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Saw Avatar tonight
12/20/2009 | self

Posted on 12/20/2009 7:40:54 PM PST by dr_lew

Saw Avatar tonight in 3D at the 4:20 showing. I was split between disgust with the "message" and curiosity about the CGI and 3D, and the latter won out. ( SPOILERS BELOW )

The 3D works very well, with only occasional funky edges to it in some of the busier scenes. I had read about people getting sick from it, and I did feel a little funny after just a few minutes of watching some of the 3D previews, but I got used to it after that. In the beginning of the movie I felt a lot of "Gee, this is great" but I got kind of used to it, although there were still plenty of impressive scenes.

The "evil humans" schtick was lathered on pretty heavy, but I got used to that too, and in fact the plot was heavily dependent on it. "Jake" had to have polar opposite worlds to choose from in order to drive the whole story arc, as familiar it is.

The premise of being on a world of Alpha Centauri was given only a nod at the beginning, when Jake is coming out of "cryo" after 5 years along with a bunch of others. The deep space vehicle got a few shots, too, and it was sort of a fancied up "Discovery" out of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The movie quickly focuses on the Avatar technology and Jake's involvement in it, and the background is left very thin, and very unconvincing. The Avatar technology itself remains an important plot driver, though. It's funny how it seems acceptable as technology just by adherence to a few gimmicky props. Other than those, it makes no sense whatever, being completely fantastical, and way out of step with the familar "look and feel" of the depicted military machinery.

The "Dances with Wolves" story line is very involving and well done. The novice initiate destined for greatnesss is pretty much a can't-lose gimmick, so at least Cameron didn't blow that.

I thought his initiation into dragon riding paid an homage to the cliff scene in LAST OF THE MOHICANS. The similarity is superficial, but it definitely reminded me of it.

The destruction of the Home Tree definitely drew on WTC imagery, and this seems to confuse the message of evil humans/Americans ( the humans are nothing but Americans in the movie! ) This is really part of the "blame Bush" syndrome that we are familiar with, and ultimately the Stockholm syndrome, I think. The dialogue is loaded with not so oblique references to the "war for oil", and this is the basic framework of the conflict. The Na'vi are pure depictions of American Indians, though, and in fact that role is alluded to as well, when it is noted that more "Sky people" will follow if they are not defeated now.

In this case, the Indians do win, and the ending scene with the Humans being marched back onto their ships to leave POW style was very jarring, ( wouldn't they just have killed them? I think they would have! ) and a strong image of liberal self-hatred, as we are definitely supposed to look on this as a just conclusion.

As for Jake, he is permanentized as a Na'vi by a method which is worked into the plot line pretty well, but I guess I don't need to spell it out here.


TOPICS: TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: avatar; blamebush; hollywood; moviereview; stockholmsyndrome; unobtanium
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1 posted on 12/20/2009 7:40:56 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: dr_lew

So how would nineteen year olds respond to this movie? (niece who wants to see this thing...here for Christmas).


2 posted on 12/20/2009 7:42:53 PM PST by Freedom'sWorthIt (Ronald Reagan: If we ever forget that we're one nation under God,then we'll be a nation gone under.")
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To: dr_lew

I must have smoked too much. Didn’t notice all that.


3 posted on 12/20/2009 7:43:50 PM PST by goseminoles
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To: dr_lew
I was split between disgust with the "message"

That good won over evil? Sad.
4 posted on 12/20/2009 7:46:48 PM PST by aruanan
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To: dr_lew
Other than those, it makes no sense whatever, being completely fantastical, and way out of step with the familar "look and feel" of the depicted military machinery.

Because, if you had been paying attention, the avatar program was not military.
5 posted on 12/20/2009 7:48:03 PM PST by aruanan
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To: dr_lew

Didn’t want to donate to the cause so I bit torrented it.

What a steaming pile of liberal angst.

This reviewer on IMDB hits the nail on the head:

Honestly, I lost my faith in Cameron when he made Titanic. Avatar looks to put the final nail in his coffin. When I saw the preview I knew it would be a PC propaganda piece for eco-guilt and left-wing politics. I also knew there was no hope in seeing the dorky looking Alien Smurfs with their suck caveman weapons get wiped out. Now that would be a movie worth seeing! Sorry but I cannot root against the human race (especially with all the cool military tech), call me biased.

The whole idea of some primitive alien race using nonsensical fantasty inspired creatures that look like eco-dragons to defeat a high-tech army is the pinnacle of stupidity. It is like some teenage boy lacking testosterone came up with the plot. Lets see, lets combine fern gully, thundercats and the smurfs for the good guys and lets make the bad guys “greedy” corporate humans hell bent on “destroying the planet” in their unsustainable need for energy to fuel their capitalist consumerism. The only thing that can save the planet is the primitive zen/native American/tribal beliefs in eco-harmony. Spare me the lecture on your economic illiteracy Cameron.

The crappy video game for this should be hilarious, especially with all the kids confused why they cannot play with the cool robo-mechs with machine guns and instead get to be “Dorky Smurf”, decked out in loin cloth armor, armed with a biodegreadable bow and arrow! Controls will include a button for “tree planting”, “eco-meditation”, “recycling your weapons” and “low carbon footprint” (you walk lightly and hardly breathe).

What a waste of CGI. Apparently Cameron spent millions getting Smurfette’s breasts “right”. How hard is it to get them right? Just make them big! Maybe next time he can spend as much time on a real plot where you can actually root for the human race? Nah, pushing left-wing propaganda is more important than entertainment. Right Cameron? Sadly this movie will appeal to eco-pacifists who have been brainwashed that we are destroying the planet and the human race is evil.

Maybe because I am human I have a problem with being considered evil but hey that is just me.


6 posted on 12/20/2009 7:49:09 PM PST by RightInEastLansing
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To: Freedom'sWorthIt

I think anybody who has an inclination to see it will respond well to it. It’s just the sort of thing you’ll like if you like that sort of thing. It even broke through my curmudgeonliness at times ... it’s that good.


7 posted on 12/20/2009 7:50:16 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: goseminoles
I must have smoked too much. Didn’t notice all that.

No, you just weren't possessed by the demon of over-analysis.
8 posted on 12/20/2009 7:50:26 PM PST by aruanan
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To: dr_lew
The destruction of the Home Tree definitely drew on WTC imagery, and this seems to confuse the message of evil humans/Americans ( the humans are nothing but Americans in the movie! )

Maybe the movie is not the site or source of the confusion.
9 posted on 12/20/2009 7:51:44 PM PST by aruanan
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To: dr_lew

IF they like that kind of thing? Sci-fi?

I want them to go see Blind Side.....but that’s just my PG mind at work.

They’ll probably pick the stupid movie about Mandela....grrrr.


10 posted on 12/20/2009 7:54:43 PM PST by Freedom'sWorthIt (Ronald Reagan: If we ever forget that we're one nation under God,then we'll be a nation gone under.")
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To: dr_lew

I really enjoyed the movie. Many movies have things going on in them that are never explained.

Such as: how can the bad guys always know where to go at any time to find the good guys? Or can anyone tell me how a star trek communicator work or even the transporter?

And as to the bad guys in the movie: (and I’m very right on the political spectrum) all movies that have bad guys have them normally entrenched in main stream organizations such as the military, cops, government elected officials, Indian affairs guy running the reservations, the local banker, and on and on and on.

I would recommend the movie to anyone..it’s great entertainment.


11 posted on 12/20/2009 7:57:19 PM PST by Ecliptic
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To: dr_lew

Destruction of the home tree?

That sounds like an isaac asimov or ray bradbury short story I read once. Are these “avatars” small insectoid like creatures(humanoid and maybe a foot tall) that have exoskeletons and use their dead to make a varnish like coating for their weapons?


12 posted on 12/20/2009 7:57:19 PM PST by mamelukesabre
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Sorry....no matter how good the special effects, it will not cover up the dung smell of a hidden liberal background message. Sad thing is that the young minds will not appreciate it’s insidiousness. They will not count my dollars amongst their take.
13 posted on 12/20/2009 7:57:48 PM PST by nuadvntur
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To: RightInEastLansing

I don’t believe the whole human race is being treated as evil in this movie: just those trying to mine on that Planet. Please note: in any movie with bad guys, the bad guys are more than likely humans....

Don’t think this movie is put out as a liberal screed.


14 posted on 12/20/2009 8:01:34 PM PST by Ecliptic
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To: dr_lew

This could be the greatest movie ever made and I still would not see it in a theater. If the man doesn’t like capitalism then maybe it is time for capitalism to stop liking him . . . and I’m very grateful that, for the time being, we still have the ability to vote with some of our dollars earned.


15 posted on 12/20/2009 8:01:44 PM PST by TheVitaminPress (as goes the Second Amendment . . . so goes the Constitution.)
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To: dr_lew

What are the glasses like that you have to wear to get the 3d effect?


16 posted on 12/20/2009 8:05:11 PM PST by mamelukesabre
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To: Freedom'sWorthIt
It was a beautiful movie with a good story. I see so many (and many of them had not yet seen the movie) claiming that it was a movie made to bash America and capitalism, etc., etc.. Such folks are moronic blowhards eager to find anything they can use as a reason to bloviate about politics. All the humans in the movie weren't evil. Some of them were. Some of them weren't. Most of them, just like in real life, went along with whoever happened to be in charge over them. One guy on another thread wrote about how the movie was attacking the "predominate white culture." Ha ha ha. As if! The predominate culture on this planet was blue, not white.

What the movie does a very good job of showing is the danger of people with power taking whatever they want from wherever they can get it because they need it more than whoever they're taking it from. We could say that this is a direct attack on the current American federal government, but it probably wasn't done for that purpose. It was just a story idea of what happens when a powerful group moves in to take what doesn't belong to them and what those who were invaded do to fight back.

The story moved along well. The world created was one of the most beautiful I've ever seen on film, though I didn't see the 3D version. The main characters avoided the Uncanny Valley effect. I wonder if Sigourney Weaver demanded that her avatar's face look much more human and much more like her own face.
17 posted on 12/20/2009 8:05:27 PM PST by aruanan
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To: Ecliptic

I found any analogies to the Iraq war too obtuse to make any sort of point, I don’t think the movie really was about that.

Though I saw Sigouney Weaver as just reprising her role in Gorillas in The Mist, except with aliens.


18 posted on 12/20/2009 8:06:38 PM PST by Brett66 (Where government advances, and it advances relentlessly , freedom is imperiled -Janice Rogers Brown)
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To: aruanan
Because, if you had been paying attention, the avatar program was not military.

I did take note of that. I suppose that it was an attempt to head off such objections as mine, as traditionally any sort of difficulty can be swept away by a line of dialogue like, "Turn on the gravity generator!"

But I'm thinking that it was way out of line with physics, and even scientific metaphysics, as opposed to the machine guns, robots and thrusters that were projections of year 2000 technology.

... and just for that I'm going to go all postmodern on you. It occurs to me that the Avatar technology, based on the gaming concept, as it is, stands for the power of fantasy itself, which here, and in the liberal outlook, overcomes all. Jake breaks through to the other side ( of course a staple of the old TWILIGHT ZONE ) and the movie itself suggests that we can make liberal fantasy become reality in the same way, through the magic REAL-3D and Hollywood self-indulgence.

19 posted on 12/20/2009 8:09:56 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: dr_lew
My take on it: huge disappointment. I won't be seeing any sequel, or anything else from this director. I expected some liberal propaganda, but this was completely over the top.

I can't see the ex Marine as a hero. To me he is a traitor and should be shot. Yes, the "evil" corporation driving the mining operation was pushing too hard. Fine, don't help them, conscientiously object, whatever. But the would-be hero actively aides the enemy, engages his fellow humans, kills hundreds. Sorry, not a hero, period.

And that "evil" corporation? Did anyone notice they were confining their mining to one small area of the planet? They could easily have razed the planet mining, but were apparently trying to keep things local. And that bad old military supporting them? Did they directly engage the natives causing massive casualties? No, they destroyed the tree, and were going after another natural artifact in an effort to drive the natives to resettle somewhere else. Nice, no, but not evil either.

Nice effects, C- on story line, too thin and inconsistent - poor sci-fi. Uber-liberal message beating you over the head every 2 min, fail.

20 posted on 12/20/2009 8:10:08 PM PST by ThunderSleeps (obama out now! I'll keep my money, my guns, and my freedom - you can keep the change.)
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To: aruanan
I think I'll go with John Podhoretz on this one.

What they didn't tell us is that Avatar is blitheringly stupid; indeed, it's among the dumbest movies I've ever seen. Avatar is an undigested mass of clichés nearly three hours in length taken directly from the revisionist westerns of the 1960s-the ones in which the Indians became the good guys and the Americans the bad guys. Only here the West is a planet called Pandora, the time is the 22nd century rather than the 19th, and the Indians have blue skin and tails, and are 10 feet tall.

21 posted on 12/20/2009 8:11:20 PM PST by vbmoneyspender
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To: dr_lew

Got it. Dances with smurfs in space.


22 posted on 12/20/2009 8:11:50 PM PST by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: dr_lew
More from Podhoretz's review

Getting the [Keebler elves] to move is Jake Sully's job. And he does earn their trust, even though the leader of their tribe says, "His alien scent offends my nose!" (The line is translated from their nonexistent language with subtitles that are designed to look like the men's room signs at an Indian casino.) The Blue People, in particular the contemptuous and lovely Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), show him their wondrous ways. But before he can discuss hiring Allied Van Lines with them, the Evil Corporation intervenes.

It is run by an evil Yuppie, and the Yuppie's security is provided by an evil Marine. And for no good reason other than to get the movie into its second act, they decide to stage a military attack on the Elf Tree, thus blowing the zillions of dollars they sank into the project of making Jake Sully into a Blue Person rather than waiting a couple of weeks.

Oy, the suffering that ensues, all for some lousy unobtainium! Oy, the destruction! You can hear writer-director James Cameron weeping over his special-effects computer as the bad humans he created commit this terrible atrocity against the Blue People who don't exist. As for me, I was reminded of Oscar Wilde's immortal crack about Charles Dickens's tears as he killed off the child heroine of his Old Curiosity Shop: "It would take a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without laughing.

23 posted on 12/20/2009 8:14:42 PM PST by vbmoneyspender
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To: Liberty Valance

It’s worth seeing for the visual effects alone. The most visually stunning movie ever created. It was hard to tell the real world from the CGI world and actors. Seemless. At times, I just wanted to walk around in that CGI world for an hour or so. Just amazing.

The story and plot were OK. After reading everything here, I was really afraid it was a total liberal PC story. But it really wasn’t too bad. They didn’t dwell a lot on WHY they were doing what they were doing. Or if it was right or wrong. They just focused on what WAS happening. Mostly people taking orders. And of course a few brave souls take on the establishment to change the world. I found myself rooting for the indigenous people to beat the bad guys.

This movie will change the face of movie and video game making forever. In 5 years, this CGI technology will be used everywhere. Like Star Wars, Jurrasic Park, The Matrix, etc, this will change movie making. It will win every movie technical award out there.

You should see it. And judge for yourself.


24 posted on 12/20/2009 8:22:22 PM PST by gswilder
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To: aruanan

You know, I keep hearing people say that the film is not really an indictment of American military because in the story they were not, strictly speaking, actual American military troops.

But you would only know that through cursory dialogue. Everything else in the picture depicts them as American military.

They wearing military uniforms. They’re led by a “Colonel.” They use military weapons. They use military aircraft. They use military attack robot machines. They are all “ex- military.” The hero is a former Marine and called “jar-head.” The commander speaks of “shock and awe.” And this is not an international unit — they are all Americans. What happened to the rest of the people on planet Earth, I don’t know.

So yeah, technically speaking, Cameron can claim, “Hey, I never said this was the US military.” But everything in the movie, except a few lines of dialogue, is designed to lead you to believe otherwise. So I’m not buying that argument.

I saw it in 3-D IMAX, and I enjoyed the special effects and action sequences a lot. The storyline, however, was trite and obvious.


25 posted on 12/20/2009 8:23:34 PM PST by Harpo Speaks (Honk! Honk! Honk! Either it's foggy out, or make that a dozen hard boiled eggs.)
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To: dr_lew

The precious metal is called “unobtainium” - sheesh, did George Lucas write this? I swear, liberal screen writers can be such idiots.


26 posted on 12/20/2009 8:30:19 PM PST by Tzfat
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To: dr_lew

The precious metal is called “unobtainium” - sheesh, did George Lucas write this? I swear, liberal screen writers can be such idiots.


27 posted on 12/20/2009 8:31:53 PM PST by Tzfat
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To: gswilder

No thanks. I prefer story, writing, and acting. “Special effects” are for children.


28 posted on 12/20/2009 8:32:08 PM PST by Clemenza (Remember our Korean War Veterans)
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To: RightInEastLansing

Great post. Yeah Cameron like Lucas and the others are megolmaniacs who will make sure they save the world while selling tons of crappy plastic toys.

Sort of makes me respect someone like Coppolla (even though he is a bit of a lib) a lot more for The Conversation, Apoc Now and to a lesser extent the godfather. To his credit he had Milus co-write Apoc Now with him so it was lib and warrior writing the script.


29 posted on 12/20/2009 8:34:20 PM PST by Frantzie (Judge David Carter - democrat & dishonorable Marine like John Murtha.)
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To: dr_lew

All I saw is a trailer, and the movie looks awful.

Looks like a video game.

I have a feeling it will prove nothing more than a bigger budget more elaborate “Doom the Movie” movie, but for all that no less a waste of time.

That is my impression from the trailer.


30 posted on 12/20/2009 8:34:41 PM PST by Age of Reason
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To: Freedom'sWorthIt

Don’t worry about aruanan. He’s ticked off if anyone complains about Avatar, apparently he’s spending all his time finding FR threads about it and harassing anyone woh criticizes it. I actually think he is James Cameron.


31 posted on 12/20/2009 8:34:46 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: dr_lew

I was looking for the exits. The ex marine is a traitor. Little Big Horn and Black Hills gold.


32 posted on 12/20/2009 8:36:18 PM PST by bushpilot1
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To: vbmoneyspender
And for no good reason other than to get the movie into its second act, they decide to stage a military attack on the Elf Tree

Well, it was made clear that Jake had a time limit, and that they were going to move the 'dozers when they were ready. This was part of the inexorable pressure of business, and was thematically consistent with the whole premise, sketchy as it was ( and very 1950's ! )

I actually forget the exact progression of the escalation which started with Jakes attack on the Bulldozer. Didn't this precipitate the attack on Home Tree? You know, "All right! That's it!!!" Certainly there was a fair amount of dialogue devoted to the motivation for it.

Anyway, the whole premise was full of holes, and you just have to go with the flow of events as presented. I don't think "they could have waited a little longer" is a compelling objection in this context.

33 posted on 12/20/2009 8:39:44 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: aruanan

LOL.. I gotcha.


34 posted on 12/20/2009 8:42:07 PM PST by goseminoles
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To: aruanan

Thanks for that summary.

I expect my niece will go see it....I guess main thing is to be nearby in case she gets dizzy or nauseous from the 3D effects....yours truly will not be enduring that.


35 posted on 12/20/2009 8:46:24 PM PST by Freedom'sWorthIt (Ronald Reagan: If we ever forget that we're one nation under God,then we'll be a nation gone under.")
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To: dr_lew
I actually forget the exact progression of the escalation which started with Jakes attack on the Bulldozer.

That's Bulwer-Lytton material, right there.

36 posted on 12/20/2009 8:46:48 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: Ecliptic
Don’t think this movie is put out as a liberal screed.

It is a liberal screed. Through the magic of dialogue ( earth is never shown ) we learn that there is no green left on earth, and the few hundred humans on Pandora are returning to a dying planet. This is a reversal of the stock 50's theme of aliens from a dying world trying to take over earth.

37 posted on 12/20/2009 8:48:05 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: Secret Agent Man

LOL - could be!

I won’t be seeing it - but will be nearby if my niece insists on doing so.


38 posted on 12/20/2009 8:48:22 PM PST by Freedom'sWorthIt (Ronald Reagan: If we ever forget that we're one nation under God,then we'll be a nation gone under.")
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To: RegulatorCountry
That's Bulwer-Lytton material, right there.

I'm flattered.

39 posted on 12/20/2009 8:51:18 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: dr_lew

Thanks for the review, although you should’ve put a spoiler warning for those last two sentences. But no one else has complained.


40 posted on 12/20/2009 8:56:47 PM PST by Aaron0617
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To: gswilder

All the jabber could be summed up in a metaphor of Sigmund Freud: “Sometimes a cigar is just a good smoke”.


41 posted on 12/20/2009 8:57:09 PM PST by pankot
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To: gswilder

Yep. Our son wants to see it so we may go to the IMAX in San Antonio for it. It’s always good to see the Alamo anyway. ;o)


42 posted on 12/20/2009 9:08:25 PM PST by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: pankot
"A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke." - Kipling, The Betrothed

"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." - attributed to Freud

43 posted on 12/20/2009 9:13:18 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: dr_lew

evil humans/Americans ( the humans are nothing but Americans in the movie! )

NOT GETTING MY MONEY


44 posted on 12/20/2009 9:17:08 PM PST by BenLurkin
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To: dr_lew
In other news, Dan O’Bannon passed away the other day. O’Bannon co-wrote Dark Star, one of the greatest sifi movies ever made.

In fact, you can watch it right here...

http://www.amctv.com/videos/b-movies/?bcpid=13332913001&bclid=14056329001&bctid=14095584001

Enjoy.

45 posted on 12/20/2009 9:34:00 PM PST by ADemocratNoMore (Jeepers, Freepers, where'd 'ya get those sleepers?. Pj people, exposing old media's lies.)
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To: dr_lew

I came away thinking this was like jingling keys in front of a cat. If you are amused by sparkly, shiny objects moving in front of your face, you will find value in it. For the rest of us, it was Dances With Smurfs.


46 posted on 12/20/2009 9:47:49 PM PST by mnehring
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To: Ecliptic
Or can anyone tell me how a star trek communicator work or even the transporter?

Supposedly the transporter converted your body to energy, transmitted it through space and converted it back to mass. I think it actually just killed you and made a clone where you were supposed to show up.

47 posted on 12/20/2009 9:49:03 PM PST by Richard Kimball (We're all criminals. They just haven't figured out what some of us have done yet.)
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To: dr_lew

My take was the effects were definitely top notch. A step above anything yet but the impact would have been far greater a year or two ago before the latest batch of very good 3D offerings. That being said, it was seriously flawed. Putting all the obvious liberal BS aside, the thing was way too long. 30 minutes cut out would have done wonders. The acting was also B movie grade. Character development was not good at all. I wasn’t really cheering for anyone in this. I found myself wondering when it would end after about the first 90 minutes and rolling my eyes throughout. It was a good thing it was uber heavy in special effects. Worth seeing in IMAX 3D but that is about all. Effects over affect.


48 posted on 12/20/2009 9:58:20 PM PST by OgreTheGreat
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To: ADemocratNoMore

I knew O’Bannon had died, and the name sounded familiar and I found out he had written the screenplay for ALIEN, but I didn’t know he was involved in DARK STAR, which I have on VHS. We ended up unhooking our VCR in favor of a DVD-player when we converted to HD, because we have to use a cable box now. So your link might come in handy. Thanks.

“I’d just like to say that I am not Sgt. Pinback”


49 posted on 12/20/2009 10:13:23 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: Richard Kimball
Supposedly the transporter converted your body to energy, transmitted it through space and converted it back to mass. I think it actually just killed you and made a clone where you were supposed to show up.

Well, it produced an exact duplicate of you at the destination. Douglas Hofstadter pointed out that this action is, in principle, independent of the destruction of the original. He asked how we might feel if we stepped into a transporter and didn't go anywhere, but were informed that we actually had been "transported" and we were just the accidentally left behind original, and were then to be destroyed.

Surely we would object, but is this any different than being "transported"? And is this then any different, after all, than living - that is being "transported" - from moment to moment and year to year ?

50 posted on 12/20/2009 10:36:24 PM PST by dr_lew
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