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    Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby Lundse » 11 Jan 2010 06:54

    Ampoliros wrote:I'd argue that the difference was that District 9 was Sci-fi because it retold Apartheid through an alien culture whereas Avatar simply uses colonialism *in space as a setting and doesn't really bother to tell much of a story for what it cost.


    This is where I think there is a misunderstanding, which leads to (in my opinion, misguided) criticism of Avatar. Avatar is not SF because if features colonianism in space, nor because of the battle-mechs, strange planet or creatures. That would make Star Wars SF, and Star Wars is fantasy (mostly).

    Avatar is SF because it employs a new science/phenomenon as a metaphor for a basic human trait, in order to examine that trait in ways you could not do without the metaphor.
    For example, Dune is SF because it features the spice as being critical in all the different levels of a society which is deeply stratified. This allows Herbert to examine how oil, or any other single resource, determines, controls and threatens a society. Or take how Paul's perfect vision sheds light on all advice - the perfect advice leaves you a slave...

    Avatar is not about colonianism vs nature. It is definitely Dances With Space-indians, but that is not the interesting stuff at all. There are three layers:
    Basic story a 10-year-old would understand - Imperialism bad, indians good. Action romp and sadness over falling trees.
    The mythologial layer - The hero's journey, I have a described how this fits with Dune; but of course the point is it fits with the basic hero/myth-structure.
    The SF/'laymans philosophy' layer - Technology vs. human relations (Heidegger). Others as means, or others as goals in themselves (Kant). Dominating with force, or understanding others through language (Habermas). Meeting in negotiation and common interest vs. meeting in 'shared nothingness' (Sartre).

    No amount (!) of critcism of the first layer (or the second) will take away anything from the third. But a masterpiece film works on all layers, and criticism of eg. the predictability of Avatars first (and second, although that is more or less the point) will detract from any 'how great a film is Avatar'-score. But you cannot reduce the movie to 'Dances with Wolves in Space' and think you have criticized it as SF. (Nor can you call Dune 'Lawrence of Arabia' and think you have reduced it to non-interesting plagiarism).

    Cameron has admitted and shrugged of the Dances with Wolves comparison - it is simply not the issue. But if that aspect ruins the film for you, so be it. But person A being bothered to the point of hating the movie, does not mean that person B cannot enjoy it enough to see through to other layers - and person A saying 'I didn't like the blueness of the Na'vi' (as one Danish commentator said) does not detract, or even begin to adress, the real SF aspects of the movie.


    I liked the SF aspects and was not bothered by the action, pretty flat characters or predictability of the plot. I would love to discuss the themes of the movie, but that is infinitely more fun and inspiring if you actually liked the damn thing :-)

    Maybe I should just reread The Jesus Incident, and we can discuss electrokelp instead of Hometrees... But I did lile Cameron's take on it too, sorry.
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 11 Jan 2010 12:07

    Thanks Lundse, that's how I felt about it too, but was unable to articulate it. Almost all stories can be reduced to a really simple plot summary that is jacked from somewhere else, though Avatar is less deeply hidden in this than others, but there is more to it, and layers make an onion and onion. (Made that saying up myself just now... makes very little sense!
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby Ampoliros » 11 Jan 2010 16:18

    Yeah well I hate onions too.





    I'm kidding.

    The Star Wars references really get to me. I just don't see Avatar supplanting or even coming close to the success that the Star Wars franchise has had. Star Wars was an unexpected success, Avatar was built, hyped, and delivered to be a box office blockbuster. There was no way Fox was going to invest 500m and let it fail. 35 years from now, do you think Avatar will be as big a name as Star Wars? No. Fucking. Way. Financially Avatar hasn't even come close to a tenth of the total value of the Star Wars franchise. Sure Avatar will be the highest grossing film of all time, but it doesn't have the lasting power nor the cultural influence that Star Wars has IMHO.

    Sure, a lot of my haterdom comes from never wanting to forgive James Cameron for the piece of shit film that was Titanic. The fact that Titanic swept the Oscars and the box office doesn't baffle me (okay yes it does), but it makes me even less trustworthy of Hollywood. Avatar drives that home. I also really can't stand people who have the ego and personality of Cameron. I loved Aliens. T2 was great. I think the ego that drove him to take 12 years to create Avatar also did the most damage to the film because he would not give up the screenplay to someone with more skill. Admittedly I really can't give Avatar a worthy chance because I am obviously biased.

    Also, its pretty ironic how many people say I can't hate the film without seeing it. C'mon, 50% of this site is dedicated to bashing a (proven shitty) writer whos 'works' most of you no longer read but continue to bash. I think that's the best way of saying that the love/hate relationship the SF community will have with Avatar aint going anywhere for a while. If however we're still talking about Avatar in 5 years then I guess I'll have to go see it. Till then I think I've decided to save my money and my time.

    Layers? C'mon. Seriously? Do the layers of Avatar go above anything a 12th grader could deconstruct? From what I've seen nothing in Avatar can be construed as the layers of an onion. Maybe a Layer Cake, with thick sugar-rush inducing icing (3d and cgi) smothering the entire artificially flavored center. Again, I haven't actually seen it, but do any of the' layers' of Avatar do the exposition of higher ideals better than other movies that are dedicated to that specific thought topic and which weren't designed as blockbusters? More specifically, do you think Avatar was meant to be a 'leave your brain at the door' Sci-Fi spectacle or a serious SF film? It can't be both, but I feel like we are being asked to consider it a serious SF film. (As you can tell I like the Sci-Fi/SF distinction ATOE mentioned) I think this is my mjor problem with it: I feel like we are being asked to consider what is not much more than a glorified summer blockbuster film as a serious contender for Best Picture of the Year. Star Wars never claimed to have 'onion layers', but those got built in (or purely extrapolated) as the story unfolded and it was never considered more than Sci-Fi.

    Does Avatar have any deeper SF layers than the best of the best ST:TNG episodes?
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 11 Jan 2010 16:54

    I do understand the hatred of seeing something non-masterpeice proclaimed a masterpeice by the masses, but this isn't a case of a peice of shit being called amazing, it is a somewhat above-par movie being blown up into being better than it was.

    Also, this is definitely not quite the same as us bashing KJA's work, we've all read lots of it, and as such have a good base to move forwards, plus we are routinely given samples of the new stuff to bash (which I suppose is the same with you bashing Avatar based on what other people have reported).

    Not sure if you meant me, but to be clear, I didn't mean that you not having seen it means you shouldn't bash it, you've read the plot, you've heard lots about it - what I said was it's sad that you let all that stuff get to you rather than seeing it and hating it first-hand! :D
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby SandRider » 11 Jan 2010 17:48

    i before e except after c, thing.

    I know you're a hardcore metalhead, or whatever cool name the rockers got these days,
    but switch to firefox - their built-in spell-check is effing awesome; you can just barely
    type in something close phonetically, and the popup will give you the correct spelling,
    one click, and it's replaced. the spell-check is automatic, as you type, underlines words
    not in the firefox dictionary, you can add words to the dictionary you type alot (TheKJAcket,
    f'instance)(f'instance, f'instance &etc.) so they don't always turn up red. great little tool,
    and firefox is better than IE, anyway ....

    love ya, brother, however : if I catch you posting "rediculous" one more time,
    it's a crysknife in the eye for you ....
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 11 Jan 2010 18:11

    SandRider wrote:i before e except after c, thing.

    I know you're a hardcore metalhead, or whatever cool name the rockers got these days,
    but switch to firefox - their built-in spell-check is effing awesome; you can just barely
    type in something close phonetically, and the popup will give you the correct spelling,
    one click, and it's replaced. the spell-check is automatic, as you type, underlines words
    not in the firefox dictionary, you can add words to the dictionary you type alot (TheKJAcket,
    f'instance)(f'instance, f'instance &etc.) so they don't always turn up red. great little tool,
    and firefox is better than IE, anyway ....

    love ya, brother, however : if I catch you posting "rediculous" one more time,
    it's a crysknife in the eye for you ....


    Yeah, I'm usually good with i before or after e, but piece for some reason always comes out wrong! Same with ridiculous, it's just one of those problem words for me!

    And, I actually used to use a spell check for my posts, but decided it was ruining my ability to spell, so I decided it was better to be embarrassed once in a while (or regularly...) and to actually improve and exercise my brain than to look perfect and degenerate into the texting generation's utter lack of spelling ability!
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby SandChigger » 11 Jan 2010 21:36

    If Avatar gets Best Picture, I'll shit in a box and mail it to the Academy. :twisted:
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby SandRider » 11 Jan 2010 23:00

    like the academy has never received shit in a box before ?

    and given it an Oscar ?


    you'll get a notice back informing you that balloting has already begun,
    please resubmit your box of shit for consideration for the 2011 show ....
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby Harq al Ada » 12 Jan 2010 01:45

    Ampoliros wrote:Yeah well I hate onions too.





    I'm kidding.

    The Star Wars references really get to me. I just don't see Avatar supplanting or even coming close to the success that the Star Wars franchise has had. Star Wars was an unexpected success, Avatar was built, hyped, and delivered to be a box office blockbuster. There was no way Fox was going to invest 500m and let it fail. 35 years from now, do you think Avatar will be as big a name as Star Wars? No. Fucking. Way. Financially Avatar hasn't even come close to a tenth of the total value of the Star Wars franchise. Sure Avatar will be the highest grossing film of all time, but it doesn't have the lasting power nor the cultural influence that Star Wars has IMHO.

    Sure, a lot of my haterdom comes from never wanting to forgive James Cameron for the piece of shit film that was Titanic. The fact that Titanic swept the Oscars and the box office doesn't baffle me (okay yes it does), but it makes me even less trustworthy of Hollywood. Avatar drives that home. I also really can't stand people who have the ego and personality of Cameron. I loved Aliens. T2 was great. I think the ego that drove him to take 12 years to create Avatar also did the most damage to the film because he would not give up the screenplay to someone with more skill. Admittedly I really can't give Avatar a worthy chance because I am obviously biased.

    Also, its pretty ironic how many people say I can't hate the film without seeing it. C'mon, 50% of this site is dedicated to bashing a (proven shitty) writer whos 'works' most of you no longer read but continue to bash. I think that's the best way of saying that the love/hate relationship the SF community will have with Avatar aint going anywhere for a while. If however we're still talking about Avatar in 5 years then I guess I'll have to go see it. Till then I think I've decided to save my money and my time.

    Layers? C'mon. Seriously? Do the layers of Avatar go above anything a 12th grader could deconstruct? From what I've seen nothing in Avatar can be construed as the layers of an onion. Maybe a Layer Cake, with thick sugar-rush inducing icing (3d and cgi) smothering the entire artificially flavored center. Again, I haven't actually seen it, but do any of the' layers' of Avatar do the exposition of higher ideals better than other movies that are dedicated to that specific thought topic and which weren't designed as blockbusters? More specifically, do you think Avatar was meant to be a 'leave your brain at the door' Sci-Fi spectacle or a serious SF film? It can't be both, but I feel like we are being asked to consider it a serious SF film. (As you can tell I like the Sci-Fi/SF distinction ATOE mentioned) I think this is my mjor problem with it: I feel like we are being asked to consider what is not much more than a glorified summer blockbuster film as a serious contender for Best Picture of the Year. Star Wars never claimed to have 'onion layers', but those got built in (or purely extrapolated) as the story unfolded and it was never considered more than Sci-Fi.

    Does Avatar have any deeper SF layers than the best of the best ST:TNG episodes?


    Part of the reason it's the highest grossing is that you have to pay 3$ U.S. (in my area) more per ticket for the 3d. And I don't think it'll last either. After the novelty of the 3d, the movie is pretty boring. The acting and dialog are laughable several times throughout the movie. And I don't think Avatar is deeper than the worst of Next Generation. It is a LCD movie and that means no brainer, made to make as much money as possible in every language.
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby Lundse » 12 Jan 2010 05:30

    Ampoliros wrote:I just don't see Avatar supplanting or even coming close to the success that the Star Wars franchise has had.


    That is not my point. The point is that Star Wars is (at least the originals) great fantasy yarns, using all kinds of myths and ideas from history and religion. But it is not SF in any but the "spaceships and lasers"-sense, while Avatar is (I'll get back to that).


    Ampoliros wrote:...Avatar was built, hyped, and delivered to be a box office blockbuster.

    ...

    The fact that Titanic swept the Oscars and the box office doesn't baffle me (okay yes it does), but it makes me even less trustworthy of Hollywood. Avatar drives that home.


    I understand and agree. And I sympathize with your skepticism. Avatar WAS indeed constructed and hyped, and I was not expecting aything but a great visual action experience when I entered the cinema. Halfway through I realized what the The Jesus Incident reference was about, and I left bawling about Sartre, Cyborgs and Andy Clark...


    Ampoliros wrote:Admittedly I really can't give Avatar a worthy chance because I am obviously biased.

    Also, its pretty ironic how many people say I can't hate the film without seeing it. C'mon, 50% of this site is dedicated to bashing a (proven shitty) writer whos 'works' most of you no longer read but continue to bash.


    Big difference. KJA is provably wrong about Dune, just from knowing eg. about his take on the Butlerian Jihad. Avatar is not provably a bad film, given a dislike for Cameron, his previous success, that the aliens are blue or any other detail (or at least such has not been argued).


    Ampoliros wrote:Layers? C'mon. Seriously?


    Seriously.


    Ampoliros wrote:Do the layers of Avatar go above anything a 12th grader could deconstruct?


    Yes. I know some pretty smart guys from the philosophy department in Århus, Denmark who might have a chance - I'm just dabbling in it.


    Ampoliros wrote:From what I've seen nothing in Avatar can be construed as the layers of an onion.


    You haven't seen anything!


    Ampoliros wrote:More specifically, do you think Avatar was meant to be a 'leave your brain at the door' Sci-Fi spectacle or a serious SF film? It can't be both...


    Sure it can. Or at least it can be a 'brain optional' Sci-Fi spectacle and a serious SF film!


    Yyour dismissive attitude is not convincing anyone of anything. You are entitled to your opinion, but not that we should agree. And unless you back it up somehow, you are not even entitled to be taken serious.
    I have stated a few times what 'layers' I see in Avatar. You can either claim those are not there (hard when you have not seen it), were not considered by Cameron (again hard if you have not seen it, but no easier if you have) or that those themes and thoughts are not interesting or beyond a 12-year-old or ST:TNG or whatever.

    To compare, the ST:TNG episode I saw which dealt with language had their universal translators (a term which says everything you need to know about ST and the probability of finding anything interesting about language in it) not working because the race in question used religious imagery all the time!
    Avatar comments on language as: 1) A 'soft' empirialistic tool to placate the natives. 2) Bascially myth-ridden and almost religious in itself, as it contains various unargued assumptions (it works as a sort of Missionaria Protectiva in opening the way for the hero) 3) A flawed and human way of understanding others (compared to the more 'total' way the Na'vis have) 4) A 'tool' interjected between self and world, again flawed and problematic - and determining your outlook, exemplifying one of the main points that tools control you as much as you control them.
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby Hunchback Jack » 12 Jan 2010 17:21

    Just a question:

    Everyone raves about the revolutionary special effects, but are the effects in Avatar really that good? The CGI looks bit cartoony to me.

    What I liked about T2 was that the effects were amazing for the time, and they served to make the movie more realistic rather than more obviously artificial. The effects in Avatar seem to be the latter.

    Just sayin',
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 12 Jan 2010 17:35

    Hunchback Jack wrote:Just a question:

    Everyone raves about the revolutionary special effects, but are the effects in Avatar really that good? The CGI looks bit cartoony to me.

    What I liked about T2 was that the effects were amazing for the time, and they served to make the movie more realistic rather than more obviously artificial. The effects in Avatar seem to be the latter.

    Just sayin',
    HBJ


    That's what I thought too, prior to seeing it in theatres. It definitely does not look real though, but then again I've never seen realistic CGI, we're still in the infancy of CGI tech I think.
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby Lundse » 13 Jan 2010 05:43

    Hunchback Jack wrote:What I liked about T2 was that the effects were amazing for the time, and they served to make the movie more realistic rather than more obviously artificial. The effects in Avatar seem to be the latter.


    Well, it shoots the Star Wars prequels out of the water, regarding proper integration of effects. But of course it will seem unbelievable at times - I am beginning to wonder whether this is because of errors in using and integrating the CGI, or simply because it is unbelievable; that visually we are going to feel something is not right, because what we are seeing is in some way 'not right'.
    I'd say the effects work, but of course this assumes that you buy into the world as such - otherwise it will seem cartoonish and silly.
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby SandRider » 13 Jan 2010 11:47

    said this before, I'm still waiting for the full-blown CG civil war movie,
    with battle scenes ala LOTR or Troy ... I wanna see a battlefield with
    tens of thousands of infantry combatants along a three mile front.

    the scene of the Battle at the Crater in "Cold Mountain" was a good step -
    I'm not a real visually imaginative person - that movie was the first time
    I thought I could understand what the Crater had been like, altho I can
    talk about the details of the battle for ever.

    I understand as well that the purpose of CG is to show us things that
    can't be seen in real life, but I think there's room for artistic experimentation.

    I really enjoyed the first Final Fantasy movie years ago, but thought at the
    time, that's cool, let's see a art-house drama set in real life using this 3D
    video game character stuff.
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby Freakzilla » 13 Jan 2010 11:59

    SandRider wrote:said this before, I'm still waiting for the full-blown CG civil war movie,
    with battle scenes ala LOTR or Troy ... I wanna see a battlefield with
    tens of thousands of infantry combatants along a three mile front.


    I'd buy a ticket to that, but only if it included cavalry and artillery, too. :P
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby Tleszer » 13 Jan 2010 13:30

    Freakzilla wrote:
    SandRider wrote:said this before, I'm still waiting for the full-blown CG civil war movie,
    with battle scenes ala LOTR or Troy ... I wanna see a battlefield with
    tens of thousands of infantry combatants along a three mile front.


    I'd buy a ticket to that, but only if it included cavalry and artillery, too. :P

    Although Avatar gave us blue aliens, there needs to be a film in which these aliens also have green tushies. Then, and only then, will the bear-shaped meteor fall and Earth will be one step closer to wholeness.
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby SadisticCynic » 13 Jan 2010 14:09

    Tleszer wrote:Although Avatar gave us blue aliens, there needs to be a film in which these aliens also have green tushies. Then, and only then, will the bear-shaped meteor fall and Earth will be one step closer to wholeness.


    Bi-la Kaifa. :wink:
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby SandChigger » 13 Jan 2010 17:30

    My awe is refreshed. :shock:



    :lol:
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby Ampoliros » 13 Jan 2010 18:38

    Tleszer wrote:
    Freakzilla wrote:
    SandRider wrote:said this before, I'm still waiting for the full-blown CG civil war movie,
    with battle scenes ala LOTR or Troy ... I wanna see a battlefield with
    tens of thousands of infantry combatants along a three mile front.


    I'd buy a ticket to that, but only if it included cavalry and artillery, too. :P

    Although Avatar gave us blue aliens, there needs to be a film in which these aliens also have green tushies. Then, and only then, will the bear-shaped meteor fall and Earth will be one step closer to wholeness.


    And we'll get KJA to do the movie novelization!
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby inhuien » 14 Jan 2010 06:43

    SandRider wrote:I really enjoyed the first Final Fantasy movie years ago, but thought at the
    time, that's cool, let's see a art-house drama set in real life using this 3D
    video game character stuff.

    Did you ever see the Animatrix collection of shorts, there is a fantastic submission from the same studio who made FF.

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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby SandChigger » 14 Jan 2010 07:28

    That was fun. :D
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby inhuien » 14 Jan 2010 07:50

    Panties for Peace.
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby Redstar » 14 Jan 2010 11:02

    That was gay. :lol:
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby inhuien » 14 Jan 2010 11:14

    :tissue2: :tissue2: :tissue2:
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    Re: Avatar and The Jesus Incident (tell me I'm not crazy).

    Postby Ampoliros » 14 Jan 2010 23:39

    one of the better avatar quips i've seen:
    I had been equating it with the Smurfs up until now, only instead of Gargamel it's the Marines. I'll bet the movie would have been way better with Gargamel though. Played by Christopher Walken.
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    Ampoliros
     
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