I have just returned from watching the movie Avatar.
I suppose that when ILM, WETA, and Stan Winston collaborate, they can do nothing wrong. This is a very good film. I would like to give a word of warning: do not leave the theater at any time. You will miss something. Another warning: this is a looooong film, but you will happily not notice the passage of time.
As far as recommendations go, if the only way you can afford to see the film is to go grabbling for spare change in a steaming sewer vent, then that is what you should do.
If you have seen Dances With Wolves, you will be familiar with this storyline.
First, the Avatars are essentially meat puppets. They are a mix of human and alien DNA. This mix allows for a biologically bound telepathic circuit created by a special computer interface between the controlling human and the souless meat puppets known as avatars. Then there is the whole Gaia thing going on with the planet.
It is revealed that the planet is alive and is essentially a massive brain. Being a engineer I have fun trying to fathom the evolution of this unique biology and global symbiosis. Every creature on the planet is part of and is capable of tapping into the global "wetware
". I have a small exception to the method of connecting. It just seems to me that the antenna-like connection points all the non-plant lifeforms share are disturbingly exposed for a planet so full of hostile creatures. It would be like yanking nerve bundles on your spinal cord. Ever have a compressed nerve? The other thing I cannot figure out is the entire bioluminescence thing. Everything seems to glow. That makes sense if you want to communicate in a place that has no sunlight, but this planet has plenty.
Which brings me to orbital mechanics: This is a habitable planet with indigenous intelligent life. This planet also seems to be part of a series of planets surrounding a gas giant. I just don't see that happening given the issues surrounding that orbital structure: solar cycles are irregular, tidal forces are strong, the gas giant acts as an attractor of space debris (frequent meteor impacts), and so on. It is not that life would be impossible on such a moon, but it would certainly be unlikely to be advanced as it was in the film.
Another issue I have is that the planet's atmosphere is apparently toxic to humans - it will cause you to become unconscious in 40 seconds if you breathe it Death follows in a few minutes. The only thing used is a mask for breathing. Why are the toxins not absorbed by the skin? What does that planet smell like?
Even with all these I-can't-suspend-reality-since-I-am-an-en
gineer nit picks, I did enjoy the film. It is a good action filled romp.
Comments screened due to spoilers.