Dancing with Hippies

La Phlegm, Chris and myself went to see Dances With Space Wolves Ferngully II: The Space-Reckoning Call Me Joe Blue Pocahontas Avatar.

Ye gods and little fishies. Visually, this is one stunning movie. Plot-wise, well, I’d say that:


But I’d be lying.

Folks, at no time during the course of this movie did anyone in the audience not know what was going to happen next. Not only that, but within 30 seconds of meeting character, you know each and every thing that they’re going to do for the rest of the film.

The Hero: He’s going to be sent to infiltrate the Fuzzy-Wuzzys, will fall in love with the daughter of the Head Fuzzy-Wuzzy, betray the Fuzzy-Wuzzys, prove himself, lead the tribe in battle against his (former) people and have a dramatic Final Confrontation with Chief Bad Guy.

Scarred Military Dude: This is Chief Bad Guy. A closet genocidal maniac, he will recruit Our Hero to spy on the Fuzzys, at the proper time will show his true genocidal colours, at which point Our Hero will See The Error Of His Ways, whereupon Scarred Military Dude will (temporarily) separate Our Hero from his One True Love, and will die in a climactic Final Confrontation with Our Hero.

Crusty, Yet Benevolent and Wise Scientist: Doomed. Toast. Life expectancy of an asthmatic fruit fly. Only present for two reasons: 1) To utter Last Word Of Wisdom to Our Hero; and 2) Die, preferably before the Last Battle.

Our Hero’s One True Love: Will find Our Hero, rescuing him from Certain Death in the process. Will hate him initially, yet be forced to teach him the Ways of the World, before falling in love with him, aardvarking him in A Significant Place just before Scarred Military Dude starts the genocide, causing her to hate Our Hero, before being shown Our Hero’s True Feelings and falling back in love with him.

And as soon as you see the Na’vi you know that they’re going to wind up going mano-a-mano with the Space Marines godless Space Mercenaries in the most lop-sided battle since a bunch of paleolithic fuzzball Ewoks went up against the might of a Galaxy-spanning Empire.

Yeah, Cameron ripped off Lucas, too, so you already know the end results on that one.


And let me tell you, young Jimmy Cameron is right fond of laying his politics on with a trowel before beating them home with a four-pound sledge hammer. Subtle, the man is not.

Visually, however, Avatar is a feast. Pandora comes alive, and is about as completely immersive as any other movie I’ve been to. The level of detail on that moon in general is stunning, and on the Na’vi — well, allow me to put this as succinctly as possible:

300 million dollars to perfect digital jiggle. The man is a god to me.

Go see this movie. Set your mind on auto-pilot, don’t expect any plot surprises, ignore the gaping plot-holes and the heavy-handed politics and just enjoy the visual experience.


Bwa Kayiman
Monkey's fist

27 thoughts on “Dancing with Hippies”

  1. And to think, he could've recruited any of a thousand out of work game designers to do that for much less. Physx engines have had really good digital jiggle for over five years.

    I will probably end up going to see this just for the visuals. I'm a guy. Visual is what drives it, digital jiggle not withstanding.


  2. Ah Heck .. When i saw the post title I came over expecting a tutorial on the use of the asp or pr24 . Ahh well good review anyway .

  3. hydrollDefinitely sounds alike a video rental to me…but I have a pretty good TV.

  4. It's a Beauty Queen movie – lovely to look at, dumb as a rock and tilted way over to the left.

  5. I'm sure it will be good on a big high-def TV and Blu-Ray player, but unless they release it in 3DHD, it will be pretty hard to top the 3D experience.

    I took two of my sons to see it over the Christmas break. The 19 year old commented immediately upon exiting the theater: "That was very impressive special effects, but the storyline was 'Pocahontas in Space.'"

    And, admit it: you spent most of the movie trying to see her nipples under that little bandana.

  6. From what I have read, it sounds like "Pocohontas" in 3-D.

    I guess they don't call them "space operas" for nothing. After all, Star Wars would have made a very serviceable movie if it were set in the "days of old, when knights were bold, and t-p wasn't invented".

  7. "Would you hate me if I tell you lies that appeal to you? was a song lyric some time back, but I don't remember who sang them…..

  8. You forgot something in your entry for the "Scarred Military Dude":

    Does totally badass things that make you root for him right before he was killed.

    Seriously, my nickname for him is "Colonel Badass".

    My problem with the Nav'i is that they continued the tradition of "good guy aliens = humans with [insert animal trait here]". They were all CGI, so they could've easily pulled off giant good guy bug or reptile aliens. Would've made it at least a little bit more interesting – try fitting into a society of creatures like that .

  9. So, based on this and several other reviews, I intend to take a set of really good earmuffs (total sound deadening)with me to view this. That way, I get all the movie, none of the dreck.

    WV: obansci: nickname for the whisky appreciation studies class in Northern Scotland

  10. It's hard to piss off the Left and the Right, but Cameron's done it with Avatar Bing "White Messiah Avatar" and you'll get more than your fill. The plot is thinner than a Birther's evidence file.

    Tolewyn: I doubt Physx can handle 50-foot faces, down to the pores and subtle skin variations. Visually this is The Greatest Thing Ever. Whoever said they'll wait for the Blu-Ray: DON'T!! It needs to be seen on the screen, if for no other reason than the Hallelujah mountains. See it at the IMAX if at all possible.


  11. Dad and I saw it tonight, and "Visually stunning" is not a strong enough statement.

    No, this bears no resemblence to what is done in the video games, Tolewyn. In this, I spent the last 90% of the movie forgetting that I was watching All-CGI, All-The-Time.

    Don't forget that many parts of the movie (especially the bull dozer scenes) also come straight from Disney's Fern Gulley, and a little bit from The Emerald Forest.

  12. I saw it in IMAX 3D. Rarely, RARELY will I say that any movie is worth the $10 price of admission. Even more rarely will I say that the IMAX experience is worth the extra $5. But in this case, it is true. It is worth an extra 30-60 minute drive so as to catch it in IMAX. Trust me on this: the visual elements are RICH.

    The plot sucks. But this is more than compensated for by the visual experience. Do NOT do drugs nor get drunk before seeing it. You will get plenty of mental stimulation (perhaps overload) by the visuals.

  13. ummmm… can I just wait for the DVD on Netflix? I really don't care to waste the money… 🙂

  14. I was being FACETIOUS people!


    I guess my sarcasm just doesn't translate well in typed context.

    I give.


  15. Pandora was a dogless planet and was therefore made of fail, in my humble estimation. If dogs didn't bother to show up there, it couldn't possibly be worthwhile. meh.

    But it was pretty to look at.

  16. The plot stinks, but the future's looking great for visual effects artists.

    When it comes out on Blu-Ray, there *will* be support for domestic Real3D-format televisions – but it really is kick-ass on a big screen. To see it 2D, however, is to literally miss half the movie. Everything old is new again. Even seeing a future-Huey setting down on a crag is droolsome.

    Regarding the script… all you need to know is here.


  17. People keep saying 'ignore the politics, go see it, it's -cool-.'

    But let me ask you a question.

    What do you think Cameron is going to do with the money he makes from you seeing it? What do you think he'll do with the social capital he gains in hollywood?

  18. dances with wolves / fern gully , and for the win…

    the political backdrop of the black hills gold rush

  19. Avatar aside.. the comments make me curious:

    Suppose some too-clever team of scientist at some US gov't physics lab found a way to get to a parallel world, where North America was not colonized by Europeans, and is still inhabited only by nomadic or agrarian native tribes.

    What would USA do then?
    Certain comments about Avatar make me think those of the frog stripe would have no qualms about doing the wrong thing all over again..

  20. I really liked it, as a Bowhunter, the archery really made it shine for me. My Girlfriend is a skydiver, and she found the flying scenes really were like freefall, a friend who does hang gliding said the flying sequeces had a lot of the feel of aircurrents.

    The Politics is a Noble Barbarian sterotype, something I both appriciate and deplore. But pretty quickly, my geekyness supressed my thoughts with justifications. I think the favourite mental permutation was that the Navi were actually the descendants of such an advanced society, they cured poverty, and health problems, and reverted to an earlier form of life, were they were intune with a giant biochemical computer system. This explains the weird pony tail plug in thing, and how I can approve of living in a society that without major genetic and social enginerring, would have a very short lifespan.

  21. Absolutely beautiful film, and one that must be seen in the theaters.

    As an evil libertarian, I don't really care about the size of the carbon footprint for the film's production, but I do have to wonder what Jimmy Cameron thinks of it.

  22. shame to spend so much on producing an amazing film to watch, but then couldn't afford a decent plot to go with it. I came out annoyed by the propaganda, which seriously detracted from the totally stunning visuals. Hollywood business as usual, though, which is why I try to watch films from other sources. It will make millions, and several sequels with even less of a plot to hang it on.

  23. Perhaps I have read too much science friction, but the oh, so derivative story did not bother me (if you are going to risk that much loot in production, it makes sense to go with a proven plot) and I do not find much in the way of political correctness or incorrectness. It is a non-documentary movie and, by definition, requires more or less willing suspension of disbelief (N.B.: be ready to suspend disbelief for documentaries, too. ref. Michael Moore.

    As a SCUBA diver who has harassed too many sea pansies and tube worms, I sure did enjoy the scenery.

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