Author Topic: Cameron's Avatar...  (Read 9724 times)

LEE

Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #50 on: January 06, 2010, 02:41:57 pm »
Define Sci Fi then.

Avatar has:
Space Travel (hypersleep involved as per many Sci Fi films)
Technology that is fictional (including Aliens type Powerloaders)
Organically grown replica lifeforms (as per Blade Runner Nexus 6)
Fictional biology (a networked planet)
Seeing through someone else's eyes (many films)

If Avatar isn't Sci-Fi then what is Sci Fi?

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #51 on: January 06, 2010, 03:00:46 pm »
If Avatar isn't Sci-Fi then what is Sci Fi?

I didn't say Avatar wasn't sci-fi - it was FM mentioning James Cameron in the same breath as George Lucas that had me confused.

I would strongly argue that Star Wars is NOT sci-fi, but I have no opinion on Avatar, not having seen it yet.

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Define Sci Fi then.

Cleverer men than me have run aground on that old chestnut, so I'm not even going to attempt it. However...

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Avatar has:
Space Travel (hypersleep involved as per many Sci Fi films)
Technology that is fictional (including Aliens type Powerloaders)
Organically grown replica lifeforms (as per Blade Runner Nexus 6)
Fictional biology (a networked planet)
Seeing through someone else's eyes (many films)

Lord Of The Rings has all those things. Except space travel. Does that make Lord Of The Rings sci-fi?

d.

Flying_Monkey

Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #52 on: January 06, 2010, 03:13:22 pm »
Sorry, me not making myself clear now... it was a genuine question. I've not seen Avatar so I really don't know whether it's genuine sci-fi or just space opera.

But 'space opera' is a sub-genre of SF... I refer you to Brian Stableford in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, who argues: "as it was coined as a complaint about pulp cliche, it seems reasonable to limit its use to genre SF." Space opera is basically big, romantic SF. (BTW, this has an interesting cross-over with the term 'sci-fi' which is generally used by SF critics to refer to hackwork - so Star Wars is indeed 'sci-fi'... serious speculative or science-fiction is 'SF' or 'sf'....)

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Well, you could say that about films generally, not just SF.

You could, and I think it was the great SF writer, Theodore Sturgeon, who said "Ninety percent of science fiction is shit. Then again, ninety percent of everything is shit." But my I think the situation is more extreme with the relationship between SF film and SF literature.

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By the way, Total Recall is a truly great film

I like it too, but I wouldn't go that far! It's a good and enjoyable romp. And it at least gets some of Dick's sense of humour (which most of the other adaptations of his work do not).

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And I think you rather underrate Brazil, which is better than "moderately clever" - it's totally brilliant.

I'm not a huge Gilliam fan. Most of his stuff is flabby. But it's perhaps his best film apart from Twelve Monkeys.

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Gibson is partly responsible for that himself, since he wrote the screenplay. But surely all that proves is that his books don't translate well into films. Which probably explains why it's taken so long to make Neuromancer. Yet Blade Runner, which has many similarities to Neuromancer, is generally regarded as the best sci-fi film ever. Also look at the superb and rather Gibson-esque Videodrome. (I know Cronenberg isn't generally considered sci-fi, but I'd argue that much of his work has far more right to be called sci-fi than anything George Lucas has done.)

I know Gibson wrote the screenplay - but  you should read what he wrote about writing the screenplay, and then what was done to it during and after filming and you will get more of an idea of why it turned out the way it did. Because of the response he got to his original serious script, Gibson deliberately messed around with his original story and heightened its unreality, making it very critical and satirical of Hollywood SF films, but then "Basically what happened was it was taken away and re-cut by the American distributor in the last month of its prerelease life, and it went from being a very funny, very alternative piece of work to being something that had been very unsuccessfully chopped and cut into something more mainstream."

It's now too late for Neuromancer, unfortunately - especially after the (also hacky and unconvincing) Matrix Trilogy. I'd agree on Bladerunner being about as good as it gets in SF film, although I think the similarities with Neuromancer end with the background world-building - the whole point of Neuromancer is the cyberspace / meatspace divide. In fact, the original of Tron probably has more visually in common with Gibson's depiction of cyberspace, but with no substance whatsover. So it's rather ironic that Hollywood has now invested massively in remaking Tron rather than, once again, adapting an original and substantial SF work... same as Avatar, it's all about pretty pictures and flashy lights.

I don't disagree with you about Cronenberg, except to say that most of his work is most definitely SF and is considered as such. The Encyclopedia of SF (again) calls him "one of the most important practitioners of SF in any medium". Personally, I'm not sure I like his films much, even though I admire them.

A final note on Lucas - he did make one superb SF film - THX-1138 - which is basically an unacknowledged adaptation of Zamyatin's We that grew out of his final year film-school project. In terms of SF films about authoritarianism, it beats Brazil every time for me... he seemed to go backwards after that.

Flying_Monkey

Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #53 on: January 06, 2010, 03:19:53 pm »
Lord Of The Rings has all those things. Except space travel. Does that make Lord Of The Rings sci-fi?

No.

Think about the issues around science and technology as opposed to magic. Now, I know what the late great Arthur C. said about technology and magic but that's not the point here. SF is fiction that responds to and builds upon the acceleration of technoscientific development in the modern era. Fantasy is apart from, or even opposed to, this. It does not rely on, or need, any of that.

Howoever, of course there are cross-overs, hybrids, and lots of messiness. But no-one credible would seriously define LoTR as SF.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #54 on: January 06, 2010, 03:46:30 pm »
But no-one credible would seriously define LoTR as SF.

My point exactly. It's not having those characteristics per se that makes a story sci-fi but the way the subject is treated. And that's why I don't consider Star Wars to be sci-fi. OK, I take the point about space opera being a sub-genre of sci-fi, so Star Wars is sci-fi if you look at it that way, but I suppose I'm a bit of a "hard" sci-fi purist in that respect, so I don't look at it in that way.

I thought Cronenberg was considered horror rather than sci-fi, but like you say, there's plenty of crossover and films such as Alien can easily be made to fit multiple genre pigeonholes.

To get back on topic, I take it from what you've said that Avatar is more than mere space opera and has genuine sci-fi credentials.

d.

LEE

Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #55 on: January 06, 2010, 04:17:37 pm »
I'm sorry but the more I read of this thread the more I get a mental picture like this



Moss - "Think about the issues around science and technology as opposed to magic. Now, I know what the late great Arthur C. said about technology and magic but that's not the point here. SF is fiction that responds to and builds upon the acceleration of technoscientific development in the modern era. Fantasy is apart from, or even opposed to, this. It does not rely on, or need, any of that. Howoever, of course there are cross-overs, hybrids, and lots of messiness. But no-one credible would seriously define LoTR as SF"

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #56 on: January 06, 2010, 04:18:14 pm »
 ;D

Hummers

  • It is all about the taste.
Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #57 on: January 06, 2010, 05:08:41 pm »

Flying_Monkey

Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #58 on: January 06, 2010, 05:52:21 pm »
I suppose I'm a bit of a "hard" sci-fi purist in that respect, so I don't look at it in that way.

And I'm someone who likes the more experimental things that work at the edges... although I'm not averse to a bit of hard SF.

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I take it from what you've said that Avatar is more than mere space opera and has genuine sci-fi credentials.

I think my main point was that it was crap!  ;D

Wollypigs got it in one.

Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #59 on: January 09, 2010, 11:41:20 pm »
There's a reason.  No, I'll start that again, there are several reasons why I rarely go to the cinema and this evenings 2'1/2 hours of my life watching Avatar that I will never get back enforced several of them.
The film was visually stunning, but so what? So are computer games these days, we expect visually stunning and better cgi/effects.  I got a headache from the 3D which was like watching a slightly blurry film with sunglasses on.  If it's the future of film, I'm not interested.  The Plot was weak, the dialogue amateur Pochahontas/Man called horse/Dances with smurfs.  It could have been so much more... the eco-battle for the rainforest could have been in terms of hearts and minds rather than a big ole George W. Bush style kill em all battle.  So much formula employed....  Dull really.  The great thing about 3D glasses is that it makes it easier to sleep through movies.
The rest of the family loved it however, so I'm just some kind of misery guts.

Oh, we prebooked tickets over the interweb thing, but you then have to feed a machine your card to get the tickets... no human being in the box office anymore, they're all employed serving popcorn....
Popcorn, I F'in hate popcorn smell at the cinema, why oh why can't people watch a movie without some kind of sugar-fest going on (are the movies that unpalatable?).  I confess to being somewhat abrupt to the (nice) chap who plonked himself next to me with his mega bucket and who thankfully put them aside until the movie finished, rustle-rustle, crunch-crunch, stink-stink.

So, I'm not going to the movies any more.  I'd rather save my cash and go to the theatre or see something 'live' and non-Hollywood.

[EDIT]  The new Sherlock Holmes movie might be an exception...

woollypigs

  • Mr Peli
    • woollypigs
Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #60 on: January 10, 2010, 01:13:52 am »
Fab Foodie : you could build your own :)

My mate in Denmark, got tired of the same thing as you and the cost of taking four people to the cinema, so he built his own :)


Indretning af biografen.

The site is in Danish, but click on the thumb nails to see the images in big. The seats he got from when one of the local cinemas closed down.  We have been going to that one for at least 10 years so we knew that the seats were good. He built some of the speakers himself, the whole room is THX and dolby etc etc and a 122", 16:9 screen. Even the old "exit" (ud) sign is from the old cinema. And the door your see in room is direct out to the kitchen :)

Total cost 26.905 DNK around £3.250.

I'm going there to his birthday next week, guess what we are going to spend Thursday evening with :)
Do join a demo near you - https://t.co/Ai5EfHuKUo

LEE

Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #61 on: January 10, 2010, 01:29:43 am »
There's a reason.  No, I'll start that again, there are several reasons why I rarely go to the cinema and this evenings 2'1/2 hours of my life watching Avatar that I will never get back enforced several of them.
The film was visually stunning, but so what? So are computer games these days, we expect visually stunning and better cgi/effects.  I got a headache from the 3D which was like watching a slightly blurry film with sunglasses on.  If it's the future of film, I'm not interested.  The Plot was weak, the dialogue amateur Pochahontas/Man called horse/Dances with smurfs.  It could have been so much more... the eco-battle for the rainforest could have been in terms of hearts and minds rather than a big ole George W. Bush style kill em all battle.  So much formula employed....  Dull really.  The great thing about 3D glasses is that it makes it easier to sleep through movies.
The rest of the family loved it however, so I'm just some kind of misery guts.

Oh, we prebooked tickets over the interweb thing, but you then have to feed a machine your card to get the tickets... no human being in the box office anymore, they're all employed serving popcorn....
Popcorn, I F'in hate popcorn smell at the cinema, why oh why can't people watch a movie without some kind of sugar-fest going on (are the movies that unpalatable?).  I confess to being somewhat abrupt to the (nice) chap who plonked himself next to me with his mega bucket and who thankfully put them aside until the movie finished, rustle-rustle, crunch-crunch, stink-stink.

So, I'm not going to the movies any more.  I'd rather save my cash and go to the theatre or see something 'live' and non-Hollywood.

[EDIT]  The new Sherlock Holmes movie might be an exception...

Try not to forget that Avatar is quite clearly a kids/teen/young adult film (well, that's how I would judge it)

This isn't "The English Patient" we are judging.

redshift

  • High Priestess of wires
    • redshift home
Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #62 on: January 10, 2010, 10:48:06 am »
That's true LEE, but I know what ff is talking about.  That's why I go to the movies at lunchtime on my off-shift days.  I usually have the place to myself.  If it's a popular film, or school holiday time, I try to go to the first screening, before the kids are out of bed or turfed out by their families.

Still, given a choice between Avatar and Der Baader-Meinhof Komplex, I know which one I'll watch a second time.
L
:)
Windcheetah No. 176
The all-round entertainer gets quite arsey,
They won't translate his lame shit into Farsi
Somehow to let it go would be more classy…

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #63 on: January 10, 2010, 02:27:14 pm »
This isn't "The English Patient" we are judging.

I'd rather watch Sack Lunch in a multiplex full of kids munching popcorn than sit through that bilge.

d.

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #64 on: January 10, 2010, 02:56:58 pm »
[EDIT]  The new Sherlock Holmes movie might be an exception...

Went to that and had a blob with the new boyfriend dump herself in the seat next to me. Slurp chomp chomp chomp chomp. Food of course - a tongue would have got in the way of the popcorn conveyor belt. Trouble was the conveyor belt only worked during the quiet bites. Why can't people eat during the noisy bits? Is it because they have to allocate some neurones to working out what is going on and don't have enough left over to eat with?

Finally I found that leaning forward, turning and glaring back at her worked.

This should be in the RANT thread...
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #65 on: January 10, 2010, 03:14:09 pm »
Mr mac and I are going to see Avatar 3D at the imax in a couple of weeks, then have dinner out somewhere afterwards. We rarely go out these days, and I have never been to the imax or seen a 3D movie, even on the telly. I don't give two hoots if the story's a bit pants.

I do however agree about only eating during the noisy bits. :D

spen666

Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #66 on: January 10, 2010, 03:23:27 pm »
saw the title sand thought perhaps David was a member of this forum

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #67 on: January 10, 2010, 03:26:09 pm »
If he were, he'd have an avatar that looked different, depending on who was looking at it...
Getting there...

LEE

Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #68 on: January 10, 2010, 03:36:51 pm »
Mr mac and I are going to see Avatar 3D at the imax in a couple of weeks, then have dinner out somewhere afterwards. We rarely go out these days, and I have never been to the imax or seen a 3D movie, even on the telly. I don't give two hoots if the story's a bit pants.

I do however agree about only eating during the noisy bits. :D

IMAX cinemas are amazing, even 2D seems like 3D if you see the right film.  I last saw a Space Shuttle mission at Cape Canaveral's IMAX theatre, it was just breathtaking. 
The sound-systems they use aren't that shabby either.

Jealous.

Zipperhead

  • The cyclist formerly known as Big Helga
Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #69 on: January 10, 2010, 04:04:12 pm »
I think lmm & co are not going to the full size imax (which are amazing) but to the one nearby in Wimbledon, which whilst good is much smaller. It's built into a regular cinema multiplex, so the screen is probably not much bigger than normal - the sound system is still good though, and the 3d works well.
Our son does know who Boz Scaggs is, we've done ok as parents.

Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #70 on: January 10, 2010, 07:43:15 pm »
I'm going to the Waterloo one. Yay!

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #71 on: January 11, 2010, 10:08:49 am »
I saw Monsters & Aliens at the Waterloo Imax in 3D. The only downside of 3D on a screen that size is it's a little hard to focus at times. And you have to turn your head to look at different parts of the screen. Which I guess is the "immersive" experience they're after.

d.



Valiant

  • aka Sam
    • Radiance Audio
Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #72 on: January 11, 2010, 10:17:25 am »

Indretning af biografen.

Nice set up, I'll have to introduce him to my friend Mr Speaker Placement.
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.

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clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #73 on: January 11, 2010, 10:27:27 am »
I've been to the Bradford IMAX a few times.  I believe this was the first opened in this country, in 1983.  Very impressive, and a completely immersive experience, but, when I went to see it, they mainly had lots of 'Oooh! Wow!' films demonstrating the technology (there was a memorable one of a flight up a canyon, which made all the staff giggle because the audience all used to lean right over in their seats as the aircraft banked).

I'm glad that the repertoire of films available is growing, even if only slowly.
Getting there...

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Cameron's Avatar...
« Reply #74 on: January 11, 2010, 10:32:27 am »
Our IMAX = SHUT
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.