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    Why I didn't like Avatar

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    Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby Kensai » 12 Jul 2010 09:48

    First of all I must say I was impressed with the technology/visual effects. But that’s about it. It’s well known the plot is pedestrian, taking inspiration from many other franchises/stories (Pocahontas, Dancing With Wolves, possibly Dune). But its not the un-originality that annoyed me, its the theme of the whole story. Its shows a romanticized version of tribal life. Even if you take away the stark sci fi stuff like the Navi neural interface things that litrally let them communicate with nature, its still a very unrealistic depiction of tribal life. First of all, Pandora is an idyllic environment, conveniently attractive planet plentiful with food and resources. But in the real world that is not the case. Thing I love about Dune is it doesn’t buy into the new age hippie crap that tribalism and naturism is easy and full of peace and love. Fremen life isn't easy, nor is it full of peace and love. This brings me to my second reason for not liking Avatar; the fans. They combine the worst aspect of fantasy fans (i.e. Twilight fans) with the pious high and mighty ultra left. To me Avatar was made to cowtoe the dullard hippie side of the mainstream. James Cameron created a luminous Jungle so people could say "wow nature looks like my cell phone".

    I like James Cameron, even if he is prone to preachy anti-corporatism (ironic seeing as he is a millionaire). I wouldn't mind if he directed the new Dune movie. I just didn't like Avatar.
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby lotek » 12 Jul 2010 11:00

    The idea that in a state of nature humans are essentially good is often attributed to the Earl of Shaftesbury, a whig supporter of constitutional monarchy (such as England possessed after the Glorious Revolution of 1688). In his Inquiry Concerning Virtue (1699), Shaftesbury had postulated that the moral sense in humans is natural and innate and based on feelings rather than resulting from the indoctrination of a particular religion.

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    Avatar is a noble savage story. For those unaware of what that means, the “noble savage” concept came about in the 18th century and says that a civilization untouched by modernization is the most pure. Man’s ambition is the undoing of his natural good, and in order to reclaim that good the modern man must leave behind the corruption of the modern world and go live with the noble savages. But that’s just the dumb part of the concept. The offensive part, although not inherent but often present, is that the modern man is white and he not only regains his humanity by living with the “savages” but turns out to be nobler than all of them and their true savior.




    Ow and I learned this in the process
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau, like Shaftesbury, also insisted that man was born with the potential for goodness; and he, too, argued that civilization, with its envy and self-consciousness, has made men bad. However Rousseau never used the term "noble savage" and was not a primitivist.

    The notion that Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality was essentially a glorification of the State of Nature, and that its influence tended to wholly or chiefly to promote "Primitivism" is one of the most persistent historical errors. – A. O. Lovejoy, “The Supposed Primitivism of Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality” (1923).
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby TheDukester » 12 Jul 2010 12:01

    Haven't see it; doubt I will. Interest level hovering near zero.

    (Never saw Titanic, either. I'm awesome like that)
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby Nekhrun » 12 Jul 2010 12:07

    I didn't like it because it was stupid.
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 12 Jul 2010 12:12

    I liked it dispite it's (many) failings. We've already had discussions on why I liked it when so many others didn't. It's low-fiction absolutely, but I consider SF and Fantasy film to have a higher element of entertainment than art (very few pieces of filmed SF are actually much good), so I am prepared to turn off my intelligence and just go for a ride with pulp like this.
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby lotek » 12 Jul 2010 12:36

    yeah I must agree with that.
    But I think that a lot of people were kind of pissed when all the stupids started ranting about it like it was some masterpiece full of hidden symbolism and such...

    I felt the same way with Matrix, it was a visual fest and a good exploitation of the themes it explored, but when all the born again cyber punks got there and were "woooow this is so deeeeep and complicated", I felt like slapping them in the face with a P.K. Dick book!
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 12 Jul 2010 12:38

    I agree, the fandom is at (or exceeding) the vomit factor of Twilight.
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby Kensai » 12 Jul 2010 12:45

    Have to agree with you Lotek. Don't get me wrong, Avatar was entertaining, but its no masterpiece. I doubt I will be in a rush to watch it again.

    Regarding your previous post, I think humans do have a degree of base morality imprinted into us, but I think the way it develops has more to do with nurture, not civilization.
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby Serkanner » 12 Jul 2010 13:22

    Kensai wrote:Have to agree with you Lotek. Don't get me wrong, Avatar was entertaining, but its no masterpiece. I doubt I will be in a rush to watch it again.

    Regarding your previous post, I think humans do have a degree of base morality imprinted into us, but I think the way it develops has more to do with nurture, not civilization.


    What is morality?
    "... the mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience."

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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby Kensai » 12 Jul 2010 13:22

    This whole topic brings this quote from GEOD to mind:

    Think of it as plastic memory, this force within you which trends you and your
    fellows toward tribal forms. This plastic memory seeks to return to its ancient
    shape, the tribal society. It is all around you-the feudatory, the diocese, the
    corporation, the platoon, the sports club, the dance troupes, the rebel cell,
    the planning council, the prayer group . . . each with its master and servants,
    its host and parasites. And the swarms of alienating devices (including these
    very words!) tend eventually to be enlisted in the argument for a return to
    "those better rimes." I despair of teaching you other ways. You have square
    thoughts which resist circles.

    -The Stolen Journals
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby Kensai » 12 Jul 2010 13:23

    Serkanner wrote:What is morality?


    Instinct tempered with nurture.
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby Serkanner » 12 Jul 2010 13:29

    Kensai wrote:
    Serkanner wrote:What is morality?


    Instinct tempered with nurture.


    Which means we can not have base morality imprinted on us. The distinction between "good" and "bad" is taught from the moment we are born. There is no such thing as a "universally morally good" or "universally morally bad; at least I have never found one. It is all subject to individual interpretation and opinion.
    "... the mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience."

    “There is no escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.”

    Sandrider: "Keith went to Bobo's for a weekend of drinking, watched some DVDs,
    and wrote a Dune Novel."
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby Mandy » 12 Jul 2010 13:38

    I enjoyed it while I was watching it. I went to a fancy theater, sat in the balcony in a big cushy chair.. the visuals of the film were awesome. Then, afterwords, I had fun tearing the movie down for all the silly things.
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 12 Jul 2010 14:05

    Serkanner wrote:
    Kensai wrote:
    Serkanner wrote:What is morality?


    Instinct tempered with nurture.


    Which means we can not have base morality imprinted on us. The distinction between "good" and "bad" is taught from the moment we are born. There is no such thing as a "universally morally good" or "universally morally bad; at least I have never found one. It is all subject to individual interpretation and opinion.


    No, it's not just taught to us. The finer details are indeed taught and then later expanded on/changed by ourselves, but the basic instict to do the "right" thing is something we almost certainly evolved, and it should be right in our genetics. This isn't my idea, this is I believe the commonly accepted one amongst academics. (I've been wrong many a time before though)

    When people lived in small groups, any act that negatively effected the others would result in lower procreation rates for the wrong-doers (through shunning, killing, not selected as mates, etc). This makes it an evolutionary advantage to have morality.

    Now that we live in big groups where we can essentially be anonymous this all goes to shit, because as life goes on one learns that it's easy to go against their ingrained morality, and as such morality shifts very quickly - giving us the impression that it is a learned bahavior entirely, when it is actually only partly so (I was of the same school of thought as you for most my life, but then I learned a lot about the theory of morality being an evolved instinct, and have now come around to accept that this is more likely than not).

    Everyone has their own morality of course, there is no "one true morality" - but the essential, hurting others is wrong kinda thing is quite likely instinct.
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby lotek » 12 Jul 2010 15:02

    Serkanner wrote:
    Kensai wrote:Have to agree with you Lotek. Don't get me wrong, Avatar was entertaining, but its no masterpiece. I doubt I will be in a rush to watch it again.

    Regarding your previous post, I think humans do have a degree of base morality imprinted into us, but I think the way it develops has more to do with nurture, not civilization.


    What is morality?



    I'll read the rest of the thread too but I must do this before someone else beats me to it!
    Conversations with Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan wrote:My father once told me that respect for the truth comes close to being the basis for all morality. "Something cannot emerge from nothing," he said. This is profound thinking if you understand how unstable "the truth" can be.


    Yeah I know;
    "What is the truth?"

    to paraphrase Baldrick; "Not a lie!"

    Now back to all you people saying smart things about how we learn morality :)
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby Redstar » 12 Jul 2010 15:11

    They're re-releasing the movie into theatres again with an added eight minutes of deleted footage.
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby Serkanner » 12 Jul 2010 15:13

    A Thing of Eternity wrote:
    Serkanner wrote:
    Kensai wrote:
    Serkanner wrote:What is morality?


    Instinct tempered with nurture.


    Which means we can not have base morality imprinted on us. The distinction between "good" and "bad" is taught from the moment we are born. There is no such thing as a "universally morally good" or "universally morally bad; at least I have never found one. It is all subject to individual interpretation and opinion.


    No, it's not just taught to us. The finer details are indeed taught and then later expanded on/changed by ourselves, but the basic instict to do the "right" thing is something we almost certainly evolved, and it should be right in our genetics. This isn't my idea, this is I believe the commonly accepted one amongst academics. (I've been wrong many a time before though)

    When people lived in small groups, any act that negatively effected the others would result in lower procreation rates for the wrong-doers (through shunning, killing, not selected as mates, etc). This makes it an evolutionary advantage to have morality.

    Now that we live in big groups where we can essentially be anonymous this all goes to shit, because as life goes on one learns that it's easy to go against their ingrained morality, and as such morality shifts very quickly - giving us the impression that it is a learned bahavior entirely, when it is actually only partly so (I was of the same school of thought as you for most my life, but then I learned a lot about the theory of morality being an evolved instinct, and have now come around to accept that this is more likely than not).

    Everyone has their own morality of course, there is no "one true morality" - but the essential, hurting others is wrong kinda thing is quite likely instinct.


    I need to read up on the subject I guess. :)
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 12 Jul 2010 15:15

    For the record I'm not even remotely an expert on the subject, but the arguments put forth are extremely convincing and really just make sense from an evolutionary point of view.

    Having a negative emotional response to having hurt someone else is very good for one's own survival (obviously can go too far and come out the other end being a problem of course).
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby SandChigger » 12 Jul 2010 20:43

    TheDukester wrote:(Never saw Titanic, either. I'm awesome like that)

    I used to be awesome like that. For years. But then, a couple of years ago, in a moment of weakness I watched the last half hour or so, the part where the ship is going down. DiCaprio dies! :dance: And Kathy Bates survives! :clap:

    But I still haven't watched that PoS Life is Beautiful. :hand:

    Mandy wrote:I enjoyed it while I was watching it. I went to a fancy theater, sat in the balcony in a big cushy chair.. the visuals of the film were awesome. Then, afterwords, I had fun tearing the movie down for all the silly things.

    :clap: Exactly! The Avatar page on Facebook was a riot in the day. Kinda dead now. :D (That's actually where Kensai & I got acquainted, IIRC.)

    And Aquatar, the sequel, promises to be even more rippable. GOOD times! :dance:
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby Robspierre » 12 Jul 2010 20:47

    TheDukester wrote:Haven't see it; doubt I will. Interest level hovering near zero.

    (Never saw Titanic, either. I'm awesome like that)



    Just watch the bit with Kate Winslet's bits and the sinking, those were fun :D

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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby TheDukester » 12 Jul 2010 21:31

    Oh, hell, the boat sinks?!?!

    Spoilers, bro!
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby Robspierre » 13 Jul 2010 00:21

    I guess I shouldn't tell you that Darth Vader is Luke's father then.


    OOPS! :oops:

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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby Aquila ka-Hecate » 13 Jul 2010 00:34

    I'm a Primitvist and I never use shitty concepts like 'Noble Savage'. What a crock.

    Also, I didn't see Avatar. I'm even awesomer than Dukester and Chig, in that I never watch any bloody Hollywood crap at all.

    Well, almost never... :mrgreen:
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby SandChigger » 13 Jul 2010 08:08

    Ever watch any of Charlie Jade? :)
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    Re: Why I didn't like Avatar

    Postby Aquila ka-Hecate » 13 Jul 2010 08:57

    SandChigger wrote:Ever watch any of Charlie Jade? :)


    Eh? I had to Google that.

    Looks like telly to me - I see even less telly than I do flicks.

    What's interesting though is that I've never even heard anyone here talking about it -it wouldn't surprise me if SABC hadn't bought the series. :roll:
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