Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Avatar: The Last Airb-- Oh, Shit

On Tuesday night, my friend Kendra, her mother, sister, father, aunt and uncle, and I went to the movies. As you may have guessed, we went to see Avatar in 3D.

Not what you think.

is James Cameron's latest epic. Many of you probably remember Titanic (and I'm sorry),
but I have to say, for ripping off Fern Gully, Avatar is pretty damn good. I warn you now, this post will contain many a spoiler. If you don't like people ruining movies for you, stop reading. And now a word from Avatar...

Stop thinking about this.

As many others have said before me,
Avatar is same the basic idea as Fern Gully. I'll be going into more detail on this in a moment, but first, the thing that has been bugging me since the movie first started: Unobtanium? Are you fucking kidding me? A) Wicked foreshadowing there, Mr. Cameron; and B) I understand ripping off other movies can be a touch draining, but your last big picture was TITANIC. That ACTUALLY HAPPENED. How much creativity do you need for your job? I know not every director/producer writes their own films or comes up with their own story ideas, but at least try a little harder. Also, as an addendum to A, great job on the planet's title. Pandora. Clearly not going to be a happy place for anyone.

Oh! And C) I can never again go to a movie theatre. At least when crowded. Mass murder is usually frowned upon. However, I'll save my rant on theatre etiquette for the next entry.

As for the Unobtanium (or is it "Unobtainium"?), do not insert a plot point you don't intend to explain. Maybe I missed it, but in all their praising of the money-shitting mineral "Unobtanium", they never once mentioned what said mineral actually does. Is it like gold? Does it make gorgeous jewellery? Is it a miracle-cure for cancer? Does it babysit your kids while cooking you dinner and giving you the best orgasms of your life? Really, for $20 mil a kilo (was it per kilo?) you'd think they'd bother to explain the death rock's function. All of 8 people in the world would be able to comfortably afford it, and hundreds more would buy it just to own the bragging rights. Then again, what useless crap won't rich people buy? Tell them a cow uterus is worth over $10 mil and they'll line their shoes with it.

But enough about explanations and the lack thereof (because they never got into the scientific breakdown of Pandora's atmosphere and I want the numbers on that). On to comparing Avatar to Fern Gully, and vice versa.

1. The main female alien/fairy is destined to be the next spiritual leader for her tribe/clan.
In Fern Gully, Crysta, the fairy who discovers their human intruder (and shrunk him, but hold that thought), is training to become the next spiritual guide for her clan. She is being trained by Magi, the current she-shaman. In Avatar, Neytiri, the alien female protagonist, is also in line to take over Mo'at's position as Na'vi Pope.

What is, "The most annoying religious figure ever invented"?

2. The main female protagonist is the daughter of the alien/fairy clan leader.
Neytiri of the Omaticaya is the daughter of Eytucan, the clan's head honcho She falls in love with Captain Picard when the Enterprise crash lands on her home planet. Wait, disregard that. As daughter of both the clan leader and spiritual leader, Neytiri is pretty much in line for the throne. In Fern Gully, Crysta is the daughter of the fairy king (hello, Oberon), referred to almost exclusively as "Daddy" (no one over the age of 6 should refer to their father as "daddy" -- too many creepy fetishes).

3. The male protagonist falls in love with the female protagonist; heartbreak and love triangles ensue.

As future Pope, Neytiri is betrothed to Tsu'tey, next in line for the role of clan-king. Of course, when Jake Sully shows up in his shiny new Na'vi body, Neytiri is ordered to teach him the ways of the Omaticaya and they fall in love (aww).

I guess they couldn't carve that in a tree.

Somehow, even though his chick is stolen by another guy's hairy dick (if you haven't seen it yet, a) WHY ARE YOU READING THIS?; and b) you'll get it), Tsu'tey eventually accepts that he'll have to plough another field. The same goes for Pips in Fern Gully after Zak successfully deflowers (we can only assume) Crysta. Even if he didn't get to plant his seed, he did steal her heart. Once both Jake and Zak prove their worthiness/bravery/whatever, Tsu'tey and Pips forget their former (almost) lovers faster than a college co-ed on spring break.

4. The main character is originally spurned by the alien/fairy race, but is eventually accepted.
Though in Fern Gully, Zak only shrinks to the size of a fairy rather than becomes one, the similarities are obvious. Crysta teaches Zak the secrets of fairy life and shows him what it means to be a protector of the forest. Granted, it was Crysta's own fault that Zak shrunk to fairy size and became involved in the forest. In Avatar, Jake's physical appearance technically doesn't change at all; he simply uses an "Avatar", or surrogate body, to infiltrate the Omaticaya tribe. And he doesn't shrink. He gets bigger.

Every man's dream. Minus the blue balls.

At first, everyone hates and is suspicious of Jake. It takes him three months to learn the Omaticaya's ways and to become a true part of their clan. The only one really put off by Zak's appearance is Pips, who's in love with Crysta. With enough time and life lessons, Pips begrudgingly accepts Zak's presence.

5. Both Zak and Jake are shunned when it's revealed that they were originally working with the humans.
And by that point, both Zak and Jake had made the decision to renounce the humans' cause after falling in love with the forest.

Oh yeah, baby. Right there.

Of course, they're un-shunned when they prove that they're not out to ride some bulldozers. (Ooh! That's another similarity! BULLDOZERS!)

6. All of the forest is interconnected.
When Zak begins to carve Crysta's name into the side of an unsuspecting tree, she stops him as soon as she can. Not being connected to the rainforest, Zak asks what's up. Crysta explains that all life in the forest is connected and can feel the pain of the trees. Hint: Fern Gully is saying humans are detached from nature and thus don't bat an eye when we bulldoze the shit out of it. The same way the humans in Avatar are detached from the alien planet.

It's all about the hardware.

Essentially, the Na'vi and the fairies (oh, that's awesome!
NAVI is a FAIRY. Zelda: Bettering the world since 1986.) are the guardians of the forest. Like what "man" was originally supposed to be if you follow Genesis (all that "stewards of the earth" crap).

7. Humans are the antagonists and are out to destroy the forest for financial gain.
Technically in Fern Gully, the antagonist would be Hexxus as well as the humans, though Parker Selfridge could be Avatar's (non-musical) Hexxus. He pulled the strings and was the hand behind the proverbial trigger. Selfridge was after Unobtanium, a naturally occurring mineral on Pandora worth millions of earth dollars, and he was prepared to wipe out any species that got in his way. Hexxus would gain nothing financially, but he was definitely interested in tearing apart the fairies. The humans he was using as fuel were in the forestry business, mutilating the plants for profit.

I could go on about other similarities between the two films, but I think I've pretty much covered it. I'm going to use my remaining time to outline the differences.

Unlike the Na'vi in Avatar, the fairies in Fern Gully did not have their own language. They also weren't from another planet being forcefully invaded by humans. They just lived in a secluded forest being forcefully invaded by humans.

Fern Gully was released in 1992 in 2D, whereas Avatar was released in 2009 in 3D (as well as 2D, I know). However, both films were animated.

Clearly my "differences" are mostly bullshit or completely obvious. I'll just leave this post here.

And in conclusion, James Cameron, your next film should be a re-imagined version of All Dogs Go to Heaven set on a big ship in a galaxy far, far away. In 3D.

If you've read all the way through and still haven't seen Avatar, GO SEE IT. In 3D. The extra $3 is worth it. Ooh, Alien 3! Wow, so much Sigourney Weaver in one week. Nice.

Who looks more worried? Let's find out!

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