Avatar Movie Review

I’m not sure if I’ve ever done a movie review in True before, and I won’t be doing them that often, but I went to see Avatar this weekend, and I was very impressed.

Over the past several weeks I saw a lot of the hype for the movie, including quite a few clips, and frankly none of it attracted me. I was intrigued that several actors who weren’t in the movie were promoting it, apparently not sent by the studio or James Cameron; that said more to me than anything else.

I have to go to Montrose, the biggest town between Durango and Grand Junction, to go to a theater. Unfortunately, they haven’t spent the $150,000 or so to equip their projectors for 3D films, so I saw it in 2D. Still, it was stunning — both the special effects that make the story come alive, and the story itself. If the film was simply a special effects extravaganza, I wouldn’t have sat there mesmerized for 162 minutes. It’s a terrific story.

Ironically, I found the next town north, the much smaller Delta, Colorado, has made the investment in 3D, so I’m going back this week to see it again there. Yeah, I’m paying for a ticket again.

Unsolicited, Unpaid

So to begin, I’ll say I wasn’t sent by the studio or James Cameron; I wasn’t asked to talk about it, I paid for my own ticket, and I’ll say what I think about it. Don’t worry: I won’t include any “spoilers,” but yeah: I was part of the film’s $232 million opening weekend.

The first thing I couldn’t figure out before going to see the movie was, why was it called “Avatar”? The word means “embodiment,” and online it means a character that represents you in a virtual world.

The movie is set in the year 2154 on an alien world that’s inhabited by sentient 10-foot-tall humanoids (pictured below). Humans from Earth work there, and even with presumably better spaceflight technology than we have today, nearly 150 years before the story’s setting, it takes a five-year spaceflight to get there; the people traveling there pass the time in suspended animation.

It’s not mentioned in the movie, but the world they’re on, Pandora, is actually a moon of a gas giant (akin to Saturn or Jupiter), which you can see in Pandora’s sky. That’s entirely plausible: it’s thought that there might be life on gas giant moons in our solar system, especially Saturn’s moon Titan (even before last week, when it was announced by my former colleagues at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory that they’ve confirmed liquid there. See JPL’s press release — which includes the photo that clued them in).

Avatar's lead characters.

The basic premise of the movie is how humans deal with the beings on Pandora. It is, in part, with “avatars”: we have the technology to “grow” bodies using the genome of the sentient beings, and humans can interface with the bodies (the “embodiment” part) and interact with the aliens (the character that represents you in a virtual world part) — hence the title.

Being in an alien body doesn’t mean you know their culture or language, though: and that’s part of the conflict that makes the story.

That’s the Setting: Now What?

I’d like to think humans wouldn’t really do what they do in this film, but history says otherwise. That’s the main crux of the story. It did make me think: would we be so dumb and (dare I use the word?) unenlightened that we’d make the same terrible mistakes again there that we did on our own planet? When I brought that up with my wife, saying I hoped we wouldn’t do that by now, let alone by 2154, she said she didn’t think we were too good at learning from our own mistakes….

There were some little things, too, that made me roll my eyes, like they made something of the Sigourney Weaver character’s addiction to cigarettes. I just don’t find in plausible that there will still be people addicted to smoking in 2154! But hey: if that’s the worst sin in the storytelling, that’s not too terrible.

Far-Fetched

I also have a problem with the way they chose for sentient beings to connect to each other to communicate. I’ll comment more on that in the Comments below to avoid any hint of a spoiler here.

Bottom line: do I recommend it? It kept me completely entertained and attentive for 162 minutes, I’m going back this week to buy another ticket to see it again, and on top of that, it’s thought provoking. You bet I recommend it!

Rated PG-13 (“for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking.”) I agree with the first part, shrug at the second and third, and roll my eyes at the fourth.

3D Update

OK, I’ve now also seen it in 3D, and have a few things to add.

The 3D process isn’t the old red-green system, which is not just inferior quality, but would mess with the vivid colors of this movie. Instead, it uses polarization to get its effect (in particular, the RealD system). The theater in tiny (population under 7,000) Delta, Colorado, is actually quite nice: it has clearly been recently renovated, and the bright picture was top notch.

But the important question is, is the movie clearly different in 3D? If you have a choice, yes: it’s better in 3D. It’s more “immersive,” though I sure didn’t have trouble paying attention in 2D. Certain details stand out more, though, and the sweeping panoramas are more impressive. Pandora is a richly detailed imaginative world, and you simply see more of that detail in 3D.

What the 3D doesn’t bring is cheap manipulation. We’ve all probably seen gratuitous 3D effects like weapons coming “off the screen” into the audience’s faces. There’s none of that here. That simply calls attention to the effects, rather than advance the story.

There are a lot of films that are fine to watch at home on DVD. This is one that really benefits from film being projected on a big screen with a good sound system. Don’t wait for this one to come to DVD: it needs the big screen, and no matter how nice your video system is, your setup is no match for a well-equipped theater.

Not for Kids

One thing that I noticed in my second viewing that wasn’t apparent in the first was not on the screen, but in the audience: children. The guy in front of me brought his daughter, who couldn’t have been more than 5. Folks, this is not a children’s movie! It’s PG-13 for a reason: there are intense battle scenes, people being nasty, scary animals attacking people, etc. Kids do not belong in theaters when this is playing.

If I get a chance, I’ll watch it in Imax 3D someday too.

Note: I expect people commenting will have seen the movie, so there will be more story details discussed. So presume there will be spoilers there, and consider waiting to comment until after you’ve seen the film yourself.

54 Comments on “Avatar Movie Review

  1. Regarding my “problem with the way they chose for sentient beings to connect to each other to communicate.”

    All the Na’vi humanoids have long hair braided into a pony tail, and there are nerve fibers in the end of the braid. To communicate with, say, their equivalent of horses, they connect their braid with a similar braid on the animal.

    Clever. But really: nerve fibers in hair?! The Na’vi have tails for goodness sake. Tails connect to the body at the base of the spine — which is absolutely teeming with nerve fibers. It would have made a lot more sense if they used tails than hair to carry neural impulses to communicate. It’s still a quibble, but they could have not raised the question in the first place.

  2. I am glad you enjoyed the movie. I did, too. One thing that really got me, though. On Pandora, humans can’t survive because they can’t breathe whatever air is on Pandora. However, fires can burn. I thought that fire required oxygen to burn, or am I missing something?

    I see no contradiction. Just because there’s something toxic in the atmosphere (they mentioned “gas”) doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of oxygen too. -rc

  3. Yes, it was a great movie … my small post on Facebook led to a discussion that went through “panentheism” (look it up, I had to!), the USA in Iraq, and what God’s original Creation on Earth was like. Fascinating.

    Like you, I am also going back to watch it in 3D.

    Good point about the hair-tail-tendrils thing. Didn’t think of that. The little fly in the ointment for me was the massed charge of the horsy troops in the final battle. Jake, as a Marine, should have known better than to let the Na’vi be mowed down by a Charge-of-the-Light-Brigade tactic. Natives with local knowledge and good mobility should have just hit-and-run and drawn the humans in farther and farther until their battery packs run out. But I guess that’s less dramatic for the movie side of things.

  4. My thoughts on the braid-end neural fiber thingies….

    OK, first thought is, dang, I want them. And, Randy, you know I have the braid already so it seems a simple modification.

    While its true the base of the spine (or anywhere on the spinal column) would already have the resident nerve fibers, I can think of a few reasons why having it there would sure be awkward. It’s part of mating…so unless you don’t like looking at your partner, that won’t work. If used for riding, well, as someone who rides, I can tell you the last place you want the connector to be is on your seat. One good buck and broken connection, and don’t even think about it with those dragon things, I mean there’s no SITTING there. The braid can be pulled forward, sideways, and is flexible and moves either with or independent of the body. Made sense to me!

    The end of the tail could also work, but the tail acted like a true feline tail, an extension of their, hm, attitude…and there was a LOT of tail lashing going on in some of those scenes.

    Anyway…just my random thoughts. ABSOLUTELY was entranced by this flick. Can’t wait to see it again!

    I guess I wasn’t clear: I did mean that the “connection” should be at the end of their tails, which lead to the spine, rather than at the end of their hair braids. But it’s still a quibble! -rc

  5. Did you notice that when they were guiding Jake Sully to Eytucan near the beginning they held a knife to his pony tail? We hadn’t really been shown the idea of linking yet, so it made me think of Samson. Perhaps they thought linking tails might have counted towards that “sensuality” rating a bit more :p

    I did not notice it. I’ll watch for it on my second viewing. -rc

  6. Just saw Avatar and I agree that the story is basically, basic.

    When the Riders rode up it felt like a western or hell even Chaka Zulu. The well armed against the Uncivilized. However, that’s when it changed for me. The basics of the movie added other levels of basics – Spiritual overtones, environmentalism ideologies and corporate greed – which actually made it interesting.

    Then there’s this beautiful world (even without the 3D glasses a gimmick I could’ve done without, actually). Plus, brace yourself, it was actually a manly flick. I mean Mech-Warriors, Discovery Channel style animal fights, big guns, death, aerial warfare and Aliens! Yeah, rock on. Plus your notwithstanding, love story. Good times.

    Basic plot? Yes, very. Nothing new just turn on any cable network news channel. Manly Flick? Sure. Girly Stuff? Absolutely. Including a strong woman figure for the “Feminist”. I said it already but it’s good times. Remember how Jurassic Park (The first one) changed your life? Expect that.

    Good, except that I found Jurassic Park and its deus ex machina ending to be a bore. -rc

  7. On the Hair/tendril issue,I’d rationalised it that it was like a second “Tail” coming from the head that happened to be hairy along its length! ymmv. The movie in my area had a preview in 3D at the second closest screen, so went to that last Wednesday. The closest one has opened its run with the 2D version, so am going this week to compare it w/o glasses! I’m not usually a multiple viewer of movies. If I enjoy, I’ll buy the DVD too! I enjoyed this, but am going back. Sigourney’s character smoking was for me part of a nod to the “Aliens” movie, with the Space Marines, A “Carter Burke” Company Weasel Guy, And the Robotic exoskeletons.

    I never saw any of the Alien franchise, so if that’s homage to that series, then I feel better about it — even though Alien/Aliens was set in the future too, right? -rc

  8. “I won’t be doing them [movie reviews] that often” – an excellent plan. Never again may be worth considering. A long boring item not up to your standards, serving only to confirm that 99.9% of what comes out of Hollywood is crap.

    Have a joyous Christmas!

    Your mileage may vary. I saw it, and said it’s fabulous. You didn’t see it, and say it’s crap. Not exactly objective, are you? -rc

  9. I read up on the Wikipedia entry on Avatar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avatar_(2009_film)
    Apparently the atmosphere of Pandora contains: Methane- hmmm not a big deal but could be tolerable, and Ammonia- O.K. even a little bit of that is toxic to a human. But to me, the notion of an unbreathable atmosphere makes for real science fiction. It’s nice to see aliens who don’t automatically speak English.

    The planet/moon of Pandora, orbits Polyphemus, which itself is a gas giant (one of three) that orbits Alpha Centauri A. So, humans have advanced enough to take a 4.3 light year trip in roughly 5.9 years? Not too shabby. Not light speed for sure, but a significant fraction of ‘c’ though. One strange thing though, the ‘ex’-marine paraplegic apparently never needs to go to the bathroom in his Avatar Immersion Unit in the Lab, yet they’ve no problem forcing him to eat there.

    And somehow I’m not the least bit surprised that the 22nd Century’s Veteran’s Administration has the technology to grow a new spine, yet can’t be bothered to do so for a Vet.

    Yeah, the bathroom issue came up for me, too, but hey: when have you ever seen that addressed in mainstream SF? Not even the Enterprise had a head until they needed to do a shower scene in the first movie! -rc

  10. I think the point of nerve fibers in hair was to both enhance alienness and offered as a trope to folks without much science background. Brain/hair is a simpler association to make than tail/spine/nervous system and in some ways also would make the Na’vi seem less than human vs. more than human as the hair connection did. Besides, the tails were used in a couple of scenes to display affection.

    A good point about Jake and the Charge of the Light Brigade tactic at the end. It probably does make for better story-telling than depicting how an indigenous people intimately familiar with the terrain both above and below might actually have attacked.

  11. I saw it last night in 3-D and enjoyed it greatly. I am an avid S-F (Not Sci-Fi) reader. Most, if not all, of the major concepts of the story have been covered in books that I have read. This includes the concept of hairlike nerve fibers. It isn’t that far from the scalp to the brain.

    At first, I thought they were going to use the tail to make a second connection to the animal on the other side.

    The sentient planet idea has been explored in many novels as well.

    In short, I loved the movie even if it did have a “Message”. I usually don’t like “message” movies. When I go to the movies, it is to be entertained, not depressed or educated. I watch the “News” and interact with people respectively for those 2 issues.

  12. I saw Avatar in 3D last Friday.

    Firstly the 3D. Maybe there was something wrong with how they were projecting it or my eyesight is incompatible with how they were producing 3D but I saw no third dimension. I’ve watched 3D films before and they’ve looked 3D but that was always the Red/Green or Blue/Golden-Brown cellophane type glasses. These were not coloured, I guess they use polarisation of the light to get the two separate images. Without the glasses the picture was fuzzy, with then it was less fuzzy and both myself and my sister (who was seeing it with me) got headaches.

    Now the story. I liked it. True it didn’t break much major new ground, a lot of the world and mythos seemed to be pulled from the fiction of Anne McCaffrey (in particular her Pern and Petabee series) with some Orson Scott Card and bits from other authors thrown in. Still, there’s only so many stories you can tell and so many variations on reality you can use before it becomes too alien for the audience to connect with.

    I loved that the aliens didn’t speak English, despite the ‘missionary’ endeavours of the humans.

    I did think briefly about using the braid to connect to the beasts but I thought maybe they had some sort of external protuberance that was wired directly to the brain and to afford it some protection they braided their hair around it.

    Over all I enjoyed the film but resented paying a premium (nearly twice the price of a normal ticket) to see it in 3D when I couldn’t see the third dimension. I will be watching it again (probably next week) but will be going to a flat screening.

  13. Panentheism is its own thing, not a misspelling:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panentheism

    I saw the 3-D version in a regular theater and was pleasantly surprised that it worked well for me. I was disappointed with the 3-D in an earlier IMAX Harry Potter movie because I kept seeing “ghosts” where the wrong eye could sort of see what the other eye should, but it worked great for me in this movie. Your eyes and the adjustments in your theater may vary.

    I was very impressed that I was not constantly aware of the technology (the CGI and the 3-D) but really got drawn into the plot and characters. Not every point was original, but I found the avatar idea and how it played out interesting. I also started wondering about when the guy sleeps, eats, etc. but then they did pretty well showing that it was hard getting in meals and sleep and logging his activities and waking up in time. The braid was great, though I would have preferred the tail where there are muscles to move it rather than having to use a hand to place it.

  14. @Lynda. I meant “Panentheism”. There’s a separate entry in Wikipedia for this. I quote the first paragraph below. Just learnt the concept myself. A friend of mine educated me that the very alive world of Pandora is consistent with evangelical Christian Creation panentheism.

    (from Greek πᾶν (pân) “all”; ἐν (en) “in”; and θεός (theós) “God”; “all-in-God”) is a belief system which posits that God exists and interpenetrates every part of nature, and timelessly extends beyond as well. Panentheism is distinguished from pantheism, which holds that God is synonymous with the material universe.[1]

  15. I enjoyed the movie. The tech was really good and the CGI was seamlessly joined with the human actors.

    One plot point I found frustrating was when Grace was describing to Parker how everything on the planet was connected in an effort to prevent him from sending in the military. I kept wanting her to say something like “If we could harness the power of this planet’s superbrain it would be far more valuable than all of the unobtainium in the world!” I felt like this would have been a persuasive argument for Parker and she was so nearly there but never said that to him. I mean, it makes sense that her character wouldn’t think that way, but I would have thought that she was clever enough to see what was important to Parker. Of course, it would have meant a more boring ending.

    I did like how they just called the desired mineral “unobtainium” – pretty cute.

    Actually, I hated the name; they may as well have called it “fakium” or “Movie Hocus Pokusium” — it called too much attention to itself as being made up. But yes, for Grace to not conclude with the importance of her point was a silly lapse. Makes the ending harder? Fine! Then it would have been even more satisfying. -rc

  16. Thoroughly enjoyed the movie–constantly wowed by the special effects! The neural-connections-in-the-tail thing is something I hadn’t thought of.

    I did have an issue with the movie’s ending, however. Yes, the Na’vi were able to send the humans packing. However, it took hundreds of casualties (mostly from that idiotic cavalry charge!) to remove just a few hundred humans. Most importantly though, it wasn’t a permanent solution. What happens when the humans return on the next space craft in about a decade, angry and with all the knowledge the others had? A simple orbital strike onto the great tree would basically destroy the Na’vi psychologically, and more efficient use of firepower would ensure the Na’vi’s defeat.

    In principle, I agree with Cameron’s call to stop destroying nature, but I feel that this was the wrong message to send.

    Well, I guess we know what the sequel will be about, then…. -rc

  17. Robert (And Randy)

    You don’t need oxygen for fire, even here on earth… Florine or Chlorine work quite well, and make fires that are almost impossible to extinguish other than by removing the source or oxidant.

  18. Just a comment on Sigourney Weaver’s character. As mentioned before the whole smoking thing may be aimed towards the “Alien” franchise, which was in fact set in the future also. I see your point on how its hard to think that people that far in the future will still have an addiction to cigarettes, but you have to remember that “Alien” was released in 1979 when smoking wasn’t nearly as taboo as society has made it these days.

    On another note, you should really consider watching those movies. The first one is astounding when you consider when it was made and what little they had in terms of special effects back then. Its thirty years old now and the alien is still as scary even without all the new CGI we have now. The second is just a great action flick. The third and fourth are passable IMO, so do yourself a favor and at a minimum watch the first two. I realize this has very little to do with Avatar: But having read your review, I will more than likely take the time to go see it now. What I initially gathered from the few previews I saw was “Oh great, HALO the movie.” Now that I know that’s not the case, I’m actually quite interested.

  19. Thanks for the review and comments. I too saw a number of kids at the 3D screening I attended. Not a good idea, as Randy says. Thanks also for the clarification of pantheism and panentheism.

    For me the 3D imaging worked well, in part because if was often subtle rather than “look-at-this” overwhelming. The design of the alien world was very rich in 3D. I don’t mind that not all the details were spelled out, but (unless I missed it) there was no explanation for the floating mountains. I mean, lower gravity is one thing, but mountains that float? What is up with that? (so to speak)

    Good question. I found the concept quite unbelievable (in the worst sense), but just went with it as a cute concept. -rc

  20. I saw Avatar-3D Christmas Day. Outstanding movie — I became immersed in the gorgeous graphics and involved with the story. The CGI is very realistic. I found the 3D effects very supportive of the story.

    Yes, the story is a bit basic. Part reminded me of Pocohontas, where she intercedes to prevent her father from killing John Smith. Characters are simple: gruff, insensitive career Marine commander who turns out to be the bad guy; corporate stuffed shirts that are willing to “do the right thing” as long as it meets the bottom line, but equally willing to “do the wrong thing” if that doesn’t work; female scientists who wants to protect the natives. But I didn’t find the characters cartoonish or unbelievable. It was not difficult to identify with them.

    I thought it was interesting how phosphorescent everything was. Walking through the forest, every step caused a glow. Everything that was touched gave off light.

    The nerve braid was an interesting touch, but if I put on my analytical hat, it’s not very plausible that different species would be able to connect with each other. For example, all a predator would have to do is connect to the prey’s nerve braid and tell it to roll over.

    Re: direct charge. Jake describes himself as a mostly uneducated jarhead. I don’t think that Marine corporals learn much about battle tactics in basic training; they learn handle weapons and follow orders. Perhaps he should have thought of something other than a direct charge, but I doubt that the average Marine in 2154 (or today) knows about the Charge of the Light Brigade (either poem or battle). Dr. Grace or the pilot, Trudy, might have had more background to suggest different tactics.

    All in all, an excellent SciFi film, IMO.

  21. I have to say i disagree strongly with most of the reviewers.

    The cinematography was indeed fantastic, but aside from that this movie had nothing to recommend it. the plot could have been copied from any number of other movies and the dialog was neither particularly witty or original. The only thing that kept me interested was wondering how they were going to resolve the various technical difficulties involved i.e. two heroines or two species falling in love.

    It was worth seeing once but not more. On a personal note as an eyeglasses wearer I found wearing two pairs at once to be very annoying.

    The most interesting part of the movie for me was watching the jarhead joke zoom over the heads of 150 Israelis in the theater.

  22. Regarding “unobtanium,” Cameron did not invent the term. From Wikipedia: “Engineers have long (since at least the 1950s) used the term unobtainium when referring to unusual or costly materials, or when theoretically considering a material perfect for their needs in all respects save that it doesn’t exist.”

  23. I was a little surprised that you did not refer to the medical aspects of the movie. None in the fighting scenes. Minimal at the beginning in reference to his legs. Even the Pandora natives only referenced the life cycle but showed no use of plant life for medical use. This would have added a great additional story line.

    Like you I will see this movie again. This movie may set a new standard for future movies, both SF and others that can use a 3D and the new computer generated animation.

    I guess I will have to upgrade my subscription to guarantee that you will be able to see this movie again.

    Heh! But how much more storyline did you want? The movie is already 162 minutes! -rc

  24. “I just don’t find in plausible that there will still be people addicted to smoking in 2154.”

    A bit off-topic, but I was struck by that statement. I wondered why you’d think that. Anti-tobacco campaigns have come and gone, from King James, to Adolf Hitler, to today’s anti-smoker climate. People are just as aware of the health implications of smoking cigarettes now, as they will ever be in the future. Even the threat of a more immediate death, by authorities in the past, wasn’t able to dampen enthusiasm for tobacco! You could say the same for all mind-altering substances, I think. Do you really think we’ll evolve so much within 145 years?

    Well, let’s hope the drug wars are over by then, anyway.

    We agree on the drug wars. It’s not evolution per se I’m thinking of, but rather government subsidies, which keep tobacco use going. I understand some smokers find pleasure from it, but it has finally passed from being “cool”, which is what got kids started with it. So yes, I believe the social evolution will move us beyond smoking, and in less than 145 years. -rc

  25. @ Mike Eager. I think you do the Marines a mite of a disservice. 😀 They do not need to know the Charge of the Light Brigade (historical event or poem) to know that the horse charge was foolhardy. No decent soldier, not even a cook, would voluntarily charge swords against rifles, or rifles against machine guns, or infantry against entrenched positions. Oh, generals and other commanders have ordered it (the Somme, Gallipoli, Hamburger Hill, a long list), but the grunt knows better.

  26. First of all, I wanted to start by thanking you, Randy, for recommending this movie. Every year my family goes to see a movie together over Christmas break (or we split up and everyone goes to see a couple of movies at the same time). Normally I’m not a big movie person, and I either go along with someone else or else sit in the movie theater and read while waiting for everyone else. This year I took your recommendation and “dragged” my family to see Avatar. My parents weren’t too sure about it (I wasn’t completely sure either), but we all ended up loving it. So, thank you.

    A couple of thoughts. First of all, I mentioned my disbelief in the floating mountains as well during my family’s follow-up conversation. My dad said that he’d noticed the mountains were in the same area as the huge lode of unobtainium, and the same area as all of those fields that cut off the military’s electronic communications. His theory was that the unobtainium might have been one of the elements permitting the inter-planetary communication (i.e. among the trees, etc) and helping things grow (he pointed out that the vegetation in that area was particularly lush) and also creating some sort of unique magnetic force that caused the floating mountains. Not sure about that, but it did give some sort of plausible-ish explanation for what the creators might have been thinking. (I’m still not sure about the waterfall, though; it’s a chunk of rock up in the sky and it has a constant enough source of water for a waterfall that big?)

    As far as the nerve braid being an implausible adaptation to the world, I don’t think it’s actually as odd as it seems. (As a sidenote, I tend to go with the theory that it wasn’t an actual braid of hair, it just looked like one and perhaps had hair growing around the whatever-it-was; this was partially because the other, tinier braids around their faces appeared to have a whole other texture to them.) First of all, it appeared that it was difficult to make that connection the first time with most creatures. Yes, with the horse-like animals Jake could hop right on and connect, but Nyateri (not sure if I’m spelling that right) made it clear that that was not always the case. It seems reasonable to me that the Na’vi equivalent of a domesticated animal would have grown adapted to the Na’vi connection in a way that wild animals never would. However, without the animal sitting still and docilely allowing that connection to be made, it was dangerous and even fatal to try for it the first time. Someone else suggested that predators would just snag their prey and make them roll over. I would humbly submit that said prey (being presumably as wise about fleeing death and being eaten as Earth prey) would fight so hard that it would be much simpler for a predator to kill its prey in a normal manner. Also, part of the bond formed between the Na’vi and the animals they connected to in that way was telepathic and required the cooperation of both Na’vi and animal. Even if a predator could subdue its prey long enough to make that connection, I just don’t think it would “stick”. It’s easy for me to imagine such a connection that would work between two creatures that were cooperating but would fall apart if it were used to break or kill one of the two creatures involved in, say, a hunt.

  27. “Clever. But really: nerve fibers in hair?!”

    Randy, from what I’ve seen in the movie, all sentient beings have one or two small “tails” protruding from their heads with the nerve connectors in addition to their tails.

    Also, some Na’vi have different hair cuts, shaved on the side, which also doesn’t seem too plausible: you wouldn’t cut your nerve fibers, would you?

    Thus, my interpretation is that they have the second “tail” with the nerve connectors as well, except that they chose to let their hair grow and curl it around it to make a pony tail. Looks better and the hair ends may actually help to protect the nerve fibers.

  28. Jackie in Tacoma: I thought the waterfall was quite plausible. Consider the tepui of Venezuela (where the world’s highest waterfall is located). Particularly on a planet with light gravity, I’d expect significant rain even a few kilometres above ground.

    The physics of the floating mountains is, obviously, a bit iffy, but I liked them. I’ve seen the concept quite a few times in various fantasy & sci-fi books over the years, so I guess I was a bit more accepting of it. I did like the way the string of rocks they were climbing behaved like buoyant material held down by the vines.

    Randy, I’d like to thank you for your recommendation. It was the primary reason I decided to go (I’ve been disappointed by far too many “blockbusters” in the past), and my wife & I both enjoyed it.

    W.r.t. the 3D effects – most of the time it was subtle enough that it just added to the richness of the environment, but I found a few instances where objects “flew out” of the screen that did little but pull my attention out of the movie and into the big room full of rows of seats. Using it to provide depth *into* the screen seemed to work fairly well, though.

    One other aspect of it caused me a few headaches at the beginning (almost literally!) – the depth of focus of the camera used meant that you couldn’t actually look at objects that were close to the camera (and thus appeared to be closer to the viewer). Well, you could, but you couldn’t focus on them, no matter how hard you tried, and I started to get an ache behind the eyes until I learned to just look at the principle subject of the shot, and let the peripheral vision soak the rest up. I didn’t realise before just how much I looked around the screen when watching a movie!

    All up, though, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sure, parts were unrealistic, but, hey, it was better than the average Hollywood! They might have even had real scientific advisors, and actually *listened* to them! 😀

  29. Unfortunately I didn’t get to enjoy the show. The 3d made me vomit. I had to leave twice then went back in for a third time to tell my friends I couldn’t stay. Bummer. I was looking forward to it. The nausea may just have been because we were sitting so close to the front. Don’t know.

    I would think being close to the front would increase problems for someone who was sensitive to it. I had no trouble at all with the 3D — no motion sickness during the flying scenes, no headache, etc. Others obviously might have difficulties I didn’t. -rc

  30. Hey, nerd patrol. I thought this movie was awesome. No need to worry about details. You are spending way too much time over thinking a beautiful movie. So maybe some of it did not make sense, that’s called imagination. The movie was technically absolute genuis. I agree no children should see this movie. Loved it in 3D.

    Hey, brainless. (Don’t like to be called names? Then don’t do it yourself.) I happen to get more enjoyment out of entertainment that makes me think. That is, in fact, what TRUE is about. If you don’t, fine, but I don’t think it’s necessary for you to try to take some of our enjoyment away. And by the way: imagination requires thinking. -rc

  31. The line I thought most intriguing/amusing about those appendages came from Sigourney Weaver’s character when Jake first emerges in his new body. She says something about “don’t keep doing that (handling the appendage) unless you want to go blind.” Old-fashioned crude, but got the point across that it was much more than hair. I don’t know if it was supposed to be significant, but it seemed to me that the natives had much more muscle control over their bundles when making the link, whereas Jake always needed a hand to get it in place. Experience? Did a human brain have trouble controlling an appendage we haven’t had since birth? Or was the avatar body weak in that arena?

    Having grown up in Delta, I was interested to hear your comments about the theater there — nice to know they have maintained the old structure. It does make me wish I had had the time this last summer to go while I was there visiting.

    The theater in Delta has been beautifully restored. It’s ironically much nicer than the theaters in Montrose. -rc

  32. I saw it the Sunday after Christmas, in Real-3D, and was thoroughly entranced by it. There were indeed flaws in the story, and the two villains were a bit simplistic, but the characters were pure Cameron, and the technological evolution Cameron makes in cinema technology was fantastic (Robert Zemeckis and his motion-capture tech can take a flying leap, as far as I’m concerned).

    Something no one has mentioned regarding Unobtainium and flying mountains is how we see the bit of it in the labs always floating. At first I thought it was to make it look prettier, but perhaps unobtainium has anti-gravitic properties when placed close to other elements… such as whatever the display stand was made of? Unfortunately this doesn’t explain why the home tree wasn’t on a floating mountain, or why the humans didn’t simply pluck floating mountains from the sky if indeed they are made from unobtainium.

    As for the humans returning in ten years…perhaps they’ll be unable to, now that they have no source of unobtainium.

    The holes in the story don’t bother me too much because Cameron did a great job building a world and building characters. Two out of three ain’t bad.

  33. Unobtainium — I think — was just the lead civilian’s nickname for the metal: his own little joke regarding the whole planetary mining setup required to extract the stuff and ship it home on a 5-year flight.

    The horse charge was ridiculous, and the blatant apologizing for Western European cultures pushing out and slaughtering indigenous populations throughout history was a bit heavy-handed for my tastes. The Na’vi were just too much like Native American people (with the horse-riding plains people, ocean-going fishers, etc) to make the comparison subtle.

    The part that really annoyed me, though, was the horrible lack of tactics used by supposedly trained marines and thousands of members of a hunter culture that employed flying beasts. All it would have taken to stop the bombing run cold would have been for those bird riders to drop loads of rocks, vines, and other debris on the open vanes and intake manifolds of those aircraft. It doesn’t require a grenade to blow up an engine: a fist-sized rock would shred the vanes and send the aircraft crashing down in seconds. If they really wanted to be dramatic, a few kamikaze flyers could have taken down the whole flight in minutes. This vulnerability was so painfully obvious that it hurt to watch the final fight as they stupidly waited for the attack to get within range of the sacred tree. Hell, watching those aircraft hover beneath the massive canopies where the wind from the props was shaking crap loose from the trees I fully expected that they were aware that something falling (or getting sucked into) the propellers would cause serious trouble.

    Aside from that, though, I loved the movie. It was a very subtly awesome ride.
    Regarding the Real3D: the best place to sit is in the center of the theater where your eyes are level with the center of the screen. All of the effects seem targeted at that point and you don’t get as much of the disorientation from seeing the edges of the screen weird angles messing up the effects.

    Regarding control over the hair braids: If you watch closely, even the natives sweep their braids up in order to connect with their animals. They do it much more smoothly than Jake, having done it all their lives, but it’s there. I think that subtle difference in movement made it more realistic.

    Oh, and I took my 7 and 11 year old children to see the movie, and they loved it. The idea that either the smoking or the “love scene” was worthy of a PG-13 rating is a joke.

    Those are also-ran topics for the PG-13 rating. The main point was “intense epic battle sequences and warfare,” which I personally think are too intense for a 5-year-old. Some 7-year-olds may be able to handle it, presumably including yours. Some parents may object to profanity, too, but I swore more than that when I was 9. (Yeah, I was a precocious little bastard….) -rc

  34. I agree with Denise (NC) on the facility with which one could have used the air attack to greater advantage. The Na’vi tended from what I could see to be fairly bright, and after seeing how easy it was to send one of those flying machines down by clogging the vents, you’d think they would have focused on that from the beginning (or close to the beginning). Not only would that have stopped the choppers and such, but it would also have been effective with the humans in those walking, fighting machines (like the one that the head military bad guy was in at the end). Breaking the glass on them would have been a good way to make sure that the humans were at least incapacitated for awhile (as they tried to get their masks on) so that they would make easier targets for those on the ground (or hiding in trees and such), or possibly dead if they couldn’t get to the masks.

    On a completely unrelated note, I had one thing that stood out from the movie that I forgot to comment on last time. One of the elements of the movie that I particularly appreciated was the way in which Jake became a member of a new culture and the bumps he went through along the way for that to happen (Randy, I know you mentioned this in your original comments). Moving into a new culture is never easy, and living with a completely different race of beings who have developed in a certain way thanks to their unique environment and set of challenges that they face, is going to be that much more difficult.

    One of the things that they showed in the movie that tends to be looked down on is the way that Jake “went native”. This is something that I tend to appreciate, and when it gets criticized I get annoyed, so I liked watching him gradually become more at one with the culture he was living in. Many people that I have encountered have considered “going native” to be a bad thing; it’s all well and good to play by “their” rules, but you don’t want to become one of “them”. I probably do not need to say that there is a hidden (or sometimes not so hidden) condescension and feeling of superiority on the part of those who condemn someone for becoming a true part of the culture they enter (let me make it clear that this is not a universal reaction; it is, however, one that I have seen in many places). It’s hard to do (indeed, one of my few criticisms of this aspect of the movie is that we didn’t see much of Jake’s culture shock, nor did we see any negative aspects of the Na’vi culture), but the more you can become a part of the people you are living with, the better able you are to live well with them and understand their perspective and way of life. After all, your own native culture developed in a particular place and time in response to a particular set of environmental factors, climate, geography, politics, etc. It may be the most logical way to approach the specific location that you lived, but the culture you’re moving into is one that is a logical way to approach those same factors as experienced in this new location.

    At the same time, you can’t completely shed your native culture and wholeheartedly adopt a new one in every way, at least not past a certain age. I believe that once Jake has lived with the Na’vi longer, he will see ways in which he is still human in thinking and perspective. Furthermore, if humans return to Pandora, and if those humans don’t make the mistake of scorning him for rejecting his human body and lifestyle, then he is likely to play a key role in future Na’vi-human interactions as a cultural bridge helping each side understand the other. (I say this despite his rejection of the “Sky People” as invaders; if they are not trying to attack his loved ones, and if he’s had longer to realize both the ways in which he is now fully Na’vi and the ways in which he is still human, I believe he will recognize his dual nature.)

    I could be wrong; however, from what I’ve seen of inter-cultural relations, most good relationships between differing people groups and nations come from those people who go into the opposing culture, “go native”, gain a true understanding (or as much as is possible; we still all have our own perspective that can’t be entirely lost) of that people, and then provide that bridge between the two people groups. The more bridges you have the more likely it is to work (and the less strain it puts on any one human bridge), but you can make it with just one. Having him around (along with the others such as Norm who did not become fully Na’vi but still spent time living and working with them) will be the key to anything positive that may come in the future from renewed interactions between the two groups.

  35. I thought the special effects were stunning and entertaining, but the story was hardly original. It was Pocohantas in an alien world. Also, I didn’t care for Cameron’s or whoever’s not so subtle message that is also old, hackneyed and inaccurate: “Technology is BAD, Corporations are BAD, the military is BAD. New age harmony with nature eschewing technology is the only right way.” I know a lot of good corporations and a lot of good people who work for them. Additionally, the movie alludes, only very obliquely and not very clearly, that the “military” presence on the planet are really mercenaries, but then refers to them the rest of the movie as “Marines.” I think that’s a slap in the face of some very real heroes. Cameron should have done better than that.

  36. I’m going to have to take issue with James in New Mexico.

    Particularly since I’m a military vet myself.

    “I didn’t care for Cameron’s or whoever’s not so subtle message that is also old, hackneyed and inaccurate: “Technology is BAD, Corporations are BAD, the military is BAD. New age harmony with nature eschewing technology is the only right way.”

    Then James, you’ve not been paying attention very well.

    Avatar could be considered a glaring example of the Unnecessary War in Iraq, over the ephemeral WMD. Corporate Greed is the impetus to run roughshod over the local’s rights in an effort to grab their resources.

    A disabled Military Vet COULD be healed by the 22nd Century’s equivalent of the V.A., but presumably isn’t because of the cost. A bunch of bullies using their technology to their own advantage.

    Cryo-sleep. Regrowing a spine, Sub-Luminal Interstellar Travel, Cloning a body to maturation in a short amount of time, Mental Immersion into a foreign body, etc, etc.

    All that shows me that Technology is GREAT.

    Corporations obviously bankrolled their mission. A Starship for Heaven’s sake! Both the Corporate folks on the planet and the Military there had the same problem: Arrogance. “You shoot machine guns at folks, you’re gonna find they’re not gonna be too happy about such, (sic).”

    They can travel between Stars, but they can’t mine the ore without Strip-mining it? That says to me someone wasn’t thinking straight. True there’s no EPA, but Strip-mining is one of the more deleterious ways of grabbing minerals. Just talk to anyone in the Appalachias.

    And the Military? The Colonel was smart enough to survive “X” number of years there. Trudy Chacon was the one Military person who had the balls to question her orders. Something the folks at Abu Ghraib should’ve done.

    No. The movie illustrates what I think what Humanity needs to grow up and away from — That Might isn’t always Right.

  37. I couldn’t believe they didn’t fuse their braids when they got jiggy. It’s about connecting and becoming one with wild beasts and whatnot, right? Hello?

    Um, how do you know they didn’t? -rc

  38. As Cleve points out, the word “unobtanium” predates Cameron’s use in this movie — thus, it serves as what I thought is a fairly clever in-joke regarding engineers/scientists/techies’ habits in naming things. (One I’d have expected _you_ to appreciate more, Randy — even if astronomers tend to be more reserved in their naming than, say, biologists. The insect guys have just completely given up, at this point!)

    Of COURSE it calls attention to the fact that it’s made up! That’s very much the point. IRS Records’ compilation of R.E.M (the band)’s catalog on their label was titled “Eponymous”. Neal Stephenson named the lead character in “Snow Crash” Hiro Protagonist. And the MacGuffin in “Avatar” was called unobtanium. Three different approaches to telling the same basic joke. (Well, I guess the REM one is more “in the same vein”.)

    My objection is that it pulled me out of the movie, where I was immersed, and back to reality to roll my eyes. That is a failure: the idea is to draw people in to be part of the created world. -rc

  39. I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the mythological reference — “Pandora’s Box”, anyone? When she did so, all of the evils, ills, diseases, and burdensome labor that mankind had not known previously, escaped from the jar, but it is said, that at the very bottom of her jar, there lay hope. It parallels the movie. The planet itself (And humanity’s discovery of it) is Pandora’s Box.
    Throughout the movie,most humans were basically acting in an evil manner. But near the end, human heroes were a source of hope.

    Also, I saw several people (not here) refer to the word “Avatar” as gods in human form. I would think to the na’vi, the first humans to discover Pandora were gods. Or just that Jake Sully was a god who saved them from evil.

  40. RE: Pandora. There is the mythological association, which Lauren mentions. But just the name alone may be of greater significance, though: two Greek works meaning ‘all gifts,’ which is what the moon offered to the mostly-oblivious Earthlings. (I always liked using the email program Eudora, which means ‘good gift.’)

  41. I got to see this movie in IMAX 3D, and though I haven’t seen Avatar in any other format (so I can’t really compare) I think the extra screen space was definitely worth it. It just looked amazing and I’d say James Cameron really pushed the technology to its limits.

    My only gripe with the 3D was the out of focus shots. Focusing is supposed to give depth of field but 3D has so much depth of field it just made it look like something was wrong. That’s my only nag about the 3D, oh and maybe they could make the glasses more comfortable, they are little awkward to wear. But for me the technology that blew me out of the water was the motion capture. I’ve seen other motion capture films before but this was a whole another level to it, it completely brought the Na’vi to life. I could not stop staring at Neytiri’s face; she didn’t even have to speak, all her emotions were written on her face. I’ve never seen motion capture so clear and detailed.

    When it comes to the plot I have to admit it is the adult version of Fern Gully. I don’t know anything about military tactics but my impression was they had to protect the tree of souls that’s why they didn’t do any fancy tactics because if the tree was destroyed then the Na’vi would lose their will to fight. Though I remember something where Jake said about dragging them into the floating mountains so the humans can’t shoot straight.

    As for the floating mountains themselves I got the impression they were being held by tree roots rather than floating. I was thinking they were like trees who had staghorn like plants growing off them that collected dirt and rocks in their nest (obviously on a larger scale though) and then perhaps the plant itself died of leaving rock encasing the trees.

    As for the hair nerves they made sense to me, especially when you consider deep sea fish work with nerve fibers that either glow to lure prey or use to feel their way around. It’s nowhere near the symbiotic relationship that the Na’vi use them for but if fish can grow nerves out of their head why not humanoids too? Besides when you consider the planet’s structure is one big symbiotic organism it only stands to reason the Na’vi would have evolved to tap into it.

    My last quibble is about the smoking. I have to admit I’m not as optimistic as you Randy. I actually think a hundred years from now will still be smoking. Only recently I saw a car race and the driver got out of the car and on his suit was written Marlboro. And statistics in Australia show teenage smoking is still on the rise, despite all indoor smoking being banned. Also internationally speaking you got countries like Greece and Turkey where nearly everyone smokes and it’s not dropping, not to mention there are still airlines that will allow smoking. And besides fictionally speaking in the world of Avatar, the Earth that is alluded to isn’t exactly one that is going to care about smoking. Healthcare is only for the rich and there’s no legal ramifications for the destruction of a whole race (you notice during Parker’s tirade he talks about bad publicity so he knows it will be public knowledge but he makes no reference to any code that states his actions are criminal, it’s only ethical dilemma not legal), if you believe James Cameron a hundred years from now and the world isn’t going to be nice, let alone caring. So I totally believe the smoking and didn’t bat an eye when Grace asked for a cigarette.

    My final note is a bit of a question, but did anyone find it funny when Grace was taken to the Tree Of Souls and she was dying she said “I need to get samples”? I got to admit it cracked me up.

  42. I saw it on New Years Eve – loved it, but I noticed a few things I’d like to mention.
    The 3D was great – I actually forgot about it within 10 minutes. The only time I noticed it was when something drifted down – I actually had to resist trying to grab some of it.

    “Unobtanium” – Did I miss what it was so vital for? I wondered why it was always floating, in the office. Later when the floating mountains appeared, I thought that that was a function of the ore. I would have liked a bit more info on it. Why did Dune pop into my mind? (SPICE!) (And what would Dune look like using this movie technology? Or Dragonriders of Pern?)

    How much did it cost to send these enormous mining machines to this planet?

    Cigarettes – did anybody in the movie say anything about her smoking? I seem to remember a comment, but I’m not sure. I know she was addicted – but they never followed up, as far as I can remember. In any event, don’t you think that somebody has come up with a “safe” cigarette by then?

    Did anybody notice that the slimy little weasel businessman started looking a bit queasy about what he had started? I sorta got the idea at the end that he wished he had gone with another plan.

    I saw the charge and cringed – as a classic wargamer, this tactic never works – it is a waste of manpower unless there is another force to hit from the side or back. The “dump stuff” tactic was what I was expecting – sit in the trees and throw stuff at them, but it wouldn’t have been as fun or interesting.) The attacks by the indigenous lifeforms reminded me of virtually every Japanese anime I’ve seen. (Princess Mononoke?)

    Oh well, he was just a corporal; they aren’t fully versed in tactics so he probably did the best he could. (He DID win, after all!)

    The only problem I’ve got about this movie: do I want to pay $10 to see it again?) (YES)

  43. Excellent movie.

    One thing which ALL sci-fi gets wrong though is the size of a planet….. Think of how many different people and landscapes there are on earth….

    When they leave at the end, how would they know if they only went 500kms away? Or to the next continent where the tree-brain doesn’t connect to….

    Even the classic sci-fi (Dune) does this. And it annoys me. You CANNOT rule a planet with basic weapons/transport. Distance is too far…..

  44. The explanation for the floating mountains is apparently that unobtainium is a room-temperature superconductor. That still doesn’t explain the waterfalls, though.

    The thing which jarred for me was the “school” and Grace’s approach to socio-cultural anthropology (or socio-cultural xenology if you prefer). Yes, having her avatar wear clothes was convenient for being able to identify her, but I thought modern anthropological ethics decried attempts to change cultures, so there seems to have been a movement back to the attitudes of the 19th Century: educate the savages rather than document the existing culture.

  45. Still looking forward to what Howard Tayler (of the Schlock Mercenary webcomic) also calls a ‘great remake of Fern Gully‘.

    Never a fan of cheesy red/blue 3D, in headache-inducing comic books, and including (otherwise amazing whiz-bang) JPL panoramas from Mars, I was apparently privileged as a kid (thus maybe spoiled) to get to see a few very early Polaroid 3D movies in the fifties, in a theater in Springfield MO. Yes, they did the spear out into the audience, and stampeding cattle likewise, and for a fourth-grader, it was nifty.

    The MJ Captain EO show at Dismal-Land was another, more recent, use of the technique, so I look fondly forward to the complete demise of the red/blue horror someday.

    Meanwhile, I’m saving up my pennies (still on layoff) to take Mama to the pictureshow.

  46. So, different world, different morphology. Why couldn’t nerve tendrils be at the base of the skull and not the base of the spine? Why look at it as if the biology has to have a counterpoint in our world. It isn’t our world.

    James Cameron is a genius with film. He is one of the most technically savy guys out there, and he makes a film where the natives are the heroes and the technophiles the bad guys.

    Being a genius doesn’t mean he makes great new stories – adapting older conventions and modernizing them is good enough. And for Sigorney Weaver’s character smoking, I have known many intelligent people who are relatively young and chose to smoke. Seems that intelligent people also rationalize the risk factors and some choose to do stupid things. Perhaps in the movie, they can grow new lungs with stem cells and they replace them every two years, and other risk factors are mitigated.

  47. Saw it in 3-D and enjoyed it, but my daughter, who is in her 7th month was nauseous throughout the movie. The 3-D didn’t agree with her. She enjoyed the story, but kept her eyes shut, so the effects were lost on her. She’s determined to return to the movie once our granddaughter has arrived.

    I take it you mean your daughter is 7 months pregnant, as opposed to 7 months old. Yeah, I’ve noticed that just about anything can nauseate a pregnant woman, so no surprise at your report! -rc

  48. Went to see Avatar (in 3D) last weekend. Fantastic. I wasn’t interested until I read your review. Very deep and thought provoking film. I just hope the effects don’t overshadow the story. But they are revolutionary. Check out the “making of” if you haven’t already.

  49. I enjoyed this movie – it really was a spectacular visual experience, and although the story was not particularly novel, it was enjoyable to watch the events unfold.

    My theory on the floating mountains are that since Pandora is a moon of a gas giant, the gas giant (presumably with a larger mass) exerts a gravitational field on Pandora. This coupled with the possibility of tidal locking between Pandora and its host planet (for example – the same side of our moon always faces the earth, because its rotational period is equal to its revolving period) seems like the best explanation for the floating mountains. And the vines just kept the rocks from reaching an equilibrium distance between the two celestial bodies.

    The waterfall was a little harder to believe, but maybe that large rock received enough condensation to source the flow. That’s all I got.

    I found some of the military “let’s kill ’em all” attitude to be a little gratuitous. I get it – they’re the bad guys. We’re supposed to take sides, and Cameron makes it pretty clear … probably for the kiddies. But I still liked it.

    Great final scene, by the way.

  50. Throughout the movie, I was momentarily jarred by many of the same things that have been mentioned here, but for the most part, I dismissed them as my enjoyment progressed. Even the heavy-handed depiction of “corporate greed” or the “over-zealous military commander” were accepted as being a critical part of the story.

    But there one technical thing that (oddly enough, I guess) irked me. I had no way to go back and watch it again, but I’m pretty sure that when the Colonel was killed, he took his hands off the robot controls, trying to remove the arrow/bolt. Yet, with the Colonel’s death, the robot TOPPLED OVER! I would have expected such a machine just to simply stop moving and stand there.

  51. I’ve seen this movie in IMAX 3D and I have to give James Cameron his props. Great new experience for me. After reading all the comments posted here however, I had to watch the movie again using my LCD projector this time to have a view of the bigger picture.

    The comments given are a bit too deep for me to scrutinize further probably because I’m not too much of a sci-fi fan. I watched the movie initially because I didn’t want to be left out or anything plus the publicity really prodded me to make sure I watched it in 3D. The story isn’t that extraordinary but I have to say the special effects is fantastic.

  52. I watched the film in 2D shortly after its release. I observed even before the film was over that this is what Final Fantasy — The Spirits Within should have been. Final Fantasy was an exercise in motion-capture and digital animation technology. It failed in acting and somewhat in plot.

    The floating islands/mountains is a common concept in role-playing video games, which generally are Japanese; perhaps it’s another aspect of Japanese mythology. I admit to not noticing the floating Unobtainium samples in the lab. Another reason to re-watch!

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