What Would John Galt Do?

A whole different way of looking at "WWJD"

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Worst. Plot. Ever.

Thinking of going to see the movie Avatar?

Don't bother. You've already seen it. Hundreds of times. It's the same movie that Hollywood has been cranking out for the last thirty years.

Plot basis: Evil alien invaders from outer space come to strip the planet of its resources and enslave its inhabitants. It's up to one person (male, of course) to save the world. No spoiler alert needed here because as I said above, you've already seen the movie. You already know enough to predict the ending: the evil invaders are defeated. Of course.

Except that in this one, humans are the Evil Alien Invaders -- and they are ALL Caucasian. That's right, there are no blacks, no Asians, no people of any color at all except for American Indians the Indigenous Peoples, and they are blue. And they are the Good Guys. Of course.

So we have rapacious White People raping some rainforest planet for a mineral called -- get this -- "unobtainium" (there's your first clue about the total lack of imagination or originality on the part of the writers), the largest deposit of which JUST HAPPENS TO BE at the same exact location as the Indigenous Peoples' Sacred Ground. Of course.

The Big Evil Corporation is assisted in this endeavor by the U.S. Military, specifically the U.S. Marine Corps, all of whom are insane with blood-lust and take great pleasure in mass murder. Of course.

If you have a loved one currently serving in the Armed Forces, you might want to avoid this disgusting propaganda-disguised-as-entertainment entirely. The gross insult to our men & women in uniform is unmistakable and as blatantly offensive as it is wrong.

This is all you need to know to predict the last two hours of this two-and-a-half-hour bore-o-log. How many movies have I seen that set Indigenous Peoples against Big Evil Capitalists with mining interests? I've lost count, and I've seen far fewer movies than most people. This is THE SAME MOVIE.

So our none-too-bright (of course) protagonist goes wandering off into the jungle, gets himself in trouble (of course) and is rescued by a female (of course) who JUST HAPPENS TO BE the Tribal Chief's unattached daughter! Oh, what a surprising plot twist! What do you think the chances are that these two are going to end up fucking?

Don't place any bets on that, you won't find any takers. And what do you think the chances are that he comes to reject his U.S. military discipline and joins the tribe? And what do you think the chances are that NO OUTSIDER has ever been allowed to do this before?

Uh-huh. You've already seen this movie. I guarantee it.

The 3-D -- what there is of it (most of the movie is in 2-D and all of the characters are in 1-D, including Sigourney Weaver's character who -- of course -- manages to get all of her clothes off) -- is truly delightful but nothing that we won't be seeing a lot of in the future. Movie theaters have invested hundreds of millions (U.S. dollars) in 3-D tech and there will be lots of 3-D movies. Chances are there will eventually be one that is actually worth watching.

It was delightful to see tiny bugs floating in the air out in front of me, and there is one scene that almost takes your breath away when a rear-view mirror in the antagonist's vehicle rotates into view as the camera pans. But there are lots of other scenes that clearly needed more work, as in an annoying number of 3-D scenes featuring near-field objects that are out of focus. We're somewhat used to that in the 2-D world because it's an old (VERY old) problem called "depth of field" that we photographers deal with all the time, but in 3-D it truly spoils the sensation of realism. Since there is now mature, cheap digital technology to eliminate the depth-of-field problem (I have some of that software myself and have used it), it's hard to understand why a movie with such a monstrous budget would ignore something so obvious and so cheap to fix.

Indeed, the only time during the evening that I instinctively ducked to avoid a flying object wasn't during this movie. It was in a 3-D preview for the next Shrek movie.

The premise of someone acting through an avatar is a fascinating one, and I was expecting to see Real Science Fiction, perhaps an extension to Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. Sadly, there is no sci-fi in this movie. Only propaganda.

And it's the same old, tired, lying propaganda that Hollywood has been churning out for thirty years: Corporations are evil. The U.S. military is evil. Capitalism is evil. White people are evil. Trees are magical beings. American Indians and other primitive, superstition-based cultures have knowledge and wisdom beyond our own because they live Close To The Earth. The Force (yes, the one from Star Wars) is real. And we will all die if we don't all return to at least a pre-Industrial Age (and preferably further back than that, to the Stone Age) existence.

I think John Galt would have asked for his money back. In gold, of course.


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