By Xeni Jardin at 10:34 am Tue, Jan 5, 2010
Pocahontas = Avatar at thenextweb.com, larger version here at 9gag.
oh, come on… every single classic movie, and by classic i mean classic narration and that concerns 90% of movies shot on hollywood are based on the same narration schemes: Aristotle and Vladimir Propp’s classic russian storytelling… this is not something new guys, when will you find out?
Wow. Now I know why my wife gets so frustrated with me when I bag on a movie that she loves. It’s difficult to announce that your subjective judgment of a film is the correct one without sounding like a complete elitist douchebag. I’ll consider that a life lesson. I think Keith takes the prize, though, having labeled a huge group of people he has never met as ignorant and complacent simply because they enjoyed a movie. I’d hate to think that he is making this broad judgment without having even seen the film in question. I’m sure that’s not the case here. Right?
I’ve said this many times already, but the main complaint that I’ve been hearing about this movie is that the plot is unoriginal. Name an “original” plot, and I’ll bet that some comparison can be drawn between it and some story in the past. Hell, some of my favorite movies have been unabashedly derivative. If your basis for liking a movie is “originality” then you must be eternally disappointed.
There also seems to be a disproportionate amount of vitriol coming from the people who dislike this movie. I can understand seeing it and then saying “Meh.” But throwing out insulting names for people who like it? Going through this much trouble to mockingly compare it to other films? That seems a bit of an emotional reaction, and is more revealing of the personal problems of the poster than any problem with the movie, in my opinion. Art is a mirror – even “bad” art. Be careful what you reflect.
I reflect ignorance and complacency, apparently. I plan to haul my ignorant butt to the theater to see it again. But I don’t know any better. I’m ruining cinema! Wheee!
Yes James Cameron admits the story is based on Pocahontas. So what! Pocahantas isn’t a lame story; it’s about exploitation of indigenous people by those who think that it’s OK to exploit just because they can.
my girlfriend pointed this out to me when we left the theater. mind blowing!
it also is the same plot as dances with wolves and the last samurai
It runs along the same plot as Ferngully too!
just because the story is similar to something that has been told before, that doesn’t make the film bad. there are alot of people in the world who love to hate, mainly due to resentfulness and bitterness. “ooh, it cost xxx hundred million, it must be rubbish”. i’m bored of all the same arguments.
irrespective of whether the story is something that is fimiliar or not, the visuals, acting, and delivery of this film are phenominal and well worth spending the money to see in all their glory, at the cinema, in amazing 3d!
many people try to elevate their own social status (at least in their own mind) by adopting and adhering to certain silly ideals that they believe make them superior. those people who listen to radio 4 or watch university challenge becasue they think it makes them seem more intelligent. organic food eaters who claim their body is a temple, whilst disregarding the fact they go out every weekend and take copious amounts of chemicals in the form of mind-altering drugs. the vegans who convince themselves that they are saving the world as they jump in the SUV’s to drive the kids to school. and then there are the ‘arthouse-movie’ fans who are deluding themselves that they are deep and centred individuals who are too enlightened to appreciate any film with a budget over a fiver.
i’m not saying all are that way, there are radio 4 listeners who really are dull and genuinely enjoy that shite, as there are organic food advocates who really do want to make the healthy choice, and vegans who truly don’t want animals to suffer… but these are the minority.
plenty of ‘arty’ films are rip-offs too, but then there’s not that much in the way of original ideas left these days, it’s all been covered, especially in the sci-fi genre.
so stop hating for the sake of hating, get off your ass, and go and see this film. if not for the story, go see it for the visuals, the cgi and effects, the amazing 3d and the character interaction. and if you don’t like it, don’t get your knickers in a twist because the rest of the world doesn’t agree with your sentiments.
Listen all…. I could care less that actors are being phased out of movies, most actors are nothing more than pretty faces that hold just a high enough reading level to stumble through their scripts. However, what pisses me off about this abortion of a movie is the praise given to it and the talent wasted on this. There is no point of actual actors spending their time degrading their own industry, when they could be doing something GOOD!
Old gag, and the comparison between the films has already been made countless times. Are we nostalgic for the Aughts already?
Welcome to the totally tired Joseph Campbell/limited archetypes school of scriptwiting. Perhaps UCLA should revised its writing program and Hollywood would follow?
Avatar was written in 1994 and Poco came out in 1995.
Anyway it’s not unusual for Hollywood to “share” stories.
Anonymous, Pocahontas IS NOT JUST A DISNEY CARTOON. She was a historical character, and the story actually HAPPENED. A yankie that doesn’t know his own history. Simply P-A-T-H-E-T-I-C. #LOL
No spoiler alert!? How rude!
Google Trends: “avatar pocahontas, pocahontas avatar”
james cameron big budget film has lame plot. shocker! anyone going to this movie for its screenwriting needs a priority adjustment.
It’s exactly that attitude that continues to foist vapid, empty stories that are are flash and no substance on audiences. We don’t demand better stories to accompany those cool visuals. What’s worse, we’ve gotten to the point where the audiences for the most part, don’t even care. You could string a series of explosions and scenery porn together and have the characters all speak gibberish and as long as it looked cool, it would make a billion. If that’s what you want, fine, but don’t expect the rest of us to applaud your ignorance and complacency.
I think this is a great idea! You should do a movie like this and see what happens, see if you get the same results. I can imagine a bunch of actors just speaking gibberish with no subtitles, then an explosion, then the other stuff. Great idea!
Those avatar creatures look like they have fetal alchohol syndrome.
Exactly what I’ve been thinking.
Why can’t we have both â€” a good story and good visuals?
LOTR did that. its possible. and actually what i prefer, despite what keith thinks. i just know that im not going to get that from cameron. or bruckheimer. or a bond film. that’s why i go to those movies expecting eye candy and very little else.
to call avatar a series of explosions and scenery porn is actually the ignorant thing, and it discounts the work of hundreds if not thousands of visual artists who are taken completely for granted already. this movie has completely changed the game. it was actually visually better than LOTR if that can be believed. if this is what we can get with WETA and James Cameron, imagine what we’ll get when the Hobbit comes out.
I love wes anderson, ang lee, martin scorsese, and tim burton too – Im just saying that you have to know what you’re getting into.
Amen to that!!!
all art is plagiarized
hmm.. whoever said that disneys pocahontas really happened might want read a little more about that…
Hahah, that was enjoyable. And anyone pointing out that “it’s been done” should appreciate the irony.
It’s a 3D tech demo. I went into it expecting absolutely nothing, but on the recommendation of friends I went and saw it in a Real3D theater. I was pleasantly surprised. The story is predictable and trite, yes. But it really is one heck of a tech demo and I thought it was worth the $10.75. YMMV.
If you want my opinion on Avatar, I thought it was mediocre. You can’t complain about the story, characters, or themes that rival the bluntness of Snyder’s Watchmen, because you know exactly what you’re getting into from the get go. This is indeed a movie that will rot your brain for 3 hours, and if you expected more then you’re just way too optimistic. The visuals were pretty but the 3D gave me a headache. However, that Cameron combined the western, vietnam war, and sci-fi genres, gets big cudos from me, as unoriginal as the actual plot is. This film deserves the Oscar for best visual effects, and maybe art direction, but nothing else.
And while there are people out there who get an ego boost from watching art house movies and making everything a statement out of their own insecurities, you can see them from a mile away. If I had to fork over another 16 bucks (and really, WTF?) to see a movie again, it would be something that had the stones to give me something that at least tried to be original…which means going to see an art house film. I’m in that boring minority that thinks that action movies generally suck (with some big exceptions like my baby, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon), and would rather see something that had some weight to it. Oh, and on action movies, I think that The Matrix sucked and was way more full of itself than most independent films (I freakin’ HATE the word “indy”) could even try to be. Definitely a tangent, sorry.
“Smurfahontas”, or perhaps “Dances with Smurfs”.
Courtesy of the Mark Kermode/Simon Mayo film reviews on BBC radio (worth subscribing to the podcast, it’s great).
Loving Avatar is like loving a particular car based almost solely on its styling. Itâ€™s best when taken at face value, and it doesnâ€™t really matter if itâ€™s not faster than other cars, or even whether or not it runs well. You like the car because of the look of it, and despite its mechanical shortcomings, somehow, itâ€™s still a blast to drive anyways â€“ it has a je ne sais quoi common to all wonderful, lovable cars. On paper itâ€™s nothing special â€“ it doesnâ€™t stand up in horsepower or handling or reliability to other less expensive and similarly pretty cars, but it doesnâ€™t matter, because your carâ€¦ your car has â€˜Itâ€™. And while horsepower and handling can be bought for a price, the car either has â€˜Itâ€™ or it doesnâ€™t. Avatar has â€œItâ€.
for reference, this car has “It”.
“explosions and scenery porn” are what people go to the movies to see. If it’s a strong story with little visual flash, you wait for DVD and watch it at home.
Those movies don’t make any money. Expect to see more “explosions and scenery porn” and less of your “substance” in the future.
Yes, and both stories are based on actual events (i.e. imperialism, colonialism..)
And this is why, cool visuals aside, I probably won’t see Avatar, at least not until it’s in the $1 Redbox. Why pay $10 for a movie I already know the plot to?
Because it’s purely the visuals that make it worth watching. The story has been told 100 times before with better dialogue and more convincing character development. If you’re going to spend 3 hours watching Avatar, do yourself a favor and do it in 3D on the big screen. If you’re going to watch it at home, even your 52″ plasma screen won’t save it.
Maybe I can make a billion dollars by ripping off Columbus.
Remember when roller-coasters had real plots? Boy, those were the days . . .
things may be looking up:
however, it is a bond movie…
James Gurney’s ‘Dinotopia’ series might be another influence:
I think Avatar is the mix (and obvious copy in many aspects) of:
-The Last Samurai
-Dances With Wolfes
movies, not in that strict order.
This is funny because it’s true. But avatar having a simple script isn’t such a bad thing. It’s a slight variation on a theme. You’ve heard the simple melody before, but not using these instruments.
Frankly, with the level of CGI + 3D, there was so much new amazing stuff going on that a more complicated plot could very likely have gotten completely lost and just confused people.
If people wanted really original stories, the vast majority of fiction writers would be out of work. TV, novels, comics, you name it… if it’s fiction it’s almost certainly derivative. In many cases, that’s actually why people like them. The concept behind genre fiction can, to a certain degree, be summed up as: “Give me a new flavour of something I already know I like”
I’m surprised no one is looking at Poul Anderson’s: Call Me Joe ( 1957 ) As Camerons “inspiration” ( to the point of ripping it off )
Damn I hate coming here sometimes. I saw Avatar last night, and I really enjoyed it. Now I feel bad.
Have I seen the story before? Yes. I haven’t seen Pocahontas, but I have seen Dances with Wolves. I sort of liked that story, too.
Okay, better stories have been written. Who cares? This story is still okay, and the telling was engaging. Nobody here seems to complain when some wunderkind plays Ride of the Valkyries on a ukulele. Why should we get so upset that James Cameron rehashes a classic plot with fantastic visuals and near naked ladies?
Best movie thar ive seen in years,hope that there more to coob———-falconchuck
I’m surprised no one’s brought up the acting or some of the details. A bad storyline will make a movie unmemorable but some of the directing miscalculations in this thing just made it laughable. “Unobtainium?” seriously? need i say more. and when the the camera zooms in on the pile of…”EXPLOSIVES” just in case you weren’t sure what they were. I wish it had been a pile of TNT that said ACME on it that would have been more entertaining at least. And Colonel Quaritch, i think they meant to cast the Major Chip Hazard from small soldiers.
Avatar has truely raised the bar for modern cinema. Last time I was so impressed with the way a story was told/ presented was watching the Matrix.
Forget the story (which was a nice, modern re-telling) and enjoy this truely stunning visual masterpiece for what it is. Visual Art.
… also runs to the movies to pay yet another 15.50 to see it again.
This is a bit of a response to hooter420, in the sense that I’m not sure what point he or she was trying to make. As far as the comment on CGI phasing out actors, just lurk around youtube for a while watching the making of videos for Avatar. Seriously, this is the first time the actors have been put back into the whole CGI shindig. Every facial twitch, movement of the body, and vocal sync was done in real time by the actors themselves. This wasn’t just a bunch of big names standing in a room recording VO, this was the most prolific use of motion capture ever seen. Then again some people would rather see some actors with pointy ears, painted blue, slurring through a hastily built cardboard world, for the sake of “realism.”
On a side note, if this is the moviemaking power we can now expect to see from James Cameron, god, I cant wait to see what he does with Battle Angel.
‘scuse me, but John Smith and Pocahontas don’t end up together in the Disney movie as the synopsis says. And they don’t end up together in real life (or in the Disney sequel). So… the last sentence of that little report is completely wrong. I suggest he revisit the heart-wrenching scene for every five year old girl and watch Pocahontas wave goodbye (with colored leaves swirling around) while John Smith gets shipped back to England because his injuries are too severe.
It’s not just Pokahontas but mixes of many parables and metaphores… for example you have the goose/golden eggs one, the david/goliath one… the boy meets/loses/wins back girl one… etc.
These are all tried & true premises that when juxtaposed with great special effects and pretty good music make for a fun ride.
It’s like a perfect mountain to a skier or a perfect wave to a surfer… it’s not that we haven’t seen stories like this before… we have… but that doesn’t make it any less fun to enjoy.
The story hit me just as well emotionally on my 3rd viewing of the movie… so you could say these basic often told formulaic stories still work at a deep level. the classic ideas… like basil/olive oil/garlic… may be simple, but can also be very satisfying when done right.
but also there’s the possibility of something similar to greg egan’s _diaspora_ brewing for the sequel… where a good portion of the civilization has been uploaded into a software existence… in _diaspora_ we got to explore worlds where natural singularities were existing and the beings in software inside lived in however many dimensions they felt like… maybe it was 13 or something. I guess if you’re purely software, that kind of thing is easy to alter.
Pocahontas Revisited, with visuals by Roger Dean. Loved the movie, but…
also, how many of the plot haters spent $10 to go see Titanic in 1997?
I mean come on, that’s the ULTIMATE completely-predictable-what’s-gonna-happen movie. But people ate that shit right up, and good on em for doing so.
Also, since when do we turn to James Cameron for original plots? here’s what he’s done:
The Terminator, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Aliens, The Abyss, Terminator 2, True Lies, Titanic, Spider-Man, Dark Angel, Avatar.
The only thing NOT predictable on that list is The Abyss. And I bet some film/literature buff could point to a prior work that’s remarkably similar anyways. But come on – we knew rambo would kick ass, we knew that cyberdyne would be defeated, we knew that the god damn ship was going to sink. However there’s 2 huge common themes among all his movies – every single one raised the bar on visuals in cinematography (with the arguable exception of True Lies, though it DID have those amazing Harrier scenes) and every single one has absolutely fantastic storytelling.
Avatar kicked ass and all the CGI-porn in the world wouldn’t save a truly ungood movie. Also, Avatar had more friggin hype behind it than any other movie of late, so it had a lot to go up against. Movies that are hyped hard are judged hard, and i don’t care if it is pocahontas with blue people – in fact, i’m actually MORE impressed that James was able to take such a worn out over done story and somehow trick me into enjoying hearing it told again.
Blockbuster movies are not about storytelling anymore. Its all been done before. Pocahontas is now a ‘theme.’ The could be said about literature. We live in a culture that revels in criticism and that equals lame. Enjoy the project! It will change the way we see films from now on. Write a letter to the studios demanding a better crop of original scripts (is it possible?).
It’s not only that the story was unoriginal but it was half baked with glaring loop holes that even a rookie filmmaker or writer could point out. Apart from that, it did not have a single character I cared for. So faulty script, weak single dimensional characters…so this brings us to the much praised visual imagery – I mean can get kicks abt animated environments on yahoo messenger or second life but when I go to see a film – I want the imagery to be integrated with a story and not there for only my viewing pleasure. Now Jurrasic park, matrix, LOTR or even cameron’s own Terminator 2 did that but Avatar is such a dumb down film with pretty elementary stuff that after 10 minutes of cfx created greenery and blue people, I was yawning to death for the rest of 3 hours.
and even aliens talk with an American twang, have typical American teen or family reactions to situations?? and honestly I think everyone’s had enough of Hollywood in the process to side with liberals doing lip service to all political correct issues – hug a tree, bash up US foreign policy, blah blah. trivializing such important issues just to play up to the galleries. success of this film, embracing of such mediocre art has only proven one thing – intelligence is in minority.
100% agree, I also posted up this Pocahontas book report. Awesome!
Did you see the Avatar Movie trailer rehash?
oh man, it DOES go on, though:
“Cameron has mentioned Avatar sequels are being planned, including more story line with Jake and Neytiri, and to explore a moon orbiting Polyphemus.”
Lets see, Pocahontas 2 was…. what?
“Pocahontas 2: Journey To A New World”
Looks like the plot has to do with Ms. Hontas going to England. Which is analogous to a Moon. So, in conclusion, this Avatar/Pocahontas thing is comepletely and 100% real and accurate, and it’ll kick ass anyways.
Avatar is a wonderful movie…but srsly, James Cameron et al., if you are listening, we demand more engaging storylines!
Hahahah! Exactly! What a poor “new” story!!I think we all expected more from that movie (especially after all those positive critics..!!)
did no one else see it as beeing the same exact splot as dances with wolves…anyone???
A film’s value is not contained solely in its script, any more than a painting’s value is solely contained in its subject. If you’ve seen one painting of sunflowers, you’ve seen em all, eh?
Yes, some subjects can seem trite or overplayed to others: I can’t say I’ve ever seen a painting of a lighthouse ever that particularly moved me, doesn’t mean I won’t ever.
You can have whole works that are more about developing portraits of the characters than about what actually happens (There Will Be Blood), you can have a work revisited numerous times by different directors (Zeffirelli’s Hamlet, Branagh’s Hamlet, whoever did that crap one with Ethan Hawke), you might have a work with no story at all, abstract. Why isn’t it ok for this work to have a simple mythological story, and have it be told in a spectacular manner?
It’s not stupid that many pieces of entertainment are in the same vein as previous pieces of entertainment . . . this has been going on since Shakespeare at the very least.
The point is that someone who is wise knows what kind of stories they like. If you enjoy colonial fantasy stories than you know Avatar might be what you want. If you’re neutral on that story type, it may still be fun. It’s just fruitless to hack something based on it’s derivative quality. It’s fruitful to hack on how well that derivation is presented.
Yes, it’s obvious that the story is as safe and average as it gets. But IMHO the bigger disappointment is the visual design. Technically excellent, yes. But… pointy-eared fantasy forest people? Blue skin? Glowing plants? Dragons? Creatures with more limbs than four? I find it hard to believe how boring the whole visual world is. This is your basic average fantasy video game / b-class fantasy book / role playing game stuff.
I was expecting to see at least some wonderful and amazing *alien* landscapes and creatures. Something new, as they promised. I found it all too familiar.
I love the movie! But does anybody know the name of the song that was playing in the very end? Want to find it badly!
Mail (will not be published) (required)
Submit a tip
The rules you agree to by using this website.
Who will be eaten first?
Jason Weisberger, Publisher
Ken Snider, Sysadmin