Film Review: “Avatar” ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (5/5)

James Cameron's long awaited "Avatar"

So I just came back from a screening of the groundbreaking new James Cameron movie, “Avatar”, and I can’t wait to go back a few days from now. The movie lives up to its gigantic hype. I went in with very high expectations and they were met and exceeded.

Here’s a movie that has something for everyone; from a great love story, to epic battle scenes, to a magnificent score, the greatest special effects to date, and on top of all that an environmental message. Movie geeks will be mentioning “Avatar” whenever there’s the classic “Star Wars” vs “Lord of the Rings” debate, for it is a movie that stands its ground against both of those excellent trilogies. “”Avatar” is simply a masterpiece of movie magic. James Cameron knows how to plug you into a world that you will not want to leave.

I won’t go into the plot but I will say that Cameron’s new movie is like a combination of all of his previous works. It revolves around creatures as cool as “Aliens”, it has battle scenes that make the scenes in his Terminator movies look small, and a powerful love story similar to that of “Titanic”. Now that I’ve mentioned “Titanic”, I would like to point out the similar structure of the screenplay Cameron used with both movies. Remember the times when the “Titanic” story would get interrupted by Old Rose and we as viewers were begging inside for more scenes on the ship. The same happens with “Avatar” only this time we beg to spend more time on Pandora whenever we’re pulled off.

The Na’vi tribe is very interesting and one of the most well developed and original species in film history. It’s been a very strong year for scifi fans with movies like “District 9”, “Star Trek” and “Moon” coming out at the end of the decade. While I consider “Moon” to be the best scifi of the year by far, still “Avatar” is a  fantasy epic that will most likely have a strong fan following. All I can say is believe the hype for “Avatar” has it all.

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57 responses to this post.

  1. The movie rox!

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    • I agree. One hell of a movie.

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    • Posted by Niamh on February 20, 2010 at 8:23 pm

      Hello Everyone!. I have recentley seen Avatar. This Has Been A great experience! My Heart was jumping out of my mouth for the next bit of the film!:) I will be recomending this film to my family and friends to see this film. I could see this film over and over and over and more times again and again.!
      I hope there is a Avatar2 it was so good i hope there is Avatar2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:) 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 :):) 🙂 🙂

      Reply

  2. How would you weigh it vis a vis 2012 ?

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    • I hated 2012…everything about it (except of the effects of course) but still watching 2012 was like watching a movie I have seen already. Watching Avatar was like watching something I’ve been craving to watch for some time now. I gave 2012 ** (2/5)

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  3. I watched “Avatar” (of course, 3D) last night. I am not so sure about its greatness. Let’s admit it, some of dialogues are quite corny and the story is not far from your average revisionist western. Nevertheless, I still love it and that kind of faults comes goofy amusement to me. Cameron believes in story and setting, he fills his movie with lots and lots and lots of goodies while making us care about story and characters(Love story is “Titanic” in reverse mode).

    Special effects are simply astonishing. It does not pull us, but absorbs us into this marvelous world. I was distracted at first, but was accustomed to 3D effect sooner than I thought. The more you think after watching it, the more you admire it. I am going to persuade my parents to watch this with me this weekend. This is the return of King, and he surely plays different.

    to S M Rana

    Think cheesy junk food with lots of filling(Love it!), and then think first-rate restaurant dish with lots of filling(Love it more!).

    to S M Rana

    Think junk food with lots of filling, and then think first-rate restaurant dish with lots of filling.

    Reply

    • I agree with on some level. Cameron had the same problem with “Titanic” the guy tends to write cheesy lines every here and there but at the end of the day this minor fault is overlooked by everything else which is simply outstanding. Also, while the lines may be lacking at points the guy does know how to structure hhis screenplay in a way that makes time fly.

      I agree the more I think about the movie, the more I like it…and trust me with repeated viewing it’ll only get better this is always the case with Cameron movies. I was thinking of ranking Cameron movies from best to worst based on this occasion but I don’t think it’s a good idea…so I deleted the draft I had.

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    • I also want to relate this post to my auteur article and mention that James Cameron seems like a director with a clear message to the world. With “Avatar” the author just added another chapter to his book (SPOILER ALERT DO NOT CONTINUE READING IF YOU HAVEN”T SEEN THE MOVIE) of man vs. nature. In both “Titanic” and “Avatar” nature triumphs over man. I think Cameron is an environmentalist at heart.

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      • Since you have mentioned ranking of Cameron films, would this be as good as Titanic?

      • No, “Titanic” is his best work as a director in my opinion. It’s funny how he was worked with scifi (Avatar, Aliens, Terminator 2) and horror (Terminator?) all his life and ends up succeeding most with a period piece.

        “Titanic” is in my opinion an epic love story in the tradition of “Gone with the Wind”…they just don’t make those anymore. “Avatar” is one of the best fantasy films of all time. “Titanic” is one of the greatest achievements in film of all time…regardless of the genre.

  4. Posted by Steve-Dave on December 18, 2009 at 4:27 am

    Hey, make a youtube video of your review.

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    • I may just do that Steve! 🙂 Now is probably not a great time though since I’m trying to eliminate censorship in Egypt…but I’ll keep that in mind next week. Thanks for your interest 🙂 it really means a lot to me!

      Reply

  5. Thought I’d comment here about your comment on Ebert’s post about whether or not you should recommend that Egyptian audiences see Avatar censored in theaters, since the other option is to purchase a bootlegged copy. Since Avatar is most certainly a movie that should be see in theaters, I would recommend that you tell your fellow readers to seek it out in theaters, and then, after they finish watching it, to write letters to film censors telling them how much their censorship destroyed the movie. We used to have the Hays Code in America, and England used to censor its plays. Both were overturned by people in the industry fighting the system (auteurs, if you will), and while it may be harder to do so in Egypt, getting the public on your side might help (and hey, you are the land of the late Naguib Mahfouz).

    Then, I would follow Scott Foundas’s example on Red Cliff, where, in his review of the film for the Village Voice, he strongly encouraged his readers to find the Chinese DVD as opposed to the International release (“at the risk of advocating movie piracy”). The difference, though, is that one can purchase legal Hong Kong and Taiwanese DVDs through the Internet (with subtitles). Not sure if the same would be true in Egypt, and obviously, Avatar isn’t out on DVD yet.

    So, I guess the best way to solve this and future problems would be to advocate getting rid of film censorship in Egypt, as that is a bigger issue than whether or not people see a butchered Avatar in theaters.

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    • Even though it may be only one film, I am impressed by your courage, sir. I hate censorship in any form (including abridgments), so I applaud your efforts.

      And remember, the Catholic Church used to censor films in the U.S., and while we have a clear separation of church and state here, that didn’t stop the Catholic League from censoring many a movie when they were in their prime. Also, the book Ulysses helped stop the draconian practices that prevented “pornographic” materials from being sent through the mail (in this case, whatever the post master found offensive, which is not quite the same thing). And, way before that (during the Dark Ages), the churches controlled all realms of thought. Only with the rediscovery of Greek and Roman teachings was the power of the church curbed (as were the many splits courtesy of the Protestant Reformation that happened during that time). So, while you may have a long and slow road ahead of you, culture can be changed. Opinions can be changed. All this shall pass.

      Here’s a link to the Supreme Court case concerning Ulysses: United States v. One Book Called Ulysses

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      • You seem to know a lot about this subject. I hate censorship too..who doesn’t. This nonsense should stop and I won’t quit. I doubt I’ll be able to end censorship in Egypt but I’ll do my best to minimize it. I mean Egyptian movies are becoming more and more extreme and I remember this one time I watched this Egyptian movie a year ago and they didn’t cut a scene where breasts were exposed. Anyway the next day I went to see an American movie and they cut topless flashing scene…yeah…I didn’t know American boobs are more explicit than Egyptian boobs but whatever…

        Censorship as you said dates way back but people always seemed to know how to get the original copies one way or the other be it a book or a movie. I have hope that one day all this will stop…at least for non-pornographic movies in Egypt..if I was able to save one film, I may be able to save others with the help of my peers. One thing is for sure..I’ll give them a hard time. The thing is…I questioned why no body ever tried it so I thought why not start.

        In Saudi Arabia it’s 100 times worse. I mean they don’t even have movie theaters! (I couldn’t live that way)…the internet is strictly censored (even facebook) and the entire society basically follows a fucked up system of extreme Islam laws. Islam never mentioned any of such aspects and even encourages freedom of speech, and urges everyone to wonder and experience new and insightful things…but those in power always seem to read too much into simple things.

        Anyway, the Ulysses case is new to me and very encouraging 🙂 Is it available for purchase? I’ll have to search for that one. I’ll also read a lot about censorship and use this knowledge. Thanks for the link 🙂

  6. There was a version of the book that came with the complete court decision printed before the book proper (which I cannot find at the moment), but this article that I just found online goes into some details of the case itself: http://law.jrank.org/pages/12758/United-States-v-One-Book-Called-Ulysses.html

    The main reason that this was a landmark decision was that it was the first decision to conclude that obscenity laws in the U.S. violated the First Amendment. Before this decision, obscenity laws were upheld as not violating free speech. And remember, change in any society always begins with one person, and an idea. Good luck!

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    • I hope I can get a copy of that edition. I’ll research more about the case. It’s very interesting. I can send you a detailed version of what happened that night…but I’m having trouble getting ahold of your email. If you’re interested on what went on that night send me your email as a response to this post and don’t worry I won’t “Approve” your comment and so the email won’t be there for the public to see.

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  7. Posted by LEAF ;) on December 21, 2009 at 12:41 am

    you’re amazing and love your articles!!!
    i’ve seen the movie today and i think it’s great.. i started crying from its first half…it’s a very environmental movie..humans have always been the selfish destroyers..They’ve left their mother planet and “killed their green” and took over another one thinking they can take whatever they want..i hope people would get Cameron’s message, we need to stop destroying our planet coz a lot of other living things suffer!!!

    I’ve never seen better graphics in my whole life..i felt like i was there in Pandora, like i could smell the fresh air and feel the trees and leaves..i was in awe from the landscapes…James Cameron has great imagination!!! one of my top 5 😀

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    • Thank you! 🙂 The graphics are a state of the art and the environmental message was very powerful. “Leaf” interesting display name…it explains your love for the environment 🙂

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  8. I love the idea about network of life/soul, that all things are connected. Cameron made this point clear by making the Navi be able to ‘connect’ with other being physically. I was so excited when The Mother of Pandora herself act against the human invaders by commanding all the creatures to join forces. If Earth could do the same, we would have all been dead 🙂

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  9. Hi Wael. I looked you up ever since you rescued AVATAR from heathen censors. You really need to get on Twitter to have more people following your wonderful blog. Your writing is splendid and your film knowledge undeniable. I look forward to you writing more.

    Kudos fellow cinephile! 🙂

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    • Hi Michael Mirasol, censorship is a huge problem especially since Egypt is the most active film industry in the Middle East. Directors have been challenging censorship here for years..the result is films with a great amount of subliminal messages.

      Thank you for kind words Michael. I can enlighten you some very interesting “censorship” true stories here in Egypt but it would have to be a more private conversation 🙂

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  10. hi Wael,

    I love Avatar as well. It’s breathtaking! What do you think of its chances at the Oscars?. Seems like its headed to win the Best Picture award. Im rooting for The Hurt Locker or Inglorius Basterds!

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    • I’m personally rooting for “Up in the Air” or “The Hurt Locker” but it’s safe to say that the race is between “Avatar” and “The Hurt Locker” I have a feeling it’s going to be a split with “Avatar” getting Best Picture and “The Hurt Locker” getting Best Director. Same as in 1998 when “Saving Private Ryan” and “Shakespeare in Love” split.

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      • that’s not really good.. ain’t it? It really doesnt make sense to me if a movie didn’t win Best Picture
        and won Best Director…. worst example is Brokeback Mountain and Crash….
        anyway… we can just all root for The Hurt Locker ….
        can’t wait for the announcement of nominees on Tuesday….
        what films do you think will make it to the best pic nods?

      • You’re right, movies that win Best Director mostly deserve the Best Picture award as well. They’re one and the same 🙂 After the DGA win, The Hurt Locker seems to raced past Avatar as the current front runner so let’s keep our fingeres crossed.

        As for the 10 nominations, I think it’ll look something like this:
        Avatar
        The Hurt Locker
        Up in the Air
        Inglorious Basterds
        Precious
        An Education
        Star Trek
        The Blind Side
        The White Ribbon
        Invictus

        Possible threats are The White Ribbon, A Serious Man, 500 Days of Summer, and Up.

  11. I disagree 100%.

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  12. I just saw Avatar a few days ago in an IMAX 3-D theater. I’ve got to disagree with you about the quality of this film.

    * SOME SPOILERS *

    While I generally felt that everything visual was stunning I think that’s pretty much where the accolades end. The writing was weak — heavy-handed and some downright painful dialogue. There were a lot of cliche characters with no depth – the gung-ho military general, the greedy businessman, etc. There were story points that were unbelievable to the point of almost being contradictory – Cameron setting up the violence of Pandora and the battle between humans and Na’Vi and then having a human prisoner be allowed to immediately enter their culture and customs and become “one of them” in just 3 months of training (consisting mostly of learning how to ride a Na’Vi horse, acquiring a dragon-type creature to be his and only his, etc.).

    Even the visual effects weren’t without flaws. The lack of deep focus photography was confusing and interuptive. Having both the foreground and background out of focus served to only distract me from getting into the story and drew me out of any thread the film may have been creating.

    I think the use of 3-D was outstanding and really made some of the scenes on Pandora a joy. However, technical achievments like this are supposed to supplement the story, not BE the story.

    I think Cameron is a good director but someone desperately needs to take his Final Draft software away from him. In a somewhat unrelated point, he lost huge points with me personally after his self-centered acceptance speech at the Golden Globes. During a night when many winners took things in stride in respect to the ongoings outside in the real world (Haiti), Cameron closed out the night with a “give it up for yourselves” speech that seemed to celebrate every bad stereotype of Hollywood.

    In other news …

    Wael, I’m very happy to see you back writing on your blog. I had checked in for a while with no new posts so I’m very happy to see such activity. Keep writing.

    Arthur

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    • Hi Arthur,

      I’m glad you came back to this blog. My views have decreased by a huge number since I left, so I respect your commitment to my blog.

      As for ‘Avatar’ come on. Don’t you think you’re being a little to harsh on the film? Did you have a good time watching it? My guess is yes. ‘Star Wars’ has a lot of cheesy lines and characters but it’s still spectacular and fun. I wasn’t expecting a ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ type of film. ‘Avatar’ is probably the loudest cry for environmental help ever which is why I’m so glad people all over the world are watching this and receiving a message that is not exclusive to one country but global.

      The visuals were spectacular. I’m glad you enjoyed that but wouldn’t that mean the cinematography was great as well? As for the screenplay…like I said, the dialogue lacks greatness which is the case with most Cameron screenplays and movies but you gotta give it to the man he knows how to structure them. Wouldn’t you say?

      Watch the movie again, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it more now that the overhyped expectations are washed off you 🙂

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      • Am I being too harsh on the film? That’s actually a pretty tough question for me to answer. To be honest, I’d have to say ‘I don’t know.’ I’m not acting out on any kind of vendetta or agenda, at least not one I’m entirely conscious of. Everything I wrote is my genuine take on the film.

        Did I have a good time watching it? Not particularly. I would have actually left the film before its completion but I felt I had to see it through because I knew I was going to be wrigting negative reviews of it. I agree with you that the environmental message is a positive one but I don’t believe that a film’s message has anything to do with how well the film is made/story is told. Griffith’s ‘Birth of a Nation’ has a decidely negative message yet the film is celebrated as a huge step forward in the medium. There are countless films with positive messages about love, compassion, humanitarianism, et cetera, that are not well-made films.

        As far as the visuals, I’m torn. I was extremely impressed with what Cameron did on the technical side of things. There are sequences on Pandora that are complete eyegasms. But, to be fair, it was also the first 3-D film I’ve seen on an IMAX screen. I’m curious to see how the cinematography would hold up on a smaller or ‘regular’ screen. Unfortunately, Cameron’s hands weren’t entirely able to stay away from the messing up the film’s cinematography. As I mentioned in my original post, his decision to not use deep focus was a mistake (especially considering so much of the visual was CGI).

        I can’t agree with you on comparisons to Star Wars or on the structure of Cameron’s screenplay. Star Wars is a virtual ‘how to’ mythilogical structure down to the plot points; the same can’t be said for Avatar. Acts II and III are pretty well done but I felt Act I was a mess. Not enough ordinary world, a weak call to adventure and virtually no refusal of the call. Also, structure only does so much. While Cameron hits his structural marks in Acts II and III I felt there was nothing new or interesting about them outside of the cinematography. The plot points were unimaginative and poorly written and the supporting characters were cliche and lacked depth and development. If someone without Cameron’s cachet wrote the screenplay I find it doubtful the script would ever end up on the big screen.

        I will absolutely watch this film again once it gets released on DVD. I’m very curious to see my take on the film when I’m not wowed by the visuals.

      • I appreciate your honesty and standing against me on this. I’m too waiting for the DVD, bluray to be specific since it’ll be in 3D on bluray and 2D on DVD and see how I feel about it then.

        Look at it this way, when have you seen a better scifi action blockbuster? The last time I was so mesmerized by the genre was with ‘Minority Report’ and that was like 7 or 8 years ago. It’s cool to disagree with a movie that everyone loves or hates which is why I find your opinion so interesting. I’m probably gonna get panned for this but I loved Spielberg’s ‘War of the Worlds’ when everyone hated it so I know how you feel. 🙂 Ebert loved ‘Knowing’ when most people hated it and he stood by it.

      • Absolutely. We’ll just agree to disagree. There are now finite rights or wrongs in movie tastes so really we’re just all trying to learn as much as we can from one another.

        You sound like you enjoy a good Sci-Fi film. Have you seen Primer (2003)? If you haven’t, I implore you to do so. I don’t often create lists but if I were to make one of my 10 Favorite Films of the Decade, Primer would be on it. A testament to story over style, the film was made for $8,000. Can you imagine that? A truly fantastic Sci-Fi film about time travel made for $8,000! It warrants repeated viewings, if for nothing else than the fact that Shane Carruth shows so much respect for his audience’s intelligence that some of the story may slide right over their heads on the first viewing.

      • Oops. That should read “there are NO finite rights or wrongs.” A Freudian slip? 🙂

      • It’s ok..as long as I get what you’re saying spelling doesn’t matter 😉

      • Actually, ‘Moon’ is the second film on my Netflix queue at the moment. I’m very much excited to see it but I’m in the process of writing a piece about Scorsese and needed to see a few of his films that I hadn’t. But I’m still kicking myself for not seeing Moon in the theater when I had the chance.

        Sci-Fi is hit or miss with me. When it’s done well it’s excellent but, unfortunately, all too often it’s done with a lot of cliches. It’s not entirely the filmmakers’ fault. The genre is inherently expensive to produce, which can put strains and pressures on people and stories that aren’t equipped to handle them.

        As far as the Sci-Fi films I love — 2001, the original Star Wars, A Clockwork Orange, The Thing (both versions – Hawks and Carpenter), Minority Report, The Terminator films (I actually like the third one, a somewhat unpopular opinion), E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Brazil, 12 Monkeys, The Star Trek films (especially the latest one by JJ Abrams), Robocop, Jurassic Park, Gattaca, Total Recall, Contact, The X-Files (first one, not the second), Event Horizon, Fire in the Sky, *batteries not included, 2010 … to name a few.

        But my all-time favorite in Alien. I enjoy the entire series; yes, even the third film (I don’t count the fourth ;)). I was never scared by boogie man films or slasher films or any of the so-called “horror” films that existed growing up, even as a child. But Alien scared the living hell out of me and I can still remember the first time I saw it – alone in my home, at night, parents out so no one to tell me I shouldn’t be watching it. I damn near crushed the remote control that night I was clutching it so tightly in case I needed to quickly change the channel. That film is a masterpiece and should be used as a textbook on how to develop suspense and create fear.

      • You have great taste in scifi and I do agree with you. ‘Alien’ is a masterpiece. It’s also one of the scariest movies ever made. I used to be afraid of the dark everytime I watched this as a kid.

        ‘Aliens’ is also a masterpiece, entertainment at its best. I always thought it’d be cool to have full size Alien sculpture in my house 🙂 I love the ‘Contact’ inclusion in your list. It’s very underrated. I personally think ‘2001:A Space Odyssey’ is possibly the greatest scifi ever made. What do you think of ‘The Matrix’, ‘Dark City’, and ‘Blade Runner’ ?

      • Wael, you’ll get no argument from me about 2001. I think the film has to be in any discussion of top films (in general) of all-time.

        I also agree wholeheartedly about Aliens. I love the direction Cameron decided to take with it. The first film had one alien and a small group of untrained miners with no weapons. He knew he couldn’t go that route again, so, what did he do? He went in the complete opposite direction. Have an almost infinite supply of the deadly creatures and thrust a group of well-trained, heavily armed soldiers into the mix. The result was a fantastic shoot-’em-up that satisfied on almost every level.

        I really enjoyed the first Matrix film. There isn’t much about it I didn’t like. I found the subsequent films to be a little too heavy-handed for me with dime store symbolism. I also felt the two subsequent films lacked the originality and inventiveness the first one had. There was no Hoth, there was no Endor.

        I’m ashamed to say I haven’t seen Dark City. I really ought to if for no other reason than to be able to listen to Ebert’s commentary on it. Not sure if you’ve read my audio commentary post but Ebert is the best at it and I’ve been meaning to give that a listen.

        I saw Blade Runner a long time ago and at a relatively young age. It didn’t capture me the way it has other people but I also acknowledge that it deserves a second viewing.

        I remember seeing Event Horizon for the first time in the theater. I was there with a buddy of mine and it was the first film of a planned three film day. As we walked out of the theater I asked him if he still wanted to see another film. He responded, “I want to go to church.” I don’t think the film holds up as well over time but I still think it’s a great movie and capable of scaring people on the first viewing.

      • Event Horizon was very scary. I remember catching it on TV with a blanket covering me up to my nose. You should see ‘Dark City’ and I agree with you on Ebert’s commentary of ‘Citizen Kane’ it is amazing. My advice though do NOT watch the original ‘Dark City’ avoid that go with the director’s cut. Trust me on that.

        If I were to rank the Alien movies here’s how it would go:

        1. Alien
        2. Aliens
        3. Alien3

        I think the chestburst scene is one of the most violent and disturbing scenes in film history…even compared to today’s standards.

      • I agree with your rankings. Although I’d probably put it more like this:

        1. Alien

        2. Aliens

        3. Alien 3

        Did you know that the actors in the chest burst scene didn’t know what was going to happen? Ridley Scott kept the details of the action hidden from them so that he could get genuine, honest reactions from them once it happened.

      • Hmmm …. there were supposed to be more blank lines between Alien and Aliens. I guess the comment format doesn’t allow for that and just makes it double-spaced.

      • Hahahahaha. I like both of the two only ‘Alien’ is my Top 100 of all time.

      • “There are now finite rights or wrongs in movie tastes so really we’re just all trying to learn as much as we can from one another.” You nailed it 🙂

        I haven’t seen ‘Primer’ yet. Thanks for the recommendation. I really love that genre. By the way my favorite scifi of the year isn’t ‘Avatar’, it’s ‘Moon’. Have you seen it yet? It’s also made with a very small budget but it’s mind boggling and different. I little masterpiece if you ask me 🙂 What other scifi films do you like?

  13. My apologies for digging up a topic (especially since it’s not even the topic of your original entry) but I just got around to seeing ‘Moon.’

    Wow. I absolutely loved it. I’m really kicking myself for not seeing it in the theater now. I’ll try to make my comments spoiler free but if someone is reading this and they plan on seeing it, don’t read any further … just to be on the safe side.

    There are so many things I love about it. There’s a twist to the story and yet the filmmakers don’t rest the weight of the story on revealing it … a rarity. It gets revealed right around the end of the first act and this allows them to take the story in a direction that I think others — lesser filmmakers as well as a studio if it had been done with a big budget — wouldn’t have ventured. The entire first act I was filled with apprehension about the foreboding reveal (you know something is coming) and after I exhausted those feelings the story gently shifts gears to one of compassion, human emotion, feeling and hope. I 100% did NOT see it coming and was grateful and happy to be pleasantly surprised.

    I just finished it about 20 minutes ago and I’m sitting through the first of the two audio commentary tracks on the DVD. I plan on listening to the second once this one is done and then enjoying all of the special features. I’m also already watching a few ebay auctions so I can buy in the next few days. A tremendous movie and one worthy of high marks and multiple viewings. The first shot of the film tells the whole story. 😉

    Reply

    • “Moon” is my favorite movie of 2009. You can bring any topic of discussion on my blog. Yoou’re always welcome here. Anyway, the film gets so much better with repeated viewings. Sam Rockwell was snubbed big time for his powerhorse performance in that film. His performance is jaw-dropping.

      *Spoilers* If you have not seen “Moon” do not read any further.

      As you said the twist in the first act is genius because it allows you to notice certain aspects in repeated viewings. Like the washed off smiley faces from the previous Sams or the daughter in his hallucinations. I loved how the film was so well thought out and contained. For example the idea of Sam (1 week) being so mean to Sam (3 years) is character development at its best. Sam (3 years) has changed after all these years alone, but three years ago he was mean just like Sam (1 week), which is why they act so differently. I believe at one point Sam (3 years) mentioned that now he understands why his wife wanted some time off after seeing his temper problem.

      The fate of Sam (3 years) is just heartbreaking. I can’t imagine how I’d feel in his position. That scene after he discovers his wiffe is dead, when he shuts the communication device and cries “I just want to go home.” almost had me in tears.

      Did you know that Duncan Jones is working on another scifi film called “Mute” it’s about a mute detective living in a dystopian Blade Runner like world. Sam Rockwell will have a cameo in that film and Jones already said that the film will take place in the same time span and universe as “Moon” so in other worlds, we’ll probably find out what happens to Sam (1 week) after he lands on Earth 🙂

      Let me know what props you get from the movie. Jones tweeted a few months ago that this is where he bought the sleeping bag featured in the film. You know the one that looks like “Radioactive tampon hehe) This is an exact replica: http://www.lippiselkbag.co.uk/

      I heard there was an auction a while back and Gerty himself was on ebay. One of my hobbies is collecting screenused props.

      Best Regards,
      Wael Khairy

      Reply

      • * Spoilers *

        I agree wholeheartedly. Not only was seeing the personality changes between the two great but I also got the feeling that the filmmakers intended the “clones” to really only have a life span of around three years. It makes sense and is also a good fail-safe for these creations. That’s why 3-Years Sam seems to be breaking down toward the end. Also explains why his body got so damaged after he and 1-Week Sam had their little wrestling match. Remember 1-Week Sam saying “What the …? I hardly even touched you” after 3Y Sam starts bleeding profusely from his eye. While 3Y Sam is only three years old his body is one of an elderly man. There are a lot of things in the movie with that theme. “Waking up” is akin to being born and the men have to learn how to walk.

        I hadn’t heard about ‘Mute,” so thanks! While I genuinely hope the two movies don’t overlap I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more from Duncan Jones. I also agree about Sam Rockwell getting robbed; he’s nothing short of brilliant in that film.

        I’m not searching for props from the film, just a copy on DVD as the one I viewed was just my NetFlix account. I’d love to be able to pick up some props but theyre currently out of my price range. I do, on occasion, enjoy picking up some old 1st generation AP wire photos. I’ve got a few of Orson Welles (as well as two autographs of his) and some old tobacco cards from the 19th century up to the 1960s.

        Do you know what Gerty ended up selling for on ebay? That would be a pretty nice pick up.

        Arthur

      • Hi Arthur,

        Gerty was sold on ebay for a couple of thousand $ I can’t remember the exact figure though. Screenused.com has prices of a lot of props from movies if you’re interested. Autographs of Orson Welles? Wow, that’s very impressive. Hold on to them, there value will only increase with time.

        *SPOILER ALERT – the film ‘Moon’*
        Yeah the Sam definetely have a 3 year life span which is why it made more sense to send Sam 1 back. I read somewhere that a fan figured out exactly how many Sam’s existed from the age of his daughter in the initial videos and her age in the live video. He did so by substracting by 3 and you end up with Sam (3 years) being Sam 5.

        I wonder if the original Sam knows of this. I couldn’t live with myself knowing that there’s another Wael Khairy on the moon working to death.

      • Wael,

        I have to imagine that the original Sam is well aware of the other Sams. They would have had to use his DNA in order to create the Sams and I’m assuming get permission from him to use his memories.

        My guess is that faced with the prospect of spending a lot of time alone on the Moon he was more than happy to offer up his DNA to have clones do it instead.

        Arthur

      • AHA The conversations thickens. I think it is safe to say that there was an original Sam on the moon from the recorded video logs of his wife. We can also presume that he’s back home from the scene where his daughter calls out for him. However, I have to argue against you on the his knowing of the clones. For one thing I doubt what the company is doing is legal. It kind of felt like they are the villains. It is quite easy to get his DNA a simple blood sample can provide them with original Sam’s DNA. As for his memories, well they may have created that from scratch or figured out a way to get it without him knowing it.

        The reason I so strongly believe the original Sam does not know of this is for one simple line in the film. At one point, Sam 5, or Sam 3 years as we reffered to him, says something in the lines of “Gerty, what’s happening after I leave…it’s unfair to whoever is coming up here. 3 years is a long time…it’s unfair.” The line is not exactly as was spoken but it’s pretty close if I remember correctly. Therefore, the original Sam probably felt the same way as he after serving his 3 year term, which means that he would never give up DNA for other versions of himself to suffer.

        Wait a minute, or would he? Now, we’re into the are clones as worthy of life as originals? They are humans afterall, but they’re human created. Arthur, you know something…I’m loving this film more and more because of this exchange of philosophies behind the film.

        Best Regards,
        Wael Khairy

      • I’m not entirely sure I agree with you but I will say that I think your hypothesis, if accurate, makes the story much more interesting.

        If the Sam-Zero (original Sam), in fact, does not know about the clones then it really deepens the plot. As you mentioned, the Corporartion would be conducting illegal activities in order to increase their bottom line. This isn’t much of a stretch, at all. Listening to the audio commentaries they discussed giving everything, from the base to the rovers and even to the Sams, a dirty/dusty look to emphasis that this is a low-budget operation (obviously, the term “low-budget” is a relative one) on the Moon. Things aren’t state-of-the-art, things break down, things go in and out of service. Sam-3Y doesn’t seem too surprised when Gerty mentions that the direct satellite uplink is out of service. As far as Moon mining outfits go, this one would appear to be a bit on the cheap and low-rent side. Because of this, perhaps they would go to great (and, presumably, illegal) lengths to stretch their dollar.

        One of the things I loved about the film was their treatment of the “are clones ‘real’ people?” subject. They didn’t brow-beat any stance, one-way or another, into the audience and just sort of allowed them to naturally form an affection for these two people. By the end of it, the audience doesn’t look at them like clones or robots or any other human substitute but as people with distinct feelings, emotions and perceptions, just like everyone else. One of my favorite scenes in the film is when they’re on their way out to put Sam-3Y back into the crashed rover. The two of them sit there and discuss a memory they have, a memory that each one of them has, and yet they savor it and talk about it in an ever so slightly way. Both of them recounting it like you or I would describe a memory we have to a friend or stranger, yet the memory of their first encounter with their wife is one they both have, simultaneously.

        I think the truth about what Sam-Zero knows is somewhere in the middle. I believe he knows about them but that the activity could still be illegal and perhaps he’s in on it. If you rewatch some of the video messages Sam-3Y and Sam-1W got from their wife you can just barely make out a grown person standing off to the side of frame, occassionally slipping into it. This was a conscience chcoice by the filmmakers, according to the audio commentary, but they don’t elaborate on its intention. I believe that person to be Sam-Zero.

        However, if you’re correct about Sam-Zero not knowing it would open up an entire conversation about how much of what the Sams know and remember is actually true and how much of it has been manufactured by the Corporation. But based on how the filmmakers handled this story and the attention to detail they put into it I believe that if there were a plot point like Sam-Zero not knowing about the clones then they would have made a nod here or there to suggest it. Perhaps they have and I just didn’t pick up on them yet. I’ll certainly be rewatching this many more times so I’ll look for such hints in the future.

        Wael, perhaps you should write an entry about Moon so this will have a home dedicated just to itself and we won’t be trampling on your Avatar post. 😉

        Take care,

        Arthur

      • I may just write about this film but sometime next week. I have the sudden urge to re-watch it. It’s rare these days to have a film generate intense conversation after a viewing. ‘Moon’ is one of those. I’d love to argue with or against your theory but like I said I have to watch it again. Maybe when I write a piece on ‘Moon’ we can take this conversation to the next level. 🙂

      • Then I can’t wait for you to see Primer, Wael. I saw that at the New Beverly Cinema with a buddy and when it was over we found ourselves outside on the sidewalk talking about it for almost an hour.

        Plus, ‘Moon’ having it’s own entry will increase the odds that other people will chime in and offer insight as I’m sure there are one or two things that we’ve missed. 😉

        Take care,

        Arthur

      • I’ve been meaning to watch “Primer” for some time now. Thanks for reminding me. I’ll order it right away.

  14. Movie magic is right. It was insane. I really felt like I was there, to use a cliche. When the credits rolled, I knew it was a towering experience. I didn’t think it was perfect, but it had great moments.

    Reply

  15. A follow-up regarding “Moon” and “Primer”: “Moon” was crazily inflicting and brilliant, but I didn’t think it clicked into place. I think I need another viewing.

    “Primer” was amazing. I loved it. Best time travel film in film history, I would say.

    “District 9” I was disliking of. I definitely need another viewing there.

    Reply

    • I’ll have to watch “Primer” soon. My favorite time travel film is the old vintage “Time Machine” film from 1960 🙂 It’s a guilty pleasure. Actually, no. Scratch that. I love it and I’m proud of it.

      Reply

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