Avatar Sucked and James Cameron Should Kill Himself

Avatar works by two basic premises – It’s not racism if they’re blue and no-one remembers Heinlein.

Basically it’s like a Japanese videogame. It’s beautiful, it’s got wonderful imagry, you can get lost in the film. The foreign culture lends it alien wonderment. But ultimately, the plot paints itself into a corner, and there’s precious little plot to begin with so it has to end with a hail mary pass where suddenly this magical tree can do soul-tranfers as to let our human antihero become a blue tribal idiot.

If you’re saying “This sounds like Stranger in a Strange Land“, you’re right. It is SiaSL, but instead of being born in a foreign culture and coming to earth, Jake Sully is a human who never feels at home on Earth and then goes to Pandora where he meets and alien cast and finally understands people. He’s disgusted by how people have “lost touch with nature” and love the blue’s treehugging faggotry and then the movie ends with the blues having a huge war on humans. Great – so all the beauty and whatnot he fell in love with and the movie ends with him picking up a spear. Suddenly there’s powered armor, nuclear weapons and if you’re saying “I saw this when it was called Starship Troopers and it still sucked” you would be correct. To add to this, Sigourney Weaver washes up playing the same role she played in the Alien series (a doctor – a series of video logs) and basically you could rip out all her dialog, plunk it down in Alien 4 and not notice anything amiss.

Now, don’t get me wrong – there’s a ton of great imagry in there. Cameron probably watched the garden in Coraline about 100 times and then some kind of shangri-la generic crap to figure out how Pandora looked. The problem is that he wanted to make a movie like The Thin Red Line (still one of my favorites) but the problem is he’s not willing to go into the madness that is war. He wants his actors to be squeaky clean and he wants there to be some deep moral message against a beautiful backdrop. The problem is that he’s not willing to make his people bleed. Yes, the “bad guy” warmonger gets killed. Yes the hotshot pilot gets shot down (you’re not sure if she’s KIA or just out of the fight). The blue guys have their “betrothed” warrior get killed so Cameron won’t have to deal with a weird lovetriangle. And finally, when he’s rained fairly generic and nonsensical destruction down on a generic, beautiful and nondescript planet, he has the chance to really say something about the cost of violence, war and greed but instead of killing Jake Sully, we suddenly find out there’s a tree which can move his soul into a new body (conveniently supplied by a soulless avatar used as a meat spacesuit so there’s no cost to that either) and we realize that there’s no sacrafice anywhere except in the backdrop – the very nature the blues are supposedly fighting for in the first place.

This movie borrowed much from much greater works, and all of it was wasted.

Update: Global Politician calls it “Dances With Wolves in Space” and I think he’s spot on.

Christmas Wrap Up

The star of the show was baby Jesus, I mean Alex. We had probably 40 people over in total, all of whom wanted to hold or help with Alex. Which is nice, but he then didn’t sleep the last two days due to overstimulation. Wonderful.

The fried turkey was a huge hit, I barely got a piece myself. The ham was a standard affair and probably would have been even more popular if we had fried it too.

Presents – my parents got me some pants, which is nice because I’ve got long legs and a short middle and pants are somewhat tough to come by. I usually ended up walking on the cuffs. Plus parenthood hasn’t been kind to my middle. Also got stupid amounts of chocolate and cookies, which is probably the last thing I needed since my wife also baked stupid amounts of cookies. We’ve got a fairly high end mixer I’m slowly warming up to, which I’ve used to make delicious breads, but Kelly employs it like a fiend. Hand made bread + butter = heaven.

Got a new coffee maker, with a clock on it. I think next year (when this one breaks – the life expectancy of a coffee maker around here is measured in months) I will try to get a coffee maker that roasts, grinds and brews up coffee. Then again maybe I’ll stick to the basics since we’re hard on equipment. Kelly got a scone kit, which is good stuff although I have a terrible time only having sweets for breakfast. I got a monkey bread kit with the recipe for monkey bread which is TOP NOTCH. Also people got me coffee, huge bags of coffee.

We had a big old Christmas fire in the fireplace, nothing like wood warms the bones quite as well. Supposedly the days are getting longer and brighter but you couldn’t tell me that this morning.

Mille Bornes

I love Mille Bornes. I was tickled pink when there was a port of it in the BSD-console games package.

Problem is there’s a bug where you sometimes need a go card and sometimes do not need a go card. When don’t you need a go card? When you get hit with a hazard like out of gas, and immediately play the remedy (gas), the game will let you play a distance card like nothing happened.

Normally this would be a funny oversight, but the computer abuses it too.

You know your game is well written when the computer abuses the bugs too.

Modern Warfare 2 Patches

It was the Right Thing to do in buying Modern Warfare 2. You get real good at a loadout and then the game changes it up. Either something unlocked (a game mode, an attachment, etc) or the game gives you something in terms of perks or ranks.

The sad part is there’s some semi-annoying glitches out there. The original was the javelin missile glitch where a player could hit themselves with the missile and walk around with the unspawned missile attached to them. If you kill this player you get blown up. While it does nothing for their K/D ratio, it was really annoying to have someone suicide bomb your defense. They patched this with the last update, and it’s now hilarious to spectate someone trying to do it. The other patch fixes the care package – it no longer kills you if it falls on you and can’t be used as a bridge anymore.

The newest problem pissing me off is the Public Private Match. You choose a game mode, you go to enter with friends and you end up sucked into someone elses game mode where it’s totally different. Also it’s FFA rules despite being a “team game” and you gain XP killing teammates. The upside is when you’re sucked in, you can choose “END MATCH” and kick everyone out which I find hilarious since it’s fairly tempramental to start these things. If you select END MATCH and you’re on the winning team, you gain a ton of XP. If you’re on the losing team, you still gain some XP, but either way you’ve gotten the XP playing for all of two seconds.

Ghost Hunters Implodes Further

If you remember, I used to be in love with this show. The first and second seasons were probably honest. I say that because maybe every third episode had something to show, and the rest were snorefests wandering around. I think the pressure put on the actors was immense – not just from scifi but also from the viewers. Lets be smart for a moment and think about how many people probably DVRed the show after figuring out that two thirds of them were people bumping around in the dark for an hour?

Scifake became the prinicipal site to discuss this stuff after scifi decided to delete posts off their forums. Now scifake is up for sale and it make you wonder exactly how much of the muckraking was just to piss off people with money. Like the pirate bay and other sources of inconvenient truths, was the intent the entire time to piss off people with money so they could put their silence up for sale?

God only knows. Scifi killed their forums. Grant seems to have the most “on tape” paranormal experiences. Jason (who is an actor) claims nothing is faked – but he may also not be breaking role because he’s also a man who has to provide for his family. Several of the GHI team and other employees are flat on their asses broke and living with theit parents. And now Scifi is trying to spin the whole thing off into a new, heavilly promoted series called “ghost hunters academy”. Just when it looked like the trainwreck couldn’t get any deeper, Jason responds outside of the safe harbors of pilgrim films and scifi forums on scifake.com. It’s gotten so nuts that there’s death threats. Finally it seems every paranormal group in the nation is pissing on the Ghost Hunters.

At least with Paranormal State there was no doubt about it being faked. Penn State had issued a statement to that effect. With Ghost Adventures, it’s funny and it’s supposed to be funny. With Extreme Paranormal and Ghost Lab, they’re so pathetic and fat that they can’t conduct a proper investigation because they can’t walk from one side of the room to the other without weezing all over the EVPs. But Ghost Hunters, the original, still persists.

Song for a Son

Not sure if I can repost this so here’s a direct link. Via spinner, The Smashing Pumpkins released A Song for a Son. I know everyone is like “Billy Corgan didn’t kill himself yet?” but it’s actually a decent song. It’s somewhere between ZWAN and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. MCatIS opened up entirely new genres of music for me, and probably was the gateway album to TOOL. It doesn’t have the depth of the rock on Siamese Dream (“if one guitar is good, 10 are better”) but then again the new Smashing Pumpkins are lacking James Iha who was responcible for most of the guitar. Does it sound like Zeitgeist? Thankfully no. Zeitgeist is the louder-is-better production style of music which was pioneered by Green Day and frankly I’ll never forgive them for it.

The new album is called Teargarden by Kaleidyscope and has the same sort of bright artwork ZWAN had but in watercolor. The wanna-be punk image from Zeitgeist is gone (thank god – if there was ever a genre of music even more ironic than rap by it’s very existence – it’s “punk”) and instead it’s replaced by a music which is just as much about the artwork (watercolor) as it is the production method. So says Corgan:

[I] don’t think I’m going to make albums in the old-fashioned way, meaning 12-15 songs, etc. in one small package. My desire at this point would be to release one song at a time, over a period of 2-3 years, with it all adding up to a box set/album of sorts that would also include an art movie of the album… My thinking is that if I focus on one song at a time I would approach them as beautiful, distinct paintings that would each require the attention they deserve. This would also mean I would choose what I am recording quite carefully as there would be tremendous internal pressure to get it just right, and that is the kind of pressure I like, which is to make the most beautiful thing possible. I’ve gotten lost many times during the long haul of making a record and have overlooked some great songs because of that. The new standard for an SP song would that it be excellent and fantastic and most importantly essential or it’s not coming out. I will do my best to meet that intention fully.

Frankly it sounds like a win to me. If there’s ever a style which is going to make it in the New Music market of ipods and droid and imaginary property, it’s an artist who understands that every song needs to be a single.