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According to Box Office Mojo, Avatar made 8 million dollars on Monday, January 4th. This bodes very well for its 4th weekend haul, as it shows people are still packing into theaters to see the damn thing. Since the film is coming off of two massive, not to mention record making, weekends (undoubtedly bolstered by their both having been holiday weekends) it is this fourth weekend of release that merits the closest scrutiny; for people are returning to work, “kids” are going back to school, and the consumer spending status quo is quickly being restored. The question now is “Just how big will the next drop-off be?” I am going to predict a three day total gross somewhere around/between 59 to 63 million, as the drop off to date continues to be far more gradual than what is considered to be average (40% plus for each week of release).

While a drop to a 50 million weekend, or even less, is certainly not unthinkable, I do think that word of mouth for the film is resoundingly positive and, love Cameron or hate him, ditto regarding the film, it is clear that, once again, the man has hit a pop culture nerve; despite the film being nothing more than a paper thin mix of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars, Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern series, and Dances With Wolves, and, despite its being paper thin, becomes a beautiful way to lose yourself for two and a half hours. Also, the 2d vs 3D debate seems to be a meaningless one (judging from comments both here and with friends who have seen the film in the flat format). The film seems to work its magic regardless of whether there is an illusion of visual depth, or not.

Which is precisely why the film is so damn popular. It is all about magic. The magic of escapism.

In the midst (or aftermath, depending on your economic POV) of a massive to catastrophic economic downturn (again, depending on how seriously it has impacted you or your family) Cameron has delivered a viewing experience that, quite literally, sweeps an audience away to a world of wonder and adventure. A world where

a beaten down to the point of literally being broken (and who cannot afford to pay for his medical treatment) Every Man hero gets the girl, beats the bad guys and saves the day, before being healed and reborn into an all new existence.[END SPOILER, but is that synopsis REALLY a spoiler? Come on.]

You don’t have to be either a psychology or philosophy major to see all the social, political or religious entry points that Cameron has layered into his movie, so that the audience can relate to it with ease. There is a reason why it is so vague. Thorny issues and complex characters would take people out of the movie and get them thinking. Avatar is all about sinking into the movie with the ease of sinking into a comfortable and much needed sleep. It is not about being thought provoking, it is about being comforting. It is a beautiful and happy dream for a very sad time. For that reason, and that reason alone, I think that Avatar stands a good chance of not only surpassing The Dark Knight, but Titanic, as well.

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The adjusted box office totals are in and Avatar took in $50 million, it is now one weekend away from being officially declared a Titanic sized financial success. To do so, Avatar has to gross over $30 million next weekend. Since its only competition is a silly looking cliche fest with Denzel Washington (as opposed to the wonderful looking cliche fest that is Avatar) I'm thinking that could very well happen.

Now that this mega-budget movie has made enough bank to be declared a break even success, theatrically speaking, how long before a sequel is announced? Will it be a quickie DTV sequel, or a 3-D theatrical release? How long before the marketing department signs off on an Avatar comic book adaptation or spin-off series. Will there be a Tarzan style Saturday morning cartoon series detailing the day to day life of Jake livin' la vida Pandora and going all Captain Planet while cruising the floating mountains on his trusty Free Bird? Will it be in traditional animation, or will it be CG?

And, now that he has two colossal all time record breaking/making box office smashes back to back, is there ANYTHING on this planet that is capable of humbling James "I'm King of the World" Cameron?

Yeah, my day is that uneventful and boring.

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Saw this last night and there were a number of plot holes/annoyances/telegraphs that really stop it from being an all time great for mine. Main things are

- Once they tried to save Weaver's character, you knew Jake would go through that at the end of the movie, so made the suspense in the last battle less, as you knew the main characters would live.

2. The lack of punishment to Rodrigez's character for leaving the first attack, just well staggers me. How Cameron thought that would fly just bugged the hell out of me.

3. The general lack of back story for Jake. I can piece together a lot of things, but I couldn't understand how he could master the Avatar controls and a second language, when everyone else needed this massive intensive training course. My twin is a genius, so therefore I can do smart stuff and use my military training....

That being said, I didn't think the enviro message was that heavy handed to be honest. It was all done in a pretty smart way and actually made you think a bit about how different our world really is (in that whole circle of life kind of way, not the spinal chord connections in our hair kind of way). I actually liked Ribissi's character, thought he played the company man pretty well. The imagination of the world design was amazing, especially all the night scenes. I wouldn't be surprised it Cameron has a massive marine set-up in his house that served as some of the inspiration.

I'm looking forward to the Bluray release so I can watch all the special features that come with it!

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The British Guardian newspaper reports that Russian audiences are noting the movie's similarity to The World of Noon, or the Noon Universe, created by popular Soviet fantasy writers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, a cycle of 10 best-selling science fiction novels written in the mid-1960s.

Consider:

The Strugatskys call their world Pandora, and it is warm and humid and heavily forested. So is Avatar's alien world.

The books take place in the 22nd century. So does Avatar.

In the books, the natives of Pandora are called the Nave. Avatar calls its aliens the Na'vi.

More from the Guardian:

Strugatsky, 76, appears to have shrugged off suggestions of similarities between Avatar and his Noon Universe, and denied reports circulated last week that he was accusing Cameron of plagiarism. On Monday, however, the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper devoted an entire page to the affair, and carried out its own close comparison of Avatar with the World of Noon.

There are differences: In the books, there are two humanoid species on Pandora, and Pandora itself is a health resort, not a wild planet.

For his part, Cameron has denied in the past that he's borrowed from other writers and has always insisted that Avatar is original.

What do you think?

http://scifiwire.com/2010/01/was-avatar-ripped-off-fro.php

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I don't really think it's that much news; jungle forest future worlds called Pandora are kind of a dime a dozen. If it was the same sort of basic plot, or if the physical description of the Nave are similar to the Nav'i, then it would warrant a closer look.

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I can't be the only one that laughed inappropriately at the furry sex.

I was just kind of awkwardly silent and wondering where I could find the brain bleach. (That was apparently the edited version they had to do to get a PG-13 rating. ><)

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I can't be the only one that laughed inappropriately at the furry sex.

I was just kind of awkwardly silent and wondering where I could find the brain bleach. (That was apparently the edited version they had to do to get a PG-13 rating. ><)

It was hilarious. I half expect that they meant to show them doing the tail connect thing but it got removed to make a more family-friendly rating. Hardcore tail on tail action!

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I liked it, but they left out some important stuff. They never gave any back story on how Earth is dying, and that killed a major plot point in why the avatar project is there in the first place. There was a reporter there filming what happened instead of his logs which when shown to Earth, was the reason they never go back to Pandora. Grace had a love interest that was written out of the movie which explained why she was welcomed into the tribe, and

they killed her off for some reason.

They also never explain why the Nav'i and humans don't get along. They mention there was a school, but never talk about what happened to it.

The whole battle, while cool looking, was the worst strategy ever used by a military. Why did they send ground troops if all they were going to do was blow up the holy place? All they had to do was blow the shit out of everything from the sky like they did the first time. Do they have such bad aim that out of 50 ships, nobody could hit a huge area which is the size of a football field at the very least?

I half expect that they meant to show them doing the tail connect thing but it got removed to make a more family-friendly rating. Hardcore tail on tail action!

If that's how they do it, then isn't the movie full of bestiality? I mean beyond the blue cat people.

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I half expect that they meant to show them doing the tail connect thing but it got removed to make a more family-friendly rating. Hardcore tail on tail action!

If that's how they do it, then isn't the movie full of bestiality? I mean beyond the blue cat people.

I expect that's involved, although since they still wear clothing in certain areas we can presume that its covering up something.

I think if you were looking for more exposition on the history of earth leading up to the mission to pandora you're sort of missing the point. I though it was quite a powerful reveal when he says "they killed their world", it was the final piece that turned the humans into the villains. I wouldn't have wanted that information before that because it would have jaded me with regards to intentions of some of the characters. Plus the grace thing that was removed would have taken a great deal of the uniqueness of the main relationship away.

You're looking for plot elements we don't need and additional story in a film that's already close to 3 hours long. Some things don't need to be explained, they can just be inferred and left at that.

You're right about one thing though, the battle strategy was crap. Deploying ground troops to assist in the approach of an aerial bombing raid was daft.

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I half expect that they meant to show them doing the tail connect thing but it got removed to make a more family-friendly rating. Hardcore tail on tail action!

If that's how they do it, then isn't the movie full of bestiality? I mean beyond the blue cat people.

I expect that's involved, although since they still wear clothing in certain areas we can presume that its covering up something.

I think if you were looking for more exposition on the history of earth leading up to the mission to pandora you're sort of missing the point. I though it was quite a powerful reveal when he says "they killed their world", it was the final piece that turned the humans into the villains. I wouldn't have wanted that information before that because it would have jaded me with regards to intentions of some of the characters. Plus the grace thing that was removed would have taken a great deal of the uniqueness of the main relationship away.

You're looking for plot elements we don't need and additional story in a film that's already close to 3 hours long. Some things don't need to be explained, they can just be inferred and left at that.

You're right about one thing though, the battle strategy was crap. Deploying ground troops to assist in the approach of an aerial bombing raid was daft.

Earth thinks they are searching for a new planet to move to. That's the whole point of the project. Earth has no governments anymore, and are run by corporations. The corporations only want the ore, and are lying to the citizens of Earth. That's a huge plot point that they cut out.

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Earth thinks they are searching for a new planet to move to. That's the whole point of the project. Earth has no governments anymore, and are run by corporations. The corporations only want the ore, and are lying to the citizens of Earth. That's a huge plot point that they cut out.

Right, but you don't need to know any of that for the film to work. Maybe it will come up in the sequel, but for now the idea that the humans are just scouring the universe for resources is enough.

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Earth thinks they are searching for a new planet to move to. That's the whole point of the project. Earth has no governments anymore, and are run by corporations. The corporations only want the ore, and are lying to the citizens of Earth. That's a huge plot point that they cut out.

Right, but you don't need to know any of that for the film to work. Maybe it will come up in the sequel, but for now the idea that the humans are just scouring the universe for resources is enough.

Without that backstory, all humans are the bad guys instead of just the corporation. It portrays Earthlings as assholes who are willing to wipeout all lifeforms for some rocks.

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Earth thinks they are searching for a new planet to move to. That's the whole point of the project. Earth has no governments anymore, and are run by corporations. The corporations only want the ore, and are lying to the citizens of Earth. That's a huge plot point that they cut out.

Right, but you don't need to know any of that for the film to work. Maybe it will come up in the sequel, but for now the idea that the humans are just scouring the universe for resources is enough.

Without that backstory, all humans are the bad guys instead of just the corporation. It portrays Earthlings as assholes who are willing to wipeout all lifeforms for some rocks.

That would be true if we were following the Doctor Who 'Evil race' theory, where all individuals of any other society can be readily painted as sharing exactly the same ideals and disdain for life. Firstly, we are told that the excavation pays for the trip, its clearly a corporate venture and no-one is going to mistake corporate methodology for the moral standards of an entire species, it just means that they are in charge on this one. Secondly, the whole story is about conflict between the evil humans and the good humans, so obviously not all humans are evil. Its right there in the story. According to your theory a street urchin in Lincoln in 1850 was as responsible for the British Empire as Queen Victoria or the government, just by virtue of living in the same country.

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