More'a Pandora
May 9, 2022 11:09 PM   Subscribe

 
I've kind of had enough CGI that looks like CGI now. Especially when you can do this with a freely downloadable platform SLYT.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:21 PM on May 9 [11 favorites]




I met someone who was excited about this!
posted by Going To Maine at 11:48 PM on May 9 [28 favorites]


This feels like a project that was just too big to shut down - and the longer it went on, the more invested the company was, the harder it would have been to say “this is a set of films nobody seems to give a toss about”.
posted by The River Ivel at 12:21 AM on May 10 [17 favorites]


It looks okay. I'll probably go see it. But the CGI doesn't look all that great compared to the current cutting edge. I almost expected the trailer to end with the slogan "Only on PS5". Same vibes as Horizon Forbidden West.
posted by sixohsix at 12:22 AM on May 10 [11 favorites]


Oh. Goody. Avatar is back, I forget how many years later. I totally still care!

....Seriously, the first one was pretty and all but the plot wasn't good enough for me to give a shit about a sequel.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:26 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


Just imagine how many Roger Dean album covers could they have made with that budget.
posted by solarion at 1:05 AM on May 10 [26 favorites]


It's like they choose the sequel title specifically to confuse fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
posted by a car full of lions at 1:09 AM on May 10 [42 favorites]


The first film was a box office success simply because it was a spectacle. The "plot" was non-existent but it looked pretty.

Fast forward and it looks like we have an even worse script with graphics that just have that clammy CGI sheen which we see everywhere.

And it doesn't even have the right font anymore.
posted by fallingbadgers at 1:17 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


I don't know, I have a soft spot for the first movie. I liked it and found it moving when I saw it.

People seem to really want the sequels to fail for some reason. Because apparently the first one didn't deserve its success? As if the current generation of cookie-cutter franchises has some how elevated the blockbuster above it? At least it's an original IP with its heart focused on environmentalism and respect for indigenous cultures, as opposed to the reductive good vs. evil pseudo-fascism of superhero movies.

I'm sort of rooting for it. I hope James Cameron puts together a genuinely good movie, and people will stop endlessly chattering about the non-legacy of the first film.
posted by Alex404 at 1:22 AM on May 10 [22 favorites]


I hope they lean in to the kerning fail and the film becomes known as Avata R: The Way of Wate R

I noticed they didn't mention unobtanium in the teaser trailer. Are they fighting over underwaterium this time?
posted by chavenet at 1:26 AM on May 10 [10 favorites]


I didn't care about Avatar until I visited Pandora in Disney World. This franchise doesn't make good movies, but it makes a hell of a theme park (where you can work "style over substance" to your advantage). So for that reason at least, I'm glad it exists, and maybe we'll get a couple cool animatronics out of this new release.
posted by Glier's Goetta at 1:27 AM on May 10 [6 favorites]


People seem to really want the sequels to fail for some reason.

I'm not exactly against it at this point; but I would enjoy the spectacle of a billion dollar white elephant failing (with all the stories that would eventually come out about production) much more than a visually impressive blockbuster with a milquetoast plot. We have plenty of the latter.
posted by solarion at 1:31 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


Original IP might be stretching it. I remember it being refered to as Dances With Smurfs at the time and Space FernGully, although I always felt it was appropriating from Aquablue
posted by Molesome at 1:31 AM on May 10 [11 favorites]


“this family is a fortress” is a gloriously stupid line

it’s reminded me straight away of the line “build a bridge out of her” from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
posted by Kattullus at 1:37 AM on May 10 [13 favorites]


This feels like a project that was just too big to shut down - and the longer it went on, the more invested the company was, the harder it would have been to say “this is a set of films nobody seems to give a toss about”.

It wouldn't be a James Cameron movie without the naysayers!
posted by fairmettle at 1:55 AM on May 10 [6 favorites]


Since Avatar was just a retelling of Aliens with 3D glasses and lots of blue I'm assuming that this piece of garbage is going to borrow heavily from Terminator 2 or Titanic. That fake Ryan Gosling SNL trailer linked above looks like an actual film I would watch, why didn't they make that?
posted by St. Oops at 1:57 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


I'm unlikely to see this - the first one was pretty, but tediously predictable.

On the other hand, I am very keen for whatever video Jenny Nicholson ends up making about it.
posted by davidwitteveen at 2:47 AM on May 10 [11 favorites]


Since Avatar was just a retelling of Aliens

I don't get it. I'm trying to think of a single thing the two stories have in common. An alien planet? Sigourney Weaver? Sam Worthington inhabiting a tall alien reminded you of the exo suit battle?
posted by straight at 2:55 AM on May 10 [13 favorites]


@straight

What does it have in common with Aliens? The whole 'big bad military-industrial complex is bad except some of them are actually heroes in the end and fight against the bad ones' Cameron trope as seen in Aliens and The Abyss.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 3:17 AM on May 10


Yes, it appears that once again they have spent $1.67 on script development. But you know what this movie has that Spider-Knight: Return to the Atlantean Metaverse doesn’t? You don’t have to have seen 8 movies, 4 series, and 6 webisodes in order to really, you know, appreciate it.
posted by cupcakeninja at 3:25 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


humanoid playing a conch. I felt such - connection.
almost every scene I felt a little *ugh*, which is impressive as I'm generally pretty tolerant of mediocrity when there's spectacle to be had (cf. "Valerian" a spectacular, mediocre movie).
posted by From Bklyn at 3:40 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Since Avatar was just a retelling of Aliens with 3D glasses and lots of blue

Cameron couldn’t quite flip the script enough but boy, now I want to see the fan cut trailer where Neytiri is the viewpoint character and when she finds Jake’s body it’s like “oh god they’re implanting in us!”

I had to look up the plot of this movie, which I saw in 3D twice at the time, just to remember it’s Dances With Wolves in space.
posted by warriorqueen at 3:43 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


Since Avatar was just a retelling of Aliens

A lot of people compared Avatar to Pocahontas.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 3:44 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


Looks nice (but it 's no She-ra and the Princesses of Power).
Ironically: I think maybe one of the biggest draws of Avatar is that people have a nostalgia for the original release in that it was all about 3d: 3d has gone through one of its regular death cycles in the intervening decade - but people might still enjoy the one time of event of putting on those glasses.
posted by rongorongo at 3:46 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


So, Avatar was released in December 2009. The teaser trailer was out in August. I remember watching it in 1080p, and it was pretty good. I see... Outer Space, Space Station, Lander... With the exception of a cloudy landscape while landing, the "high-tech" tour continues and at :30 in, OMG, THERE'S MECHS. Then the floating rocks, more high tech, and Sam's and Avatar-Sam in a Jar meet. More high tech, Sam uploads, "This is great!", then exterior Pandora.. And at 1:45 my fucking brain explodes as we see...

DRAGONS vs. HELICOPTERS!

And I was fucking sold.

But I've seen DRAGONS vs. HELICOPTERS already, and I dunno about DRAGON-DOLPHINS vs. SPEEDBOATS. It just doesn't have the same impact.

But at this point, Disney is too invested in the heretofore non-existent franchise, so... Aside from the theme park, I dunno.

Anyone else remember 2012's 'John Carter'? This whole thing seems like Disney had plans for Barsoom-land, the movie tanked, and the had to shelve them, then dusted them off and asked Cameron to a meeting.
posted by mikelieman at 3:55 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


A car full of Lions I had a real moment of cognitive dissonance before I realised this wasn't that Avatar.

The first film started really strongly. The setup with the high tech colonists vs low tech indigenous people who nevertheless are outsmarting them, and the disabled veteran with the impossible dream, to get his old body back. I really wanted to know how this would work out.

But then it turned into a white saviour wish fulfilment fantasy, where the colonist gets to do all the fun indigenous-people things and be better than them at it! And lead them in battle! Which somehow they couldn't succeed at without him!

It made all the nods to environmentalism and spirituality seem empty to me.

The thing that bothered me most was that the main character got his impossible wish (a new body) without the personal sacrifice needed for it to seem earned.
posted by Zumbador at 4:00 AM on May 10 [17 favorites]


The thread from the first trailer is something. AVATAR we have a problem
posted by mikelieman at 4:17 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Jake Sully appears to have a hybrid Human / Naavi child (son?) which... I want to not care but the explanation for that better be spectacular...
posted by Faintdreams at 4:18 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


Eh, I'm looking forward to it. It'll look pretty, while the plot will probably be pretty simple all the details just underneath the plot will probably be thought-out and developed, and the action scenes will almost certainly be well-done.

Certainly seems way better than whatever tedious Marvel ensemble movie is next, or yet more Star Wars that can't get past the Skywalkers.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:20 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


Jake Sully appears to have a hybrid Human / Naavi child (son?) which... I want to not care but the explanation for that better be spectacular...

The kid in the facemask? Just adopted.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:24 AM on May 10


One detail that may not be widely remembered is that the first Avatar was released as part of an industry-wide top-to-bottom push to convert movie theaters to 3D capable digital projection equipment.

Cameron filmed the first Avatar with the intention of making the most of the new digital 3D technology, so when it was released, it definitely was an impressive spectacle, particularly when compared to the older, aging projectors still in many theaters.

Fast forward 13 years, and we've been watching movies on these digital projectors for some time now. We've all gotten used to seeing CGI blockbusters with digital projection and 3D.

Is there enough nostalgia for the first movie to get people into theaters? Maybe. There is now a generation of moviegoers who were kids when Avatar hit theaters. Cameron is a known blockbuster-maker who seems to have a knack for making very watchable movies.
posted by Fleebnork at 4:32 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


It's been so long since the first movie came out that the only things I remember from it are:

*mean guy in mecha suit with a knife attachment

*lots of blue scenery

*that guy, Sam Worthington, who was in everything for that time period but whose face in my mind resembles a potato with some hair on top

*the Macguffin of Unobtainium

...and that's it. Honestly it wasn't a movie worthy of a sequel and the fact it's one of the biggest grossing films of ALL TIME and I can't really remember much about it speaks volumes.
posted by Kitteh at 4:33 AM on May 10 [10 favorites]


Let it be known that brand-gnu was onto the Papyrus thing early...
posted by chavenet at 4:40 AM on May 10


Avatar: Book three: Walk through Fire
posted by Jacen at 4:46 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


I would be much more excited about a slew of sequels to Titanic. Think of all the interesting and unexpected directions that could go.
posted by rikschell at 4:50 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


I didn't care about Avatar until I visited Pandora in Disney World.

Yeah, the "Flight of Passage" ride is truly breathtaking and worth a pretty significant wait in line. If I see A2: Avatarer, it'll be largely on the strength of that ride.

People seem to really want the sequels to fail for some reason. / It wouldn't be a James Cameron movie without the naysayers!

He must have enemies at the top of media conglomerates or something. But his track record speaks for itself: never bet against James Cameron. Nothing would be more Cameron than for this to be a new-record-setting hit. (How? Well, how should I know, I don't have his Midas touch. But maybe he/the Mouse are counting largely on international markets. Most tentpoles do.)

Now, all that being said, I've often asked students in my college courses to raise their hand if they saw Avatar, and I'd estimate one out of every 150-200 students claims/admits that they saw it.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:52 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


I will say that writing the movies ahead of time might avoid the nonsensical narratives of the Star Wars sequels or the Fantastic Beasts garbage. Then again, if they start going in a direction the audience doesn't want to follow, there's no opportunity to fix it.
posted by rikschell at 4:58 AM on May 10


> OMG, THERE'S MECHS [...] DRAGONS vs. HELICOPTERS! And I was fucking sold.

idk if you're into anime but if you are... have i got the trashy-yet-self-aware pretty-girl-battle anime for you!
posted by glonous keming at 5:16 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Jake Sully appears to have a hybrid Human / Naavi child (son?) which... I want to not care but the explanation for that better be spectacular...

Weren't the Naavi bio-engineers/gardeners? (It's been a long time and I may be remembering this wrong?)
posted by srboisvert at 5:18 AM on May 10


James Cameron spent a long time being fascinated by deep sea exploration. Both The Abyss and Titanic are informed by this fascination. When I watched the first Avatar I could not escape the idea that it is about his frustration with the limitations of ROUVs and other apparatus to explore a rich and otherworldly environment that is hostile to and incompatible with human bodies. The tether into the body of the protagonist's avatar, the floating islands, the different cross-species symbioses are all drawn from the deep and from deep sea exploration.

Basically, I think the Avatar series is about how James Cameron wishes he were a fish.
posted by gauche at 5:25 AM on May 10 [22 favorites]


Jake Sully appears to have a hybrid Human / Naavi child (son?) which... I want to not care but the explanation for that better be spectacular...

Jake's Avatar was created by blending his DNA with Naavi DNA - that Jake's twin had died was a major plot point and the whole reason for his involvement in the project to begin with. So I'm assuming if he makes a kid the normal way with Neytiri the child would also have human genes.
posted by ananci at 5:44 AM on May 10


IIRC, the hype around the first film was enormous. Like it was supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread, new filming technology, futuristic CGI, etc. Then the movie came out and it was... fine? Like super average? And then it went on to be the highest grossing film of all time. And thennnn it was largely forgotten, at least in proportion to its hype and success. In summary, I have no idea what's going to happen next.
posted by gwint at 5:49 AM on May 10 [6 favorites]


The original left me cold. IDK if it was the colonialism on full display, the flat characters. The cgi seemed too clean, too slick. Everything appeared to be made out of wine gum gelatins. I couldn't shake the feeling that it was a game of an amusement park ride.

Which is weird because I'm usually a sucker for these things. I have even rewatched the Matrix sequels. Voluntarily.

But Avatar (Cameron's version) has done me the favour of being able to empathize with those who find the other tentpole fantasy franchises uninteresting, so that's something I have to thank him for I guess.
posted by bonehead at 5:52 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


If 2 doesn't do well, then 3 in all likelihood will be sealed in the deeper recesses of the Disney vault, in between Song of the South and Freddy Got Fingered.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 5:57 AM on May 10


Jenny Nicholson had lots of praise for the immersiveness of the theme park, but she also observed that the park's backstory of humans and na'vi working together to build it combined with the complete absence of any walkaround na'vi characters due to technical limitations gives the park a somewhat sinister feel which ironically resonates given the movie's themes of exploitation. Given the park's in-universe existence it just seems clumsy for Disney to go so heavy on the "no, really, humans and na'vi are partners this time, please enjoy this tourist resort on Pandora that is entirely staffed by humans" messaging.

I think that's why it's so easy to take some schadenfreude in hoping that the sequels will fail. The original's problematic themes were getting called out when it was released and everything Avatar-related just feels so haphazard and out of touch at best--almost like a it's a story that's been kicking around in a 70 year old guy's head for decades.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:08 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


Underestimate James Cameron at your own risk. With very few exceptions--and those are arguable--he's always had hits and never had a bomb. The first film kickstarted the the whole 3D craze, but nothing else even came close to matching its technology. The 3D in the theater, for me, was truly ground-breaking. I had never seen anything like it, and still haven’t. (Cameron figured out that the best way to show three dimensions is not to have things jut out at the audience, but to create depth that seems to extend beyond--behind--the movie screen.)

Cameron has always been a middling writer, at best, something he has admitted. I generally dislike allegorical SF, and Avatar is about as allegorical as they get: a mashup of Dances With Wolves, Ferngully, Pocahontas, etc. Plenty of scenes are just plain bad, with bad dialogue and bad acting. He actually made Sigourney Weaver annoying. Still, those nitpicks are secondary to the immersion of the 3D. Even with the bad script, I was carried off to another world. And it’s not all dire—the criticism of American military imperialism is front and center. Cameron is a Boomer Canadian, and there’s often at least a thread of anti-fascism in many of his films. And I think this rubbed some people the wrong way and is the source of a lot of the backlash it's received since.

Looking forward to this. Gonna see it in the theater. My wife didn’t see it in the theater and after we watched it on our smallish TV she just kind of shrugged. Now, years later, she doesn’t even remember it. So if you’re like my wife, do yourself a favor and go see the sequels in the theater. Yes, with those stupid looking glasses. You’ll thank me later.
posted by zardoz at 6:14 AM on May 10 [10 favorites]


I second Kitteh. I don't remember much about it either. Jake and Neyteri were boring. The only one with personality was Susan Sarandon, and didn't she die?
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:16 AM on May 10


I tried watching it on a laptop and the motion was overwhelming and unwatchable. Was it better on the big screen, or was that just me being...out of step, I guess?
posted by wenestvedt at 6:48 AM on May 10


Since Avatar was just a retelling of Aliens with 3D glasses and lots of blue

A friend pointed out that, from a mechanics standpoint, the first Avatar stole everything from World of Warcraft's Burning Crusade expansion. Flying mounts that you had to earn, islands floating in the air, blue space aliens with tails, the whole bit. The timing for Avatar's production even sorta lines up. Now all we need is blood elves.
posted by SunSnork at 6:50 AM on May 10


My first real exposure to the original film was back in, 2008, I guess? I was out in L.A. for a work trip attending the Adobe MAX conference, and the keynote one day was one of the producers of the film. It already had a ton of buzz because James Cameron, but now here we were, the lucky attendees of this conference, given a chance to see as-yet-unseen footage. The guy gave us a long rah-rah speech about moviemaking, how Adobe tools were helping make this possible (of course), and then the darkened the lights in the theater and rolled the footage.

It wasn't a hype reel or anything - it was probably about five minutes of the beginning of the film. Maybe it was because it wasn't a fancy high-end projector, maybe it was because I was in a corporate conference surrounded by very corporate things and just not in the mood to be told to be excited, but I found it totally underwhelming. It seemed like a perfectly average sci-fi film, but not one introducing any ideas I hadn't seen a million times before. When it finally came out, I gave it a pass and I still haven't seen it since.

I don't really have a point to this story relevant to the sequel, though I did get a pretty sweet hoodie as conference swag that has lasted longer than the excitement around the original film.
posted by Zargon X at 6:52 AM on May 10


This new movie, AVATA R, does it stand alone, or will I have to watch the whole series, from AVATA A through AVATA Q first, in order to understand what's going on?
posted by otherchaz at 6:53 AM on May 10 [11 favorites]


Watching it in 3-D in the theater was amazing. It wasn't just the 3-D, it was the detail to the 3-D. What got me was inside their base, all of the displays were 3-D as well, they took the time to add a small detail that isn't necessary, but made the whole world feel fleshed out. During the initial military briefing there is a shot where someone's head was partially blocking a small part of the shot, and I instinctively leaned to the side to try and see around it. It hooked me there.

I hate gimmicky 3-D. If I see a shot of something going straight at the camera, a lot of the time it is very much the director going "LOOK! 3-D!!!!". I didn't feel that with Avatar, it just added more depth to the world.

I later watched it at home in 2-D and it was slow, boring, and flat. The spectacle was what made the film.

Cameron has made a career out of making movies his may with massive negative press and still pulling out enormous hits. Admittedly, this is a sequel, but he made his bones with sequels.
posted by Badgermann at 7:02 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


Sigourney Weaver was in the first movie, not Susan Sarandon, and yes, her character did die.
posted by mogget at 7:17 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Jake Sully appears to have a hybrid Human / Naavi child (son?) which... I want to not care but the explanation for that better be spectacular...

I assumed it was one of the humans who were allowed to stay from the first movie–more adopted brother.
posted by MrGuilt at 7:37 AM on May 10


Hahaha, shows how non-memorable it was that I didn't even get that right. I apologize.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:41 AM on May 10


Huh, since I didn't see the first one in the theater, I had forgotten that it was 3D.
posted by Occula at 7:54 AM on May 10


"Valerian" a spectacular, mediocre movie

We were trying to remember the title of that last night and could not. "Something a thousand planets," my wife managed.

I would rank "pretty but dumb sci-fi movies" in this approximate order of entertainment value:

Tron Legacy > Stargate > Valerian > Avatar > Jupiter Ascending

And that's giving Avatar a lot of benefit of the doubt, because for me the 3D glasses absolutely did not work and everything was so blurry I had no idea what peoples' faces looked like. The colors were pretty though.
posted by Foosnark at 7:55 AM on May 10


Avatar was probably the last movie I saw, or will see, because of the promise of new, mindblowing special effects. At this point, the innovation is finished, and we can ask for things like plot.

I also thought of a Roger Dean album cover. It seemed, though, as if the more impressive the visuals got, the more disappointing it promised to be. Like, there's this noble-looking sea matriarch, probably a big-deal character actress -- great potential, great visual. And what's she going to do except play second fiddle to the Jake Sully show?

Avatar never developed a transformative fandom with loads of fic and fan art, the way most big-deal or even small-deal franchises do. But it did attract a number of fans with a deep, painful, personal longing to leave this hell planet and live on Pandora. If you watch How To with John Wilson -- and you should! -- there is a segment about an Avatar fan club in 2020, mostly young men. I was really impressed not just by their level of fan knowledge but also with their insight as to why Avatar touched them so deeply.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:25 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


I was really impressed not just by their level of fan knowledge but also with their insight as to why Avatar touched them so deeply.

I was too and I think it is worth seeking out even if you're a naysayer. I never saw the film (2009 was a crazy year for - baby, new house, Yakitate!! Japan anime) and I never got around to it, somehow. But other than the John Wilson episode my favourite bit of Avatar related media was the extended James Cameron bit in the TV series Future Man. I wasn't a huge fan of the show but the extended sequence with the time travellers in James Cameron's robot house were very funny (oh I appreciated the Corey Hart references).
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:46 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


Same movie, yet more water, and more dreadlocks.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:46 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


People seem to really want the sequels to fail for some reason. Because apparently the first one didn't deserve its success? As if the current generation of cookie-cutter franchises has some how elevated the blockbuster above it? At least it's an original IP with its heart focused on environmentalism and respect for indigenous cultures, as opposed to the reductive good vs. evil pseudo-fascism of superhero movies.

Because there's this weird, persistent, blatantly counterfactual party line that always comes up whenever anyone mentions Avatar: No One Liked The Highest-Grossing Movie In History, Actually. It's even got ancillary party lines: It's Just A Ripoff Of Pocahontas/Ferngully/Dances With Wolves/whatever (there's a name for a story that seems so compelling that people keep retelling it over the course of many years, but anyway); It Doesn't Really Have A Fandom (it does, but not a lot of people cosplay as Na'vi, because it's hard to do a convincing cosplay of a ten-foot-tall alien with a prehensile tail); Papyrus Is Dumb (font pedants are boring); CGI Is Dumb (that's why you keep going to those movies, right?). It's become pop culture fandom's favorite whipping boy for anything and everything that they don't like about far more recent works with far more egregious failures and far less payoffs.

And I'm really kind of disappointed that that's what this thread has mostly consisted of. (If you're really concerned about "stuff that no one seems to have asked for", let's consider a five-year-old SNL sketch.) There are exceptions, though; I'm looking for the segment that Countess Elena mentions directly above. (There's a nice AMA with the group's leader here.) And there seems to be some awareness that betting against a project that Cameron has a lot more invested in than just money, and being proven spectacularly wrong, is a twenty-five-year-old tradition.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:49 AM on May 10 [6 favorites]


I kinda feel like people saw Avatar for the visuals/special effects rather than the plot and that's why it has the "no one liked" reputation. I admit that's entirely why I saw it (ditto a few other movies that weren't great but looked pretty), and why it hasn't been memorable for me, and why I can't say I loved it and look forward to 4 more of it over a decade later. I apologize that I didn't love it. If the plot somehow gets better in future movies, that'd be GREAT, but I don't have hope of movie plots improving with sequels. That said, I suspect Avatar has just kind of ended up with a "meh" reputation and not, say, the reputation that Fantastic Beasts has earned, at least.

(there's a name for a story that seems so compelling that people keep retelling it over the course of many years,

Tropes? :)

I don't think people could cosplay 10 feet tall, but otherwise I'm pretty sure crafty/inventive people could otherwise turn themselves blue with a giant tail if they wanted to, though! I certainly found costumes on a Google search.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:58 AM on May 10


I think Cameron did the franchise a real disservice going 13 years between installments, because the original was tailored so well to the 3-D presentation that it was enjoyable and impressive in the theater and pretty middling on home video. Probably very few people under the age of 20 can recall seeing it in the theater and the rest of us have had the lifespan of a healthy dog to forget about it.

That's the rub, right? If you make something that takes that level of advantage of an in-theater only experience, you are also creating a property that cannot be enjoyed to that level in any of the supporting media that would normally keep it in the public consciousness.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:03 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Underestimate James Cameron at your own risk.

This movie looks pretty terrible from the preview, but seriously, James Cameron has a track record of making movies that cost mind-exploding amounts of money and time, look kinda dumb in previews, and then make a trillion dollars:

...A sequel to Alien? That's dumb, why would anybody do that? Can't possibly be any good, the original is history-of-cinema great....

...This sequel to Terminator cost so much money, it will be impossible for it to make any profit....

...A Titanic movie? Who wants a big-budget soap-opera tragedy? It's gonna flop....

...James Cameron finally has a new movie coming out, 12 years after Titanic? And it's about blue fish-people in an original IP? Doesn't matter how pretty it is to look at, it'll flop....

Therefore I predict that Avatar 2 will be sorta OK, look great, and make 900 billion dollars for some reason.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:04 AM on May 10 [15 favorites]


At least it's an original IP with its heart focused on environmentalism and respect for indigenous cultures, as opposed to the reductive good vs. evil pseudo-fascism of superhero movies.

Good point. I thought Avatar was decent, really good in some ways, mainly the message of it.
posted by Liquidwolf at 9:07 AM on May 10


People seem to really want the sequels to fail for some reason.

I want all sequels to fail (even though they're not all bad) because they inhibit the production of original, new films.
posted by Rash at 9:16 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


We participated in "Dinner with an Imagineer" about 5 years ago while at Disney. It was a great and highly recommendable experience. While at dinner this Imagineer, who had worked extensively on the Pandora park, revealed to us that there were already hints about the sequels incorporated into Pandora. Designs that had been approved years ago during the design phase of the park in cooperation with Cameron. Disney has A LOT of faith in this IP.

This movie is going to be a MONSTER.
posted by alchemist at 9:17 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


James Cameron’s first fully animated feature. Interesting.

As for the internet reaction, a bunch of people who proudly proclaim that they have no idea why the first film did so well are definitively claiming that this film won’t have that quality, whatever it is.

Lastly, the reveal that these films actually do take place in the Last Airbender universe is going to be a Luke’s Father level mindfuck for an entire generation.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:20 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


I recently rewatched Avatar and remember being underwhelmed by it in theaters at the time but still enjoying the spectacle. Like a Disney or Universal Studios ride, that has a short film experience associated with it. Even under that metric, Avatar was way too long of a film and the dialog horrible. Cameron's ability to create sequels better than the predecessor can't be ignored, however.

That said mark my words: if this is not a mind blowing success it will be a huge shift in thinking in Hollywood and beyond. Am I saying it will be an accurate indicating of the end or continued success of the summer blockbuster? Absolutely not, regardless how this goes we will continue to have summer blockbusters. Regardless how this ends, we will continue to have clickbait articles about how this is the end of Hollywood or the beginning of Hollywood.

What can't be ignored is that the marketing budget is said to be $250 million for this film alone. Hollywood math is weird, so I would saying reasonably it'd be double that at $500 million. That means McDonald's avatar promotional cups, toys everywhere, commercials everywhere including on streaming networks. Every morning show will have the stars on, Times Square is going to be a giant fucking aquarium. It'll be 90s style marketing blitz, spare no expense.

Again, as someone who has been in advertising and marketing the spend here in such a short time cannot be ignored. $500 million, or even the purported $250 million number is a giant number even for a film of this size. If it doesn't work heads will roll. It simply has to be a huge hit. I think it cannot be overemphasized how costly it is to make a movie like this without the huge fanbase of something like Star Wars. In fact I'd put this into the Star Wars prequel in terms of how ubiquitous this franchise will be. Failure is not simply an option, so much so I don't even know what failure would look like for the next films. It is in everyone's best interest to label this a success.
posted by geoff. at 9:23 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


I'm not the target audience for this film. When I think of "Avatar," I think of Aang, Katara and Sokka. When I think of "Pandora", I think of skags, psychos and spiderants.
posted by SPrintF at 9:25 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


t's even got ancillary party lines: It's Just A Ripoff Of Pocahontas/Ferngully/Dances With Wolves/whatever (there's a name for a story that seems so compelling that people keep retelling it over the course of many years, but anyway)

Yes, it's called the White Savior Narrative.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 9:25 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


Oh, I'm not "betting against" the movie. I'm sure it's going to do just fine, at worst, and possibly indeed be a monster. I just don't think it will be very good. And yes, I know it's tiresome to have a bandwagon-y negative opinion, but I promise it is independently arrived at and sincerely held. I watched the first one twice, for family reasons, and got a splitting headache from it once. I do have fond memories of ROBOT KNIFE FIGHT, though. The Rifftrax is fun.

I'm old enough to remember when critics came out with pieces complaining about Star Wars, about how it destroyed the outlook for truly grownup movies and was silly anyway. I was not at home to these arguments. Maybe now that I'm older, I'm finding myself in that position because I am not now in the right demographic.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:33 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]




Seriously, the first one was pretty and all but the plot wasn't good enough for me to give a shit about a sequel.

I love CGI when it's realistic(-ish) and serves the story. This is pretty, but it's not as pretty as Planet Zoo.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:44 AM on May 10


The Rifftrax is fun.

The first and only time I watched Avatar was at home, on my brand new 3D capable tv (one of maybe 4 things I watched in 3D before the novelty wore off), and with the accompanying Rifftrax audio track. I'm convinced that was the perfect way to be exposed to that movie, and probably the only way I'll see the sequel (if the Rifftrax guys are kind enough to riff it). I no longer have a 3D capable tv, but I do have VR goggles, so, maybe?
posted by Roommate at 9:51 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Anyone else remember 2012's 'John Carter'?

I didn't hate Avatar, but I enjoyed John Carter about ten times more than Avatar. I wish that level of craft, intelligence, and humor was the bare minimum for a big action flick like Avatar. John Carter's tall aliens were a lot more fun and interesting than Avatar's.
posted by straight at 10:00 AM on May 10 [8 favorites]


I would be much more excited about a slew of sequels to Titanic. Think of all the interesting and unexpected directions that could go.

Alien invaders have destroyed human civilization in the rest of the Solar System and Earth, humanity's last redoubt, is being bombarded and slowly poisoned from space. In desperation, humans scour the bottoms of the boiled-off oceans for a mighty ship capable of holding the new Wave Motion Engine...
posted by The Tensor at 10:01 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


What can't be ignored is that the marketing budget is said to be $250 million for this film alone.

The cost of marketing this movie is this: an elementary school in more than 15 cities. It is 20 10-MW solar plants. It is 1-5 fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 22 miles of concrete pavement. 21st Century Fox will pay for this movie with nearly 23 million bushels of wheat. The studio pays for a single movie with new homes that could have housed more than 1,300 people.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:17 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


I do have fond memories of ROBOT KNIFE FIGHT, though.

Oh, right. I totally forgot about the mech battle. Sorry, St. Oops, I get it now.
posted by straight at 10:19 AM on May 10


Aliens underwater? Didn't he learn anything from the Abyss? Nope. Not again. No thank you.
posted by hoodrich at 10:19 AM on May 10


The cost of marketing this movie is this: an elementary school in more than 15 cities...22 miles of concrete pavement...23 million bushels of wheat...

It's true. If everyone who had watched Avatar had spent the money on those things instead, we'd have those things instead of an Avatar sequel.
posted by straight at 10:24 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


I didn't hate Avatar, but I enjoyed John Carter about ten times more than Avatar.

For me John Carter benefited from the sheer love for the source material that the creators and I shared.

I can see why an audience that wasn't familiar with the originals was cool on it, but oh my god seeing that world brought to life...
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:45 AM on May 10 [6 favorites]


The thread from the first trailer is something. AVATAR we have a problem

Yeah, there sure were some people in that thread predicting Avatar would bomb and not make it's money back.
posted by straight at 10:46 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


“this family is a fortress” is a gloriously stupid line

Vin Diesel should sue.
posted by phong3d at 11:00 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


Because there's this weird, persistent, blatantly counterfactual party line that always comes up whenever anyone mentions Avatar: No One Liked The Highest-Grossing Movie In History, Actually.

I hear you but (and like you said, I'm definitely not the first person to say this,) Avatar is a weird phenomenon. It is strange that for the better part of a decade, this was the biggest box office title in history, given the fact that it has almost zero cultural cache. Does it have a fandom? Sure. But they certainly aren't as big or well-known as Star Wars or Star Trek or Marvel or Doctor Who, or Steven Universe or Downton Abbey or the Kardashians or or or.

So setting that aside, it is weird that this movie has made so much money that A LOT of people had to go see it, and yet...nobody seems to remember the movie. It's like everybody went to the film, walked out afterwards saying "THAT WAS AMAZING," and then fifteen minutes later completely forgot about it. Nobody asks which avatar character are you. Nobody organizes them chaotic good or whatever, there are no catch phrases. Not one. Nobody ever says the avatar equivalent of "use the force, Luke" or "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse" or "On your left." There's nothing. If you haven't seen the film since it came out, I defy you to name one actor in it beyond Sigourney Weaver.

Was the movie bad? No, I don't think it was. Was it a retelling of other stories? Sure fine who cares that happens all the time. Will this movie make a ton of money? Almost certainly. But none of that changes the fact that it is just bananas that this movie is so popular (at least in dollars) while also being almost completely un-memorable and 100% culturally un-impactful.
posted by nushustu at 11:06 AM on May 10 [8 favorites]


Having watched the trailer, the final little musical motif starts with (I think) the same interval as My Heart Will Go On, and I genuinely wondered if there was going to be a crossover. I would be pretty interested in an extended Cameron-verse!
posted by fizban at 11:27 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


And yes, I know it's tiresome to have a bandwagon-y negative opinion, but I promise it is independently arrived at and sincerely held.

And I don't have a real problem with that! (I, myself, saw it exactly once in the theater, and although I own it on physical media, I'm not sure that I've ever done more than one complete rewatching since. Which is interesting, because I will rewatch Terminator 2 or Aliens over and over again with enjoyment.) But I see the same stock responses, repeated across any number of social media outlets, in a manner that I can honestly describe as compulsive; there isn't anything like indifference to it, it's driven in a way that would be super interesting to analyze, if anyone cared to. Now that would be something to read! Instead, anyone and nearly everyone who talks about it just repeats the same old things, without stopping to ask themselves why they care so much about chugging down that haterade.

It is strange that for the better part of a decade, this was the biggest box office title in history, given the fact that it has almost zero cultural cache. Does it have a fandom? Sure. But they certainly aren't as big or well-known as Star Wars or Star Trek or Marvel or Doctor Who, or Steven Universe or Downton Abbey or the Kardashians or or or.

Big, organized fandoms are not nearly the same thing as being a fan of something. In fact, the examples of factions within the fandoms (at least of some of the examples that you listed) going to war with the official creators of those works--works, which despite the predictions of box-office or ratings doom by those factions, often are quite successful with the general public--are legion. Conversely, the Firefly fandom has persisted long past any remotely realistic hope of the franchise being revived. Organized fandoms do generate some fun and interesting riffs on their objects of adoration, but, to put it very mildly, that can be a wildly mixed bag, depending on the particular fandom.

I would be pretty interested in an extended Cameron-verse!

Turns out that the Heart of the Ocean can actually open a gateway to the multiverse, which is how Ellen Ripley ends up leading an army of T-800s against the Evil Corporate Mercenaries.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:34 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


It's like everybody went to the film, walked out afterwards saying "THAT WAS AMAZING," and then fifteen minutes later completely forgot about it. Nobody asks which avatar character are you. Nobody organizes them chaotic good or whatever, there are no catch phrases.

Isn't that possibly a very good thing? That there could be an enjoyable, worthwhile experience that doesn't need to be followed by a decade of obsessing over it, rehashing every detail, making lots of derivative art based on it? Something you could just enjoy and then be done with it?
posted by straight at 11:37 AM on May 10 [6 favorites]


Avatar: Book three: Walk through Fire

I'm so totally down with, Avatar: Fire Walk With Me.
posted by alex_skazat at 11:48 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


I really enjoyed seeing the first Avatar in the theaters. The plot was cookie-cutter, so I hope Cameron has some writing help or something for the sequels, but that's not what I went for. Cameron knows his way around the marriage of special effects and action the way few others do; the spectacle had me thoroughly bespectacled.
posted by Jpfed at 11:55 AM on May 10


Isn't that possibly a very good thing? That there could be an enjoyable, worthwhile experience that doesn't need to be followed by a decade of obsessing over it, rehashing every detail, making lots of derivative art based on it? Something you could just enjoy and then be done with it?

I mean, I guess? It feels to me like what you're describing is a good nap, which costs WAY less to produce. It's not what I'm looking for in art, but different strokes maybe?
posted by nushustu at 12:23 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]


People seem to really want the sequels to fail for some reason. / It wouldn't be a James Cameron movie without the naysayers!

Two reasons, in my mind, for the persistent naysayers:

The first is that James Cameron seems to be the turning point for a whole generation of filmmakers who are extremely technically accomplished but to whom actual story is an afterthought. Bay, Snyder, Emmerich, McG. Making it all the more frustrating is that while Cameron is not a great screenwriter, he has some decent chops when he puts his mind to it (Terminator, Aliens, and the Abyss all have better scripts than anything he came out with afterwards).

Secondly, the budgets for Cameron’s movies break records nearly every time. It feels really excessive, even when they make back their money every time. And this is a guy who started making movies for Roger Corman!

Those of you who enjoy this stuff, have fun. I’ll be skipping this one.
posted by Eikonaut at 12:37 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


I enjoyed the spectacle of the first Avatar. The plot was old and recycled, but I have seen a lot of movies that do the same thing and I wasn't upset about it. What sours me about it was the reaction of other people that I know that (at that point) hadn't seen a lot of fantasy movies.

I know it seems silly now, but when Avatar came out there were a lot of people who would not be caught dead watching anything that might be described as 'fantasy'. I heard so many times that the plot of Avatar was some kind of environmental statement that no one had ever addressed in movie form before. I was unable to respond...sometimes people are so wrong that you don't know what to say.

In my opinion, Avatar was fine, but the artificial weight given to it at the time has given me a bad opinion of the original movie. I hope that the sequels are treated as the popcorn movies they seem to be, and I don't have to debate their environmental philosophy because I think the first one certainly failed at that.
posted by Quonab at 1:28 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


It is strange that for the better part of a decade, this was the biggest box office title in history, given the fact that it has almost zero cultural cache.

It was a hit because of the 3D. The 3D looked amazing, but only in the theater. The script is a mixed bag at best, so when people watched the 2D version or at home on their TVs, it stripped a big part of why people went to see it in droves. At the time there were articles about how people were reportedly depressed that they couldn't live in Pandora, which shows how great the theater experience was. Take away the 3D, and the flaws in the script stand out a lot more, and the movie is less memorable. James Cameron is a technical genius, but he should leave the writing to others. The good news is at least he brought on another writer (or more?) for these sequels.
posted by zardoz at 1:45 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


I didn't hate Avatar, but I enjoyed John Carter about ten times more than Avatar. I wish that level of craft, intelligence, and humor was the bare minimum for a big action flick like Avatar. John Carter's tall aliens were a lot more fun and interesting than Avatar's.

John Carter was better than it had any right to be, and I really enjoyed it. I wished it gotten the chance it deserved. (It also gave me a fun rollerderby name: Jane Carter, of Scars.)

If you haven't seen the film since it came out, I defy you to name one actor in it beyond Sigourney Weaver.

Sam Worthington! I only remember him because he was in so much stuff afterwards because of Avatar. (Me, at the time of his Brief Ascension: "Stop trying to make Sam Worthington happen!") His acting is not terrible but workmanlike...which is all you really need I guess from this stuff.
posted by Kitteh at 2:07 PM on May 10 [6 favorites]


something something hold my Fast and Furious beer
posted by elkevelvet at 2:10 PM on May 10


mikelieman wrote:
> But I've seen DRAGONS vs. HELICOPTERS already, and I dunno
> about DRAGON-DOLPHINS vs. SPEEDBOATS. It just doesn't have the same impact.

Oh wow do I ever have just the movie for you:

P-51 Dragon Fighter (Wikipedia IMDB Rotten Tomatoes)

Probably best enjoyed on VHS, and definitely best enjoyed with a supply of one's favorite intoxicant near to hand. I will note in passing that it does not have enough votes yet for a formal tomatometer score, but the audience votes so far are tracking at 6%, which is fairly rarefied territory, even for jaded connoisseurs of truly unwatchable badfilm.
posted by sourcequench at 2:11 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed the spectacle of the first Avatar.

enough said. just like I don't watch Mike Leigh films for the fight scenes, I did not go into Avatar for the script and characterization. none of the flaws mentioned here registered.. I sat down and got caught up in the spectacle, and that's fine for a movie. I'd sooner watch Everything Everywhere All at Once several more times than spend 1 minute with Avatar's sequel.
posted by elkevelvet at 2:15 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


I guess I should add that as much as I enjoyed the spectacle of the first Avatar movie, there is no way in hell you would convince me to invest a billion dollars in it.
posted by Quonab at 2:30 PM on May 10




If you haven't seen the film since it came out, I defy you to name one actor in it beyond Sigourney Weaver.

Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:39 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Jane Carter, of Scars

That. Is. AWESOME.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:41 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


It wouldn't be an Aliens remake without Michelle Rodriguez.
posted by straight at 2:42 PM on May 10


It feels to me like what you're describing is a good nap

There's an awful lot of worthwhile things in life that are somewhere between falling asleep and spending ten years painted blue and arguing with nerds about lore on wiki talk pages.
posted by straight at 2:46 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]


LaineyGossip also can't remember the movie and wonders why that is.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:56 PM on May 10


Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana.

CCH Pounder.
posted by mikelieman at 2:57 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


It wouldn't be an Aliens remake without Michelle Rodriguez.

Jenette Goldstein was the iconic Private Vasquez in Aliens , and also appeared in Terminator 2 and Titanic.
posted by mogget at 3:14 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]


It's not what I'm looking for in art, but different strokes maybe?

I agree that the most worthwhile art is memorable, rewards further consideration, discussion, repeated viewing, analysis, and changes us.

But most of these articles wondering why Avatar hasn't had some kind of "lasting cultural impact" are comparing it to things like Star Wars and the Avengers. They're measuring "impact" by counting toys, t-shirts, memes, and cosplayers. I think at that level of entertainment, it's just fine for a movie to be good and enjoyable and finished after you've watched it once or twice.
posted by straight at 3:31 PM on May 10


Jenette Goldstein was the iconic Private Vasquez in Aliens

Ack. Next you're gonna tell me Giovanni Ribisi isn't the same guy who played Burke in Aliens.
posted by straight at 3:34 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


I am puzzled by how Cameron and the studio hope to overcome the inertia of a franchise that stopped dead after one instalment and now moves onto the second one a touch over thirteen years later.

Thirteen years is quite a while in franchise terms:

• The Star Trek movies with the original cast began appearing about a decade after the show was off the air, and the release of their movies spanned the next twelve years.

Star Wars lay fallow for thirteen-and-a-half years between Return of the Jedi and the Special Editions trickling out.

• The same span of time is about what the entire MCU has run, with nearly thirty movies and a half-dozen TV series in that time. If Kevin Feige announced today he was delaying the recess of any future instalments until 2035, I don’t think anticipation would build.

I submit that all three of these fandoms are considerably more active than Avatar‘s. Yes, of course Cameron has a solid track record with almost every movie he’s directed until now, and as others point out above, critics underestimate him, but he was always That Guy Who Made ______ A Couple of Years Ago. These days he is a guy who made a very successful movie that no one much remembers back during the Dubya era and before that, hasn’t really made a movie since the last century. His underwater documentaries are... a specialized taste, I guess?

And now he has four more huge features coming down the line that, to be honest, not many people seem excited about. This has the potentially mythic scope for a downfall.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:48 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


The first Avatar movie somehow succeeded after 13.8 billion years of no previous Avatar movies.
posted by straight at 4:07 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]




Nobody hated Avatar. It was cool to see in the theatre and you told your friends it was cool to see in the theater and it wasn't too scary, risque or crude to bring your kids to see it. Also, not to be too much of an old man, but in 2009 movies were a different proposition. They didn't cost $100 for a family of four with snacks and parking, and a lot of people didn't have immersive big screens yet, and even if they did, had a paltry enough set of streaming and time-shifting alternatives that there could very legitimately nothing at home to watch and you had to go to the movies.

With that said, I think Avatar's failure to land in the culture despite its bofo BO is really a tribute to the need for story. The gears strained so loudly to get to so familiar a place that you just couldn't make any kind of connection to it no matter the spectacle. I am hopeful that the Cameron of Aliens and T2 and (frankly) even Titanic -- good to great stories -- took that to heart for the sequels.
posted by MattD at 4:22 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


The idea that we should measure the cultural impact of a movie using metrics (fandom size, social media engagement etc.) that are extremely recent is just strange. Just looking at pre-2000 blockbusters shows that it was once the norm to make highly popular movies that were not part of franchises and that were able to stand up for themselves without having armies of dedicated fans keeping the flame alive between two iterations. The top 3 movies of 1982 were E.T., Tootsie, and An Officer and a Gentleman. They all made bank but in the end they were just movies and people did not obsess about the long-term permanence of their cultural cache. Avatar is not particularly weird in that respect: it's just a movie that had a (very) good run when it came out... and that was it, just like pretty much any top-grossing movie before the franchise era. The problem is not with Avatar, it's with the concept that every movie should follow the Star Wars/Harry Potter/Fast and Furious/MCU model of non-stop, supersaturated public engagement and that working outside this model is bad.
posted by elgilito at 4:29 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]


I am puzzled by how Cameron and the studio hope to overcome the inertia of a franchise that stopped dead after one instalment and now moves onto the second one a touch over thirteen years later.

[...]

Star Wars lay fallow for thirteen-and-a-half years between Return of the Jedi and the Special Editions trickling out.


That's kind of on-point isn't it? Star Wars stopped dead after Return of the Jedi. We all thought we had seen the last movie. And it's... revived pretty well?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:00 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


Avatar was a huge movie financially based on factors that were extremely specific, and largely unrelated to the movie itself: promoting digital 3D, pricing of 3D tickets, probably some breakthrough CGI. All of these factors were very much of the moment and they don’t translate at all to home video/streaming/other media about the story.

For whatever reason, Star Wars, ET and many other blockbusters captivated an audience through time (better story, better acting, etc). Avatar isn’t in the same league as these films. It’s The Last Starfighter if that happened to somehow became the biggest blockbuster of all time because of a confluence of external factors.
posted by snofoam at 5:01 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


Yes, of course Cameron has a solid track record with almost every movie he’s directed until now, and as others point out above, critics underestimate him, but he was always That Guy Who Made ______ A Couple of Years Ago.

Avatar came out twelve years after Titanic and isn’t even the same genre. The other movie franchises that you listed didn’t have the advantage of a theme park attraction in the theme park to maintain interest.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:12 PM on May 10




That's kind of on-point isn't it? Star Wars stopped dead after Return of the Jedi. We all thought we had seen the last movie.

After three movies over six years—the equivalent comparison would be Star Wars releasing in 1977 and Empire Strikes Back releasing in 1990 instead of 1980.
posted by LooseFilter at 6:12 PM on May 10


After three movies over six years—the equivalent comparison would be Star Wars releasing in 1977 and Empire Strikes Back releasing in 1990 instead of 1980.

I don't think it matters how long the original material was in the public eye if you wait thirteen years to release something new. Your original demographic has aged out. The people who you're trying to reach now probably watched the original(s) on streaming in the space of a week.

Avatar is not well represented at sci-fi conventions, but it is embedded American culture. The latter I think is much more important in marketing to a new audience, and it's the reason I think that coming back after 13 years has a reasonable chance of success.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:48 PM on May 10


At this point, the innovation is finished, and we can ask for things like plot.

Yeah, good luck with that. It pains me to say it, but I kind of feel like theatrical movies are doomed. Everything is just going to be multiverse corporate IP slugfest franchise stuff with fakey-ass CGI, until people stop showing up. And I think they will stop showing up.

I'm old and too many movies feel like weird joyless mashups of stuff from my childhood, or (increasingly) mashups of the mashups of stuff from my childhood. By the time we get to the mashups of the mashups of the mashups of stuff from my childhood, I don't know who's gonna give a damn. In five years they'll be selling us De-Aged Indiana Jones vs. The Transformers, and then five years later they'll be trying to reboot that, and it's just going to turn into IP vomit. And I don't feel like special effects are really keeping pace with the demands being put on them. When movies are nothing but spectacle your spectacle needs to be fucking spectacular, but everything still looks like a video game. It's not that innovation is finished and CGI couldn't improve, it's more like a certain look/standard has become the norm and we don't seem to be really progressing beyond that.

If movies continue on their current trajectory (and what's gonna stop them?) I think movie houses will become weird mini-theme parks and they'll charge a lot for gimmicky "events" with smell-o-vision or Feel-Around or whatever. Anything that doesn't fit that model will go right to streaming. But unless theatrical movies can actually get better somehow, like they have better scripts or they look better or something, I don't think they'll survive. Maybe the Avatar movies will make a lot of money, or maybe they'll be one of the things people cite years from now when they talk about why movies went away.

But knowing James Cameron, they'll probably somehow make a lot of money even if nobody really likes them that much. Cameron blockbusters are kind of like the Republican party. They come along looking like big, stupid, costly disasters waiting to happen, and the smart people assume it can't possibly work this time... and then the damn things somehow win big again and again.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:29 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]


Anyone else remember 2012's 'John Carter'?

Yes, it was a good old school adventure movie with bad marketing.
posted by fairmettle at 7:56 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]


It wouldn't be an Aliens remake without Michelle Rodriguez.

This is particularly funny as she was 8 years old at time of the release of Aliens. But you know thinking about it more an all child star Aliens remake sounds pretty good to me.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:44 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


I don't think it matters how long the original material was in the public eye if you wait thirteen years to release something new. Your original demographic has aged out.

Yeah but again. You know what people did for the 13 years following Return of the Jedi? They bought star wars toys and star wars video games and star wars books and star wars on VHS and then DVD and they quoted star wars and watched star wars tv shows and midnight showings of star wars in the theaters and also space balls and then, when they got older, they showed star wars to their kids and bought them star wars toys etc etc. When they rereleased star wars in the theaters, man there were lines around the block.

Show of hands: how many of us did any of that with Avatar? Does anybody expect there to be lines to get in to see Avatar?
posted by nushustu at 8:48 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]


Sam Worthington

For over a decade I thought that was Matt Damon. Someone corrected me like last year. Apparently the part was originally offered to Damon, and Worthington must have been hired for his Damonesqueness, so I don't feel too bad about the mixup.
posted by rodlymight at 9:50 PM on May 10


Oh, and another reason to expect Avatar 2 to be a hit?: all the additional media attention from the inevitable right-wing backlash against its themes and/or perceived themes. I don't see them forgiving Disney by December.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:34 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


It's the actual post but has gotten overlooked: that is a great trailer. Doesn't give away any plot but we see plenty of imagery; too many trailers these days are three-minute summaries of the whole damn film. Great editing and the score is beautiful. I might avoid all future trailers and go in having only seen that one.
posted by zardoz at 3:53 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Show of hands: how many of us did any of that with Avatar? Does anybody expect there to be lines to get in to see Avatar?

Flip that around: how many of the people who literally camped out to see The Phantom Menace thought that it was worth it when they finally did? Funny, you don't hear about people doing that any more.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:42 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


I'm personally invested in seeing this movie make money but continue to gain no cultural traction. Responding haphazardly, I just want to note I've only seen Tootsie once but I can describe you the plot, helped in part by its background popularity especially in queer spaces (so I'm kept being reminded what is it all about). The French Lieutenant's Wife, I've never seen, but that's considered a classic in the romance genre so again, via pop cultural and fannish osmosis, I know of it. Etc etc. I'm not interested enough to follow fandom merchandising in general, but I do like lurking in discursive spaces. Avatar is odd, but it's really only odd because the gap between box office earnings and cultural traction (the only metric I pay attention to) is so wide, until of course we adjust for the higher prices the 3D showings demanded at the time. Then it's about right. It probably earned about as much as MCU's Eternals once you adjust for actual views or similar. But man, even duds like the Eternals can generate the odd joke or meme. Jupiter Ascending (that i love) elicited many pages of thinkpieces or unironic declarations. Not to mention the "bees recognize royalty" meme. I'll continue to be super interested in figuring out why this came and went, even if I think it actually performed about as well for a blockbuster movie of its size that wanted to develop legs along the merch longtail but didn't eg the Fantastic Beasts movies.

Re: TPM - the funny thing is, all the kids who grew up with it on home video pretty much is responsible for a revival of the prequel movies and a rehab of their fan reputation. Half the memes I'm seeing from the upcoming Obi-Wan movie (eta: sorry, series!) are unironic wishes for Hayden Christensen.
posted by cendawanita at 4:52 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


that is a great trailer. Doesn't give away any plot but we see plenty of imagery; too many trailers these days are three-minute summaries of the whole damn film.

So, the main character from the first film (now with adorable alien children) trades his flying lizard for a swimming lizard and they have to protect the sacred kelp tree from humans who are now using avatars to do underwater mining. It looks like the scrappy bow-wielding underdogs don't have a chance, but at the last minute, using the power of the white savior, they win the battle. Then they have intimate relations via their dreadlocks. Who knows, maybe something interesting and unexpected will happen, but I strongly suspect if that were the case they wouldn't be able to resist putting it in the trailer.
posted by starfishprime at 5:59 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


starfishprime - I didn't say it was a great movie--haven't seen it yet! But if trailers themselves can be seen as an art and a craft, this one is quite well done.
posted by zardoz at 6:21 AM on May 11


Nobody hated Avatar.

I did.

I'm perfectly serious, I cannot stand it. Yeah okay sure special effects innovation and all that, but I have never prioritized that over a script, even going back to when I was a kid and I would listen to the corny ways people would talk in lesser-written films and think "why are they talking like that, that's dumb".

And Avatar was one of the most pandering, cliche'd, poorly-written scripts I've ever seen, with characters that aren't even two-dimensional. It flogs the "noble savage" trope to within an inch of its life, its villains are straight out of 19th-Century melodrama (seriously, I was expecting Giovanni Ribisi to steal candy from a Na'avi baby the way they were having him go on), and when they actually named the magic McGuffin they were trying to get "unobtanium" I guffawed in the theater. Yes, I know that Cameron didn't invent that term, but...I mean, hell, why not make it even more obvious that they were sleepwalking on the writing and call it "McGuffin-anium" or something? The writing on this script was LAZY, LAZY, LAZY, and it was painfully obvious that it was so lazy because they were expecting us to be all awed by the visuals and the spectacle.

And - well, if I wanted to go see pretty pictures I'd go to an art museum. But a movie is way more than just pretty pictures, and when I go to a movie theater I want to see a movie. You know - something with credible dialogue, a plot that doesn't insult my intelligence, and characters with at least some modicum of nuance.

But I came away from Avatar with the feeling that James Cameron either didn't care about his work enough to come up with a better script to support the visuals, or didn't think I would notice. If it's the former - hell, Jimmy, there are other screenwriters in Hollywood, hire one of them. And if it's the latter - fuck him.

So - yes, I hated Avatar, and I clearly have no problem saying that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:03 AM on May 11 [10 favorites]


One of the fascinating things about the success of Avatar was that it was gob-smackingly huge in China. I remember seeing arguments that people were responding to its politics, etc., and perhaps that’s so or perhaps it isn’t. But given the importance of China in the global market, it seems like a solid justification for green lighting a bunch of sequels.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:11 AM on May 11


all the kids who grew up with it on home video pretty much is responsible for a revival of the prequel movies

I think this is an important point to make with fandom spaces and their media. It's easy for a groundswell of older fandom to dump on a property and all but ignore the other generations' enjoyment of the new installment. As a recent example, I know a lot of people on Metafilter and IRL who loathed the last Skywalker oriented Star Wars film but you know who liked it when I saw it in the theatre? The 7 year old girl a few seats away from me dressed as Rey who was on her feet waving her lightsabre everytime Rey was on screen.

I would expect Avatar will be no different - there is a large cohort of kids now young adults who grew up with the property and keen to see it, I suspect you'll be able to watch this new film with only a cursory of the first and adults will recall the spectacle of the first and want to watch something that has a palette of colours as opposed to not (previously). I likely won't rush out but I don't doubt it will do well. And I do agree that Cameron is totally horny for water.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:20 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Fair enough, zardoz. I guess I was reflecting more on the fact that I just don't expect any kind of twist that could possibly spoil the film. Like even if they show the entire final battle scene, will people be like, the movie is ruined now that I know the good guys miraculously win at the end?
posted by starfishprime at 9:32 AM on May 11


Anyone else remember 2012's 'John Carter'?

I'm quite familiar with 1912's John Carter (I've read all the books) and I tried to enjoy this film but it was so wrong I walked out. Bombing at the box office was its inevitable destiny.
posted by Rash at 9:33 AM on May 11


Yeah but again. You know what people did for the 13 years following Return of the Jedi? [continued to engage]

People in the U.S. and Europe yes. But Star Wars has never been the worldwide phenomenon that Avatar was.

And while Star Wars is obviously much more ensconced in American culture, Avatar has a very solid presence. Everyone knows who the big blue kitties are. You can safely toss a reference into a pop-culture show. How many movies can you say that about?

In any case of the 2.8 billion dollars that Avatar made, 2 billion were brought in outside the U.S. Every film in the Star Wars franchise has been roughly 50/50. While the situation in the U.S. matters a lot for Star Wars, the fact that they were able to revive it in foreign markets at all is (IMHO) more relevant than whatever happened in the U.S.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:29 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


I'm quite familiar with 1912's John Carter (I've read all the books) and I tried to enjoy this film but it was so wrong I walked out. Bombing at the box office was its inevitable destiny.

I’m sorry, but in spirit of the books we may need to duel to the death over this point. :-)
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:46 AM on May 11 [4 favorites]


People in the U.S. and Europe yes. But Star Wars has never been the worldwide phenomenon that Avatar was.

And while Star Wars is obviously much more ensconced in American culture, Avatar has a very solid presence. Everyone knows who the big blue kitties are. You can safely toss a reference into a pop-culture show. How many movies can you say that about?


Uh...it sounds a bit like you're claiming that no one outside the U.S. knew about Star Wars with this. And I'm fairly certain that that's not so - in fact, it was a big enough deal in Japan that it lead to the creation of a whole George Lucas-themed theater event in 1993, which also paid homage to Indiana Jones, Willow, American Graffiti, and even Tucker (and I note that that last one is almost unknown here).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:14 AM on May 11


I'm not particularly convinced by that argument* but I will also say, Japan is absolutely not a representative sample of how well pre-internet understanding of deep cuts in American culture, never mind the mainstream ones, are received and mainstreamed outside of the USA. that sort of thing is extremely very Japan - I mean I grew up reading Doraemon comics and there's at least a couple of issues where the mangaka drew hyper-accurate imperial spaceships just because he could and that was a kid's title about a boy and his robot cat. I never saw anything like it from other sources.(riffing, sure? Poor local copycats? Of course. Loving tributes to American cinema with deep lore knowledge though?)

*that said, I was in college when TPM came out - and this was a private one where everyone is doing some form of western pre-college/matriculation programme (A-levels; IB; Australian Year 6; Canadian final grade) - and it was only a handful of us who knew what the heck this was. I only knew because my dad exposed the original trilogy to me, and he had no idea what it was, just that it was a big deal when I was a kid. At that point I didn't even know the guy who did Indiana Jones were friends with this guy. Hell, at that point the only Terminator I saw was T2.
posted by cendawanita at 11:41 AM on May 11


EmpressCallipygos: "Avatar was one of the most pandering, cliche'd, poorly-written scripts I've ever seen, with characters that aren't even two-dimensional."

Or a more charitable interpretation would be that it was intentionally so. Tropes are tropes for a reason. He wanted to make a movie that was a timeless fairytale. A movie that could span cultures, span languages. A story that you didn't even need dialogue to convey. You were shown everything that you needed to know. Grey techy warmongers versus beautiful shiny nature. Orcs versus Ents. The evil is evil and the good is good, and what specific thing the evil wants is unimportant, it doesn't even need a name. I think the box office success, especially internationally, comes from that. You don't leave the theater thinking... well, anything. You've just been on an satisfying journey, and that's that.

I also felt underwhelmed when I saw it. I also wanted and expected more from the story, but I can appreciate it for what it is and what is was trying to be on its own terms. It should have been shorter, though.
posted by team lowkey at 12:12 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


Or a more charitable interpretation would be that it was intentionally so. Tropes are tropes for a reason. He wanted to make a movie that was a timeless fairytale. A movie that could span cultures, span languages. A story that you didn't even need dialogue to convey. You were shown everything that you needed to know. Grey techy warmongers versus beautiful shiny nature. Orcs versus Ents. The evil is evil and the good is good, and what specific thing the evil wants is unimportant, it doesn't even need a name.

Tropes are tropes for a reason, but tropes alone aren't a script. A good writer - hell, even just a halfway decent one - takes those tropes and uses them as a framework for something.

I mean, to carry what you're saying to its extreme, there's no reason for him to have even done that much - he could have just shown pictures of pretty Na'vi and ugly Earthlings. And this gets us back to my original complaint, namely that "if I'd wanted to just see pictures I would have gone to an art museum".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:20 PM on May 11


It's like they choose the sequel title specifically to confuse fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Missed opportunity to go with Avatar 2: Electric Bluegaloo.
posted by lock robster at 12:52 PM on May 11 [4 favorites]


I thought "unobtanium" was both funny and entirely plausible as a name nerds would someday use for something. Have you seen what all the subatomic particles are called?
posted by straight at 1:38 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Fair enough, zardoz. I guess I was reflecting more on the fact that I just don't expect any kind of twist that could possibly spoil the film.

Yeah, I don't expect much from the story. Something like humans come back, factions form, the Na'vi are betrayed, then a big battle at the end. Still, there are four of these freakin' sequels so I'm sure they have mapped out a much bigger story.

And for those like EmpressCallipygos who hates Avatar because of the script, I totally get it. I cringe at how hamfisted so much of it is, and wish this technical marvel had the level of script that compliments that leap in technology. But I'll reiterate again: the magic ingredient is seeing it in the theaters, in 3D. And that doesn't work for everyone; some people claimed they got headaches or couldn't see well (and projector brightness is an ongoing battle between Hollywood and movie theater chains, a long established problem, made worse by the dark filter of the 3D glasses). But if you're like me, the 3D is well worth the price of admission.

In any case of the 2.8 billion dollars that Avatar made, 2 billion were brought in outside the U.S.

This is interesting to me, but not a huge surprise. Cameron managed to wedge in the genocide of American Indians, the threat of a(n American-style) military and corporate fascist junta, and even shadows of Vietnam. I mean, the final climax is a battle against the military contractors, which is more or less synonymous with the U.S. Army. So the film's politics are overtly left-leaning, even though it's wrapped in allegory. I think this is one of the main reasons why people so gleefully poo poo on Avatar. That plus the otherwise lazy script.
posted by zardoz at 2:04 PM on May 11


I don't "poo poo" Avatar because of whatever political themes you might be picking up on, I poo poo it because it's boring and lame. I'm pretty sure that's what most people who don't like the movie are reacting to! James Cameron has made some absolute bangers in his day but Avatar is a turd of the first order. I can't even decide what underwhelms me the most about this movie. Is it the bad script? The deeply uncharismatic lead? The vaguely offensive "noble savage" plot? It's not even interesting enough to have a strong negative opinion about.
posted by cakelite at 2:26 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Uh...it sounds a bit like you're claiming that no one outside the U.S. knew about Star Wars with this.

Well, with a 50/50 box office split I'm saying that you have to add up the total interest in 194 countries to match that of the U.S. Obviously ticket prices skew that, but the skew would be the same with Avatar.

As an aside it was amusing to me that you used Japan as an example, as getting to know Japanese geeks my age was the first time I realized that Star Wars was not the phenomenon elsewhere that it was in the U.S. There was a mix of people who had seen it or not, and I truly cherish the moment a friend of mine's wife found out who Luke's father was. Obviously this is anecdata, but it left an impression on me.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:09 PM on May 11


This new movie, AVATA R, does it stand alone, or will I have to watch the whole series, from AVATA A through AVATA Q first, in order to understand what's going on?

The answer is, all one needs to watch AVATA R is AVATAR, which is not confusing at all, but if one could, wouldn't one rather want to watch AVATA Q, which would have been a musical comedy with a cast including blue puppets singing "The Unobtainium Song", "My Girlfriend, Who Lives on Pandora" and "The Pandoran Neural Link is for Porn"
posted by otherchaz at 5:05 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


I think the problem with Avatar's rather shallow cultural footprint is that it was very much a theatrical experience. In the theater with a good projector and 3D glasses, it looked like nothing else. But you couldn't reproduce that experience at home with a 2D TV and a Blu-Ray. It never had the home video afterlife like Star Wars did.
posted by vibrotronica at 5:06 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


As an aside it was amusing to me that you used Japan as an example, as getting to know Japanese geeks my age was the first time I realized that Star Wars was not the phenomenon elsewhere that it was in the U.S.

Well, to be fair, I picked Japan largely because of the aforementioned George Lucas Superlive Adventure thing, because a college friend was in it and was one of the Luke Skywalkers in the final battle (the fight choreography required there to be three people playing the role in turns at various points in the fight).

But, if you like, I also know that there is a movement in Malaysia amongst traditional shadow puppeteers who are staging Star Wars puppet shows in an effort to re-attract people to their craft.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:12 PM on May 11


yes of course i know that, i even posted it about it here. I also know those guys. We even have those stormtrooper legion cosplayers. It still doesn't mean especially back in the day SW was well-known. The whole thing with the shadow puppets also involved those nerds teaching the puppet master and his troupe about the movies because they had no idea what those were about.
posted by cendawanita at 6:37 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


(the other backstory is the cultural centre of those arts have become actively a political center for Islamic right-wing so lot of the native arts were banned because of the pre-islamic heritage -- shadow puppets for example is always a staging of the various parts of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. What happened in this case was these guys, who weren't of Malay background and city folks from out of state - important because the arts in question are Malay ones - thought this might be a cool idea that also *might* get around the ban. Yet, much of the staging has been here in the capital city where I live not the state the troupe is from. Tbh these days it would be Marvel that's won the movie culture stakes - i can tell you about random stunts involving ppl in Spidey costume. But not Vader or the Jedi. This is actually reflected by this troupe in fact. They've not completed the SW dramatization but they've been making puppets from the DCEU/MCU canon.)
posted by cendawanita at 6:52 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Have they done any AVATAR shadow puppets, or do they also think the scripts are just too simplistic and dumb? (She said in hopes)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:08 PM on May 11


lol hold on lemme check their fb.... they do tend to do event-led puppets. Hmm... not yet! (I will update when/if happens)
posted by cendawanita at 7:44 PM on May 11


And that doesn't work for everyone; some people claimed they got headaches or couldn't see well

Maybe not as well known as it should be but some 10% of the population doesn't 'get' 3D. Stereo-Blind: People who can't see 3D. I'm one of them so naturally I saw it in a 2D theater.
posted by Rash at 7:45 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Hopefully GregMutt graces us with another review.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:30 PM on May 11


At least some of the movies James Cameron is credited for, there are one or more other people getting screenwriter or "story by" credits. Most of us don't do our best work in a vacuum.
posted by newdaddy at 11:10 AM on May 12


I've been trying to think of an alternative plot for the first Avatar that would have lived up to the setup of the first few scenes for me.
(obviously what follows wouldn't be commercially successful but I don't care about anything but creating a story I would enjoy, I'm selfish that way.)

So after the initial awesome setup of the arrows in the armoured vehicle wheels, and showing how traumatised Sully is, and how deeply he wants to walk and run again.

The avatars go off on their mission, and just as in the original film, Sully is attacked by a local beastie, is separated from his colleagues, and rescued by Neitiri.

From here my plot diverges from the original.

Sully thinks that he's getting to explore paradise and act out his fantasies, but gradually he becomes aware that the Na'vi are manipulating him. They know all about the avatar program, and they want to learn more about it.

They actually have a lot more knowledge about the universe outside of Pandora than Sully had assumed, and there is a lot more interaction between the the Na'vi and the humans at the base than Sully (and possibly Dr Grace Augustine/Sigourney Weaver) was aware of.
Maybe the Na'vi were trading psychoactive substances, or rare plants and animals for cast off bits of tech, and news, and books, movies, comics, anything they could use to learn more about the colonists and the universe out there.

A significant number of Na'vi want more contact with the outside universe, some because they just want the choice of leaving their own world and exploring, some want the convenience and comfort of colonist tech, some want weapons to dominate rival Na'vi (and colonists of course) , some want weapons and tech to protect themselves from fellow Na'vi (and colonists, of course) medical tech to improve their lives, etc.
Some want nothing to do with the colonists and their tech, and want to remain "pure". They want a return to an idyllic past that might not have existed.
Maybe there's a generational devide?

Sully (having been suitably charmed by Neitiri) agrees to be a mole for the Na'vi at the base. Neitiri and the rest of the small guerilla group she leads are obsessed by the idea of getting off world and finding a way to make allegiances with off world powers to stop the mining of Pandora.
Maybe Sully is asked to find evidence of something that can be used to blackmail the leadership of the mining corporation?
In the end, Sully has to choose.

He could between help Neitiri and her friends get off world even though he knows how dangerous that will be for them, (also, he considerss them to be hopelessly idealistic about democracy)

Or he could transfer permanently into an avatar body and join the purity cult Na'vi in their fight against the colonists.
He tries to do both, not having to choose, and a series of disasters means that he ends up with him stuck in an avatar body, on Pandora, while Neitiri, deprived of most of the tech and support she would have had if Sully hadn't betrayed her, blasts off in her little ship, heading for who knows where.
Or maybe Sully is still in his original body and his canny Na'vi buddy helps him cobble together the old tech he needs to move around on Pandora because it turns out that the avatar bodies have a time limit?
posted by Zumbador at 10:42 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


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