Saw Avatar again over the weekend and noticed that it takes about six years to travel between Earth and Pandora…>humans leave pandora at the end of the first movie (2009)>takes 6 years to get to Earth (2015)>Avatar 2 comes out in 2022, and humans are back>they had to leave 6 years earlier to arrive then (2016)>about a year in between to prepare
Am I crazy or did James Cameron intentionally put a 13 year gap between these movies IRL as an intentional storytelling device?>>6967>James Cameron's Avatar is a rather unknown dystopic film,
lol yes, the hidden gem which is also the top grossing film of all time.>Red Cynic did a good review of the leftist themes and the story
Chapo Trap House also has done an episode about it and how it's anti-imperialist and specifically not a white savior trope and how it's distinct from movies like Pocahontas or Dances with Wolves.
Avatar 1 rewatch (2020) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7CtTo88QOI
Avatar 2 trailer reaction https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtHDTdrgp0o
But yeah, Avatar is an interesting example of dystopian sci-fi, even cyberpunk, because unlike most examples it doesn't
exclusively show a setting where capital is all-encompassing and has put the world into a terminal decline. That's true on Earth, but because of that humans are driven to plunder resources from elsewhere in the universe. And that's where 99% of the movie happens, on a largely intact ecosystem that is in an early stage of contact with humans. One of the things that makes it stand out from the rest of the milieu is that it's beating you over the head with the point that the dystopia is unnecessary
. It's used as a plot point that Jake says "We don't have anything they want." While that statement is used (by certain characters) at that moment to justify just taking their shit, it's still there to make the point that for all the technological wonders humans have they have nothing to offer the aliens, whose "primitive" society already has everything they need. Later, Jake even explicitly says (to the world tree of Pandora) that "there's no green" on Earth, and that humans "killed their mother" and would do the same on Pandora. The construction of this contrast between the navi and humans is unusual if not unique because while it does point at a cyberpunk dystopia and say "This is our future," it also points at a world where aliens live sustainably with is almost explicitly a bio-engineered ecosystem and say, "…but it doesn't have to be.
And then after that, it shows that if you want
the other option, not a system that dumbly harvests the world until it's a desert, you have to fight for it. It's mostly a foregone conclusion that the diplomatic solution won't work, to the point that Quaritch immediately recruits Jake to spend his time with the aliens delivering intelligence to him on the (correct) assumption that they can't be convinced to move. It's made clear a couple of times not only that diplomacy will not work in this kind of situation, but that it's fundamentally absurd to even try. Dr. Augustine tries to convince the corporate suit that the biology of the planet is more valuable than the simple mineral they are after (being a naturally occurring internet that can upload and ack up your consciousness). He seems to literally not even understand what she's saying, not that he would care, because he is too absorbed in his corporate job and his deliverables because structurally he can't give a shit about anything else. I think people sleep on this character too much because he's considered too tropey or un-serious, but he is precisely the kind of person you have to put in charge of an operation like this, someone who cannot see the forest for the trees (or for the ore under them).
I remember people joking back in 09 how Parker Selfridge was introduced by practicing his putt on the operations center, because that was a big cliche at the time and how Cameron was being "unoriginal" like the rest of the movie. The "putting in the office" trope was popular because it gives you easy instant characterization of somebody as a shitty corporate manager. This is somebody who:<is a golfer, meaning they are bourgie and at least "upper middle class"<goofs around in their office, meaning they are detached and can do their work with minimal focus, which at one point was used to indicate that administrative work is not hard and maybe not necessary, but eventually came to illustrate that an administrator was "high functioning" and "too smart" for even upper management, so needs to entertain themselves just to occupy their big brains<plays a game that requires a significant amount of open space, meaning they have a nice big (private) office, which is used to visually communicate their power<the putting is also shot with a low-angle "worm's eye view" to make the character appear to tower above the viewer, again emphasizing their power<while playing the game, they tend to be either alone, talking to their secretary (who is in another room), or bringing people in for 1-on-1 meetings, which shows how alienated and separated from the organization this character is, isolated socially and physically by this powerful position. Often used to portray them as an "emperor sitting on his throne" but with a twist of being restless and fidgety.<Typically are putting into a coffee mug, which both shows their excessive trinkets (usually some novelty mug) and the trivialization of an important tool to the regular worker peons (caffeeine as a necessary stimulant to enable you to do your job).
But what's interesting about this scene is that even though it's very brief is that it's actively subverting the entire trope (but probably not being noticed because it's such a small piece of the first act and it doesn't draw attention to itself). The overall contour of this short scene is to show how the position of the corporate manager has degenerated over time, reduced from bribing you with a cool office and amenities to being an almost vestigial cog in a much larger machine. This is suggested throughout the scene, with Quaritch making more of the actual decisions, and outright confirmed in a deleted scene where Quaritch actually supersedes his authority under implicit threats of violence.<Parker cannot actually golf on Pandora because of course there are no courses. This little game for him actually functions like a little piece of home, since people get stationed out here for several year stints. It's escapism from his overall situation, not bringing an active hobby to the office.<Parker is goofing around, because his job is easy, but this is because his role is truly perfunctory and he doesn't really serve much purpose.<Unlike the usual use of the trope, Parker does not golf in his office (which we shortly see is actually quite small), but instead has to putt right in the middle of the command bridge, which is both visually distracting and physically in the way of the operation. He is a very literal obstructive bureaucrat who just gets in the way of the military operation while people are working.<Parker is shown from a low angle, but it's to set up Dr. Augustine standing above him in the scene (upright with righteous indignation while he is hunched over and complaining about "moral hygienists."), and then the low shot is used to show her kicking the mug away and ruining his putt, also subverting the power symbolism.<While Parker in the scene is not physically alone in an office, he is socially alone since everyone in the command center is busy working and he brags about his putt to an underling who he himself points out does not give a shit and is focused on work. He is like a child playing around the feet of the adults, not some high power manager flexing on peons.<The coffee mug he putts into is branded with the company's logo, just some standard issue thing which may not even be his. When they go into his actual office, we can see he does have a mug on his (cluttered) desk, within easy reach as if he had been drinking it recently, and appears to be another standard-issue company mug. Implying he does drink coffee and is occupied with some kind of tasks that he's actually shirking to putt in everyone's way.
And on top of the subversion of the trope itself, his putting turf the SINGLE PIECE of artificial green
in the film. Parker comes from a world where all the natural green is gone, but on a lush jungle world he diverts his attention with a little strip of astroturf. He could literally just look up
, out one of the windows, and see more vegetation with his own eyes than exists on the entire Earth. But he's so narrowminded he focuses on his lame little portable putting green.
Despite the brevity of the scene, it emphasizes early on and pretty straightforwardly how much the corporate superstructure has become subordinated to the military side of things. Parker is also notably the only corporate bureaucrat among dozens of military personnel. All of this is in line with the degeneration of "late stage" capitalism morphing into fascism or something like it, where naked force rules because the struggle over resources to extract becomes the dominant conflict.
Here's the scene btw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ievs9hasNX4
tl;dr on seeing the movie again a decade later I noticed a lot more depth to the storytelling and themes, and in some ways it's a lot more obviously relevant now.>>7801
I remember getting a sense of ennui after seeing it the first time, but it wasn't like depression. It was more like the feeling of immersion you get from VR, and then that going away.>>10289>Given how disappointing and garbage Terminator Dark Fems, Predator (2018) and Alien: Covenant were, I don't hold out much hope on it being good.
Those were all studio-driven films. T2 was good, so was Aliens. James Cameron makes what he wants to make, and he's been obsessed with the Avatar story since the 90s when he first wrote them. These films are driven by a single person with a specific creative vision that he's been working on for decades.