Monday, November 15, 2010

Movie Night: AVATAR

So I was watching Avatar again last night. Me and the wife had gone and seen it 3D when it first came out, but to be honest I had walked away feeling I had missed some stuff. In the theater I had distractions, like going to the bathroom (it is almost 3 hours long), getting condiments, dealing with the glasses themselves. As a side point 3D glasses and regular glasses don't mix well, it's very hard to get comfortable with them both on.

Well, we were looking for something to watch before bed and I notice it's on HBO, and I have HBO OnDemand, so I decided to watch it without distractions, and in 2D. And I have to say it was better the 2nd time around. I could pay a bit more attention to the story without all the distractions on and off the screen. You have to admit it might be one of the most beautiful and breathtaking movies of all time. The day scenes are great, but the night ones are amazing, simply amazing. Some of the creatures look a bit fake at night, but if you want to be a purest, they are alien anyway so who's to say what they should look like "real". We know of course they are CG, but when you are creating a alien race, only the imagination of the creator can be used to judge if it was captured correctly or not!

The only real complaint I have about the whole movie is his legs. I just couldn't help but think that the fact he couldn't walk took away from the story as a whole, instead of adding to it. I understand it was most likely a carrot at the start, to get him to take his brothers place. But money would have served as well. The story didn't need the carrot of Jake being able to walk again in an Avatar to get him there. In my world the overall story would have been better served if he had hated the Avatar at first, instead of loving it because it gave him legs.

Then of course you have the scene where the Colonel offers Jake his legs back right now as a reward for his info, all he has to do is go back home. So this may be the only part of the movie where the legs really make sense as a plot device.This is before he knows it's possible to transfer from one body to the other. And it's also before he has gone to the point of no return with the Colonel and the company. Before he declared for the Na'vi so to say.  This scene was somewhat watered down by the fact he wasn't yet choosing legs or the Na'vi. At this point the legs where waiting on him at home, but he decided to stay and try to help relocate the Na'vi peacefully. So his choice right now was legs now, or put it off a couple of weeks and help the people with whom he had lived the last 3 months. He's not choosing sides, all this scene has done is let the audience know he DOES have legs at home waiting. It would have held more power if we knew at this moment Jake was choosing the Na'vi over his new human legs.

However I guess it does serve the purpose of showing that his decisions in the end had nothing to do with the fact he had legs in his Avatar, because he could have walked away (or rolled away in this case) and had legs in his human body as well, But it does reinforce the fact the whole bum legs thing could have been left out altogether. Cause it brings into question if he really loved this world and it's people, or he just loved the fact he could run and jump and move around on his own again. Humans at least, in situations like that, can project their love for one thing on to other things involved in it. It's called projected emotions or transference. So it brings into question all of his reasons, and even his loves. But then again maybe that's also Cameron's intent (he's was the director and creator if you didn't know). Maybe he did that on purpose, just to make those that waded this deep question Jake's motives also. Not like we don't all know there will be at least 2-3 more of these moves, this story is far from done. I could see it going Starwars big, super space opera epic kinda big. If only he can capture the kind of story like he did with this first one.

Now I've had my go at the legs thing, so lets look at the story overall. Did it seem familiar??? It should, there have been hundreds of stories with the same basic plot. Why do we see it so often? Because it's based on true events that American School children grow up hearing about all their lives. It's the story of exactly what we did to the Native Americans starting back in the late 1600's to now. We wanted their land, so we moved them if we could and killed them if we couldn't. In the end we gave them the left over land we didn't want. It wasn't the first time humans had done that, it has been happening all the way back to the oldest reaches of our racial memory, there have always been people who thought themselves stronger and better then others, and wanted what the others had. Often land. So the were moved or killed, whatever was easier.

And the story of Avatar is the same, we come to other world, there are people there, abet alien people. We want what they have, in this case it's something UNDER the land, but it's the same idea. And we go about taking it. If not by reason then by force. The only problem is, we have nothing they want, we have no carrot to entice them with. They are a happy people who want for nothing, everything is provided for them by their world. And in this story at least, the big problem is not only are we destroying the world that takes care of them (on a small scale), but the "mother load" of what we want is directly under their "home tree", or the "building" where all of this tribe involved in the story live.

Now, from the story, tribes number small, about 200 or so natives I would think. I take this from when Jake said he had gathered 15 Tribes, or about 2000 Na'vi. That would be 134 per tribe exactly, but I'm guessing not everyone came. Someone has to stay home and keep things safe, then you have the kids, I didn't see any kids fighting. Then there are those too old to fight. So let's say 200 total in a tribe. I would have to think everyone else who could would have came, it was to stop us from ending their entire way of life.

And lets look at that way of life for a moment. Amazing really. I can't help but think if our world had been more like theirs we would have ended up much the same! They have a connection to their world we simply don't. They CAN talk to animals, and trees, and the world itself. Their world is a big, huge, organic super computer. A big brain if you will. Everything living thing on the world is part of this computer network. In fact when someone dies their memories and a undetermined part of them is "saved" into the computer. In this way they can "talk" with their ancestors. Nothing ever really dies then, just the shell dies, all the electrical stuff inside (brains, soul, whatever) is passed into the computer. This computer network in the movie is named Eywa (tree of life), and is more or less seen as a pagan god by the humans there. But the tree itself, and locations it seems in other places as well, are where the Na'vi can "inerface" with Eywa. Here they can pray, and sometimes it seems Eywa answers. They can also "hear" their ancestors here. But it doesn't seem they can talk with them like they did when alive. It's more abstract then that. The people themselves are gone, it's more a memory of them that is alive. My guess is you can access some of their memories maybe, but not THEM so to say.

The Na'vi themselves don't have a "direct" link all the time with Eywa it seems. Like with everything else they link with, including each other it seems, they link with something much like a "tail" that is wrapped in their hair. At the end of this long braid of hair is a thing that can link with other creatures and plants in their world. Like a permanent biological Eithernet or USB cord. Both females and males have it, but it seems to be involved in more then just linking. In the movie Grace says "Don't play with those too much or you'll go blind". But they link them with animals, and the Tree of Life as well as each other when they "mate" so it seems it is not just a function of reproduction. From the clues the movie gives, I'd say it's used during mating, so it can be sexual, but just so the pair can be more intimate then what we can do. The Link is just used to "bond". Maybe with them you don't have to ask what your partner likes, you would KNOW!! Weird thought huh? Feeling what they are feeling as you feel what they are doing to you also. I bet our population would soar!!

But just can't imagine they would stick their reproductive junk into all their animals and the tree of life too, but I guess only Cameron knows for sure. But if I was guessing, the reproduction happens with other equipment else where, but may need or not need this "link". Also of note, when they were "escorting" Jake under force, they held the knife against this "hair tail cord" thingie and not his throat. I would say cutting it kills the Na'vi.

Another aspect of the movie that isn't talked about directly is the size of the natives, and pretty much everything else. In this movie humans are small fry, shrimp. About half as tall as the Na'vi. We are dwarfed by the scale of this world. It never mentioned if it's a much larger world or not, but the Colonel says at one point that it is low G, so if it's got lower G then earth, it might allow and encourage larger growth. It also explains how even though they are much bigger, they can survive falls from heights by breaking their falls with leaves. However the way people and objects move in the movie it doesn't seem to be much less then earth gravity. Nothing like the moon at least. I wonder if you could be at .5 G if it would be noticeable? The moon is about .166 G and Mars is about .33 G. So if a planet was .5 G would we move noticeably different? Interesting thoughts.

How about the science?  Well, at least here they didn't break the rules too much. We can't cryo freeze anyone yet, and we can't build people from DNA yet either, but we are close enough to say that's very attainable by 2154, when the movie takes place. Also they state it takes 6 years to reach Alpha Centauri when thismovie  takes place. In in real life Alpha Centauri is the closest star system to us. (It's a Trinary star system  it's thought, but we can only see two. The third is found in the math. At worst it's a binary system) And it's only about 4 light years way. (4.37 in fact) so the 5 year 9 month travel time is doable since it's not faster then light and we don't currently know how to go faster then light.

So unless my math is wrong, they would have only been traveling about 76% the speed of light. Still fast at 141,000 Miles Per Second, or 8.4 million Miles Per Minute, or 509 million miles per hour....but it is POSSIBLE, since the comic speed limit SEEMS to be about 670 million miles per hour. (I did all the math on 186,000 MPS, where the real speed of light is 185,282) In 140 years I see this as possible but there is more too it then it seems.

First of all, you can't go from 0 to 141,000 MPS instantly, or even close to instantly unless you want to kill everyone on board, and destroy the ship, so that means at some point to make the 5 year 9 month target the ship must travel faster then 76% the speed of light to make up for acceleration time and deceleration time. And at those kinds of speeds a pebble could destroy a ship, so that would have to be dealt with. I suppose if it was big enough, and the hull thick, enough unless it was something big it might be OK. In Star Trek that big ol' dish on the front of the Enterprise was a deflector dish, and it's design was exactly this, to deflect the small space junk to keep it from destroying the ship. If we could ever do shields like in Star Trek and Starwars that would be another idea.

As a side note, depending on just how fast we COULD go, and how close we COULD come to light speed, the travelers themselves wouldn't lose much time, at least not compared to us. Time slows down for those traveling close to light speed. So what might seem a year to them could seem 12 to us. So lets say the trip is 6 years there and back. And they stay a year. So that 13 years. But they may only age say 4 years the whole trip. Depends on how fast they were going, right at light speed they may not age at all. Course the move doesn't say if it was 5 years 9 months THEIR TIME or OUR TIME. So it could have taken 20 years, but they only aged 5 years 9 months. So who knows. They know the time distortion affects of close to light travel (or any travel), and it works out it seem to be about 1:1300, or one year at 99% light speed is like 1300 years on earth. Or, if a person left earth, traveled at 99% the speed of light for one year and returned to earth, they would have aged 1 year, but 1300 years would have passed on earth....crazy right. It get's even more crazy, but we won't go there today!

So what is really going on with Pandora....who's time frame did the 5 years 9 months pass in? Yeah, it's gets crazy.

The best solution, travel faster then light....LOL

Well, this had gotten long enough, I have more to day but got things to do. But I wanted to share a least some of my thought with you all!

Avatar - Wikipedia
James Cameron

No comments:

Post a Comment