. Maybe it explains it in the movie, but that's just silly.

From the preview, I'll take a stab at the plot:
Spoiler?:The wheelchair guy goes to this planet where they capture some of these blue cat people. He has his consciousness implanted into one of them (Hence- the title and the fact that we don't see him again after the brain scan), but something goes wrong (tm) and he ends up sympathizing with the cause of the locals, ala Dances with Wolves.

SimK81
2009-Aug-24, 06:37 AM
That's because he IS a marine that was badly hurt in combat. Who knows, maybe he was nearly torn in half and there is nothing left of his lower spine. BTW you are right about the plot and it's not a spoiler, that's the given synopsis.

Tog
2009-Aug-24, 06:46 AM
That's because he IS a marine that was badly hurt in combat. Who knows, maybe he was nearly torn in half and there is nothing left of his lower spine. BTW you are right about the plot and it's not a spoiler, that's the given synopsis.

Oh. I only watched the trailer, er teaser. Since it seemed to give away everything the film was about, I didn't look any further.

If he were badly hurt in combat he wouldn't be wheeling himself off a transport that came down from orbit. He'd be shipping home. Unless there were some mission critical reason from him to remain. In any case, whatever happened to him must have happened a long time ago, so his presence is still silly.

It also doesn't explain why his chair is hand powered. Surely there are mechanics there that could slap one together.

SimK81
2009-Aug-24, 09:50 PM
I agree, maybe being a soldier he likes the workout his arms get? There are people today that could get motorized wheelchairs but choose not to so they can stay in shape. Example > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_YndvUOj2k

As far as him shipping home, that may be easier said than done, considering it could be 100s of light years away OR he came from Earth and he was a good candidate for this experimental Avatar program.

Delvo
2009-Aug-25, 03:26 AM
I just figured he came from someplace that didn't have the resources that the army we saw has. After all, right now on this planet, there are hand-held PCs and cellphones that come pretty close to PCs, stealth fighters that can operate from nuclear-powered aircraft carriers... and guys trying to get around on one leg and one crutch.

galacsi
2009-Dec-16, 11:18 PM
I saw the trailer for James Cameron's upcoming film Avatar, (http://www.apple.com/trailers/fox/avatar/) and I must say I'm a bit disappointed. If I can find this many issues in just the teaser trailer, it doesn't bode well for the rest of the film.


Giant floating rocks. I thought this was supposed to be a science fiction film, not a fantasy film. While I might accept giant floating rocks in a Dungeons and Dragons type of setting, in a serious science fiction film it's just laughable. Somebody needed to tell Mr. Cameron that this was just a dumb idea. I mean, really, giant floating rocks? Seriously?
The blue guys. While I can accept a bit of a humanoid appearance, the blue aliens still look just a little too human. The females even have human-style breasts, for crying out loud, a feature not even found on most species on earth. There's also a scene in the trailer that shows a blue alien female crying tears of sorrow. As far as I know, there is only one species we know of here on earth that sheds tears for emotional reasons, and that's us. I'm supposed to believe that an alien species happens to show grief in exactly the same way as us, when countless species on earth don't?
The lead's wheelchair. If the humans possess the technology to have big mecha/gundham things walking around, why would the main character need a wheelchair? Wouldn't the technology be available to hook him up to a mini-gundham to walk around with?
Where have I seen this before? The big beastie in the woods bears more than a passing resemblance to the beasties from the movie Hellboy to me.

I'll probably still rent this one, but I was hoping for better. I thought Cameron's attention to detail would make for a better science fiction film than this, but I guess I was wrong.

Floating rocks : I like it , remember "Castle in the sky" from Miyazaki ? and old cover or rock album from YES ?

Blue guys : quite sexy !

The lead's Wheelchair : He could have his legs repaired if he had the money , but military pension is much too small. If he goes to Pandora that's in hope of getting his legs back. He is just a wounded veteran.

Where have you seen that before ? I don't know , it is a marvel or imagination and production. It is even almost too much ! this a great movies if you like special effects and beautiful landscapes , scenery and great action. The synopsis is a little light to my taste : it is just an ecological fantazy and I am not very impressed.

An other point , the 3D is not so impressive in the second half of the movie , I don't know if I became acustomed to it or if it was less used . The 3D is impressive but not the revolution you can think.

traceur
2009-Dec-17, 04:12 AM
floating rocks - 0:53 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRdxXPV9GNQ)- the resource the humans are coming for.
wheelchair - 1:27 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRdxXPV9GNQ) - he is doing the mission to get his legs regrown.


so your basically complaining about humanoid aliens & a fictional resource, thus dubbing it a fantasy world... along with almost every other sci-fi out there?

its not that i don't enjoy hard sci-fi & unique believable aliens, but to make it a minimum requirement for the genre is to say sci-fi had probably less then a dozen movies.

SkepticJ
2009-Dec-17, 05:55 AM
Also, in the case of Avatar, having non-humanoid aliens wouldn't serve the purpose too well.

Would most people empathize with the plight of beings that look like a cross between a centipede and an octopus?

Doodler
2009-Dec-17, 12:34 PM
So, having M. Night Shamalamadingdong (or however you spell his last name) direct wasn't a deal breaker for you? I've never seen any of his movies, but the word "trite" comes to mind, based on the comments I've heard from people I trust, who've seen his movies and found them to be lacking.

Shammalamma's got a gem or two in the collection. I thought Unbreakable was a fantastic twist on superhero origin movies.

eburacum45
2009-Dec-17, 01:30 PM
So the alien fauna has been designed by Wayne Barlow, eh? I thought they looked vaguely familiar.
One day we'll throw aside our human chauvinism and accept non-humanoid romantic leads, but perhaps it is a little early in the day to expect that.

galacsi
2009-Dec-17, 03:45 PM
So the alien fauna has been designed by Wayne Barlow, eh? I thought they looked vaguely familiar.
One day we'll throw aside our human chauvinism and accept non-humanoid romantic leads, but perhaps it is a little early in the day to expect that.

The alien fauna is extremely well designed . I loved this part , except may be the red dragon , a little to much to my taste , but really flashy ! The bio luminescent plants are very nice too. this movie is even a little too much , you are flabbergasted with all these marvels.

IsaacKuo
2009-Dec-17, 04:00 PM
One day we'll throw aside our human chauvinism and accept non-humanoid romantic leads, but perhaps it is a little early in the day to expect that.
Bambi. 1942.

[added:]

Also, one of the most memorable and heavily spoofed romantic scenes was between two non-humanoid romantic leads, in Lady and the Tramp (1955).

Cruithne3753
2009-Dec-17, 06:19 PM
Still not interested, 3D or no 3D. Apparently I'm supposed to sympathise with these Navvy smurfoid things but for some reason I just want to bop them on the nose. Actually, someone should set an Alien facehugger on one of them, the offspring might be interesting...

Now if someone was to adapt The Mote in God's Eye...

traceur
2009-Dec-17, 10:47 PM
One day we'll throw aside our human chauvinism and accept non-humanoid romantic leads, but perhaps it is a little early in the day to expect that.

actually the trailer gave me an idea on how this might be checked out: i noticed the facial differences between the heroine alien and the voice-actress whose facial expressions got captured for her, and it got me wondering...

if it can compensate for subtle differences like jaw shape, can't the software link any muscular tension on the character to any facial one on the actor?
if so, we could use test groups to experiment and see how far we can push the envelope...

see, i have a hypothesis that we might be able to pull off emotional connections through the general pattern of emotional expression, this is based on the "face on mars" phenomena, innately no different then the ability to see a face in the wrinkles of an old olive tree, or in the clouds or in the reflection of sunlight in the water...

thus if we are so built to to subconsciously patch objects with human faces, then we might do it automatically to any body expressing the relative muscular tensions of an emotional facial expression.

(note: i still think that aliens with an emotional structure similar to ours which we could emphasize with directly is about as unlikely as humanoid aliens, but i recognize that such alienation to a movies audience would drastically limit the scope of acceptance for the aliens role).

IsaacKuo
2009-Dec-17, 10:54 PM
You don't need a face to express emotions. Consider the Pixar lamp.

traceur
2009-Dec-17, 11:18 PM
You don't need a face to express emotions. Consider the Pixar lamp.
you can also express emotions via a landscape (i.e. starry night). doesn't exactly make it approachable to a wide audience does it?

ok, let me put it this way: i want to see how far (from humans) and how deep (emotional understanding wise) we can go before loosing the masses.

(i also have a practical fascination with how cheep we can make the technology (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jk7tUKaW59I), but that's a little off topic)

Mithridates
2009-Dec-18, 05:32 AM
I saw it last night and loved it. Two comments:

Marine in a wheelchair: part of the reason that he went to Pandora in the first place was because the pay was good and he wanted to get his legs fixed. He wasn't there to run around as a marine but simply because he had the required DNA to use the avatar, so repairing his legs/giving him a mech would have been a waste.

As for the science behind the movie, luckily what we think doesn't matter. What's important is that thanks to Avatar now tens or hundreds of millions of people will be thinking about Alpha Centauri and extrasolar Earth-like planets right around the time we're on the verge of discovering them. Any movie that gets that many people thinking about extrasolar planets is 100% in my book. Plus the Na'vi language was specifically constructed for the movie which is a plus for IALs as well. Apparently quite a few people already want to learn the language.

Mithridates
2009-Dec-18, 05:35 AM
Oh, and one more thing. One big thing that separates those that are interested in space and those that aren't is that the latter usually look at space as a big empty void. Lots of darkness, then more darkness, and that's about it. The former though look at space and see not just the void, but also the possibility of worlds something like Pandora, places that we could explore if we could just get there. Nobody goes to space just to stay there; it's either to go to a different destination, or to create an Earth-like environment (space station) which also serves as a new place to live. If this movie helps bridge the gap between these two then we have another success there.

Tuckerfan
2009-Dec-18, 06:39 AM
Apparently quite a few people already want to learn the language.

Too bad they won't be doing anything useful with their time, like writing letters to their political officials to get them to invest more money in the space program so that we could discover inhabitable exosolar planets sooner or expand the human presence in space to something more than an orbiting tin can.

Mithridates
2009-Dec-18, 06:53 AM
Too bad they won't be doing anything useful with their time, like writing letters to their political officials

How do you know?

SkepticJ
2009-Dec-18, 07:01 AM
Too bad they won't be doing anything useful with their time, like writing letters to their political officials to get them to invest more money in the space program so that we could discover inhabitable exosolar planets sooner or expand the human presence in space to something more than an orbiting tin can.

That's rather harsh.

I can think of much less worthy tasks than learning a new language. I take it you're unfamiliar with the constructed language subculture*. There're people who invent their own languages from the ground up for fun/intellectual stimulation.


*I think there's a subculture for just about anything one can think of.

Tuckerfan
2009-Dec-18, 07:03 AM
How do you know?Every hour they spend learning the fictional language is an hour not being spent writing their elected officials. Do you really want to bet that they'll be spending an equal number of hours writing their elected officials for every hour they spend learning the fictional language? 'Cause you'll lose that bet.

Mithridates
2009-Dec-18, 07:05 AM
Every hour they spend learning the fictional language is an hour not being spent writing their elected officials. Do you really want to bet that they'll be spending an equal number of hours writing their elected officials for every hour they spend learning the fictional language? 'Cause you'll lose that bet.

It has nothing to do with bets. Just join an Avatar fan group and tell them to write their elected officials if they want to see something like that become a reality sooner, and then some will. Better than just grumping about it here.

Tuckerfan
2009-Dec-18, 07:12 AM
That's rather harsh.Reality often is.


I can think of much less worthy tasks than learning a new language.If you're talking about a language which is real, then we would all be better off doing so.


I take it you're unfamiliar with the constructed language subculture*.There're people who invent their own languages from the ground up for fun/intellectual stimulation.

I'm well aware of it. There are people who speak fluent Klingon, Dwarvish, Elvish, and any number of other fictional languages. I think its a bit absurd to connect the concept of learning a fake language (which as the father who tried to teach his infant son Klingon discovered, can be a bit impractical for daily life) to actually putting effort into getting us off this rock.

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-18, 07:13 AM
Humph. People aren't spending their free time just as I want them to. How dare they?

Tuckerfan
2009-Dec-18, 07:18 AM
It has nothing to do with bets. Just join an Avatar fan group and tell them to write their elected officials if they want to see something like that become a reality sooner, and then some will. Better than just grumping about it here.
If they were honestly interested in such a thing, then they would already doing it, and not chatting to one another in their gibberish. I can assure you that my making a suggestion to an Avatar fan group about them writing their officials would be met with tepid support, no matter how politely I might phrase it. If we were to pick up something that was a strong indicator of alien life, they'd be all excited and no doubt be eager to send off a flurry of missives to their elected officials about supporting the space program were the suggestion put to them. Of course, they won't see such a thing until they actually do put forth the effort.

Tuckerfan
2009-Dec-18, 07:18 AM
Humph. People aren't spending their free time just as I want them to. How dare they?

They're free to do as they want, just as I am free to complain about it.

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-18, 07:22 AM
Indeed.

SkepticJ
2009-Dec-18, 07:23 AM
If you're talking about a language which is real, then we would all be better off doing so.

They are real languages. Just as real as English, French, Mandarin Chinese...

Esperanto, as one example, was a language invented back in the late 19th Century, and has hundreds of thousands of speakers.

Mithridates
2009-Dec-18, 07:28 AM
If they were honestly interested in such a thing, then they would already doing it, and not chatting to one another in their gibberish. I can assure you that my making a suggestion to an Avatar fan group about them writing their officials would be met with tepid support, no matter how politely I might phrase it.

Sounds like a bet. Try it out, and show us the tepid support that your suggestion brings. Start here:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=207837475672&ref=search&sid=712595253.376926767..1#/group.php?v=wall&ref=search&gid=207837475672

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-18, 07:33 AM
If he were honestly interested in getting them to do such a thing, he'd already be posting there. ;)

SkepticJ
2009-Dec-18, 07:41 AM
I wonder how much time most people waste on watching TV, internet forums (gasp!), playing video games, reading fiction novels, watching movies and bungee jumping.

For some reason those are worthy pursuits.

Mithridates
2009-Dec-18, 07:42 AM
If he were honestly interested in getting them to do such a thing, he'd already be posting there. ;)

I agree. The way I see it we have two problems that are easy to solve: people on one side that like the movie and space but really haven't given much thought to bringing something like that closer to reality, and jaded grumpy people on the other end that would prefer to gripe rather than spend time engaging the first group. Try to make the first group a bit more grounded in reality and the second group a little more patient with the first and I think we'd see a lot of progress.

Argos
2009-Dec-18, 05:54 PM
By the trailers I´ve seen, it´s a gorgeous movie. Pure and, in my case, much needed escapism. I´m planning to see it next week.

glucker
2009-Dec-18, 07:13 PM
They're free to do as they want, just as I am free to complain about it.

every hour spent complaining about other people learning a fake language and not writing to government officials is an hour spent not writing to officials.


you should be ashamed.

galacsi
2009-Dec-18, 08:40 PM
Oh, and one more thing. One big thing that separates those that are interested in space and those that aren't is that the latter usually look at space as a big empty void. Lots of darkness, then more darkness, and that's about it. The former though look at space and see not just the void, but also the possibility of worlds something like Pandora, places that we could explore if we could just get there. Nobody goes to space just to stay there; it's either to go to a different destination, or to create an Earth-like environment (space station) which also serves as a new place to live. If this movie helps bridge the gap between these two then we have another success there.

And the movie presents georgeous astronomical pictures (Artist views , really striking) .We can admire the big jovian planet in the sky and other moons floating around on their orbit. Pandora is a jovian moon where the spectacle is both in heaven and on the ground.

canopuss
2009-Dec-18, 10:46 PM
Movie is good, may be should have reduced emotional and spiritual scences a bit.

sarongsong
2009-Dec-18, 11:06 PM
every hour spent...not writing to government officials is an hour spent not writing to officials... http://www.bautforum.com/images/icons/icon14.gif
you should be ashamed.Oh. What address/es did you use :confused:

Tuckerfan
2009-Dec-19, 12:03 AM
Sounds like a bet. Try it out, and show us the tepid support that your suggestion brings. Start here:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=207837475672&ref=search&sid=712595253.376926767..1#/group.php?v=wall&ref=search&gid=207837475672

Done.

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-19, 12:06 AM
* Jeopardy Music*

Tuckerfan
2009-Dec-19, 12:10 AM
They are real languages. Just as real as English, French, Mandarin Chinese...Sorry, no. The languages you just cited are all recognized by one or more governments as languages. I seriously doubt that any government body is printing up documents in things like Dwarvish, Elvish, etc., yet many times they will print up documents in real languages spoken by only a handful of people.


Esperanto, as one example, was a language invented back in the late 19th Century, and has hundreds of thousands of speakers.

Yes, and a pre-Star Trek William Shatner starred in the only movie to be made with that language. Esperanto is not a real language, it was an attempt to create a "global language" and do away with all the other various languages out there as a means to bring about world peace. That's worked out well, don't you think?

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-19, 12:17 AM
So a language is only "real" if it's recognized by a government? Where's that definition listed? Since when were you the arbiter of whether a language is "real" or not?

There are many "dead" languages that exist that governments aren't printing up documents in. According to your (pseudo) logic, those were never languages. Yet what are historians picking through...?

Languages exist for only one reason: To communicate. If a language contains a self-contained vocabulary and the ability to communicate concepts, it's a language. It doesn't matter what government votes on or dictates what is or is not a language.

So like you said, "Sorry, no". Nice try, though.

Tuckerfan
2009-Dec-19, 12:22 AM
I wonder how much time most people waste on watching TV, internet forums (gasp!), playing video games, reading fiction novels, watching movies and bungee jumping.

For some reason those are worthy pursuits.

To some people, yes. Other people would prefer to do different things. To each his/her own. I wasn't objecting to the idea of people enjoying the film, I was objecting to the idea that people wanting to learn the language would somehow significantly boost folks getting involved in astronomy, etc.

It is amazing what fans can do. The shuttle Enterprise was named after Trek fans bombarded NASA with letters suggesting that name (ironically, for a shuttle which won't ever leave the atmosphere), would that those fans had also written their Congress Critter to ask for more money for NASA (might not have lost two shuttle crews if they had done this). It irritates me that many SF film producers will be more than happy to use NASA footage or expertise in the making of a film, but can't be bothered to stick a notice in the credits, or their website, or whatever, asking for folks to publicly support NASA. In case folks haven't noticed, the shuttles stop flying next year and there's no progress on getting the replacement system going (can't even make up their mind as to what kind of replacement system to use, either).

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-19, 12:24 AM
To some people, yes. Other people would prefer to do different things. To each his/her own. I wasn't objecting to the idea of people enjoying the film, I was objecting to the idea that people wanting to learn the language would somehow significantly boost folks getting involved in astronomy, etc.

So you were objecting to a straw man?

Tuckerfan
2009-Dec-19, 12:25 AM
So a language is only "real" if it's recognized by a government? Where's that definition listed? Since when were you the arbiter of whether a language is "real" or not?

There are many "dead" languages that exist that governments aren't printing up documents in. According to your (pseudo) logic, those were never languages. Yet what are historians picking through...?

Languages exist for only one reason: To communicate. If a language contains a self-contained vocabulary and the ability to communicate concepts, it's a language. It doesn't matter what government votes on or dictates what is or is not a language.

So like you said, "Sorry, no". Nice try, though.There's a difference between a dead language and a fictional one. And yes, governments are the arbitrators of such things. That's generally how it works. If I declare that I'm living in the Republic of Petoria, it doesn't do me a bit of good without international recognition. If a government doesn't recognize something as a language, then it doesn't matter what you and I say, it's not.

Tuckerfan
2009-Dec-19, 12:26 AM
So you were objecting to a straw man?

Would rather I object to the quality of a movie I haven't seen yet?

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-19, 12:26 AM
There's a difference between a dead language and a fictional one.
According to your logic, a dead language doesn't exist, because governments don't use it when printing documents. QED

Or are you retracting your premise?


And yes, governments are the arbitrators of such things.

Then those languages don't exist. QED.


That's generally how it works. If I declare that I'm living in the Republic of Petoria, it doesn't do me a bit of good without international recognition. If a government doesn't recognize something as a language, then it doesn't matter what you and I say, it's not.

So communication doesn't matter, then? Languages are just arbitrarily decided, and having nothing to do with having a vocabulary, grammar, etc.?

Good to know. :rolleyes:

Tuckerfan
2009-Dec-19, 12:32 AM
According to your logic, a dead language doesn't exist, because governments don't use it. QED.
Well, generally, the opposite of existing is, in fact, dead.

Or are you retracting your premise?No, you're twisting it into something entirely different.




Then those languages don't exist. QED.Not as living languages.




So communication doesn't matter, then? Languages are just arbitrarily decided, and having nothing to do with having a vocabulary, grammar, etc.?

Good to know. :rolleyes:Tell you what, Sparky. You draw up a legal document in Klingon (like a will) and try to get a US court to accept it as being valid without providing a copy in English (or some other language recognized by the US government).

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-19, 12:34 AM
Well, generally, the opposite of existing is, in fact, dead.
No, you're twisting it into something entirely different.



Not as living languages.

Yet historians still study them. Why, if they aren't languages?


Tell you what, Sparky. You draw up a legal document in Klingon (like a will) and try to get a US court to accept it as being valid without providing a copy in English (or some other language recognized by the US government).

Oh right, back to the "If it's a government document, it's a real language, otherwise no go logic".

:rolleyes:

See, I thought languages were about communication. You know. Getting concepts out of your mouth and into another person's ear. Apparently, it's not, even when it has all of the tenets of a language, because some arbitrary body of people didn't announce it to be so.

Apparently, it's totally possible to communicate with rules, grammar, and vocabulary, but it's not a language. It's not meaningless sound, either. So what should we call it? Since you seem to be inventing it, why don't we call it "Tuckerspeak"?

Tuckerfan
2009-Dec-19, 12:52 AM
Yet historians still study them. Why, if they aren't languages?Gosh, aren't you a clever one? You think that you'll back me into some kind of corner where I have to admit that fictional languages are somehow just as valid as those which were developed and spoken by individuals who were creating the language in conjunction with the world around them. By that kind of logic, the laws of physics as defined by Warner Brothers cartoons are just as valid as those defined by scientists.




Oh right, back to the "If it's a government document, it's a real language, otherwise no go logic".

:rolleyes:One of the functions of government is the arbiter of rules and standards.


See, I thought languages were about communication. You know. Getting concepts out of your mouth and into another person's ear. Apparently, it's not, even when it has all of the tenets of a language, because some arbitrary body of people didn't announce it to be so.Fine, show me a community as in a town, city, or village (not something on the internet) where the majority of the speakers there are native speakers of Klingon, dwarvish, elvish, or other similar language.


Apparently, it's totally possible to communicate with rules, grammar, and vocabulary, but it's not a language. It's not meaningless sound, either. So what should we call it? Since you seem to be inventing it, why don't we call it "Tuckerspeak"?
How about we call it what it is: "fictional language." Why is that concept so upsetting to you? Should programmers be upset when people refer to Java as a "computer language"?

Mithridates
2009-Dec-19, 12:59 AM
It's probably pretty easy to find a compromise here: Na'vi is a fictional language that is likely on the verge of becoming a real one. A constructed language IMO becomes real when it becomes standardized learnable by others, who then are able to use it amongst themselves. If the language dies after that then it would become a historical tongue.

Mithridates
2009-Dec-19, 01:00 AM
Done.

Good. Now let's remember to be patient. For every comment there are always another hundred or so that are lurking.

clint
2009-Dec-19, 01:03 AM
Every hour they spend learning the fictional language is an hour not being spent writing their elected officials. Do you really want to bet that they'll be spending an equal number of hours writing their elected officials for every hour they spend learning the fictional language? 'Cause you'll lose that bet.

Two questions:
1) How many children (or young people) will you be able to inspire by telling them to write their elected officials about space exploration?
2) How many will be inspired by this movie?

Let's see who wins this bet ;)

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-19, 01:07 AM
Gosh, aren't you a clever one?

Indeed. I'm also clever enough to know when conversing with an individual will not get anywhere.

Welcome to the ignore list.

timb
2009-Dec-19, 01:45 AM
Indeed. I'm also clever enough to know when conversing with an individual will not get anywhere.

Welcome to the ignore list.

TF has been on my ignore list for quite a while. TBF mine is an unusually large one.

galacsi
2009-Dec-19, 08:30 AM
TF has been on my ignore list for quite a while. TBF mine is an unusually large one.

TBF , TBF ????

Acronym Definition
TBF The Boston Foundation (Boston, MA)
TBF Token Bucket Filter (packet scheduling algorithm)
TBF The Beat Fleet (Croatian hip-hop band)
TBF The Billfish Foundation
TBF Turkiye Basketbol Federasyonu
TBF Total Batters Faced (baseball statistic)
TBF Total Body Fat
TBF Temporary Block Flow
TBF Time Between Failures
TBF To Be Fair
TBF Trial By Fire
TBF Tick-Borne Fever
TBF The Belmore Family (nation states)
TBF Trajectory-Based Forwarding
TBF To Be Filed
TBF To Be Furnished
TBF Taken By Force
TBF Grumman Avenger Torpedo Bomber (WWII)
TBF Team Battlefield (gaming clan)
TBF Türkiye Bilardo Federasyonu (Turkish Billiard Federation)
TBF Tre Bokstavs Forkortelse
TBF Trellian Button Factory File
TBF Turbofax Fax
TBF Total Body Failure
TBF Taco Bar Friday
TBF The Biar Foundation
TBF Thermal Balance Fixture

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-19, 09:10 AM
Uh, okay.

Paul Beardsley
2009-Dec-19, 09:18 AM
Yes, and a pre-Star Trek William Shatner starred in the only movie to be made with that language. Esperanto is not a real language, it was an attempt to create a "global language" and do away with all the other various languages out there as a means to bring about world peace. That's worked out well, don't you think?
I disagree with this point. Esperanto was intended to be the global second language, not to replace but to supplement everyone's first language. So, for instance, a French speaker who also speaks Esperanto will be able to communicate with a Japanese speaker who
also speaks Esperanto. That was Zamenoff's [sp?] hope - hence the name.

Otherwise, I agree with pretty much everything you've said here, Tuckerfan, and it's a great pity to see the normally sensible SolusLupus being so absurdly obtuse. Yes, it's possible to create an artificial language that has consistent vocab, grammar and so on, but if it is not used in the real world, it is not real. A real language is one which you (or someone else) learned as you grew up, whether you wanted to or not. A real language is part of a nation's culture. While you are within that nation, you have reasonable confidence of being able to communicate with doctors, cleaners, bank staff, railway guards, work colleagues, shop assistants, local government staff, and all the other people you routinely interact with. You're able to follow TV programmes and, yes, read documents issued by the government.

If you aren't able to communicate with someone, it is probably because they have some communication difficulty, or their first/only language is a different one.

And Latin, Ancient Greek and so on may not be in current use now, but they clearly were real at one time.

Finally, putting someone on your ignore list because of an intellectual disagreement is a less-than-admirable act; making a point of telling them you have done this is doubly so.

SkepticJ
2009-Dec-19, 10:04 AM
Yes, it's possible to create an artificial language that has consistent vocab, grammar and so on, but if it is not used in the real world, it is not real.

So, until you use a specific hammer, it's not a tool?

Paul Beardsley
2009-Dec-19, 10:57 AM
So, until you use a specific hammer, it's not a tool?

Is this Obtuse Saturday, and if so, why wasn't I told?

If a saw is designed for cutting wood, it is a wood saw. Otherwise it isn't. It's still a saw, but it's not a wood saw.

If a language is (or was) used in the real world, if it grew and developed through use by all manner of people, it is a real language. If it is only used by a small number of enthusiasts of a film, and only then when they are talking to each other, then it is not a real language.

You might prefer different terminology - say, commonly-used and specialised - but there is clearly a value in distinguishing between the kind of languages we mean when we compare Spanish with Klingon.

AndreasJ
2009-Dec-19, 11:11 AM
If a government doesn't recognize something as a language, then it doesn't matter what you and I say, it's not.

Can't help but wonder how people in pre-state societies communicated then. (No, don't answer that.)



Somewhat on-topic, I saw Avatar y'dy. Glorious visual spectacle, but plotwise the combination of noble savages, mighty whitey, and new-agey mysticism was physically painful at times.

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-19, 11:16 AM
Can't help but wonder how people in pre-state societies communicated then. (No, don't answer that.)

Sounds rather obtuse of you. :o

SkepticJ
2009-Dec-19, 11:22 AM
If a language is (or was) used in the real world, if it grew and developed through use by all manner of people, it is a real language. If it is only used by a small number of enthusiasts of a film, and only then when they are talking to each other, then it is not a real language.

You might prefer different terminology - say, commonly-used and specialised - but there is clearly a value in distinguishing between the kind of languages we mean when we compare Spanish with Klingon.

Interesting.

Then there are "real languages" that have fewer speakers than "non-real languages". How many people do you think speak Aleut?

How many speakers does a constructed language have to have, and how much does the language have to evolve since it's creation, before it becomes real? Let's have some quantification.

I'm not sure why I'm getting so riled up about this. I'm not even a conlanger. Maybe I just empathize with them, or something.

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-19, 11:36 AM
I'm not sure why I'm getting so riled up about this. I'm not even a conlanger. Maybe I just empathize with them, or something.

Ditto.

To be fair, you don't sound half as riled up as I was. :)

HenrikOlsen
2009-Dec-19, 11:53 AM
How many speakers does a constructed language have to have, and how much does the language have to evolve since it's creation, before it becomes real? Let's have some quantification.
Somehow I'm reminded about the thread about the father who tried to raise his son with Klingon as first language and failed miserably because it's a language that isn't complete enough to cover the aspects of everyday life. That definitely says Klingon isn't a real language.

Esperanto has a vocabulary rich enough to cover every part of daily life and develops by being spoken, which to me makes it perfectly valid as a real language.

As for for the requirement for government documents issued in the language for it to be real, that would make Interlingua real and likely more than half the world's living languages not real.

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-19, 11:54 AM
Somehow I'm reminded about the thread about the father who tried to raise his son with Klingon as first language and failed miserably because it's a language that isn't complete enough to cover the aspects of everyday life. That definitely says Klingon isn't a real language.But then it's based on utility, and if that's what decides whether a language is "real" or not, I'm fine with it. Language is based on communication. If you can communicate, then it's a language. If you can't communicate completely, it's an incomplete language. That's fine with me.

Almost all languages are arbitrary in the first place. I'm not one to believe that tradition makes something "right" innately.

However, I would also point out as to a lack of sample size. One man tried to teach one kid Klingon. That isn't a very representative sample size. :) Not to mention other environmental factors that could have impacted the "study".


As for for the requirement for government documents issued in the language for it to be real, that would make Interlingua real and likely more than half the world's living languages not real.

Indeed. That is what I was trying to communicate. I wasn't actually sure how many languages the U.S. Government is willing to translate though. I assume there's a limit somewhere.

Paul Beardsley
2009-Dec-19, 12:20 PM
Then there are "real languages" that have fewer speakers than "non-real languages". How many people do you think speak Aleut?

How many speakers does a constructed language have to have, and how much does the language have to evolve since it's creation, before it becomes real? Let's have some quantification.
As I thought I'd made clear, it's not a question of numbers, it's a question of how it's used. If you are brought up to use a specific language in the reasonable expectation of communicating with a very broad range of people in your day-to-day life, then it's real.

There may be a blurry boundary somewhere, but science fictional languages are nowhere near it.


I'm not sure why I'm getting so riled up about this. I'm not even a conlanger. Maybe I just empathize with them, or something.
I think the issue of contention is whether learning an artificial language is a waste of time or not, and if so, how does it compare with other wastes of time?

Personally, I've got nothing against activities that are a waste of time if the people engaging in them are enjoying it. Heck, I watch Shaun the Sheep, and I play old text adventures (GET LAMP, LIGHT LAMP, GO NORTH).

I suspect that the thing that invites contempt is that the effort expended in learning a fake language is similar in degree and kind to the effort expended in learning a useful, inclusive means of communicating.

It would be like ignoring astronomy in favour of a fake universe, and spending years getting to grips with the various fictional planets in the solar system.

I don't include Esperanto here, because its secondary purpose was to enable people to learn how languages worked - something you cannot easily do with real languages because you get bogged down in irregular forms, exceptions and so on.

AndreasJ
2009-Dec-19, 12:31 PM
It would be like ignoring astronomy in favour of a fake universe, and spending years getting to grips with the various fictional planets in the solar system.

For most people, learning real astronomy is pretty useless in terms of economic gain, social status, etc.


And while knowing a bit of Spanish (the world's 2nd to 4th language depending on how one counts) looks good on my résumé, I'd be hard pressed to point to any actual utility I've derived from it.

Mithridates
2009-Dec-19, 12:54 PM
Back to the op: here's an article along the lines of what I've been saying.

http://www.nasawatch.com/archives/2009/11/avatar-a-stunni.html

NASA probably should have used Avatar as an opportunity to talk about extrasolar planets and other issues related to the movie. Potential types of propulsion that will later be able to take us to destinations that far away and whether they think it will take 150 years to reach that or if they expect interstellar travel to become a reality much sooner, for example.

clint
2009-Dec-19, 02:36 PM
Back to the op: here's an article along the lines of what I've been saying.

http://www.nasawatch.com/archives/2009/11/avatar-a-stunni.html

NASA probably should have used Avatar as an opportunity to talk about extrasolar planets and other issues related to the movie. Potential types of propulsion that will later be able to take us to destinations that far away and whether they think it will take 150 years to reach that or if they expect interstellar travel to become a reality much sooner, for example.

IIRC, in the movie it took them 6 years to get to Pandora.
Did they mention the distance? Or the year?

Tinaa
2009-Dec-19, 02:48 PM
My husband and I saw the movie last night. We went in looking for an action/adventure sci/fi tale. We got it. I'm going to buy the movie just to get more looks at the plants and animals. Go see it, suspend your disbelief, and enjoy the show.

galacsi
2009-Dec-19, 03:52 PM
IIRC, in the movie it took them 6 years to get to Pandora.
Did they mention the distance? Or the year?

I found several references about Pandora being a moon of a gazeous giant planet in the Alpha Centauri system. But I am not sure if this came from The Cameron movie of from some kind of wishful thinking from Astronomers trying to hype their research.

hhEb09'1
2009-Dec-19, 04:29 PM
Indeed. I'm also clever enough to know when conversing with an individual will not get anywhere.

Welcome to the ignore list.


TF has been on my ignore list for quite a while. TBF mine is an unusually large one.If the purpose of an ignore list is to ignore a poster, you shouldn't be responding to or remarking on that poster, I'd think.

Cruithne3753
2009-Dec-19, 05:58 PM
I had a thought today. Why are the navvies such a bright blue? I think it's make the 3D effect impractical to replicate on current TV screens, as it requires colour filters (the latest preferred combination being yellow/blue). The effect will be totally unbalanced between eyes.

I think it's to provide more ammunition to sell you 3D TVs in the near future.

antoniseb
2009-Dec-19, 06:44 PM
I saw it. The physics and economics were a little weak in places, but it was visually fantastic (I saw it in 3D IMAX). As someone with an interest in the future I also had some quibbles about the looks of some of the trivial things like the wheel-chair, but I think I've learned to not let such anachronisms spoil everything else in a movie.

TJMac
2009-Dec-19, 07:19 PM
Question of those who saw it...

The 3-D part doesn't come over as contrived and you find yourself noticing the producer went out of their way to bring scenes that cause stuff to "shoot" off the screen at you?

Maybe my experience with 3-D is limited to just some bad movies, like Friday the 13th Part III.

TJ

Gemini
2009-Dec-19, 08:33 PM
Question of those who saw it...

The 3-D part doesn't come over as contrived and you find yourself noticing the producer went out of their way to bring scenes that cause stuff to "shoot" off the screen at you?

Maybe my experience with 3-D is limited to just some bad movies, like Friday the 13th Part III.

TJ

Not at all. Also, I liked the 3d sub titles.

TJMac
2009-Dec-19, 08:36 PM
Cool. Because I wanted to see it since I first heard about it, and saw the preview... and due to some unknown reason, just found out it was 3D the other day, which made me start to rethink my position.

TJ

timb
2009-Dec-19, 08:41 PM
If the purpose of an ignore list is to ignore a poster, you shouldn't be responding to or remarking on that poster, I'd think.

Obviously you wouldn't be conversing with them, but I don't see any reason not to disclose the fact that they are being ignored. Such disclosures are potentially beneficial to them, and the broader community. The ignored individual knows they can stop trying to engage with people who are ignoring them and they receive feedback that their posts are not considered worth reading by some. This may lead them to re-evaluate their posting style. Further, publishing ignore lists, especially with reasons, helps the community develop standards of what constitutes worthwhile and unacceptable content.

Paul Beardsley
2009-Dec-19, 10:15 PM
Obviously you wouldn't be conversing with them, but I don't see any reason not to disclose the fact that they are being ignored. Such disclosures are potentially beneficial to them, and the broader community. The ignored individual knows they can stop trying to engage with people who are ignoring them and they receive feedback that their posts are not considered worth reading by some. This may lead them to re-evaluate their posting style. Further, publishing ignore lists, especially with reasons, helps the community develop standards of what constitutes worthwhile and unacceptable content.

This is probably better suited to About BAUT, but while it's here...

To my mind, telling someone they're on your ignore list is at best a case of sticking your fingers in your ears and saying La La La I'm not listening. Declaring that you have a lot of people on your ignore list sounds like a declaration of, I Am So Much Better Than Everybody Else - and is a pretty good reason for other people to put you on their ignore list.

As it happens I don't have anybody on my ignore list. I used to put obnoxious posters on it, but I stopped that, because without being able to see their posts I'll never know if they've turned over a new leaf. And if people post the same old nonsense over and over again, I can skim over it.

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-19, 10:18 PM
It's a personal decision, from my view. But I have no interest in discussing it further in this thread.

Swift
2009-Dec-19, 10:23 PM
Originally Posted by SolusLupus
Indeed. I'm also clever enough to know when conversing with an individual will not get anywhere.

Welcome to the ignore list
TF has been on my ignore list for quite a while. TBF mine is an unusually large one.
OK, everyone knock off the snarky comments. No more comments about who is or isn't on your ignore list, it comes to close to a personal attack (they are bad because they are on my little list). And Tuckerfan, knock off your snarky comments too.

If you folks can't talk about a movie without this kind of nonsense, I'll just have to start dishing out the infractions.

If anyone runs into any more problem posts, Report them, don't comment in thread.

Swift
2009-Dec-19, 10:29 PM
Obviously you wouldn't be conversing with them, but I don't see any reason not to disclose the fact that they are being ignored. Such disclosures are potentially beneficial to them, and the broader community. The ignored individual knows they can stop trying to engage with people who are ignoring them and they receive feedback that their posts are not considered worth reading by some. This may lead them to re-evaluate their posting style. Further, publishing ignore lists, especially with reasons, helps the community develop standards of what constitutes worthwhile and unacceptable content.
I'll make official what Paul said.

If you want to chat about ignore lists, take it to Feedback. If you have a specific problem with a moderator's instruction, Do Not comment in thread. Report the Post or PM one of the Administrators. Any more derailments or problems in this thread and actions will be taken.

sarongsong
2009-Dec-19, 11:45 PM
...Maybe my experience with 3-D is limited to just some bad movies, like Friday the 13th Part III.James Cameron just appeared on the Charlie Rose Show (http://www.charlierose.com/guest/view/3831) and mentioned having Sony build specially designed 3-D cameras for this film. One of the benefits was the ability for the audience to sit through a 2-1/2 hour movie without the old "3-D fatigue" setting in.

timb
2009-Dec-20, 12:18 AM
I'll make official what Paul said.

If you want to chat about ignore lists, take it to Feedback. If you have a specific problem with a moderator's instruction, Do Not comment in thread. Report the Post or PM one of the Administrators. Any more derailments or problems in this thread and actions will be taken.

Don't worry, I wont disclose the contents of my ignore list in this thread again. In the interests of fairness I point out that the previous moderator's statement wasn't phrased as an instruction, but as a statement about what he thought people should do.

timb
2009-Dec-20, 12:21 AM
Can't help but wonder how people in pre-state societies communicated then. (No, don't answer that.)



Somewhat on-topic, I saw Avatar y'dy. Glorious visual spectacle, but plotwise the combination of noble savages, mighty whitey, and new-agey mysticism was physically painful at times.

I posted something similar in another thread, and was ignored.


it seems to be a very pretty vehicle to push some fairly tired "progressive" memes

* the War in Iraq was wrong
* indigenous people have a mystical connection with nature and are morally superior to modern people, especially white ones
* business and profit are evil
* the American government is evil and imperialist

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-20, 02:52 AM
Don't you see this kind of thing in other movies, though? I mean, if you want to analyze Star Wars, the bad guys represented the British Empire, and Lord Vader's own outfit kind of uses elements from Nazi/Imperial uniforms (except for the bug-like face mask).

sarongsong
2009-Dec-20, 05:50 AM
...t seems to be a very pretty vehicle to push some fairly tired "progressive" memes

* the War in Iraq was wrong...Cameron addresses this in the Charlie Rose interview; he wrote the basic script in '94 and the ideas for Avatar began at age 14. He credits Star Wars as his inspiration that a story could be told on-screen in a style he was seeing his.
He said he also wanted to tell the story from the perspective of the "invadees".

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-20, 06:00 AM
People will read political commentary into anything that involves... well... politics. :)

Tuckerfan
2009-Dec-20, 06:18 AM
Is this Obtuse Saturday, and if so, why wasn't I told?

If a saw is designed for cutting wood, it is a wood saw. Otherwise it isn't. It's still a saw, but it's not a wood saw.

If a language is (or was) used in the real world, if it grew and developed through use by all manner of people, it is a real language. If it is only used by a small number of enthusiasts of a film, and only then when they are talking to each other, then it is not a real language.

You might prefer different terminology - say, commonly-used and specialised - but there is clearly a value in distinguishing between the kind of languages we mean when we compare Spanish with Klingon.
There are definitive anthropological/linguistic definitions of what constitutes distinct languages, dialects, living languages and dead/classical languages. Its been a number of years since I've had anthropology course, but IIRC, language is considered dead when there are no native speakers (i.e. someone who's first language was the one in question) of that language left. Without a native speaker of Klingon, Elvish, Dwarvish, etc., you simply cannot call a language living or real.

Now, if someone were to start a community where the adults spoke only Dwarvish around the kids (or mostly Dwarvish), from the time the children were born, that language could be considered living once the kids obtained a certain degree of fluency in the tongue. That might sound arbitrary to some folks, but if you bug a linguist at any university, they'll fill you in on more details about language than you'd ever care to know, and they do quantify all of this stuff.

traceur
2009-Dec-20, 07:56 AM
There are definitive anthropological/linguistic definitions of what constitutes distinct languages, dialects, living languages and dead/classical languages. Its been a number of years since I've had anthropology course, but IIRC, language is considered dead when there are no native speakers (i.e. someone who's first language was the one in question) of that language left. Without a native speaker of Klingon, Elvish, Dwarvish, etc., you simply cannot call a language living or real.

wait, why does not being a living language makes it a non-real language?
i don't see the connection, how does one leads to the other?

Tuckerfan
2009-Dec-20, 09:05 AM
wait, why does not being a living language makes it a non-real language?
i don't see the connection, how does one leads to the other?The closest example of what the proper term I can find for what Klingon, etc. should be called is an "auxilliary language," (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auxilliary_language) (Wiki really sucks when it comes to linguistics, it seems.) but even that's probably being generous. Without there ever having been native speakers of the language, it doesn't get considered to be "living" and in order for it to be classified as an "actual" language (like English), it must have been a living language at one time.

Further complicating things is that Nav'i, Klingon, and other created languages is that they can be (and some of the probably are) copyrighted, trademarked, and/or patented (all three can be slapped on them, if you've got a clever lawyer). So, the use of them can be restricted (I don't know how likely it would be that Cameron or others would be to sue, but JK Rowling recently got the publication of a fan-written "Harry Pottery Dictionary" blocked on copyright grounds, so its possible.), which means that its unlikely it can grow in an "organic manner." That leaves you with essentially a dead language, at best.

If you want to see the lengths people go to defining language, start reading linguistics textbooks. Its like Trekkies arguing over things like who was the best caption, which movies, TV series, and novels are canon, only done by people with advanced degrees, and it hinges on some of the most pointless crap you can imagine, at times.

Mind you, I'm not saying that I agree with all the accepted linguistic definitions. It seems silly to call something like Cantonese a "dialect" of Chinese, when the only thing it has in common with Mandarin Chinese is the written language (and a Cantonese speaker couldn't necessarily read something written by a Mandarin speaker, because the characters have different meanings in each "dialect"). I might be wrong about Cantonese and Mandarin, but there's over 5 different dialects of Chinese, and more than one of them is essentially a different language for the reasons I've given (its been a long time since I took Mandarin, and I've forgotten most of it). It also makes no sense to me to call Thai and Laotian different languages when the speakers of those languages can understand one another quite easily, but their written languages are entirely different. I, however, don't get to make the rules, the linguists do. Just like we don't get to call Pluto a planet, because the governing bodies in the field have decided its not, we can't just simply call something a "real" language because we want it to be.

traceur
2009-Dec-20, 11:10 AM
if living becomes the criteria for "being real" then being real has no meaning other then it being a living language, thus making the term semantically useless unless we use it for another meaning, which in this case would serve as a shortening for the meaning of "realistic". our brains semantical map is quite more adaptive then the authoritative dictionary one, and with the internet the former reaches consensus much faster then the later. thus i find the choice to use the later rather then the former akin to the stubborn use of swords in the day of gunpowder: utterly pointless.

Paul Beardsley
2009-Dec-20, 11:23 AM
Very interesting post, Tuckerfan. (And aren't I glad I sided with the person who knows what he's talking about ;) ) Can you recommend any books on the subject - you know, the sort a beginner can get on with? (Ignoring the fact that I'm supposed to be getting on with my Object Oriented Programming in Java course, which won't leave me much time...)

Paul Beardsley
2009-Dec-20, 11:27 AM
if living becomes the criteria for "being real" then being real has no meaning other then it being a living language
Latin and Ancient Greek are not living languages, but they were once, hence they are real.

By analogy, King Henry VIII is not living (but once lived) and Glenda Jackson is living, hence both are real. Sherlock Holmes and Batman are not real.

traceur
2009-Dec-20, 11:42 AM
By analogy, King Henry VIII is not living (but once lived) and Glenda Jackson is living, hence both are real. Sherlock Holmes and Batman are not real.
they aren't all real people but they are all real characters. language being in the realm of intangible concepts belongs to the later, not the first.

tusenfem
2009-Dec-20, 11:46 AM
I posted something similar in another thread, and was ignored.


You were ignored, most likely, because other members of BAUT remember that political discussions are frowned upon. This is one infraction for you, and don't repeat it again.

Paul Beardsley
2009-Dec-20, 11:53 AM
language being in the realm of intangible concepts belongs to the later, not the first.
No it doesn't.

timb
2009-Dec-20, 11:53 AM
You were ignored, most likely, because other members of BAUT remember that political discussions are frowned upon. This is one infraction for you, and don't repeat it again.


It wasn't a political discussion, it was a comment on a film. To ignore the political dimension of some films would be to ignore most of them. I'll stop posting anyway. I'm obviously out of my league here.

traceur
2009-Dec-20, 12:21 PM
No it doesn't.

i have absolutely no idea how to answer that masterpiece of logical conclusion..

"yes it does" "no it doesn't" "yes it does" "mommy traceur is applying logical thoughts to conclude my basic assumptions aren't true" and then we'll need a 3rd party to come & tells us to behave nicely? that process sounds all too boring.

if you want to apply the standards of realism we apply to tangibles onto an intengible construct, your the one who needs to explain why this case gets excluded from a regular taking the baby out of the bath water fallacy. you can't expect people to accept an exception to what is otherwise a logical falsehood at face value... ok, technically you are expecting it so i guess you can, but as far as discussions go i maintain you shouldn't.

Paul Beardsley
2009-Dec-20, 12:37 PM
if you want to apply the standards of realism we apply to tangibles onto an intengible construct, your the one who needs to explain [snip]

Already done so at length, and so has Tuckerfan. I am fed up of seeing replies that ignore the vast bulk of an argument. I am fed up of repeating myself, so I've stopped doing it. You made an unsupported assertion, I contradicted it. I find the subject too interesting to waste time on those who argue from a position of obtuseness.

KaiYeves
2009-Dec-20, 04:22 PM
Cameron addresses this in the Charlie Rose interview; he wrote the basic script in '94 and the ideas for Avatar began at age 14. He credits Star Wars as his inspiration that a story could be told on-screen in a style he was seeing his.
He said he also wanted to tell the story from the perspective of the "invadees".
I read an interview with a Star Wars writer who said that it makes sense that people see parallels with whatever is happening currently because so much of human history is based on the same motivations and scenarios. History rhymes.

Mithridates
2009-Dec-20, 04:30 PM
Why not simply use the same standard we use for other things that are real or not? The word "real" here seems to be taken as some sort of sign of respect or influence, when really all it means is that something exists. Take a company for example: if I register a company and then make $50 from it over a year, it's technically a real company. It exists, it has some sort of cash flow, it's a legal entity. But in the end it's just $50.

In the same way many languages are real, but inconsequential. If I learned how to use somebody's conlang (probably spoken by him and maybe his two best friends) I could then use it to tell them that I was a rich investor and wanted to meet with them to discuss further business opportunities at the Starbucks at so-and-so at 7 pm, and that I would be wearing a black overcoat with a top hat and would be drinking a tall mocha. And they would then arrive at said Starbucks, at 7 pm, looking for the person wearing a black overcoat with a top hat and drinking a tall mocha. So there you go, it's a real language in the same way that the company is a real company - the real language was used to communicate something, and the real company did what a company does - provide a service and receive money for it under a registered name.

So "real" here doesn't really mean much. You're all treating the word real as if it were some sort of validation when all it means is that it has crossed the border from nonexistence to existence.

Paul Beardsley
2009-Dec-20, 05:12 PM
Why not simply use the same standard we use for other things that are real or not? The word "real" here seems to be taken as some sort of sign of respect or influence, when really all it means is that something exists. Take a company for example: if I register a company and then make $50 from it over a year, it's technically a real company. It exists, it has some sort of cash flow, it's a legal entity. But in the end it's just $50.
The distinction here is whether it's big or small, not whether it's real or not.


So there you go, it's a real language in the same way that the company is a real company
No it's not. As has been explained repeatedly, they are not the criteria for a language. Real communication may have taken place, but that's not enough. Real communication can take place if you point and grunt, or use pet or slang names for things, or do drawings of the objects and actions.

A better analogy would be a small number of school chums creating their own currency using their toy printing set. They might exchange it for goods and services (sweets, or being a slave for a day), in which case it has carried out the same function as real money. But that does not make it real money.

AndreasJ
2009-Dec-20, 05:36 PM
Mind you, I'm not saying that I agree with all the accepted linguistic definitions. It seems silly to call something like Cantonese a "dialect" of Chinese, when the only thing it has in common with Mandarin Chinese is the written language (and a Cantonese speaker couldn't necessarily read something written by a Mandarin speaker, because the characters have different meanings in each "dialect").

I know a number of linguists, and none of them would say that Cantonese is a dialect of Chinese. None of my linguistics books says it is either. I'm therefore skeptical that the definitions you refer to are all that widely accepted in the linguistic community.

AndreasJ
2009-Dec-20, 05:36 PM
A better analogy would be a small number of school chums creating their own currency using their toy printing set. They might exchange it for goods and services (sweets, or being a slave for a day), in which case it has carried out the same function as real money. But that does not make it real money.

The lesson would seem to be that "realness" is not an important attribute of currencies.

Mithridates
2009-Dec-20, 06:10 PM
A better analogy would be a small number of school chums creating their own currency using their toy printing set. They might exchange it for goods and services (sweets, or being a slave for a day), in which case it has carried out the same function as real money. But that does not make it real money.

That's actually pretty much the same as my analogy. The currency here works in a very limited fashion but nothing beyond there, in the same way that the company is technically a company but has none of the regular trappings of a company - an office, employees, etc., doesn't pay for the expenses of even a single person, and won't win you any awards for entrepreneur of the month either.

Some local currencies are a step above this and can be traded among participating local businesses; that would be something equivalent to Interlingua or Ido perhaps. Real but very limited, and you have to actively seek out places to use it.

SkepticJ
2009-Dec-20, 06:11 PM
As I thought I'd made clear, it's not a question of numbers, it's a question of how it's used. If you are brought up to use a specific language in the reasonable expectation of communicating with a very broad range of people in your day-to-day life, then it's real.

If that logic were extended to words in the English language, they wouldn't be real words.

There're words that only scientists and engineers use, and as geeky as I am, they sound like gibberish to be.

Then there're sounds that only postmodernists make, but they actually are meaningless gibberish.

SkepticJ
2009-Dec-20, 06:18 PM
A better analogy would be a small number of school chums creating their own currency using their toy printing set. They might exchange it for goods and services (sweets, or being a slave for a day), in which case it has carried out the same function as real money. But that does not make it real money.

Sure it does.

You can't slap down cowrie shells on the bar in modern England and buy something, but if you did the same in ancient China, they were legal tender. To you they're just seashells.

If it performs the function of money, it's money. If it performs the function of language, it is a language.

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-20, 06:23 PM
OMG, is this still going on?

I'm gonna go write stories or poetry now, and leave you guys to this debate.


I find the subject too interesting to waste time on those who argue from a position of obtuseness.

Still your favorite word, huh?

Mithridates
2009-Dec-20, 06:27 PM
If it performs the function of money, it's money. If it performs the function of language, it is a language.

And let me just add one more point to that - the function of language also includes standards of right and wrong in grammar, so this is what distinguishes it from grunting or pointing. I could threaten someone by baring my teeth or making my eyes big, but either one would suffice and baring my teeth in a slightly different way wouldn't make a difference. In a language though a slight variation changes everything. In the example I gave if that conlang I used to tell the people I was going to be at the coffee shop and I mistakenly wrote ewé (woman) instead of éwe (man), they would then be looking for a woman with a top hat and likely wouldn't find me.

Paul Beardsley
2009-Dec-20, 06:31 PM
Still your favorite word, huh?
Not at all. I am seriously dismayed to see so much of it on display, in BAUT of all places.

And I include the last few posts in this.

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-20, 06:33 PM
Its synonym seems to be "Disagrees with me".

Paul Beardsley
2009-Dec-20, 06:41 PM
Its synonym seems to be "Disagrees with me".

OMG are you still debating? I thought you'd just declared your superiority to the debate and gone off to write poetry.

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-20, 06:42 PM
You're right. I'll go do that. I'll make sure to do it obtusely. Just for you.

Tinaa
2009-Dec-20, 06:53 PM
Really? This is a thread about a movie, not about linguistics. I now consider the language debate off-topic, unless it is directly connected to the movie. This little debate is done.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Dec-20, 08:55 PM
And let me just add one more point to that - the function of language also includes standards of right and wrong in grammar, so this is what distinguishes it from grunting or pointing. I could threaten someone by baring my teeth or making my eyes big, but either one would suffice and baring my teeth in a slightly different way wouldn't make a difference.
It would, as that would be a smile:)

And that brings us back to the movie. Not having seen it I have to ask, was the tall smurf's body language readily readable by the audience?

AndreasJ
2009-Dec-20, 09:24 PM
And that brings us back to the movie. Not having seen it I have to ask, was the tall smurf's body language readily readable by the audience?

For all practical purposes 'twas ordinary human body language.

Glom
2009-Dec-20, 09:30 PM
Since the other thread has been hijacked by a discussion about some tangential stuff and gotten pretty crabby in the process, I'm starting a new one.

I saw it today. The design is fantastic and I mean really, really good. I was mesmerised for the first act with the imagery and that is despite the godawful projection at the cinema.

Then the plot started. Subtlety, thy name is not James Cameron. It's basically Pocohontas with more action. It's so tired and cliche that the scene where Jake confesses his sins I had worked out, almost word for word and hour before it happens. I was also queasy at the newage connotations. It's easy in fiction for it to be "real" and not just bunk.

That being said, it is so effectively done that I was routing for the hippies despite my nausea at the ham handedness of the straw man allegory plot.

AndreasJ
2009-Dec-20, 10:10 PM
My overall impressions were not too dissimilar. As I put it in the other thread:

Glorious visual spectacle, but plotwise the combination of noble savages, mighty whitey, and new-agey mysticism was physically painful at times.

Can't say I rooted for anyone towards the end, however.


(Also, if the unobtainium is so insanely expensive, won't the humans return soon enough? The Na'vi can hardly trust that every "security officer" has the tactical acumen of a dead hamster.)

Glom
2009-Dec-20, 10:35 PM
(Also, if the unobtainium is so insanely expensive, won't the humans return soon enough? The Na'vi can hardly trust that every "security officer" has the tactical acumen of a dead hamster.)

Indeed. I was thinking that too.

SkepticJ
2009-Dec-21, 01:21 AM
Yeah, but...

Spoiler: At the end of the movie, the entire biosphere of Pandora is on the defensive. So, what's the Company going to do, exterminate all life on an entire moon so they can mine macguffinium in peace? I'd think much more money could be made by studying what's on Pandora. The trees form a computer, for bleep's sake!

Atraveller
2009-Dec-21, 02:44 AM
I saw it today. The design is fantastic and I mean really, really good. I was mesmerised for the first act with the imagery and that is despite the godawful projection at the cinema.

Then the plot started. Subtlety, thy name is not James Cameron. It's basically Pocohontas with more action. It's so tired and cliche that the scene where Jake confesses his sins I had worked out, almost word for word and hour before it happens. I was also queasy at the newage connotations. It's easy in fiction for it to be "real" and not just bunk.

Hey - I saw it Friday night - and I will probably go back to watch it again. I can't say that about too many movies.

I saw it in 3D (highly recomended) the 3D is a much more refined than was in "UP" or "Land of the Lost". It adds a texture to the film, rather than dominates it.

The only regret I have is I watched it in the "regular" theatre - not The V-Max (much bigger screen - wraps around you, but not as much as I-Max) I'll be going back to watch it in V-Max.

I agree with Glom, the plot was thin - but I pictured it more like "Dances with Wolves" than Pocohontas but one where the indians win... And yes it does get a little New Age toward the end - But then Star Wars was all Kabbalah - and we didn't complain...

Tuckerfan
2009-Dec-21, 04:09 AM
For all practical purposes 'twas ordinary human body language.You mean American or Western body language. Body language can vary from culture to culture and sometimes even within different parts of the same country. The "come here" motion made by your average American is considered to be obscene by folks in certain parts of the Middle East. In some societies the kind of body language people can use is dictated by social status or gender. Supposedly some societies require that when a woman is conversing with a male and wishes to point in direction, she cannot use her arms and hands to do so, but must turn her head and pucker her lips in the direction she chooses to indicate.

Oh, and I hope the mods will allow me to mention this, since you directed this at me, but if you look up the Wiki entry for Cantonese (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantonese), you'll see that it does call it a dialect of Chinese. Perhaps the linguists you know are using a different definition of dialect than American ones are.

tusenfem
2009-Dec-21, 08:44 AM
One thread per movie is enough, unless there is a spoiler / non-spoiler schism.

AndreasJ
2009-Dec-21, 09:26 AM
You mean
Do me a favour and never tell me what I think again.

And with that I'm out of this thread.

aapold
2009-Dec-21, 01:53 PM
Saw it and thought it was very enjoyable.

science-wise...

I think the space scenes showed Pandora (and some other moons) too close to the gas giant for the Roche limit, but its hard to get anything exact. We don't know the mass of either other than apparently Pandora's gravity is somewhat less than earth's...

we never saw any kind of seasons for Pandora (had at least a 3 month time frame). Day/Night cycles for a moon might be odd, should have occasional eclipses by gas giant given how close it seemed.

I think I heard them say they were six years in transit. Meaning they probably started somewhere other than earth.... which is entirely plausible I guess, although Scully apparently was a veteran of combat action in Venezuela. They never mention any kind of FTL. six years would be extremely fast for even Alpha Centauri (given the need to decelerate). (I think we're pretty sure that no such planetary system exists there either). I suppose its entirely possible they could have sent him somewhere else first and then to Pandora.

Tech-wise the part that seemed the least plausible is that somehow the sleeper-avatar body coffin unit thing (not sure what they were called) were somehow able to transmit to the avatar body wherever it was, no interference at all (not to mention delay, which might be critical running around on tree branches a hundred meters up) despite the fact that nothing else was able to transmit or scan or anything in that one area due to interference. So... if these units could do that, why couldn't other signals get through? why couldn't they transmit the location of the avatar bodies? or relay video from them? It would have been more plausible if it was some kind of housed unit that physcially connected and downloaded the consciousness somehow... but such a mechanism would necessitate the avatar body coming back each time.

Lastly I suppose it was possible for the entire consciousness to be digitized and transferred wirelessly... but then again we run into the why can't we trasmit or scan or anything else in these areas and those things can. I'd guess military tech to be at least on par with what they were doing here...

If they are capable of such things, why have so clumsy interfaces as physical hand movement and so on for those mech walkers? why not just have a combat organic body grown and make the soldiers avatars of those? you could use the red dragon flier or the giant rhino if needed. At the very least it would allow them to fight without actually risking their own lives...

(don't really want to debate its philosophy but the movie seems to approve killing off the soldiers who were mostly just there doing their jobs, implying I guess that they should mutiny like that one pilot... I was hoping that they'd have found some other resolution that didn't involve a big combat explosions end sequence, my money had been on finding a way to render this "unobtainium" inert or useless....

At the end a couple of humans (mostly researchers and that one pilot) elected to stay on the planet, they didn't have avatar bodies for them available (which cost a fortune to create and had to be shipped in). Given that they needed breathing masks to survive more than 30 seconds on the planet I hope they kept plenty of them. How are these people supposed to eat? I suppose this Aiwa deity of theirs is supposed to come up with some more miracles to fix that or something.

all that being said I did quite enjoy the movie and will see it again on imax-3d (only saw regular 3d). I got gloriously lost in it for most of the movie, wasn't nitpicking while watching it. I just do this with stuff I love. And even so felt it was a lot better science-wise that the majority of stuff out there. Just kind of felt like its our duty to go through it.

Cruithne3753
2009-Dec-21, 10:49 PM
Confession time - it was my birthday today, I had the day off and as there was nothing else of interest on I relented and went to see it after all!

The 3D was very nice, some sickeningly vertiginous drops there!

I can see what people are saying about the plot...
Dances-With-SmurfsWolves-meets-Fern-gully-meets-Pocahontas-via-Apocalypse-Now-with-a-little-Rapa-Nui-tossed-in...

My only real gripe though is the old "Star Trek" aliens-as-humans-but-slightly-different syndrome - even their feet were the same! - I sometimes thought JC could have saved a bomb and just had actors in blue body paint and prosthetics. With CGI it could have been a bit more adventurous - I noticed that the vertebrate life forms on Pandora seemed to have six legs, four eyes and chest breathing vents, and I think the Na'vi should have had these too.

I liked the fan-VTOL craft - but that heavy carrier could have used larger lifting fans IMO, and what was keeping the slow moving shuttle aloft?

I'll conveniently overlook the floating rocks, they did containt "unobtanium" after all, so I suppose that was bit of a joke for those in the know (a bit like the Red Matter in Star Trek = Red Mercury?)

Here's a thought - maybe the Na'vi aren't so primitive after all, and millenia ago devoloped highly advanced nanotech... this has subsequently become incorporated into the biosphere... just a wild conjecture!

Yep, good film and worth it after all.

DrRocket
2009-Dec-21, 11:14 PM
I The females even have human-style breasts, for crying out loud, a feature not even found on most species on earth.


Come on now. If you can't figure out why this is a feature of a commercial film, then I don't think I can help you.

Let me guess, the females may be funny colors, but they have a pleasing shape. Ths is a mystery ?

Atraveller
2009-Dec-22, 12:06 AM
Let me guess, the females may be funny colors, but they have a pleasing shape. Ths is a mystery ?

And captain Kirk never really had green alien sex...

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-22, 12:52 AM
Mass Effect had a lot more thought put into it than 99% of scifi garbage out there, but it also had alien babes. They were also blue. So what?

Oh, and the smurfs weren't the only fictional blue creatures out there. It really isn't clever to call anyone with blue skin in fiction a "smurf" -- it's just a sign you're trying very very hard to be snarky.

Greeks referred to entire continents of blue people. I wonder how many historians go around talking about the smurf-believing Greeks?

PetersCreek
2009-Dec-22, 01:13 AM
I saw it this past Saturday and I thoroughly (and unapologetically) enjoyed it...but then, I tend to take movies like this for what they are, whatever that turns out to be. I didn't have much expection of scientific accuracy because...well...this is Hollywood we're talking about. Sure, the aliens cried and had other all-too-human expressions and gestures but I, as a human spectator, would have had a much more difficult time empathizing with the characters' had they displayed grief by oozing blue puss from their ears. I even liked the story line for the most part. But I liked Dances With Wolves, too. Sue me. :whistle:

A true classic of the SciFi genre? I don't think so but I don't regret spending my time or my $6.75 on it, either.

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-22, 01:14 AM
Why does everyone blame "Hollywood"? There are things called books and games that do the exact same thing.

PetersCreek
2009-Dec-22, 01:16 AM
Blaming Hollywood does not imply that anyone else is blameless.

SolusLupus
2009-Dec-22, 01:18 AM
I guess I just don't see how it's something to be blamed over in the first place.

And leaping straight to "Well, it's Hollywood" does seem to indicate it's something unique or special about the industry.

sarongsong
2009-Dec-22, 02:31 AM
Does Avatar seem sequel-able?

Mithridates
2009-Dec-22, 02:37 AM
Does Avatar seem sequel-able?

I could see it sequelable in the same way that Star Wars was - start out with one movie, give it a happy ending, gauge the reaction, then make the next two a part of a larger story where part 2 is bittersweet but part 3 wraps everything up again.

traceur
2009-Dec-22, 02:39 AM
question: does anyone here sincerely think that if the mass audience was more scientifically-discriminatory and Hollywood adapted to those demands, the storytelling would somehow inherently become better?

PetersCreek
2009-Dec-22, 04:22 AM
I guess I just don't see how it's something to be blamed over in the first place.

And leaping straight to "Well, it's Hollywood" does seem to indicate it's something unique or special about the industry.

In the first place, "blame" was your word. Saying "well...it's Hollywood" is just my recognition that Hollywood sacrifices strict accuracy for various artistic, economic, or other reasons of expedience...and frequently at that. Sometimes I blame them for it. Most times I don't. I hardly think I should be required to mention similar choices made in any/every other medium in order to fairly make that point.

Glom
2009-Dec-22, 08:43 AM
I noticed that the vertebrate life forms on Pandora seemed to have six legs, four eyes and chest breathing vents, and I think the Na'vi should have had these too.

I was thinking that as well. At the beginning, I was trying to see scientific detail in what they had produced. The Navi after all kept their tails unlike us but also live in big trees, so it does rather make evolutionary sense.

But then I noticed how the Navi are also the only four limbed species we see. How did they evolve so differently from other land vertebrates? All land vertebrates on Earth evolved from the Great Paleo-Newt, which is why the vast majority of them have four limbs even if two became arms, or wings. The exception are snakes, which lost their limbs altogether.

PetersCreek
2009-Dec-22, 09:05 AM
I suppose the Na'vi could be the pinnacle species of a separate "Kingdom". I don't recall...did the lemur-like creatures also have six limbs?

Glom
2009-Dec-22, 09:13 AM
Now that I think of it, we should probably all worship the Great Paleo-Newt. I'm starting a new religion: Paleonewtology.

I'd better check my facts first. It was a newt right?

galacsi
2009-Dec-22, 02:14 PM
Mass Effect had a lot more thought put into it than 99% of scifi garbage out there, but it also had alien babes. They were also blue. So what?

Oh, and the smurfs weren't the only fictional blue creatures out there. It really isn't clever to call anyone with blue skin in fiction a "smurf" -- it's just a sign you're trying very very hard to be snarky.

Greeks referred to entire continents of blue people. I wonder how many historians go around talking about the smurf-believing Greeks?


Yes they were ! The proof : http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x61sn_les-schtroumpfs_events

hhEb09'1
2009-Dec-22, 02:48 PM
Oh, and the smurfs weren't the only fictional blue creatures out there. It really isn't clever to call anyone with blue skin in fiction a "smurf" -- it's just a sign you're trying very very hard to be snarky.

Greeks referred to entire continents of blue people. I wonder how many historians go around talking about the smurf-believing Greeks?I tried to look this one up. I googled "argyria"--near as I can tell, anymore, anytime anyone shows up in blue skin, the word "smurf" is bandied about.

Cruithne3753
2009-Dec-22, 06:05 PM
I noticed that the vertebrate life forms on Pandora seemed to have six legs, four eyes and chest breathing vents, and I think the Na'vi should have had these too.

Whoops, I meant limbs... :doh:

Tinaa
2009-Dec-22, 06:07 PM
I noticed that too. My husband said to quit worrying about it and enjoy the show. He was right.

Mithridates
2009-Dec-23, 03:11 AM
I was thinking that as well. At the beginning, I was trying to see scientific detail in what they had produced. The Navi after all kept their tails unlike us but also live in big trees, so it does rather make evolutionary sense.

But then I noticed how the Navi are also the only four limbed species we see. How did they evolve so differently from other land vertebrates? All land vertebrates on Earth evolved from the Great Paleo-Newt, which is why the vast majority of them have four limbs even if two became arms, or wings. The exception are snakes, which lost their limbs altogether.

Isn't that the answer right there? The Na'vi could have evolved from a completely different ancestor, or lost two limbs in the same way the snake lost theirs or we began walking on two instead of four. Perhaps the Na'vi have something similar to our tailbone except that it represents two extra limbs that they used to have. Whales technically still have their hind limbs in that way.

http://www.nytimes.com/1990/07/12/us/whales-hind-feet-show-up-in-fossils.html

SkepticJ
2009-Dec-23, 08:50 AM
Or they're bipedal, blue cat-people because that's what Jim imagined back when he was a teenager.

eburacum45
2009-Dec-23, 12:12 PM
Perhaps the two back pairs of limbs (or two front pairs) have fused together to form a single pair in the Na'vi. I doubt that such a process would create such close human analogues, but you never know.

tofu
2009-Dec-23, 09:51 PM
Perhaps the two back pairs of limbs (or two front pairs) have fused together to form a single pair in the Na'vi. I doubt that such a process would create such close human analogues, but you never know.

It just seems like you're contriving an explanation where none is needed. The real answer is that the film's creators wanted aliens where aliens suited them, and anthropomorphism where humans suited them.

If the horses looked like horses then moviegoers would say, "that's boring" so the easy solution was to add another pair of legs. On the other hand, if the Na'vi were too alien, then they wouldn't trigger that part of our brain that recognizes members of our own species and makes us sympathetic to them. If the Na'vi looked like cockroaches, then we moviegoers would side with the humans, and the movie would be a disaster.

So the Na'vi, particularly Neytiri, are custom-designed to appeal to us, and not just on the emotional "fellow humans" level, but let's be honest, they are *supposed* to appeal to us sexually. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that the size of Neytiri's breasts are within 10% of what human males would call ideal. She has long hair on her head, triggering the instinct for our species that says, here's a female that's had high and long-term immunocompetence. She's otherwise hairless, tall and slender - just the way she's supposed to be to appeal to a species of pursuit predators like us.

I could go on, but you get the point. If you changed just about anything her, the movie wouldn't work as well. I mean, take the eyes for example: they're big with well-defined pupils. They almost look dilated for crying out loud! If her eyes were too close or too far apart, or if they had no obvious pupils, or they weren't placed for binocular vision so that you could have that locking gaze like a child looking at its mother, the whole movie would fall apart.

What's really funny here is that the deficiency isn't with us, it's with the writers. There's actually plenty of room in the human psyche for sympathy with non-humans. How many of you nearly broke down in tears during March of the Penguins? How many of you sided with the prawns in District 9? I actually enjoyed Avatar just because of the special effects, but I don't think it has a good enough story to stand on its own. The only way it works is if the "aliens" are sexy blue humans.

So anyway, if it's fun for you to hypothesize about their evolution that's cool, I don't begrudge you that. I'll even participate. But just so we're clear, the real reason they look like that is because a calculated effort was made to design something that would appeal to us.

*sigh* Imagine if you threw $300 million dollars at Niven and Pournelle, or any of a dozen scifi authors that can actually write (and then somehow avoided letting hollywood sabotage it). You wouldn't need to use sex to distract the audience.

Tinaa
2009-Dec-23, 09:57 PM
Well, I certainly wasn't looking at the females in any sexual way.

tofu
2009-Dec-23, 10:42 PM
Well, I certainly wasn't looking at the females in any sexual way.

It may not be something you're conscious of, but do you disagree that this was a factor in the design of the aliens?

I didn't pay much attention to the males either, but didn't they have rather pronounced pectoral muscles and six-pack abs? Weren't they taller than the females by about the right amount (for our own species)? There's plenty of research showing that shorter human males have fewer sex partners. So my hypothesis is that if the males in this movie were shorter than the females, you wouldn't like it as much.

You know what would be awesome? Since this is all CGI anyway, render the entire movie with the aliens from District 9 and see if people still like it. I'm guessing they wont.

Atraveller
2009-Dec-24, 02:31 AM
A true classic of the SciFi genre? I don't think so but I don't regret spending my time or my $6.75 on it, either.

$6.75 ? Wow - It cost me $18 ($16USD) to see it in regular 3D - and I'll be paying $22 (19.50 USD) when I go back to see it again in V-Max. (But then again the average McJob here pays $36,000 ($32,000 USD))

I think anyone who looks for any real science, or any real alien features in the humanoid design is going to be very dissapointed - but that isn't what this movie is about - this is more like a fantasy genre - with some science thrown in to make it a little more plausible.

Now really, did we give Vulcan mysticism a hard time, or appreciate it as a story feature?

PetersCreek
2009-Dec-24, 03:43 AM
Yep...$6.75 matinee at a nearby mom & pop theater (not a national chain) showing the plain old motion picture version. Our first IMAX theater is under construction.

SkepticJ
2009-Dec-24, 04:18 AM
You know what would be awesome? Since this is all CGI anyway, render the entire movie with the aliens from District 9 and see if people still like it. I'm guessing they wont.

I think part of it would still work. The romance between Jake and District 9-version Neytiri though, no.

I doubt even the furry subculture (don't look it up!) find arthropoidal mandibles make-out-with-able.

THETULLSTER
2009-Dec-24, 07:55 PM
Great movie, who cares if the rocks float, ITS A MOVIE

mike alexander
2009-Dec-25, 12:51 AM
Just back from seeing it with my son. His take: X-Men 3 was worse. I agree.

Cliche'-O-Rama.

Hot Sexy Jupiter
2009-Dec-25, 04:15 AM
Fantastic movie, and Pandora was breathtaking to behold. Since it's set around Alpha Centauri A, I wonder how much of a role ACB would play in the evolution of life on the planet and the environment in general, or is it simply too far away?

Tuckerfan
2009-Dec-25, 04:45 AM
Well, I certainly wasn't looking at the females in any sexual way.
Don't be so sure about that. (http://mcv.e-p.net.au/news/straight-women-prefer-women-3445.html)

New research has revealed heterosexual women are more likely to be aroused by looking at naked women than naked men.

korjik
2009-Dec-25, 06:56 AM
Just back from seeing it with my son. His take: X-Men 3 was worse. I agree.

Cliche'-O-Rama.

That is a very low bar to hurdle. Ants could handle that one.

:)

mike alexander
2009-Dec-25, 06:30 PM
But, I thought the Wayne Barlowe - inspired creatures looked very good, especially the liquivore 'horses'.

Jason_Roberts
2009-Dec-26, 05:29 PM
Dances-With-SmurfsWolves-meets-Fern-gully-meets-Pocahontas-via-Apocalypse-Now-with-a-little-Rapa-Nui-tossed-in...


Ah ha! I was wondering how many pages into this thread I would make it before Fern Gully was finally mentioned. I was thinking precisely the same thing through most of the movie, especially when the big bulldozers came into things. In fact, many of the parallels were just downright distracting. But for me that's okay. It didn't ruin anything.

About the hard sci-fi content brought up, I just really never get my hopes up regarding Hollywood's definition of things. I think it's going to be a very long time before hard science fiction becomes popular. A lot of people just aren't very interested in having to think about things or be confronted by the truly strange or unique.

Romance also played a large part in this movie. So, try to imagine the same scenario if the Navi were not at all humanoid.

These last few sci-films that have been coming out over the past three or four years have been getting me very hungry for Guillermo del Toro's adaptation of "At the Mountains of Madness" that is rumored to be in the works.

Paul Beardsley
2009-Dec-26, 06:35 PM
These last few sci-films that have been coming out over the past three or four years have been getting me very hungry for Guillermo del Toro's adaptation of "At the Mountains of Madness" that is rumored to be in the works.
Ooh, now that could be fun. I reread it last year, and on the whole thought the ideas and the story were much better than the writing. A film version could be very interesting - as long as they don't try to update it.

(It's probably too early to start a new thread for it.)

LotusExcelle
2009-Dec-27, 06:56 PM
Here is my mini-review an opinions on Avatar.

As a note I saw it in 3d on an IMAX screen.

So first of all I'll mention the technical aspects of it. There were perhaps one or two scenes in which the 3d didn't hold up - there might have been a projection error at work in those cases - but for 99% of the movie the 3-d effect was, for me, completely realistic. In other words it looked like a dream rather than a movie in many ways. I think it is safe to say that all subsequent 3d live-action (be it rendered or in-the-flesh people) will use Avatar as a measuring stick.

I also think the 3d was unobtrusive. There really weren't any "hey look what we can do!" moments such as there were in movies like Beowulf. Think more along the lines of Up's natural looking 3d. It was not there as the point - it merely added to the immersion.

Now on to some sticky points for me. The acting. Sam Worthington was like a brick wall, it seems. His range went from mild bemusement to mild semi-bemusement. I liked how Sigourney Weaver handled her role and the first scene with her in it was brilliant though brief. She immediately shows who her character is within a few frames of film. Something Worthington couldn't accomplish within the entire running length of the film.

There has been mention in other reviews as well as within this thread of the floating mountains. I cannot fathom why people would take issue with this. It fits within the mythos of the planet as well as with some alluded-to properties of the ore they are mining.

So to keep this short I would say the film is a success on all fronts but with a few issues (mostly acting) that keep it from being epic. I would happily go see it again to immerse myself in that world - but I would never see it in 2d. It would be like watching Wizard of Oz completely in black and white. Cameron is obviously flexing his muscles in every shot and I hope that other directors take several pages from his shooting style. Even shots I know had to be CGI *look* real. As if they made this planet just to film this movie on.

THETULLSTER
2009-Dec-27, 07:54 PM
The film was fantastic, Sam Worthington did a great job. Did you really think his character really needed to show much of an act? He was a marine, he acted as any other marine would. On the other hand when he was the avatar, he did great. If you want to call someone like Jean Claude Van Dam a brick wall that would be fine. but sam worthinton did fantastic

sarongsong
2009-Dec-27, 08:00 PM
...Sam Worthington was like a brick wall, it seems. His range went from mild bemusement to mild semi-bemusement...Ouch! Wonder how/why he got the role?

(Good to see you back, LotusExcelle---in case you missed the thread, was looking forward to your input here (http://www.bautforum.com/off-topic-babbling/97911-shade-tree-mechs-any-reason-transmission-shop-would-have-drained-my-coolant.html).) http://www.bautforum.com/images/icons/icon10.gif

Techist
2009-Dec-30, 08:46 AM
I had a thought today. Why are the navvies such a bright blue? I think it's make the 3D effect impractical to replicate on current TV screens, as it requires colour filters (the latest preferred combination being yellow/blue). The effect will be totally unbalanced between eyes.

I think it's to provide more ammunition to sell you 3D TVs in the near future.

I just saw the file in the Cinerama Dome in 3D - the glasses were Polaroid, so colors didn't matter. (Most anaglyphs are red/blue.)

I'm pretty sure that Pandora is in the Alpha Centauri system, so 6-year travel time is a significant fraction of c. Still, as the remnant human forces were loaded into their ships for the return home, I couldn't help but think that this gave the Na'Vi twelve years to prepare for a possible follow-on invasion. Sequel, anyone?

LotusExcelle
2009-Dec-30, 11:03 AM
In reference to home-use 3-d there are technologies out there that use active glasses (i.e. not colored lenses or passive polarized) that allow a standard display device i.e. HD or even regular old NTSC TVs to produce a 3-d image.

Sony is locked into a agreement with RealD right now in fact so I would expect that around the time Avatar gets ready for a Blu-Ray release Sony and possibly others will offer a player/glasses combo. I see very few issues with this - display rates on newer HD sets are high enough to handle it. Older sets may flicker.

I think Avatar may not only bring 3d into mainstream moviemaking for cinema but may also bring it into the home.

Glom
2009-Dec-30, 11:17 AM
But how many times have we heard that 3D was the way forward? It was fashionable in the 50s wasn't it?

LotusExcelle
2009-Dec-30, 06:06 PM
It has waxed and waned several times over the decades. Anaglyph is most often associated with the 50's but I think that is apocryphal. That was just one system of several - all of which have enjoyed success.

This new revival uses less expensive/easier to distribute technology and thus may just be a more permanent fixture. I doubt every movie will be shot in 3d but it seems likely that more and more will. Sort of like how not every movie uses CGI.

Techist
2009-Dec-31, 06:20 AM
It has waxed and waned several times over the decades. Anaglyph is most often associated with the 50's but I think that is apocryphal. That was just one system of several - all of which have enjoyed success.

This new revival uses less expensive/easier to distribute technology and thus may just be a more permanent fixture. I doubt every movie will be shot in 3d but it seems likely that more and more will. Sort of like how not every movie uses CGI.
In the '50s, "Bwana Devil" came out, using polaroid glasses, followed by "House of Wax" and a few others. I don't remember any anaglyph films of that vintage, though I know that the anaglyph well predates that time.

JohnD
2009-Dec-31, 10:32 PM
(Some mention of plot details below, but not I think to spoil your enjoyment)

I see that there has been reference to District 9 above, but only in passing. Having watched both films back-to-back - well, on adjacent days - recently, I think more comparision is needed.

Avatar has breathtaking special effects, but the story is disturbing. I felt disquieted at the time of seeing it, but thinking about it, and seeing District 9, has shown me what is the problem. It protrays, pitched against modern warfare supporting ravaging commerce, Noble Savages who win against all the odds through some link to a Gaia of their own planet that overwhelms the Bad Guys. Completely unrealistic, which is fine, plenty of great stories are unrealistic. But this fruit cake of environmental ideas comes with an icing of wish fulfilment fantasy, that gives it a false relevance.

Contrast that with District 9. A South African production clearly uses the aliens as surrogates for the black population of that country, still living in shanty towns. Brave. The script uses Afrikaaners behaving in the same way to the aliens as they have done (do?) to blacks, and worse the plot involves evicting them from their slum to a desert concentration camp, that also echoes past South African policy. It has a lot to say about the way that humans treat those among them who are different, let alone those among them who are 'prawns'.
And while District 9 too has the aliens fighting exploitative humans, and has a hopeful message for those aliens, it is not based on some fantasy of a psychic link to a connected world that will save them - they save themselves, by grit and knowledge.

Forget the nitty gritty of, "Is this science or not?" Avatar is a pretty bauble of a film. District 9 tells us something about ourselves, and is by far the better film.

JOhn

Tesarra
2009-Dec-31, 11:14 PM
I agree, JohnD. Avatar was pretty, and enjoyable as a fairy-tale romance of forbidden love, the underdog winning due to moral superiority and nature overcoming man's predations, but District 9 was by a wide margin a better film and better story. I enjoyed both movies, but District 9 made me think and examine my own behavior to check whether my actions toward folks different from me are in alignment with my moral compass.


Tes

tofu
2010-Jan-01, 01:12 AM
Another interesting difference between the two movies is what happens if the humans do nothing.

In District 9, we're told that the prawns, because of their totally alien psychology, just can't live in human society. We're told that they just don't understand concepts like private property. We also have reason to fear that their high birth rate would allow them to simply overrun the entire planet - we're the aboriginal fauna and they're cane toads. Now, I realize that these narratives are (very well done) analogies of human race-related prejudices, but in the best traditions of science fiction, we can also take them at face value. In District 9, the humans have to do something. The story is interesting because it's complex.

In Avatar, it doesn't appear that much of anything is at stake for the humans. They're just mean, greedy, bad people - except for the ones who like the Navi, they're okay. In Avatar, if the Humans do nothing, everybody could live in peace and harmony.

It's just a very simple story and very typical of what hollywood likes. Honestly, I think the screenplay could have been written by a computer - by a few hundred lines of lisp perhaps.

clint
2010-Jan-01, 01:35 PM
Since some of you have seen the movie in 3D, here's a question from a "3D-impaired" person like me:
is it possible to watch the movie without the special 3D glasses? Or does is it get 'blurry'?

Reason I'm asking is my lack of stereoscopic vision, due to a strabismus problem in childhood
(in my case, it was fixed with a small intervention, but I've never fully developed "normal" 3D vision).

The last time 3D movies became fashionable (in the 80s, with those red-and-green glasses),
it was a bit frustrating for me because instead of a 3D effect, I could only manage to see a very blurry and strangely colored version of the movie.

Tesarra
2010-Jan-01, 04:37 PM
It's likely to be the same, clint. The new 3D is based on the same concept as the old 3D, using the glasses to filter one image for your left eye and one image for your right eye.

Delvo
2010-Jan-01, 06:04 PM
Looking at the modern digital 3D version of a movie without the glasses on gives you a perfectly sharp and focused, correctly-colored, PAIR of images overlapping each other. (I checked this a few times in the theater myself.) Any object in the scene will be shown on the screen twice, one intended for each eye. For things that are supposed to appear to be different distances away from you, the left-to-right distance between their projected locations on the screen will vary pretty widely. Sometimes it's almost zero or not detectably different from zero, but when it's merely close to zero, it could seem like one image with some blurring, even though it's actually still two images overlapping at a very small distance between them. Each image would obscure a lot of the details in the other, and the impression that there are two of some things that there's really one of could be distracting or confusing at times.

You'd know what was going on, but it would always look entirely wrong, far worse than just normal "2D". And the movie is out in a 2D version, so you should just go to that.

traceur
2010-Jan-01, 11:57 PM
Another interesting difference between the two movies is what happens if the humans do nothing.

In District 9, we're told that the prawns, because of their totally alien psychology, just can't live in human society. We're told that they just don't understand concepts like private property. We also have reason to fear that their high birth rate would allow them to simply overrun the entire planet - we're the aboriginal fauna and they're cane toads. Now, I realize that these narratives are (very well done) analogies of human race-related prejudices, but in the best traditions of science fiction, we can also take them at face value. In District 9, the humans have to do something. The story is interesting because it's complex.

In Avatar, it doesn't appear that much of anything is at stake for the humans. They're just mean, greedy, bad people - except for the ones who like the Navi, they're okay. In Avatar, if the Humans do nothing, everybody could live in peace and harmony.

It's just a very simple story and very typical of what hollywood likes. Honestly, I think the screenplay could have been written by a computer - by a few hundred lines of lisp perhaps.

i haven't seen it yet, but i'm not sure exactly what you expect: classics aren't made by making people think, they are made by creating fantasies.

when star wars came out there where dozens of boys who dreamed of being Jedi, when lord of the ring came out there where dozens of girls who dreamed to be elves. i'm willing to bet that there isn't a single kid out there who wants to guard the Prawn's fence.

now, let's imagine a different starwars: one where there's at least some mention of the empire trying to protect it's people from violent anachronistic terrorists. a starwars where some people fight for the empire because without the republic's support of the representative from there own local planetary dictatorship they gained some degree of freedom, a starwars where there's debate about liberty vs. stability, and i'd even add mass honorable military funereal to the stormtroppers, maybe with a few mothers and children crying for there loved ones.

will people still want to be a jedi if in some way it meant terrorists? where one hand to think on whether you'd even support there cause or not and whether its worth its action? some might, but probably not as many, and this sort of starwars would never be the classic that the actual starwars became.

ask yourself: are there kids out there who want to be navi warriors? who came out of the movie fantasizing of flying that creature?

closetgeek
2010-Jan-02, 03:52 AM
Since some of you have seen the movie in 3D, here's a question from a "3D-impaired" person like me:
is it possible to watch the movie without the special 3D glasses? Or does is it get 'blurry'?

Reason I'm asking is my lack of stereoscopic vision, due to a strabismus problem in childhood
(in my case, it was fixed with a small intervention, but I've never fully developed "normal" 3D vision).

The last time 3D movies became fashionable (in the 80s, with those red-and-green glasses),
it was a bit frustrating for me because instead of a 3D effect, I could only manage to see a very blurry and strangely colored version of the movie.

It's a nasty business that Strabismus, Clint, my daughter has the same problem. Glasses, contacts, nothing seems to help. Truth be told; I saw it in 3-D and had to close my eyes during a lot of the action sequences, I just kept getting motion sickness. Don't spend the extra money to see it in 3D when it's just as enjoyable in digital or whatever your theater offers.
I liked it, it was a good story and really nice visuals.

Brutal Mustang
2010-Jan-02, 07:10 AM
Contrast that with District 9. A South African production clearly uses the aliens as surrogates for the black population of that country, still living in shanty towns. Brave. The script uses Afrikaaners behaving in the same way to the aliens as they have done (do?) to blacks, and worse the plot involves evicting them from their slum to a desert concentration camp, that also echoes past South African policy. It has a lot to say about the way that humans treat those among them who are different, let alone those among them who are 'prawns'.
And while District 9 too has the aliens fighting exploitative humans, and has a hopeful message for those aliens, it is not based on some fantasy of a psychic link to a connected world that will save them - they save themselves, by grit and knowledge.


I just finished watching District 9. While the film has some cool visuals in it, and few touching moments, for the most part I found it downright infantile.

First of all, the language. Mind you, I don't mind a little cussing in the least, when it fits an emotion or character. But this film had a gratuitous 'effing' in front of every adjective ... and as every exclamation ... and in front of every noun and verb too. No single word of the English language should be used that often by a halfway intelligent person who isn't smoking something.

Second of all, the characters/agencies/countries had the emotional IQ of a B film writer. The way they reacted to most situations was unrealistic. I kept asking myself throughout, "Why are they doing/not doing that?" Especially the main character. In fact, he was a moron--I was rooting for an alien to rip his head off within the first five minutes. Not a good sign. Come to think of it, the only emotionally stable characters in the whole damp movie were the main alien character and his son (and they were the only two aliens trying to save themselves--the rest only cared about eating cat food and tires).

LotusExcelle
2010-Jan-02, 03:29 PM
Second of all, the characters/agencies/countries had the emotional IQ of a B film writer. The way they reacted to most situations was unrealistic. I kept asking myself throughout, "Why are they doing/not doing that?" Especially the main character. In fact, he was a moron--I was rooting for an alien to rip his head off within the first five minutes. Not a good sign. Come to think of it, the only emotionally stable characters in the whole damp movie were the main alien character and his son (and they were the only two aliens trying to save themselves--the rest only cared about eating cat food and tires).

I think you may have missed some of the point of the characters, then. Wikus is supposed to be bumbling idiot, one who is not only completely over his head but also is a complete anti-hero. There is only ONE moment that he shows signs of caring about anyone other than himself and even then his actions still benefit him. He is not a movie hero. He is not noble or honorable. He is just a person.

I admire that aspect of the writing - the fact that no one is really honorable except perhaps Christopher. And that also is the point. The prawns still living in the slums, trading anything and everything for cat food, are also making a point. Christopher is only one of two adult aliens with a plan to better themselves. The other aliens are not driven.

I hate to put it like this but people are the same way. Color is unimportant - people of all races and all cultures have slums. And homelessness. Not all but some choose to live that way. They can have better environments, and the few that strive for that may just achieve it.

Next is the corporation. Or the inhumanity of humanity, as it were. I didn't see anyone acting in a way that is any different from how real people, real companies, and real nations (as a whole) have acted in our real human history. It was a melting pot, sure. But things even worse and inhumane have happened in real life for even less explicable reasons. The aliens and Wikus get treated like real people have been treated. Recently, even.

So in essence I disagree with your take on District 9. Your complaints against it reveal an utter misinterpretation of the characters and their purpose within the story.

Also as a side note I would have been swearing about twice as much as Wikus did were I in the same situation.

Halcyon Dayz
2010-Jan-02, 03:29 PM
I just finished watching District 9. While the film has some cool visuals in it, and few touching moments, for the most part I found it downright infantile.

First of all, the language. Mind you, I don't mind a little cussing in the least, when it fits an emotion or character. But this film had a gratuitous 'effing' in front of every adjective ... and as every exclamation ... and in front of every noun and verb too. No single word of the English language should be used that often by a halfway intelligent person who isn't smoking something.

Second of all, the characters/agencies/countries had the emotional IQ of a B film writer. The way they reacted to most situations was unrealistic. I kept asking myself throughout, "Why are they doing/not doing that?" Especially the main character. In fact, he was a moron--I was rooting for an alien to rip his head off within the first five minutes. Not a good sign. Come to think of it, the only emotionally stable characters in the whole damp movie were the main alien character and his son (and they were the only two aliens trying to save themselves--the rest only cared about eating cat food and tires).

Fok is not an English word, and many people do talk like that.
Nobody in this film is supposed to be nice, or civil, or smart.

Which I think is kind of the point.
Apartheid wasn't nice, or civil, or smart.

m74z00219
2010-Jan-02, 08:37 PM
Fok is not an English word, and many people do talk like that.
Nobody in this film is supposed to be nice, or civil, or smart.

Which I think is kind of the point.
Apartheid wasn't nice, or civil, or smart.

I agree. District 9 took place in a gritty and - I would say - quite believable alternative reality. On the other hand, the lens we watched Avatar through was different. It was a lens of wonder tainted by the ugliest traits of humanity.

Cameron wanted us to leave Avatar with a sense of hope: that the noble traits of humanity can win out over the most deplorable traits of humanity. Hence the ending.

You can say some of the dialogue was campy and the movie was cliche, but then I would say, "of course!" Every story has been told. The only thing that matters now is that the director/writers/etc handle it in an original way and that they can make us feel something.

I think what a lot of people don't get about movies is that it's not just up to the movie to captivate you, you have to allow the movie to take you in. You have to participate! That might mean going by yourself if your friends are too gabby or choosing a late showing to avoid the families with young children, but a good movie doesn't just tell a story--it's visceral. You feel a good movie in your bones. When a movie makes you shed a tear a two or makes you shiver with anticipation, both you and the movie have achieved something remarkable.


People can really be as selfish as the businessmen running MNU or even the employees eager to make a name for themselves (eg: Wickus). One might say that the evil corporation or the heartless marine are simple cliches rehashed over and over again, but I think this is the wrong way to look at it. I would say that these are archetypal entities. It's not that a corporation or a marine is inherently evil, but the power they hold is something to be considered. It's in our nature to repeat history. For all the technological and societal change of the last 12,000 years, the fundamentals of the human mind are essentially the same.

Personally, I think cinematic archetypes can communicate what it is to be human better than any other media.



M74

SolusLupus
2010-Jan-03, 01:09 AM
I would also like to note that the more powerful an entity is, either the less useful it is, or the more evil or neutral it must be for Our Hero to contest against it (or just as a plot device to bring in The Evil). This is why you have Oracles that can't be clear on the future, or the heroes can just use the information and Save The Day. It's also why you have "good" uber wizards that choose not to use their abilities to Save the Day overnight.

Still, corporations are never really shown to be nice at all. If they have a reasonable 401K plan, it's usually because you SOLD YOUR SOUL! or something similar.

mike alexander
2010-Jan-03, 02:32 AM
Flux vortex. Without that the Blue Brothers are meat. Not too much of an equalizer, eh?

clint
2010-Jan-03, 03:06 AM
It's likely to be the same, clint. The new 3D is based on the same concept as the old 3D, using the glasses to filter one image for your left eye and one image for your right eye.


Looking at the modern digital 3D version of a movie without the glasses on gives you a perfectly sharp and focused, correctly-colored, PAIR of images overlapping each other. (I checked this a few times in the theater myself.) Any object in the scene will be shown on the screen twice, one intended for each eye. For things that are supposed to appear to be different distances away from you, the left-to-right distance between their projected locations on the screen will vary pretty widely. Sometimes it's almost zero or not detectably different from zero, but when it's merely close to zero, it could seem like one image with some blurring, even though it's actually still two images overlapping at a very small distance between them. Each image would obscure a lot of the details in the other, and the impression that there are two of some things that there's really one of could be distracting or confusing at times.

You'd know what was going on, but it would always look entirely wrong, far worse than just normal "2D". And the movie is out in a 2D version, so you should just go to that.

Thanks for the feedback.
I did see the 2D version two weeks ago, I was just wondering because my wife wanted to see it again (now in 3D).

Actually, yesterday I had a chance to sneak into the 3D version for a couple of minutes (while I was watching a different movie next door in the same cinema).
Wasn't that bad, seems a lot better than that red-green technology from the '80s.
Might be reasonably enjoyable even in spite of my little '3D impairment'
(I'm somewhat relieved - I was starting to worry I might not be able to go the movies anymore if this 3D fashion catches on...)


It's a nasty business that Strabismus, Clint, my daughter has the same problem. Glasses, contacts, nothing seems to help. Truth be told; I saw it in 3-D and had to close my eyes during a lot of the action sequences, I just kept getting motion sickness. Don't spend the extra money to see it in 3D when it's just as enjoyable in digital or whatever your theater offers.
I liked it, it was a good story and really nice visuals.

I wouldn't worry too much about your daughter.
In my case, in everyday life it doesn't hinder me at all - I only notice when in 'artificial' 3D situations.
(happy to give you more info via PM, if you like)

Gillianren
2010-Jan-03, 04:27 AM
i haven't seen it yet, but i'm not sure exactly what you expect: classics aren't made by making people think, they are made by creating fantasies.

Bluntly, this is nonsense. Works which don't make people think at least a little generally do not become classics, and many classics make people think a lot. You may not realize you're doing it, but you are.

Saw the movie today. I think the biology was dodgy, the sociology was forgetting a few steps, and the politics were ridiculous. It sure was pretty, though.

SolusLupus
2010-Jan-03, 05:01 AM
i haven't seen it yet, but i'm not sure exactly what you expect: classics aren't made by making people think, they are made by creating fantasies.

Huh, I missed this. To which, I can only respond:

1984 wasn't a classic?

Tuckerfan
2010-Jan-03, 12:03 PM
Bluntly, this is nonsense. Works which don't make people think at least a little generally do not become classics, and many classics make people think a lot. You may not realize you're doing it, but you are.

Saw the movie today. I think the biology was dodgy, the sociology was forgetting a few steps, and the politics were ridiculous. It sure was pretty, though.

You're not the only one who thinks the biology was a bit off. (http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/browbeat/archive/2009/12/16/on-na-vi-biology.aspx)

Gillianren
2010-Jan-03, 09:10 PM
So if they aren't placental mammals, how come the avatars are shown in giant tanks with umbilical cords? Or do they use those some other way? I'm confused.

No, I spent large amounts of last night interrupting conversation every fifteen minutes or so with, "Six limbs!" As in, the other Pandoran species have six limbs, but the Na'vi have four.

SolusLupus
2010-Jan-04, 01:05 AM
So if they aren't placental mammals, how come the avatars are shown in giant tanks with umbilical cords? Or do they use those some other way? I'm confused.I thought they were somewhat-human hybrids? But I'm curious as how they came to that conclusion, myself.



I liked this part, though:


However, the glittery blue skin that's earned the Na'vi unflattering comparisons to the Smurfs—and which seems to be the outgrowth of a rather awkward racial metaphor—doesn't bother Sumida. "Bioluminescence seems like a valid evolutionary strategy," he says. "I think it's one of the coolest things they've come up with."


Yeah, people really think they're witty with the smurfs comparison. I find it kind of amusing, though, because people would find some other word to use with almost any other color.

If they're flesh-colored, they're just humans with some alterations.

If they're orange, they're oompa loompas.

If they're blue, they're smurfs.

If they're pink, they're gay.

If they're brown, they're... well, yeah.

If they're black, they're emo.

Seriously, "color coding" like this isn't witty.

Delvo
2010-Jan-04, 01:20 AM
So if they aren't placental mammals, how come the avatars are shown in giant tanks with umbilical cords?Those presumably were meant to serve the same function as umbilical chords, but aliens can't be mammals because mammals are Earth critters.


I spent large amounts of last night interrupting conversation every fifteen minutes or so with, "Six limbs!" As in, the other Pandoran species have six limbs, but the Na'vi have four.Not all of them have six, and I don't see what some people think is such a big deal about one lineage having fewer limbs than its relatives. It's been known to happen before among Earth critters, even those that started with only four, and the more there are to start with, the more likely evolutionary loss gets. My only real problem with the limbs was not that there were different numbers, but that there was no need for any of them to have six in the first place, especially the ground-gallopers (it makes more sense for the little monkeyish ones), and the front two pairs seemed awkwardly close together.

That page that was just linked to with some objections to the planet's biology, though, seems to have been written by someone who doesn't know much about biology...


"Right from the beginning I said, ‘She's got to have tits,' even though that makes no sense because her race, the Na'vi, aren't placental mammals."Well, if you postulate or stipulate bipedal creatures which produce anything like milk for their babies, then that is a sensible number and location for them... even if only coincidentally.


But with their long limbs, heavy tail...What's this person even talking about with this one? Their tails were puny, practically like having nothing there.


...and opposable big toes...I didn't notice this, and the drastic misstatement right before it doesn't give me much faith in the author who's making the claim. But even if it's there...


...the Na'vi should move more like gibbons than bipedal humans.That depends on joint orientations and ranges of motion (and the exact size and position of the toe in question). One little detail doesn't make them more like gibbons than us in overall construction, and the fact that they're mostly more like us means they should move like us, which they did.


And all that upright scampering across tree branches seems wrong, too, given how heavy a 10-foot-tall creature must be—even one with superlight bones.That would be true, if they were on Earth's trees in Earth's gravity, both of which the movie explicitly established not to be the case. And animals that are as much smaller than their trees as the Na'vi were shown to be do indeed walk on the tops of the branches that are anywhere near horizontal.


Take those big, exotic eyes, which make the Na'vi look so cute and sympathetic. "Gigantic eyeballs are usually for creatures that forage exclusively at night," Sumida says. "These characters should be wearing sunglasses—they get so much light, their eyes will hurt."Their eyes were large, but not particularly "gigantic", and there are ways to compensate and adjust for ambient light changes, as shown by various animals on this planet, including the cats that the author had just previously compared these aliens to. And they WERE shown being active at night.


Tails are an extension of the backbone, emerging downwards from the sacrum, where the hips attach. Na'vi tails, however, seem to emerge from above the sacrum, and they stick out at a nearly right angle.Presuming they're even supposed to have any thing like our vertebral columns and pelvises in the first place (which does make sense given the premise that a viable body could be created by combining some of our traits and some of theirs), this isn't any big deal; it just means some things are in slightly different proportions or positions or orientations... which is the kind of variation that we already know exists between species anyway. I really can't even come up with how (s)he could have thought this was a problem. It just doesn't make any sense to object to an alien species being designed with a difference from humans.


Sumida also takes exception to the Pandorapedia's claims that those tails are prehensile—that is, used for grasping things—and help the Na'vi balance their long torso and legs.Ya, the tails are just too small for that. Then again, the two functions tend to work against each other anyway. A tail for balance is thick and heavy, and a prehensile one is skinny and flexible. The Na'vi tails are skinny and flexible, so clearly more like a prehensile tail than a ballast tail, so the only catch is that they're not very long so they wouldn't often be able to reach things that the hands can't. They'd probably use them about as often as I pick things up with my toes (more than never, but not by much).


If that were the case, the Na'vi would probably be walking on all fours, with their backs parallel to the ground.A quadruped wouldn't need a ballast for balance; a critter that used its tail like that would be a biped, and Na'vi tails are just too tiny. Or, in case this comment was about the "prehensile" idea instead of the "balance" one: how is having a prehensile tail supposed to restrict the mode of locomotion? It's common for animals with prehensile tails not to be quadrupedal. For that matter, I can't think of one that IS quadrupedal. They tend to be somewhere between that and bipedal, using the front limbs for both walking and grasping and keeping the front end higher than the back end even if not directly above it (but they also tend to be essentially full-time tree-dwellers, not standing & moving on horizontal surfaces as much as the Na'vi, which gives the Na'vi another reason to stand up straight that monkeys don't have).


Finally, about those boobs: It's good that they're purely decorative.Well, if it's canon, it's canon, but in this case the canon made a mistake. Even features that are just decorative should come from something that served another purpose originally. And, given the amount of similarity the Na'vi already have to us anyway, lactation wouldn't have been any worse than the rest.


Since the Na'vi seem to have zero fat on their bodies, those mammary glands almost certainly don't work....as long as you're talking about the physiology of mammals, which originated on this planet. For another clade of animals on another planet, though, there's no need to think that if they lactate, it must depend on a given body fat content, or that their body fat can be assessed based on looks. (That doesn't even work for our own nearest relatives on THIS planet!)


Relatedly, the fact that the Na'vi aren't placental mammals makes the presence of bellybuttons something of a curiosity.The location coincidentally being the same as ours, maybe, but not just the fact that they exist. It's to be expected of a species that develops while plugged in to a utrient source, which was shown to be the case for them.


the sternocleidomastoid muscle... Watch Star Trek: The good guys always have them, and the bad guys don't. It's a classic alien designer trick."The human actors playing Star Trek aliens had their sternocleidomastoids amputated?!

clint
2010-Jan-04, 01:43 AM
Talking about Star Trek: I only just realized that the female lead in Avatar was played by Uhura. Cooool!

Gillianren
2010-Jan-04, 02:16 AM
Not all of them have six, and I don't see what some people think is such a big deal about one lineage having fewer limbs than its relatives. It's been known to happen before among Earth critters, even those that started with only four, and the more there are to start with, the more likely evolutionary loss gets. My only real problem with the limbs was not that there were different numbers, but that there was no need for any of them to have six in the first place, especially the ground-gallopers (it makes more sense for the little monkeyish ones), and the front two pairs seemed awkwardly close together.

Yeah, I couldn't see how the "horses" could reasonably move without bumping their front two pairs of legs together all the time. Getting tangled seemed like a decent possibility, too. However, how many vertebrates are there with only two limbs? Cetaceans, I know, though they do have little vestigial bits on their skeletons, and presumably you could count pinnipeds, though their rear appendages are sort of turned into fins. Snakes, yes, have lost their appendages entirely. However, in the case of sea mammals, they're in different environments from their four-limbed cousins. The Na'vi are in a similar environment to the lemur thingies, and I can't see why there would be evolutionary pressure to lose them. Surely four arms would be more convenient than two!


Well, if you postulate or stipulate bipedal creatures which produce anything like milk for their babies, then that is a sensible number and location for them... even if only coincidentally.

Well, assuming one or two offspring per litter, anyway. Any more than that, and you could start reasonably assuming something more approaching feline or canine numbers of mammaries.


I didn't notice this, and the drastic misstatement right before it doesn't give me much faith in the author who's making the claim. But even if it's there...

There was one shot, easily missed, which indicated that What's-Her-Name had, if not necessarily opposable toes, certainly grasping ones.


That would be true, if they were on Earth's trees in Earth's gravity, both of which the movie explicitly established not to be the case. And animals that are as much smaller than their trees as the Na'vi were shown to be do indeed walk on the tops of the branches that are anywhere near horizontal.

Well, and for heaven's sake, they're said to have carbon nanotubes, or something similar, in their bones! They have stronger bones in a lighter-gravity world. That can change physiology more than that person seems to realize.

Phantomimic
2010-Jan-04, 02:23 AM
Apart from the obvious special effects and amazing use of light what catched my attention about the movie were the many parallels to the tragedy of indigenous societies and the rape of their lands during the 16th to 19th centuries.

Gillianren
2010-Jan-04, 03:57 AM
Apart from the obvious special effects and amazing use of light what catched my attention about the movie were the many parallels to the tragedy of indigenous societies and the rape of their lands during the 16th to 19th centuries.

Yup. Which is what really bothered me about the ending.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Jan-04, 12:32 PM
Well, and for heaven's sake, they're said to have carbon nanotubes, or something similar, in their bones! They have stronger bones in a lighter-gravity world. That can change physiology more than that person seems to realize.
For one thing, gigantism as an evolutionary strategy would make for some really big critters.
Stronger materials for bones would make truly humongous flyers viable too.

SolusLupus
2010-Jan-04, 12:37 PM
For one thing, gigantism as an evolutionary strategy would make for some really big critters.

Okay, I might be understanding you wrong, but if you're saying what I think you're saying, then wouldn't a counter-argument be the elephant? It's a massive herbivore, even though there are few massive carnivores (or other massive herbivores) around.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Jan-04, 12:45 PM
I'm saying that their elephant analog should be humongous.

The elephant is close to the maximum useful size when weighing between the lack of specialized predators to drive it larger and structural constrains to keep it smaller. With fewer structural constraints that optimum size could be a lot bigger.

SolusLupus
2010-Jan-04, 12:50 PM
Uh, why? The evolution and Earth I know of wasn't quite linear enough to draw such conclusions. Small animals lived next to large ones, and now large ones live next to small ones. Large predators (relatively) like wolves can live off of small prey (like mice or rabbits), and small predators can take down larger prey. I'm not sure I get your logic; just because the intelligent race is large, everything else must be much larger?

HenrikOlsen
2010-Jan-04, 12:55 PM
There are multiple viable evolutionary strategies with different optimal solutions at the end of each track, growing larger than the predators is one such strategy.
The optimal size at the end of that track is partially defined by the structural strength of the material used for bones as well as the gravity and for Pandora that constraint is lessened in the direction that allows for bigger, which is why I'm saying their elephant analogs should be really big.

SolusLupus
2010-Jan-04, 12:56 PM
Ah. Well, okay then.

Disinfo Agent
2010-Jan-04, 03:56 PM
I liked the film. The storytelling is conventional, but the subject is serious and engaging, and the special effects are beautiful.

Glom
2010-Jan-04, 04:39 PM
Nice discussion. What we really need to explore is how the Qi evolved as well.


Apart from the obvious special effects and amazing use of light what catched my attention about the movie were the many parallels to the tragedy of indigenous societies and the rape of their lands during the 16th to 19th centuries.

It caught your attention? Kind of like the eruption of Vesuvius caught the attention of the Pompeiians?

The story would have been more engaging had it not been handled in such a cartoonish manner.

tofu
2010-Jan-04, 08:25 PM
It caught your attention? Kind of like the eruption of Vesuvius caught the attention of the Pompeiians?

Heh.

I think someone is beating me over the head. Let me check. Yes, yes there is definitely someone hitting me in the head with a large metal bat. I wonder if they are trying to get my attention.

Phantomimic
2010-Jan-05, 12:43 AM
It caught your attention? Kind of like the eruption of Vesuvius caught the attention of the Pompeiians?

LOL! But hey, mine was the first post in the thread to mention it.

Gillianren
2010-Jan-05, 02:02 AM
LOL! But hey, mine was the first post in the thread to mention it.

I thought it was too obvious to bother.

Phantomimic
2010-Jan-06, 01:03 AM
By the way, it seems that the ultraconservatives are having a field day trashing Avatar calling it "unAmerican", "anti-army", "racist" and "leftist propaganda".

SolusLupus
2010-Jan-06, 01:08 AM
By the way, it seems that the ultraconservatives are having a field day trashing Avatar calling it "unAmerican", "anti-army", "racist" and "leftist propaganda".

"Racist"? Really?

I thought they were the champions against anything "PC". ;)

tofu
2010-Jan-06, 04:13 AM
By the way, it seems that the ultraconservatives are having a field day trashing Avatar calling it "unAmerican", "anti-army", "racist" and "leftist propaganda".

If a mod says it's not against the rules, I'll show you at least one ultraliberal having a field day trashing Avatar because it perpetuates the stereotype that worth is associated with physical ability - that is, if you're in a wheel chair there's something wrong with you as a person. But if your heart is pure, you can be healed!! Furthermore, it pushes the tired cliche that good people are thin - oh so thin.

And that's just getting started. Natives aren't smart enough to save themselves. They need the help of a white guy! Hooray!

I hope I'm not making this political, but rather just negating the politics that you brought into it. *of course* people whose lives revolve around political arguments are going to have a "field day" with a popular movie. So what? Don't kid yourself into thinking that only one side of the spectrum does it.

Tuckerfan
2010-Jan-06, 04:23 AM
tofu, if you'd be so kind as to PM that link to me, I'd appreciate it. Another forum I post on tends to be dominated by ultraconservative types, who're just irritated as all get out by Avatar and I'd lurve to be able to get 'em all frothing in the opposite direction. :D

GeorgeLeRoyTirebiter
2010-Jan-06, 05:12 AM
I hope I'm not making this political, but rather just negating the politics that you brought into it. *of course* people whose lives revolve around political arguments are going to have a "field day" with a popular movie. So what? Don't kid yourself into thinking that only one side of the spectrum does it.

My favorite example of this happened with Team America: World Police. I read two independent reviews from opposite ends of the American political spectrum that both said the exact same thing: the jokes that skewered their own political views must have been added at the insistence of the producers or studio, while the jokes that slammed the other side had to be the writers' true views. This made it obvious that neither reviewer had seen any of the "preachy" episodes of South Park.

Gillianren
2010-Jan-06, 05:33 AM
And that's just getting started. Natives aren't smart enough to save themselves. They need the help of a white guy! Hooray!

I noticed that one myself. It's usually the case in any movie where Evil Executives are trying to destroy Innocent Natives. It's always someone from the Evil Executive's camp who actually triumphs. Not that I believe "triumph" to be a long-term situation in this case.

Ronald Brak
2010-Jan-06, 06:02 AM
I saw Avatar yesterday and then looked up what people were saying about it on the interwebby net and saw that some people saying it was racist. This is not my opinon and I wrote down why and put it here...

http://ronaldbrak.blogspot.com/2010/01/avatar-concerns-race-but-is-not-racist.html

...as it may not be quite suitable for BAUT.

SkepticJ
2010-Jan-06, 07:30 AM
I can't fathom the sort of mindset that would get worked up over the perceived political subtexts in a fictional story.

That Cameron holds anti-military views is laughable. Anyone who has seen Aliens, and has something slightly more complex than a brainstem informing their body, would realize that. Ooh-rah!

IsaacKuo
2010-Jan-06, 08:34 AM
That Cameron holds anti-military views is laughable. Anyone who has seen Aliens, and has something slightly more complex than a brainstem informing their body, would realize that. Ooh-rah!
Anti-"evil corporation" views, though...

I haven't seen Avatar yet, but Aliens is one of my favorites.

Aliens features the military doing the evil corporation's bidding, but then the heroes rebel against their orders. And as unsympathetic as the Aliens are, they're still portrayed as morally a cut above the evil corporation. I wouldn't be surprised if Cameron already had dreams of doing the same sort of thing again except on a much huger scale someday.

SkepticJ
2010-Jan-06, 09:18 AM
Weyland-Yutani, the amoral megacorp, was in the first Alien.

Maybe a case could be made for Cyberdyne Systems, from Terminator 2, but Dr. Miles Dyson is not a bad guy at all.

A counter-example would be the oil company in The Abyss. They're the good guys.

SolusLupus
2010-Jan-06, 12:39 PM
Well, it's not like "evil corporations" are so unbelievable in the first place. The evil ones just tend to be a bit more subtle than they were in the time when protesters could be shot down, and children were chained to their posts. ;)

IsaacKuo
2010-Jan-06, 03:38 PM
Weyland-Yutani, the amoral megacorp, was in the first Alien.
Sure, but then so was a homocidal android. In Aliens, the android was turned into a good guy ("what a twist!"). The evil corporation was not.

In fact the evil corporation was made even more evil, and Cameron even threw in a rant explicitly condemning them for the sin of greed.

Maybe a case could be made for Cyberdyne Systems, from Terminator 2, but Dr. Miles Dyson is not a bad guy at all.
He's just an employee. You can't deduce anything positive or negative about Cyberdyne Systems from what's shown in T2.

T2 has some delicious anti-male rants, but that's because the movie is presented from the perspective of the mentally unstable Sarah Conner. Her borderline(?) insanity is part of the comic relief. In contrast, Ripley in Aliens is presented as more sane and sensible than most of those around her, so her rant is to be taken earnestly.

A counter-example would be the oil company in The Abyss. They're the good guys.
The oil company is a non-presense in The Abyss. Obviously, they must have agreed to assist the military but this is never referenced and the employees act with little or no concern over what their higher-ups might think. It's not clear how much of a "higher-up" structure there is...the oil company might be relatively small, rather than a big corporation.

Still, the roles seem to be reversed in The Abyss. In this case, it seems to be the company which is complying with a military request. And in this case, the soldier who goes rogue (played also by Michael Biehn) is the villian.

As an aside--at least Michael Biehn's character has the excuse of being under the influence of paranoia inducing toxic effects. The evil air force guy in the-bad-astronomy-movie-which-shall-not-be-named had no such excuse.

SolusLupus
2010-Jan-06, 04:34 PM
T2 has some delicious anti-male rants, but that's because the movie is presented from the perspective of the mentally unstable Sarah Conner. Her borderline(?) insanity is part of the comic relief.

I think you're making some good points here, but I just want to say, are you sure you meant the term "comic relief"? I don't remember her being funny in her rants.

korjik
2010-Jan-06, 05:00 PM
Just to pick a few nits on the discussion of Aliens.

The marines didnt violate their orders when they blew the whole place up. Containment of something that dangerous would have been a standing order.

Ripley was under the impression that Burke was acting independently when we tried to secure some aliens for Weyland-Yutani. Not that Weyland-Yutani would have done the right thing if Burke had suceeded, but hey, I am picking a nit.

:)