Unoffical empeg BBS

Quick Links: Empeg FAQ | Software | RioCar.Org | Hijack | BigDisk Builder | jEmplode | emphatic
Repairs: Repairs | Addons: Eutronix | Cases

Page 2 of 5 < 1 2 3 4 5 >
Topic Options
#328242 - 23/12/2009 05:22 Re: Avatar [Re: DWallach]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12174
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: DWallach
Does anybody look back fondly on Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow as a feat of cinematic greatness? Does anybody look back at Jurassic Park as epic cinema?

You're comparing Sky Captain with Jurassic Park?

But thanks for bringing up Sky Captain. I'd forgotten about that film, and it makes me worry for Avatar. Watching the performances I just felt like something was missing. The actors just felt detached in their reactions from the scenery. And no, I'm not talking about when they had to interact with the scenery, I mean when they were merely talking to each other. I could just feel like these were simply people standing in an empty room. Perhaps that was due to the actors used, but I'll be interested to see if I get the same feeling from Avatar.
_________________________
Matt

Top
#328243 - 23/12/2009 05:26 Re: Avatar [Re: DWallach]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Replies in the spoiler.
Click to reveal..

Originally Posted By: DWallach
1. Our helicopter pilot girl apparently went undisciplined in any way. I don't buy it, and the plot hinges significantly on her actions.

This does seem odd now that I think about it more. Makes me wonder if there was a missing scene explaining this.

Originally Posted By: DWallach
2. We're then asked to believe that there's a particular area where radio communications and whatnot don't work.

Radio seemed to work fine in the area. The flux just seemed to interfere with navigation equipment. Radio use in the area is seen a few times, like when the avatar Norm is riding on top of the remote research module when it was being moved, and also when the Colonel was advising the marines to "keep their heads on a swivel".

Originally Posted By: DWallach
2a. Where are the nukes?

Only thing I can think of here is that they didn't bring any. The spirit trees exact importance wasn't known till Jake found out. Being that the mission was to mine the planet for resources and defend the miners, nukes probably wouldn't have been on the standard shipping list. Getting nukes would take another few years. (I can't remember the exact travel time they said in the movie, but apparently the planet was in Alpha Centauri, 4.37 light years away.

Originally Posted By: DWallach
3. Where's the AI?

My only guess here is that James Cameron was wanting the sci-fi tech level feel more like Aliens and less like Terminator.

Originally Posted By: DWallach
4. So, like, the whole planet is sentient? Wouldn't that end up looking a whole lot more like the Borg?

The borg seem to be one large sentient mind with a shared link between all drones, where here the animals/people had no direct link to the planet or each other at all times. Though that does raise another question, how did the planet wrangle all the wildlife to attack at the end?

Originally Posted By: DWallach
And what sort of evolutionary process would yield cross-species compatible network jacks?

Good question. Only thing I can come up with here is that the linking pieces are like an organ shared among species. All mammals for example share very similar biology while being very distinct creatures. Overall, I did like the use of it, and had noticed the warriors using it to link to their horses before the movie really brought it up.

Originally Posted By: DWallach
5. Unobtanium? At least they're honest that it's just a thinly veiled plot device.

It's actually a pretty commonly used word, and seemed to fit the material in question.
_________________________
Tom

Top
#328244 - 23/12/2009 06:39 Re: Avatar [Re: DWallach]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5802
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Originally Posted By: DWallach
Spoiler free...
The previous one Star Trek, wasn't 3D, but I was in the second row. Combine that with Star Trek's ShakyCam (tm) effect, and it was worthless. This time, we made a point of getting in the queue an hour before showtime, and were able to get better seats.

I saw Star Trek in IMAX and I thought it was an excellent way to see it. But then I was near the centre of the theatre, which probably helped.
_________________________
Remind me to change my signature to something more interesting someday

Top
#328247 - 23/12/2009 13:33 Re: Avatar [Re: Dignan]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Originally Posted By: Dignan
You're comparing Sky Captain with Jurassic Park?

In terms of technological filmmaking, they were similarly groundbreaking. Admittedly, no one's bothered to build much on Sky Captain's plot (Sin City and 300 are the only things that come to mind), probably because it's marshland (overextended metaphors FTW!), but there was definitely innovation there.

That said, are you implying that Jurassic Park, with such classic dialogue as "It's a UNIX system! I know this!", is really that much better than Sky Captain?
_________________________
Bitt Faulk

Top
#328250 - 23/12/2009 18:40 Re: Avatar [Re: wfaulk]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3732
I compare Sky Captain, Jurassic Park, and Avatar because all of them were groundbreaking in their use of technology but had really goofy stories and one-dimensional characters.

The exception, of course, was Star Wars, which was both groundbreaking in its technology *and* was a truly fantastic story. Words can't say how much hope I had for the prequels and how that hope was relentlessly smashed into tiny bits by George Lucas.

Random thought: Any relation between George Lucas and Lucas Industries (i.e., Lucas, Prince of Darkness)?

Top
#328252 - 23/12/2009 18:43 Re: Avatar [Re: wfaulk]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5409
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
My favorite bit of Jurassic Park was when they were in the jeep running from the tyrannosaur, and the camera view of the tyrannosaur is through the rear-view mirror. The camera shifts focus to the mirror itself where we see the ubiquitous "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear."

Just a little three-second drop-in, but clever.

tanstaafl.
_________________________
"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

Top
#328253 - 23/12/2009 19:11 Re: Avatar [Re: tanstaafl.]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Rear-view mirrors don't have that inscription. Was it a side mirror?
_________________________
Bitt Faulk

Top
#328254 - 23/12/2009 19:14 Re: Avatar [Re: wfaulk]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31321
Loc: Seattle, WA
Yes, he meant side-view. Didn't you see the film? It was a great gag. Everyone loves that one.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/T-rex2.jpg


Edited by tfabris (23/12/2009 19:15)
_________________________
Tony Fabris

Top
#328255 - 23/12/2009 19:42 Re: Avatar [Re: drakino]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3732
Following up on drakino's spoilered discussion...
Click to reveal..

Originally Posted By: DWallach
2. We're then asked to believe that there's a particular area where radio communications and whatnot don't work.

Originally Posted By: drakino
Radio seemed to work fine in the area. The flux just seemed to interfere with navigation equipment.

Sounds like an awfully convenient plot device. Actual navigation systems either work by radio from well-known beacons (e.g., GPS), by looking at visible landmarks (e.g., celestial navigation), or by carefully tracking your motion from the last known-good landmark (dead reckoning). Maybe future-human-tech has some totally other form of navigation, but it would be entirely sensible if they deployed GPS-ish satellites around Pandora and for the electromagnetic actions of the plant-network to screw with those communications. But then it should also screw with the avatar command and control channel.

Originally Posted By: DWallach
2a. Where are the nukes?

Originally Posted By: drakino
Only thing I can think of here is that they didn't bring any.

That's as good a guess as any. If we've got the unspecified ability to travel at relativistic speeds, then we've presumably got some seriously good tech for storing and deploying energy. Any sufficiently dense energy source might as well be a bomb. Which brings me to...

Originally Posted By: DWallach
5. Unobtanium? At least they're honest that it's just a thinly veiled plot device.

Originally Posted By: drakino
It's actually a pretty commonly used word, and seemed to fit the material in question.

Sure, it's a standard term we use to joke about unspecified, rare, expensive materials. We never found out anything at all about what properties this particular unobtanium has, save that it's worth a whole lot of money. (There's an Avatar Wiki that claims its value is as a superconductor, also explaining those floating islands, see also the apparently canonical Pandorapedia).

Originally Posted By: DWallach
3. Where's the AI?

Originally Posted By: drakino
My only guess here is that James Cameron was wanting the sci-fi tech level feel more like Aliens and less like Terminator.

Yeah, but we know better. When we've got unmanned aerial drones used by today's military, it's safe to assume we'll have them in the future. The canonical (?) Pandorapedia article on the scorpion gunship claims that UAVs didn't pan out on Earth, leading us back to human pilots.

Originally Posted By: DWallach
4. So, like, the whole planet is sentient?

Originally Posted By: drakino
Though that does raise another question, how did the planet wrangle all the wildlife to attack at the end?

Exactly. The whole movie hinges on that particular point.

Originally Posted By: DWallach
And what sort of evolutionary process would yield cross-species compatible network jacks?

Originally Posted By: drakino
Good question. Only thing I can come up with here is that the linking pieces are like an organ shared among species. All mammals for example share very similar biology while being very distinct creatures. Overall, I did like the use of it, and had noticed the warriors using it to link to their horses before the movie really brought it up.

I agree it makes sense for mammalian critters to share similar structures, but I don't see how those structures could have provided any sort of evolutionary advantage. If anything, you could imagine the co-evolution of some really nasty parasites that take advantage of that network port.

Top
#328258 - 23/12/2009 20:35 Re: Avatar [Re: wfaulk]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5409
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Originally Posted By: wfaulk
Rear-view mirrors don't have that inscription. Was it a side mirror?


Yes

tanstaafl.
_________________________
"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

Top
#328262 - 23/12/2009 22:32 Re: Avatar [Re: tfabris]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Originally Posted By: tfabris
Didn't you see the film?

Yeah, it just wasn't all that memorable.
_________________________
Bitt Faulk

Top
#328265 - 24/12/2009 05:58 Re: Avatar [Re: tfabris]
Roger
carpal tunnel

Registered: 18/01/2000
Posts: 5623
Loc: London, UK
Originally Posted By: tfabris
Yes, he meant side-view. Didn't you see the film? It was a great gag. Everyone loves that one.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/T-rex2.jpg


TV Tropes doesn't seem to allow linking to images unless you've already visited the site, so: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CloserThanTheyAppear
_________________________
-- roger

Top
#328266 - 24/12/2009 12:07 Re: Avatar [Re: wfaulk]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12174
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: wfaulk
Originally Posted By: Dignan
You're comparing Sky Captain with Jurassic Park?

In terms of technological filmmaking, they were similarly groundbreaking. Admittedly, no one's bothered to build much on Sky Captain's plot (Sin City and 300 are the only things that come to mind), probably because it's marshland (overextended metaphors FTW!), but there was definitely innovation there.

That said, are you implying that Jurassic Park, with such classic dialogue as "It's a UNIX system! I know this!", is really that much better than Sky Captain?

I wasn't arguing about technological filmmaking. I was commenting on "Does anybody look back at Jurassic Park as epic cinema?" I'm not sure exactly what he means by that, but yes, I think everyone looks back on it that way! I mean, those first fly-over shots of the island (with the very memorable theme playing), those sweeping fields of dinosaurs, how is it not "epic?"

I just couldn't possibly think of those movies as equals. I really disliked Sky Captain. Besides, if you ask anyone on the street, I'd bet that 9 out of 10 wouldn't remember Sky Captain but would remember Jurassic Park, despite how recently each one was released.
_________________________
Matt

Top
#328267 - 24/12/2009 13:24 Re: Avatar [Re: Dignan]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
I thought I wasn't going to like Sky Captain from first seeing the trailers. But I loved it. I quite liked Jurassic when I first saw it, but I think if I saw them both again this weekend, I'd prefer Sky Captain.
_________________________
Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

Top
#328286 - 25/12/2009 22:01 Re: Avatar [Re: wfaulk]
andym
carpal tunnel

Registered: 17/01/2002
Posts: 3979
Loc: Manchester UK
Originally Posted By: wfaulk
That said, are you implying that Jurassic Park, with such classic dialogue as "It's a UNIX system! I know this!", is really that much better than Sky Captain?


My favourite bit as that even with 8 networked Connection Machine CM-5's they don't have a swapfile turned on anywhere, as the relatively simple act of compiling code will cause random processes to die as they only have a finite amount of memory apparently.
_________________________
Cheers,

Andy M

Top
#328288 - 25/12/2009 22:56 Re: Avatar [Re: andym]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31321
Loc: Seattle, WA
Doesn't surprise me. You saw how "together" their developer was.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

Top
#328365 - 31/12/2009 01:17 Re: Avatar [Re: Cris]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: Cris
But, I am interested to see if 3D is worth it. Or is it just a gimmick?

Saw it in 2D today, and I have to say while it held up decently, 3D did help enhance the movie quite a bit. Interestingly, some things in the movie in 3D were just flat with no attempt to make it look 3D in the 2D version. For example, all the photos of the Na'vi that are seen in the remote lab are just flat photographs instead of the hologram ones.
_________________________
Tom

Top
#328374 - 01/01/2010 00:35 Re: Avatar [Re: Cris]
g_attrill
old hand

Registered: 14/04/2002
Posts: 1172
Loc: Hants, UK
Originally Posted By: Cris

But, I am interested to see if 3D is worth it. Or is it just a gimmick?


I saw it a couple of days ago the overall effect was very good, it was only off-putting a couple of times and I was very impressed, and I would tell you straight out if I thought it was a pointless gimmick!

Main downside was the cheap specs (which they (Apollo Cinemas) didn't charge for unlike some! If I see many more in 3D I might see if you can buy higher quality glasses with proper nose pads.



Top
#328375 - 01/01/2010 00:46 Re: Avatar [Re: DWallach]
g_attrill
old hand

Registered: 14/04/2002
Posts: 1172
Loc: Hants, UK
Originally Posted By: DWallach
Now, the spoilers, wherein I grouse about plot holes, technological deficiencies, and assorted annoyances.
[snip]


Somebody sent me this article about the original screenplay. It answered many of my questions (and most of yours I think), bascially the movie we saw was vastly cut down and a lot of things which could have even been quickly explained were left out:

http://www.chud.com/articles/articles/21969/1/PROJECT-880-THE-AVATAR-THAT-ALMOST-WAS/Page1.html

If you liked the movie and was slightly frustrated then it's worth a read to get the gist of the screenplay without having to read the whole thing!

In this article Cameron says he will write a novel, which I imagine will be the original screenplay modified to fit the movie:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jXOYzLx-6QscSpCcZrBlfjmJ5mGAD9CNRKEG0

edit: One gripe, I thought that the Avatar of Grace (Sigourney Weaver) was slightly too much like her, to the point of it being distracting. In some movies I like the fact that I don't know the actors, and her face in the Pandora world was annoying.


Top
#328377 - 01/01/2010 13:34 Re: Avatar [Re: g_attrill]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3732
Hmm... seems like Avatar is kinda like The Abyss (another Cameron movie), with huge plot elements removed in the final cut. Who knows, maybe they actually have this some of stuff on film and will do a director's cut.

Top
#328385 - 02/01/2010 02:37 Re: Avatar [Re: DWallach]
gbeer
carpal tunnel

Registered: 17/12/2000
Posts: 2665
Loc: Manteca, California
Saw it today in 3D digital projection. First time seeing a digital projection. Wasn't much impressed with that. As long as I have a choice, it will be film I go to see.

Avatar, while full of eye candy, was oh so predictable.
_________________________
Glenn

Top
#328397 - 03/01/2010 00:05 Re: Avatar [Re: gbeer]
gbeer
carpal tunnel

Registered: 17/12/2000
Posts: 2665
Loc: Manteca, California
_________________________
Glenn

Top
#328413 - 04/01/2010 00:31 Re: Avatar [Re: gbeer]
ricin
veteran

Registered: 19/06/2000
Posts: 1495
Loc: US: CA
Originally Posted By: gbeer


This too.
_________________________
Donato
MkII/080000565
MkIIa/010101253
ricin.us

Top
#328422 - 04/01/2010 07:28 Re: Avatar [Re: ricin]
Cris
pooh-bah

Registered: 06/02/2002
Posts: 1896
Loc: Leeds, UK
I saw it last night in 3D, here is what I thought about it....

3D - For me a total gimmick that added little to the telling of the story and acted as a distraction most of the time. Wide shots seemed to have no 3D effect at all while close up shots seemed to be more like layers of 2D rather than real 3D. At no point did I feel I was in the movie or the movie feel like it was coming at me.

Story - For a film of it's length very little of the story was developed beyond the blinking obvious. Dialogue was pretty weak and had little depth.

Animation - I felt like I was watching a badly acted intro for a computer game that lasts 3 hours. I still think the technology is light years off being realistic and in a few years time we will look back at it an laugh. Although impressive I never really felt transported beyond what was clearly a computer generated landscape with people added in here and there. The most impressive work I have seen of this kind but still off the mark for me.

18.50 VIP Cinema experience - At our local cinema it works out to be around 8 extra and for the food and drinks you get, as well as one of the best view I have ever had at the cinema it was overall worth it. We had seats in a gallery that were above the projectors, so you were looking slightly down on the screen which seemed strange at first, but it was a lot easier on the eye.

Unfortunately in Manchester 18.50 isn't quite enough to get rid of all knob heads and we did have some annoying people sat next to us who sat in our seats and refused to move, the staff were typically useless. The free popcorn and nachos also ensured you had an added surround sound track of every single person around you munching rather than every other. They were a bit further away from you and there was a nice amount of leg room too.

So overall, I wouldn't see Avatar twice. It was an enjoyable film, but as a non-fan of Sci-fi this film suffers from all the same problems that every other film in the genre I have ever seen. Such a shame as I think with a better writer it could have been a real epic.

Cheers

Cris.


Edited by Cris (04/01/2010 07:31)

Top
#328434 - 04/01/2010 17:00 Re: Avatar [Re: Cris]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31321
Loc: Seattle, WA
The 3D does one important thing for me. It makes complex action sequences, or scenes with a lot of visual noise, more easy for my brain to parse.

One of the problems I've had with action films is the inability to tell what's going on during visually complex scenes. Film directors have been trying to "push" this envelope as action movies have become more advanced in recent years, and in many films this has crossed some kind of a line in my old addled brain.

The 3D gives my brain more data to help parse the onscreen information, and lets the directors push that line a little farther without losing me.

Of course, this just means they'll push it more...
_________________________
Tony Fabris

Top
#328435 - 04/01/2010 17:36 Re: Avatar [Re: tfabris]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
There's seldom really any useful plot information in an action scene anyway. It's just eye candy. I've long been of the opinion that they should just leave them out. I don't go to the movies to see that kind of thing, at least not any more. If I want big explosions and whatnot, a video game is more immersing anyway.
_________________________
Bitt Faulk

Top
#328438 - 04/01/2010 18:46 Re: Avatar [Re: wfaulk]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
Spectacular visuals is about the only reason I go to the theater anymore. They've got to be combined with a decent movie that I'm otherwise interested in of course, but I'd rather just watch most other movies at home.

A movie needs more than just plot to score amazingly high marks in my books. In some movies, the action and visuals greatly add to the artist appeal.

I'll probably see Avatar in the theater, but despite all the good press, it's still not pulling me with the force of a "must see" flick.
_________________________
Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

Top
#328443 - 04/01/2010 21:37 Re: Avatar [Re: wfaulk]
Cris
pooh-bah

Registered: 06/02/2002
Posts: 1896
Loc: Leeds, UK
Originally Posted By: wfaulk
There's seldom really any useful plot information in an action scene anyway. It's just eye candy. I've long been of the opinion that they should just leave them out. I don't go to the movies to see that kind of thing, at least not any more. If I want big explosions and whatnot, a video game is more immersing anyway.


I would partially agree with you, but I do like to see really well done action sequences, and I think it is possible for them to add to the film overall. For example the opening scene of Quantum of Solace is an action packed scene which ends with Bond opening the boot of his car to reveal the reason for the whole scene.

Avatar, to me, doesn't have the depth to the story to back up the action. It's just all action. I think it's a shame that directors are dumbing down cinema on a continuing basis. After all isn't the point of cinema to tell a tale? What's so wrong with doing it well? Some of my favourite movies of all time have no explosions, no car chases and almost no action at all. They still made it to the list.

Cheers

Cris.

Top
#328446 - 04/01/2010 22:05 Re: Avatar [Re: hybrid8]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Originally Posted By: hybrid8
Spectacular visuals is about the only reason I go to the theater anymore.

I didn't say anything about visuals. I said "action scenes". Even so, I'll admit I overstated my case a little bit.

A movie that is all action, though, is just boring. An action scene should be there to heighten the emotion that the audience is feeling. If it's all action, then you can't heighten it. It's like audio level compression. If it's all loud, why bother?

That's not to say that there isn't a place for an all-action movie, but it feels like that's all that comes out any more. (Also hyperbole.)
_________________________
Bitt Faulk

Top
#328450 - 04/01/2010 22:49 Re: Avatar [Re: wfaulk]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31321
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: wfaulk
There's seldom really any useful plot information in an action scene anyway. It's just eye candy.


Right, but if I'm paying to see eye candy, it helps if I can parse all of it. The 3D really helped me there.

I'm just as interested in a pretty movie, or an action movie, as I am interested in a deep movie. All of those things are valid. Avatar certainly didn't fall into the latter category, but that doesn't make it a mediocre film in my book. I thought it was a great experience.

Sure, its plot was entirely predictable, and done before. Its message about the environment and about conquerors' treatment of indigenous populations was heavy handed and was obviously the entire reason for making the film. But I'll give the movie this bit of credit: Despite all the predictability, the film still swept me along with it and had me rooting for the Navi all along. I found it exciting, beautiful, and enjoyable to watch.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

Top
Page 2 of 5 < 1 2 3 4 5 >