Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Monday, January 04, 2010


- Jake (Sam Worthington)

Today I went with my sister to see the movie Avatar (the title of the post is the name of a rare mineral being mined in the movie :)

Here are the basics about the plot from Wikipedia ....

In 2154, the RDA corporation is mining Pandora, a lush, Earth-like moon of the planet Polyphemus. Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi) heads the mining operation, and it employs former marines for security. The corporation intends to exploit Pandora's reserves of a valuable mineral called unobtanium. Pandora is inhabited by the Na’vi, a blue-skinned neolithic species of sapient humanoids with feline characteristics. Physically stronger and taller than humans, the Na'vi live in harmony with Nature, worshiping a mother goddess called Eywa.

- Jake's commander tells him if he does well, he'll get the operation to allow him to walk again

Humans cannot survive exposure to Pandora’s atmosphere for very long and use oxygen masks. To move about Pandora, scientists create human-Na’vi hybrids called avatars, controlled by genetically matched human operators. The scientists also lead schools for the Na'vi to learn English and to interact with the humans. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paraplegic former marine, becomes a last-minute replacement for his identical twin brother, a recently-murdered scientist trained to be an avatar operator ....

- Jake wakes up in an alien/human hybrid body

Sadly, the largest deposit of unobtainium lies under Hometree, the main abode of Pandora's humanoids, so the corporation's security force is used to destroy their home and scatter them. Jake, after having spent three months with them, switches sides and helps them to defend themselves against the Earthlings.

- they study a hologram of Hometree with all the unobtainum beneath

The movie wasn't perfect and one thing I disliked about it was that the aliens of Pandora didn't seem alien enough :) Their bodies were indeed different from ours, but their culture was too reminiscent of early non-technologically-developed cultures on our own planet. But having said that, I thought the movie was mostly good. I liked the characters, especially Jake .... his physical disability and his pathos touched me. And the special effects were great, especially the alien bodies, the floating Hallelujah Mountains, and the flying dragon-like creatures. I also liked the hard science stuff - the spaceship, the contraptions used to transfer Jake's consciousness from his body to the alien body, the mechs. And the movie's theme, familiar though it is, resonated with me .... the realization that so often the strong prey on the weak with no one doing a thing to redress it, and the wish that all living things could instead exist in harmony.

- helicopter ride through the Hallelujah Mountains


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