Tag Archives: James Cameron

Earth Day Cage Match: Al Gore v. James Cameron

5 Nov

Al Gore versus James Cameron in a no holds barred cage match for defender of the Earth.  That’s how you celebrate Earth day.

“Forty years after the first Earth Day, the world is in greater peril than ever.” ! Just imagine the guy from movie trailers reading that in his dark and foreboding voice, while an image of the Earth burns in the background.  Then Al Gore appears, bearded, holding a copy of An Incontinent Truth out over his head like Moses with the Ten Commandments.

Cut to James Cameron smearing Na’vi war paint across his face while that annoying music from Avatar plays in the background. This thing sells itself.

The problem is that the tag-line for this environmentalist battle royale, isn’t as much a commercial slogan as it is the opening sentence to the Earth Day 2012 website.

That kind of dramatic language makes me thing that we’re going to need to call Bruce Willis. This thing is happening now! Somebody get Michael Bay, a spaceship and I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing on their Ipod!

There is of course, one problem. Global climate change isn’t exactly hurtling towards the planet at breakneck speed with only 48 hours to stop it. We’re talking about hundreds of years worth of data to show incremental changes in the normal ebb and flow of the Earth’s climate patterns.  The Earth isn’t in peril, it’s inching towards peril.

Basically, what I’m saying is that environmentalists aren’t wrong, they just need a new PR firm.  The green movement needs to be re-branded as the marathon that it actually is, rather than the short track race environmentalists want it to be for fundraising purposes. Re-branding the movement into a step-by-step approach to reducing our societies impact upon our climate is something I’m pretty sure that vast majority of people can get behind.

The problem is that every time James Cameron ties himself to a damn, (I think you mean dam) there is a large group of folks who just roll their eyes and ignore his point as just another fanatical environmentalist who wants to take my job at the coal mine. That guy needs his job at the coal mine to feed his lower middle class family and to pay his taxes, so he can get his government subsidized health care that won’t drop his pre-existing black lung. I’ve got the black lung pop.

The economy has begun to shift towards a focus on green energy production, but it’s going to take time. Environmentalists need to calm down and dig in for the long haul.  It’s going to take decades to build the necessary scientific infrastructure for more solar panel farms, wind turbines on sky scrapers and replace the 62 million gas powered cars on the road with renewable fuel driven hover-cars.

So how am I going to celebrate Earth Day 2012? By purchasing a drum of crude oil, and pouring it on Al Gore.

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Avatar – FurnGulley meets Pocahontas

18 Dec

Avatar, James Cameron’s budget busting sci-fi epic, never really sparked the fire of anticipation that so many assumed it would. It’s failure to stir up a fanboy frenzy though will quickly be forgotten as Avatar delivers exactly what it promised, an extraordinary journey into a new world.

Floating mountains, six-legged horses and hammerhead bulls are just three of the thousands of details that make Cameron’s Pandora almost believable. It is a veritable Eden with a native population, the tall and slender Na’vi, living in harmony with the rainforest around them. Enter the industrialist human’s who seek to destroy and pillage everything in their path for material gain.

Cameron matches the natural and organic grandeur of Pandora with the mechanical and technological advances of his futuristic human race. Among the space odyssey-esq journeyors is Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) a paraplegic marine who is the only person who shares the genetic code to drive the avatar created for his now dead brother.

Avatar is Sanskrit for decent, referring to the incarnation of a deity in the lesser world. The avatar’s of the film are grown from a mixture of human and Na’vi genetics, creating a physical vessel for the human’s to operate. Basically avatar’s are the absolute completion of the muppet and puppeteer relationship. While Jake’s real body lies in a electronic cocoon, his brain is transported to his Avatar body.

This is the beginning of the classic hero journey for Jake, who feels his oats as a member of Dr. Grace Augustine’s (Sigourney Weaver) avatar team. Augustine’s team of scientists try to study and learn about Pandora, while brokering a peaceful eviction of the Na’vi from the sacred land, as it sits on a large deposit of unobtainium.

But when Jake is disconnected from the team in the wild of the Pandorian jungle the only thing that saves him from hyena like wolves is Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), a female Na’vi.  The two form an classic John Smith – Pocahontas bond. Her soft heart wins over the gruff marine personality, opening his eyes to the natural beauties of Pandora yadda yadda. But just as Jake becomes an accepted member of the Na’vi, the corporate powers become impatient and invade.

This is where film loses some steam. The military caricature depicted by the under-appreciated Stephan Lang, as Col. Miles Quaritch, is full of original phrases like, “You’re not in Kansas anymore.” For every brilliant movie there is a clear and obvious failing, in Avatar it’s the obvious plot and clunky dialogue. Cameron, who is the only writer credited, prefers lines like, “Whose bad?” and “They’ve sent us a message… that they can take whatever they want. Well we will send them a message. That this… this is our land!”  Every character is a caricature whose dialogue becomes a guide to the obvious metaphors of the film. That being said such failing are eclipsed by the magnitude of Pandora, the being who inhabit it and technological awesomeness of humanity.

The scope of the world Cameron creates is as impressive as his attention to detail. Every flower and organism seems to have an inherent and believable biology, that while fantastical and mindbending, are strangely believable. That being said, it’s still stretches the bounderies of fantasy with the Na’vi have an exterior brainstem that allows them to physically link into the brains of every other living organism on Pandora. But the fantastical elements of Pandora world in perfect parallel against the realism of Cameron’s future humanity.

On the whole Avatar is a visionary film. It will pave the way for the new motion capture technology Cameron helped develop, bringing an actors performance into animation.  Beyond that it’s a film that will reinvigorate the sci-fi genre, hopefully moving it back to its classical roots.

While at times  political preachy, Avatar is a great film which would exceed your probably low to moderate expectations; through a combination of dazzling effects and sheer imagination.

Thunder Awards

Winner of the Week: Joe Lieberman, the former Democrat may have exacted some political retribution this week, dominating the Senate health care issue and turning it on its head by threatening to oppose the bill if his new found, mostly hypocritical, demands weren’t met. What happened? He got high level meetings in short order and may have squashed the public option in the Senate. Regardless, of the policy implications you have to admit, this guy scored a huge political win this week by being taken serious and proving he’s not a man to be messed with.

Loser of the Week: The mother of the four-year old who got drunk and stole christmas presents from neighbors. That’s a patently fail for the ages. The kid was actually quite industrious though. Read me here.

New Show to Watch: Jersey Show, it’s so stupid it’s hilarious.

Trailer (s):

Robin Hood – Russell Crow, Cate Blanchett. Directed by Ridley Scott. Get ready for Gladiator middle ages style. Scott supposedly has taken a mix of folklore, mythology and historical fact in creating this new take on the classic hero.

Shrek Forever After  – It actually doesn’t look half bad

Universal Soldier: Regeneration

Terrorists for Oil-Scotland’s Foreign Trade Policy and James Cameron’s Avatar!

21 Nov

The Thunder Awards

Winner of the Week:The voters of Afghanistan, 40% to 50% of eligible voters turned out for their Presidential election this week; amid threats and warnings from the Taliban. Dodging bullets and bombs Afghanistan was almost able to match the anemic turnout for last yeas US Presidential election which hit a high of 56%, the best turn out since 1968, what is our excuse?

Weasel of the Week: Kenny MacAskill, Scotland’s Justice Minister,  for the release of convicted Libyan terrorist Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the bomber of Pan Am Flight 103 on Dec. 21, 1988 which killed 259 people, who was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer earlier this year. Al-Megrahi release has been linked to political calculations regarding  Libyan gas prospecting, a nation which is thought to have some of the largest remaining oil and natural gas reserves in the world.  Either way, talk about not having any moral gravitas.

Video of the Week: The much anticipated trailer for James Cameron’s Avatar was released yesterday through apple, and it doesn’t disappoint.  Cameron’s first feature film in almost 10 years is being hyped as the last big blockbuster left in 2009 and given the sci-fi epics scope it’s certainly with in the realm of possibility.  Enjoy!