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Copernicus chats with James Cameron regarding the Science of AVATAR briefly... hints of things to come....

First off, I want to say again I am impressed at the reaction to my Science of Avatar article. The talkback was great, and I've had hundreds of thought-provoking emails. I've even been invited to speak at the St. Louis Science Center in October where they are having a week-long festival on the Science of Avatar. I don't think it is officially announced yet, but I'll be there the weekend of October 16-17, and for at least one of my talks, I'm turning that article into a more in-depth presentation. Also, Ive been trying to keep my professional identity and AICN writing separate, but that will not be possible given what I'm talking about here. So to hell with it, here's who I really am. Onto Santa Barbara. I've been to tons of festivals, and the thing that makes SBIFF special is the staff. They are the nicest and most accommodating of any festival I've ever attended. Case in point: Quint asked Carol Marshall, director of publicity for SBIFF, if I could interview James Cameron for the site. I think he wasn't doing sit-down interviews, but I got whisked backstage before the director'spanel and into a room where the directors were gathering before going onstage. And by directors, I mean: Kathryn Bigelow (THE HURT LOCKER), Lee Daniels (PRECIOUS), Pete Docter (UP), Todd Phillips (THE HANGOVER), Quentin Tarantino (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS), and, of course, James Cameron! What a group! Quint will cover what was actually said at the panel. Unfortunately since it was just semi-casual conversations going on backstage, I didn't get a chance to record it, but I'll do my best to paraphrase what was said. First I ran into Quentin Tarantino. We've been acquaintances for years, ever since he started bringing films to Austin in the late 90s for QT fests. I won't go into a blow-by-blow of our conversation (because it isn't newsworthy), but we mostly chatted about this year's Butt-Numb-A-Thon, and previous QT-fests, especially KISS THE GIRLS AND MAKE THEM DIE. Strangely enough, that ties in with both my research and what I called Copernicus' Law of Science Fiction in the Science of Avatar article. Way back in 2000, I think in a semi-drunken rant, I had complained to Quentin that I hate movies that ignore science because they are lazy, but I love movies that get it right. It is ok to bend the rules, but only to serve the story. He remembered (I had forgotten I told him), and in the context of KISS THE GIRLS he repeated that and sort of did an impression of me and what I'd said in his own insane Quentin style when he was introducing that film for the "Best of QT Fest." Quentin was impressed that KISS THE GIRLS got the science right -- they use "a rare isotope of Cobalt" in that film, and radioactivity from Cobalt-56 is what powers supernovae, and makes them so bright that we can see them from across the universe. You can see what Harry wrote about it at the time here. Anyway, yesterday, aside from swapping festival stories, I did complain that we've gone too long without a QT fest. He said yes he ought to have one after all the stuff with INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS is done. But he also mentioned that he now owns the New Beverly Theater in LA, so he might have to have the next one there. He also said he's not working on a new film yet. One other QT/Cameron curiosity is that at the panel, while talking about whether 3D was a game-changer, Quentin said if he'd seen AVATAR first he might have done KILL BILL differently. He'd always wanted KILL BILL to be kind of like a ride, and that he doesn't think he achieved that, but the closest he got was the House of Blue Leaves sequence. After catching up with QT, I made my way over to Cameron. Ok, after writing that sentence, I do appreciate what a lucky bastard I am. Again, I remind you that these aren't word-for-word quotes, I'm paraphrasing, based on my memories and the notes I scribbled down after our conversation. COPERNICUS: Hey, my name is Andy Howell, and I'm covering the festival for Ain't It Cool News, but I'm also a professor of astrophysics here at UCSB.
CAMERON: That seems pretty incongruous, a writer and an astrophysicist. So what do you study, what's your specialty?
COPERNICUS: I do supernovae... and I study Dark Energy.
CAMERON: Oh I do supernovae...
[teasingly, as if I'm being too nonchalant about such an exotic thing... but hey if you do anything for long enough it doesn't seem so hard, and you get quite familiar with it. Later, on the panel Lee Daniels did the same thing to Cameron, saying that he didn't feel worthy up there with Cameron just casually dropping, "On TERMINATOR, on ALIENS... on TITANIC..." That got a huge laugh.]
CAMERON: Dark energy.. and Dark Matter... those are two of the most interesting scientific problems right now.. 98% of what we know is about 2% of the universe.
COPERNICUS: Yes! We're the odd stuff! The "normal stuff" in the universe we've only found out about recently -- we've only known about it for 10 years or so!
CAMERON: Yeah we can only see it indirectly, through gravity... the expansion...
COPERNICUS: Yes, we're making a map of the history of the expansion of the universe, using supernovae, and from that we can work it out. Here in Santa Barbara we're building a global network of telescopes to study supernovae for that, and to find extrasolar planets.
CAMERON: Are they large field-of-view, large-format detectors?
COPERNICUS: No, more like medium format... maybe like half a square degree.
CAMERON: So what's the advantage...
COPERNICUS: Well, with a global network it is always dark somewhere so you can follow anything that varies for weeks continuously, you don't have to be interrupted by daytime. And you get around weather problems. And with northern and southern hemisphere telescopes you can see the whole sky. They don't have to be large format because we're not using them to make discoveries... we're following things up, doing the science.. there are plenty of projects out there making the discoveries for us to follow and confirm. Like, for planets, the Kepler mission...
CAMERON: That's staring at one region of the sky and looking for what varies, right?
COPERNICUS: Yes, many square degrees, but relatively large pixels. They discover stuff, and we can check it out and follow it in more detail.
CAMERON: Is Kepler already making discoveries?
COPERNICUS: Yeah, it is going great, they just announced their first batch of discoveries that the American Astronomical Society meeting.
CAMERON: So you are looking for the light of the star dimming when the planet goes in front? Not looking for the wobble of the star, right?
COPERNICUS: Exactly, Kepler, and we, are looking for the transits, but people can use other facilities to look for radial velocity variations after the fact.
CAMERON: So you have to see them edge-on... so you're only seeing like 10% of what's out there. You know there is 10 times as much that you can't see, but you can figure out what you're missing...
COPERNICUS: Exactly... after all these years we're finally able to constrain a number in the Drake Equation!
CAMERON: Yeah it has like 20 terms! It is amazing how little we know... how thin the scientific constraints are. But even still, it inspires people... people are always asking me, "When are we going to find a Pandora."
COPERNICUS: So I wrote an article on "The Science of Avatar" for Ain't It Cool, and it easily got the biggest reaction out of anything I've ever written, either about movies or science.
CAMERON: It is amazing how it has connected with people.
COPERNICUS: You got all these bloggers and talkbackers talking about science, rather than just pop culture... debating the finer points of convergent evolution...
CAMERON: There's a reason they look like humans, but it hasn't been revealed yet...
COPERNICUS: You mean like in a future film? [Cameron answered in a way that I took to be affirmative, but I can't remember if he said yes, or nodded, or just smiled] COPERNICUS: Like they were seeded....
CAMERON: No... well... [I suspect changing the subject because he didn't want to reveal anything.] The real reason is that they have to be similar enough that the audience can connect with them.
COPERNICUS: Of course... but in most science fiction, people have just shown a desert planet or snow, and that has to stand in for something more exotic, but you've really taken us for the first time to a truly alien world. I'm wondering, with the tools you've developed, how far you can push it into the truly alien.
CAMERON: Well we started off like that... we went really extreme... purple skies, different colored plants, but we found that you just didn't buy it.... not for two hours. So we dialed it back, and put more of the exotic stuff into the nighttime stuff, the bioluminescence. But there's an argument to be made that chlorophyll might be out there... that maybe this experiment has been done many times on earth, and chlorophyll is the best way to extract energy from sunlight.
COPERNICUS: Of course it depends on the output of the star.
COPERNICUS: But that's why I love the choice of Alpha Centauri -- sunlike stars... similar spectrum... and they are close, space travel is sorta plausible.
CAMERON: Of course the energy requirements are still an order of magnitude out of reach, and there's an argument that we'll never be able to achieve that.
COPERNICUS: Yeah, but you have to tell your story.
CAMERON: There's also an argument that any civilization you approach might destroy you before you get there. If you come shooting in at 0.75c [3/4 the speed of light], with a spaceship the size that we see in movies -- if you hit the planet, you'd destroy it. They don't know you can stop that thing. Are they going to take the risk?
COPERNICUS: Haha, that's a good point. But I still like how you've made things scientifically plausible.
CAMERON: Well... the floating mountains. A physicist friend of mine calculated that for a pure superconducting mountain, to break it off and float it would require a magnetic field so strong that it would rip the hemoglobin out of your blood...
COPERNICUS: Yeah I started to do that calculation...
CAMERON: But you know science fiction is kind of the opposite of science. In science you start with the facts and figure out the story, but in science fiction you start with the story and then fill in the science...
COPERNICUS: Well, I was inspired to do science by watching movies by you, George Lucas, Ridley Scott, then of course later I got into reading and watching Carl Sagan, but most of my colleagues, at least the ones my age, first got inspired by movies, and then started reading more. So one of your legacies, especially with AVATAR, may be that you inspired the people finding all these planets, including the person who does find the real Pandora.
CAMERON: I was recently asked to pick one of my films to show to 5th and 6th graders. Without question, I picked Aliens of the Deep.
[At this point they started giving directions on what to do to the assembled panel... telling them to get ready to go onstage, but he finished talking, whispering the rest while the powers that be were wrangling them up]
CAMERON: I made that to make science aspirational. I wanted to show young researchers making discoveries, not just old professors in tweed suits.
[I didn't catch everything he said there because of the noise, but he was echoing a sentiment he had expressed the previous night when he got the award, that science has not been well served by the filmmaking community, and he wanted to change that.] With that, they rushed everyone out to get ready to go onstage. Quint is going to write up what was said on the panel (which was great). But the one bit of AVATAR news is about possible sequels. I think the moderator said Rupert Murdoch has announced sequels but he wasn't sure Cameron had signed off. Cameron said: "There's still some deals to be made... which will be easier now that Rupert's announced it." That line got big laughs. It was so cool to get to talk James Cameron about science and AVATAR. So I'd like to thank him, and everyone who helped arrange it. I was quite impressed -- he knows his astrophysics better that just about every non-astronomer I've met. And he's quite a curious guy. I agree with Leonard Maltin, who the night before, when interviewing Cameron, said curiosity is one of the most under-valued, but most valuable traits a person can have.

Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 8, 2010, 11:09 p.m. CST

    navi came to earth and created humans


  • Feb. 8, 2010, 11:09 p.m. CST

    Interesting interview Andy

    by lostbat

    Great to hear that Cameron knows his science... Kudos to him and to you

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 11:09 p.m. CST


    by benlocke

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 11:10 p.m. CST

    I really hope Avatar 2...

    by Dapper Swindler

    Takes more risks in the story department. I'm sure they went with a 'safe' story because the production was such an expensive risk. Now that we're passed that I'm interested to see where the story can go next.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 11:15 p.m. CST


    by kisskissbangbang

    ...glad to see you back on AICN. Your Avatar piece was one of the finest things the site has ever run. Even gladder seeing Cameron able to talk knowledgeably about dark energy and the downsides of near-lightspeed travel (though the latter might have come from his friend Charles Pellegrino, who made a big deal about it in his first novel). It's impossible to imagine Michael Bay, say, having a conversation like this; for that matter, I'm not sure I can think of any major director who'd be able to. Maybe Richard Kelly, or the guy who did Primer(Shane Carruth? What happened to him, anyway?)Of course, scientific literacy doesn't make you a great director (anymore than it made Hal Clement a great writer), but when you've already got the chops, it adds a whole new dimension to the work, as it did with Poul Anderson. (And would I love to see a Cameron version of Anderson's Tau Zero...)

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 11:18 p.m. CST

    Cameron will definitely take more risks now that

    by Turd_Has_Risen_From_The_Grave

    the success of Avatar has given him license to do so, both visually and narratively. Interesting to hear him talking about the different colored plants and vegetation due to chlorophyll which existed in the scriptment. As I suspected they tested it out and it didn't play that well, and decided to leave most of it for the night scenes to create a better contrast.<p>Hope he keeps to his promise of writing the novelization too, wherein he's going to explain the Na'vi's humanoid appearance and its kinship to earth forms.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 11:19 p.m. CST

    Copernicus and Cameron Am Smart

    by Hercules

    Me not understand dark matter talk. Me go watch Silver Surfer movie again.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 11:22 p.m. CST

    Avatar 2 not with Cameron helming

    by lostbat

    I don't believe that Cameron is going to helm a sequel. Creatively there is nothing to gain for him.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 11:28 p.m. CST

    Jake Sully should find the Statue of Liberty on Pandora

    by Flip63Hole

    You Maniacs! You Navi'd it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 11:30 p.m. CST

    Dude nice work. Hope to read more stuff soon.

    by theneonsamurai

    And hope to see an Avatar 2. hopefully the next one will be all-out insanity. One of the things I wondered about while watching the first was whether or not the Navi were the first civiliazation humans had met. I'd love to see the second go off world, if only for a bit.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 11:34 p.m. CST

    Creatively speaking there's actually a lot of leg-room for Cam

    by Turd_Has_Risen_From_The_Grave

    I'd be very disappointed if Cameron chose not to helm the sequel. Avatar is the chance to really lay the foundations for a truly epic sci-fi universe, of the same order as SW or LOTR. That is something Cameron has not done so far in his career, and it presents a great challenge in itself. How exactly does he expand this story? As good as the first film itself is, it has the chance to be something extraordinary. I see a lot to entice him into making further Avatar sequels. I don't see this as say, a standard action movie or something of the order where an obligatory sequel would be a rehash or redundant. Not to mention that his work on terminator and his and Scott's work on the Alien series was taken away from him and destroyed. This is his chance to see his work throught to the end and done right. I expect a flawless trilogy (or more)from the universe of Avatar, one that will be even greater than the sum of its parts and where the not inconsiderable original will simply lay the foundation for and be further elevated in context.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 11:36 p.m. CST

    Awesome, Copernicus. Very cool stuff.

    by Stereotypical Evil Archer

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 11:41 p.m. CST

    Please Do WW2!

    by bumbleward

    I mean, the idea of Cameron telling the tales of 2 of the most graphically and psychologically intense experiences mankind has yet to have, in IMAX, in 3D...Personally I feel like Titanic and avatar were warm ups to that picture. Yes, then more Navi.

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 11:42 p.m. CST


    by mrbeaks

    And, um, more? Please?

  • Feb. 8, 2010, 11:56 p.m. CST

    What a kick ass article! Bravo!!!

    by zillabeast

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:03 a.m. CST

    Well done, great article

    by Miyamoto_Musashi

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:04 a.m. CST

    Great piece!

    by Klytus_I.m_Bored

    The intersection of Cameron's creativity and what we know of astrobiology and cosmology was what made Avatar so interesting to me. I really loved this article and I, too, am excited for a sequel from Cameron. The idea that there is some overarching reason for the humanoid nature of the Na'vi is really compelling and worthy of exploration.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:07 a.m. CST

    Cameron is amazing

    by Miyamoto_Musashi

    The guy really knows his stuff, and an amazing creative and passionate mind. <p> You can understand why he has been married so many times, when you read what he has to say or hear him, the guy just gets obsessed about something/the project and just has incredible passion on that, that nothing else around him is as important. <p>

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:12 a.m. CST

    At 1st, I scoffed at a sequel, but there are possiblities...

    by Daredrummer

    <p>At first thought, I totally scoffed at the idea of an Avatar sequel. Not for monetary reasons, of course, but I couldn't really imagine what kind of story it would have. I was focusing on the fact that the Na'vi are tribal, though. I mean, what, we come back with bigger tanks and bombers this time? </p> <p>If we start dealing with some concepts like the Na'vi were once a technological race and this is some kind of post-apocalyptic planet that has gone full circle and healed, or they colonized Earth and are our "gods", or we made them through DNA experiments, or vice versa...</p> <p>I guess there are some good concepts to run with if Cameron is willing to take the leap and push the boundaries a little more. Imagine if this follows the T2 pattern...we may be in for a hell of a ride.</p>

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:15 a.m. CST

    This explains more than you think...

    by MoseSchrute

    That first bit, when Copernicus and Cameron were geeking out over dark matter and the kinds of satellites Copernicus uses, made me feel like what the rest of the room probably feels like when I sit around with my friends at a dinner party and debate comic book movies.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:18 a.m. CST

    very good

    by Simpsonian

    makes me want to see avatar again before it leaves imax. anyone know when that will be?

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:28 a.m. CST

    We need about 10 more of these so anal TBers "get"

    by white_vader

    it. That when they get all carried away about the logic or plausibility of a fairly implausible situation, they might remember the whole thing about the science vs the fiction. Blue plants as well made everything look the same colour/monochromatic/essentially a black & white movie, defeating the more important (storytelling-wise) metaphor of the richness and spectacle of the place and the tree-huggin' splendour of nature. And that in the end Kubrick's floating mountains are mainly to inspire wonder at how "alien" and majestic things are. <p> Metaphor and analogy are part of genre storytelling (IMO) and in the end trump possible limitations of warp technology or how ludicrous the idea of a walking robot beast troop carrier instead of a hovering one for all terrains are. Good science fixtion/fantasy balances both. Both is good, considering the genre is built on both science AND allegory.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:29 a.m. CST

    holy crap Copernicus

    by Ogmios_the_Eloquent

    i started reading your PhD dissertation... that's some serious stuff. it kinda makes feel stupid... and envious.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:31 a.m. CST

    What, they're ripping this movie off already???

    by white_vader

    I heard about this thing called "How to train your Dragon" - in 3D no less! ;)

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:58 a.m. CST

    That was impressive word talk.

    by OutlawsDelejos

    I understood most of that, but that guy knows his shit. And the other guy too, both of you guys. Yep, that'll do.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:03 a.m. CST

    I'll be the first to say it.

    by red_weed

    Copernicus, you're a hottie.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:13 a.m. CST

    Interesting detail about the Navi origins

    by ol' painless

    Plenty of ways Cameron could take this idea - the 'seed' idea is a good one, but a little obvious. And yes, I know that applies to most of AVATAR's plot. But I still enjoyed it, and he sure showed that bitch Michael Bay what a real hit movie looks like.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:27 a.m. CST

    Careful, you might turn this place into a respectable site

    by DOGSOUP

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 2 a.m. CST

    you're Paddy Considine!!

    by IWasInJuniorHighDickhead

    who knew?!?

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 2:20 a.m. CST


    by BadMrWonka

    kudos to you, and to everyone that supports these types of discussions. it's undeniable that seminal sci-fi works have influenced countless scientists, and vice versa.going back to Arthur C. Clarke, just to name a notable example, just think of how influential the crossing of these paths has been! it's exciting to think that it's still going on. your writing for AICN makes for great reading, but more importantly, it's necessary for this type of spillover to occur, and to be encouraged. <p>one never knows where the next great discovery will come from.<p>no matter what's on the horizon, at the very least, this is great and exciting to read, and I applaud you for that.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 2:23 a.m. CST

    COPERNICUS: I do supernovae... and I study Dark Energy

    by Muscadel

    CAMERON: Oh I do supernovae...; (Cue the porno bass)

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 2:32 a.m. CST

    guh..i hate being stupid...

    by iwasredempted

    outstanding stuff...again.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 2:38 a.m. CST

    Too bad his writing is DTV quality

    by TakingScorpiosCalls

    It seems Michelle Rodriguez and the badguy could only talk in cliche.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 3:04 a.m. CST

    Lets ask JJ Abrams these questions...

    by Fortunesfool


  • Feb. 9, 2010, 3:12 a.m. CST


    by Samplelord

    I think the movie would have worked beter if the humans had found/captured a child Navi in the hopes of it infiltrating his own tribe/people. Seeing the true intent of his human family/handlers, he/she decides to fight for his own people. Dramaticly this would have worked much beter, some of the dodgy avatar science could have been avoided and the hero Navi journey would have made more sense than just "oh I have no legs, now I have legs and an alien chick, gues I'll fight for them". Again...just my opinion.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 3:59 a.m. CST


    by nightmute

    Yeah, good interview. I can talk that way too, though. The trans-genital interceptors are really throbbing with dark energy. I think if we realign the pre-cognitive machination receptacles then we might be able to accentuate the wobble reflectors. Certainly, using dark light to maintain the Klyton Principle does, indeed, anticipate the intermezzo of spatial attitudes. Ergo, vis a vis, quid pro quo rata.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 4:11 a.m. CST

    Rupert Murdoch!

    by The Goon

    ...that damn illuminati agenda is everywhere!

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 4:52 a.m. CST

    Cameron is clearly an incredibly intelligent guy

    by IndustryKiller!

    I would really like to see him take on some straight up, more complex science fiction stories, rather than sequels to Avatar.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 4:58 a.m. CST

    Jake Sully finds the World Trade Centre

    by Ray Gamma

    strewn with vines.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 5:03 a.m. CST

    Not seeing how this explains any science in Avatar though

    by IndustryKiller!

    Or how Pandora is truly Alien. It's just the jungle planet. Does making the plants bigger and putting squiggily things on the animals make things more alien then what's come before?

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 5:08 a.m. CST

    I still haven't seen this movie

    by WickedJacob

    Played cards with the wife last night. Damn when did I get old.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 5:19 a.m. CST


    by TheUmpireStrokesBach'd be fuckin fantastic if Copernicus could get a proper sit-down interview with Jim someday. Cameron really seems like a gigantic nerd. I love it!

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 5:21 a.m. CST

    Sweet. The first half...

    by Ian Holm's milky ass sweat

    ..Copernicus is interviewed by Cameron. It's awesome to see how he immediately was hooked by the fact Copernicus has a degree in astrophysics and starts asking questions. You are a mate of my taste, sir. And i like to add that it's a shame that the most scientific accurate SiFi Movie to date is still "2001: Space Odyssee". Though, "Moon" did a good job there too.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 5:44 a.m. CST

    Fanastic interview

    by Col. Tigh-Fighter

    Loved it. Im also an astonomy nerd as well so love all the talk of dark matter and dark energy. More like this please!

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 5:50 a.m. CST

    Great work Copernicus

    by kwisatzhaderach

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 5:58 a.m. CST

    Ain't it COOL conversation.

    by JDanielP

    That was very enjoyable. <P>Thank you.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 6:08 a.m. CST

    Industry, if you knew the difference between

    by white_vader

    "then" and "than", people might be more swayed by your words. Just sayin'. ;)

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 6:17 a.m. CST

    Good Science Fiction is never about the Science

    by TheJudger

    or the Fiction. It's about the characters and the story. It's not called Science Fact. Does a lightsaber have to be plausible to warrant it's existence in film. No- It only has to be cool. Say dumb ape all you want, but the bottom line is you need to feed the story more than you need to feed the facts. Energy is never created or destroyed. That much I'm sure of now. Nothing is made, it's only converted. Bonds are made, bonds are broken but it's not creation- it's conversion of preexisting matter. All that is, always was, it just becoming other things. You and I are created out of this energy- we live off of it, but oddly enough we don't destroy it when we use it. We convert it. Nothing is added or removed to this world or the universe not in these terms. the matter is always changing form but it's still trapped here forever. I know some people want to say that it's a flawed statement, but it's true and it all comes from pre existing matter. Nothing from nothing is not possible. Einstein knew this and people are still trying to disprove him.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 6:23 a.m. CST

    I meant "Something from Nothing"

    by TheJudger

    M-O-O-N spells "I just woke up."

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 6:28 a.m. CST

    IndustryKiller! go read the original Copernicus review

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    it's all there in black and white baby! <p> If you don't come back, we'll understand.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 6:30 a.m. CST

    Just goes to show

    by jsscript2007

    Cameron dumbed down his dialogue for the movie. He could have spewed five minutes of this interview and confused the hell out of 50 million people.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 6:32 a.m. CST

    Great interview

    by BurnHollywood

    A couple of months back I mentioned the exact same issues about AVATAR's interstellar travel he just's verisimilitude, but nicely dressed up.<p> I'll take a director who knows where the fine line of scientific truth is over a couple of blathering hacks like Orci/Kurtzman any day of the week...Copernicus should've asked him about "Red Matter"...

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 6:48 a.m. CST

    Yeah he could have talked about Red Dwarfs

    by TheJudger

    elements are synthesized in stars. What with Geoffrey Burbidge dying recently. Geoffrey rejected the Big Bang theory. He claimed that matter was continually created and emerged as quasars ejected from the nuclear reactors of stars. <P> Yeah see that guy was a smart S.O.B. and the "science" community shunned him for not accepting the "Big Bang Theory" Cost him the Noble prize as well. RIP<P>

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 6:56 a.m. CST

    I totally agree with Turd, there are so many

    by southafricanguy

    damn cool possibilities for Avatar sequals. I think its damn cool that Cameron has stated we will have the main characters journey to some of the other moons orbiting the gas giant. Also, if anyone is interested, which clearly has spies inside Lightstorm (they posted a lot of info about Avatar throughout 2008/2009, and were often right), posted a story where their "source" claimed that Avatar 2 will be a war film, that the end of Avatar was just a battle, and the sequals will have full out war. Take that for what its worth.....

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 7:02 a.m. CST

    personallyI think that sounds damn sweet. Cam

    by southafricanguy

    eron really knows how to do sequals by simply making a different genre of film set in the same universe. I hope there are other alien races on the other moons, and we get to see more space travel. Also would like a non-human villain for Avatar 2, but maybe thats just me....

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 7:22 a.m. CST

    All of this seed shit belongs to District 9

    by TheJudger

    Everyone knew walking out of that movie that a prawn can become a man, and a man can become a prawn, and something greater than the prawns made them into prawns to do there collective work for them. The damn movie says it in so many different ways. They say that the prawns don't understand how the technology they use works. What does that say to you??? To me it says they are slaves to a superior race, and when that DNA Key fluid changes Wikus into a prawn, and the Christopher said he could fix it in 3 years. Well there you go. Everyone gets confused and thinks the canister holds a fuel. No it's a damn ident key to start the ship. <P> The superior beings behind all this have the All Strain Genitica. They can convert any living being they want into what they want to serve them. The prawns are mindless worker bees. If a plot like this became the backbone for Avatar 2. I'd be so pissed. It's District 9's plot, and I hope the sequel exploits the hell out of it. <P> They could start it off with the prawns and the superiors beings coming back to earth, to rape it off it's resources and convert the people of the planet into prawn slaves. Christopher is with them, and he's on an ever higher chain of command because of his escape, but he's only really there to fulfil his promise to Wikus. Through all of this madness. Wikus is trying to find and save his wife from a conversion camp where they turn the people into prawns. Something like that. <P> Everyone knows whats up and they are trying to push James to steal this shit for avatar, and you all know District 9 originated it and planted the seed.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 7:33 a.m. CST

    A fine interview, sir

    by ColonelFatheart

    Is there a way you can try to wrangle a longer, more in-depth sit-down with Big Jim? This seems like the kind of conversation he'd like to have with an interviewer.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 7:39 a.m. CST

    and to add even more drama

    by TheJudger

    The superiors plan to blow the solar system up after they take what they want from earth. Maybe the gravity of the system fucks with their light of speed traveling ships, and forces them to pull their ships out of hyper space to prevent damage to them. Yeah that would be fucking awesome. Superiors are all like "we have to destroy all this shit, - the sun the moon the earth this whole galaxy because... well your planets fucking small as shit it not worth sustaining for resources and we are tired of having to slow down to pass through this system" We rape you, we rape you al. And just to be fucking cruel- you let the movie end with our galaxy being destroyed and Wikus and his wife being snuck onto the ship. Something mind fucked like that. Yeah, yeah I know some what hitchhikers guide to the galaxy.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 8:30 a.m. CST

    Good to see a director with a real interest and knowledge of sci

    by AsimovLives

    Most of them are, to be charitable, very fucking ignorant beyond belief for the most basic stuff imaginable.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 8:35 a.m. CST

    Jay Leno is worse than science

    by PTSDPete

    Sarah Palin would agree. Which got me thinking...

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 8:44 a.m. CST

    Yeah Jay Leno is Dark Matter

    by TheJudger

    He comprises most of NBC (Look what NBC did for him) <P> You can't see him (That chin is very distracting) <P> He passes through everything (mutherfucker was on oprah and he had a superbowl spot with David Letterman!) <P> And his chin is holding it all together (Sometimes I'll watch his show just too look at that fucked up chinigin)

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 8:45 a.m. CST

    Long before Avatar was released

    by b_profane

    Cameron said he envisioned it as a trilogy. I wonder if and how the film's success will affect his plans for sequels.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 8:56 a.m. CST

    Great interview!

    by kafka07

    It really made my day. And I'm eager to hear about what results from the Kepler mission.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 8:59 a.m. CST

    Dark Matter Theory has been known of for longer than 10 years or

    by TheJudger

    It was first detected in the 1930's by Fritz Zwicky. The Science community tought he was a wackado as well, just like Geoffrey Burbidge.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 9 a.m. CST


    by TheJudger

    shortlining headers sucks!

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 9:09 a.m. CST


    by peter_dickinson

    Have you been to see the Allosphere yet? Just saw the TED talk on that a few weeks ago, and it looks amazing. Is it worth visiting? I'll be near there in a few months and wondered if I should take the time to stop by. Can you imagine looking through terabytes of astronomical images while inside?

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 9:11 a.m. CST

    Nerdy Nerds Nerding

    by blackwood

    Awesome. I love how Copernicus barely got to 'interview' Cameron, because they're both science super geeks. Very cool.<p>Personally, I'd love Copernicus to get involved with Cameron and produce an actual book on the Science of Avatar. I know there already is one, sort of, but I read the first few pages and blah, it was really purple.<p>Love this stuff, thanks Copernicus.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 9:32 a.m. CST

    At least Cameron admits Avatar's science is hokey...

    by sansara07

    like the floating mountains and the energy needed to power a ship to alpha centauri is implausible. I remember some fervent talkbackers saying everying in Avatar is based on solid, proven the man himself has admitted that's not the case, which is refreshing.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 9:52 a.m. CST

    I Think It's Cool That He Seems Actually Interested In This Stuf

    by LaserPants

    And is willing to talk about it. Could you imagine Lucas having this conversation? Every interview with Lucas is painful; he just comes off as basically completely out of touch with EVERYTHING and more than a little sad and insane. Cameron, arrogant blowhard that he is, at least sounds like a human being with interests.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 9:54 a.m. CST

    There's nothing truly mystical about dark matter

    by AsimovLives

    They call it dark because simply it's objects that do not produce their own light, like stars. Thus, they are "invisible". We can only infer their existence because of their combined mass causes a gravitational effect in our galaxy that the observed stuff alone (aka, the stars) would not account for. Most probably, dark matter is just objects like quasi-stellar objects like failed stars and Jupiter-like rogue planets, dust clouds, asteroids and cometary ice objects. Lots of them.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 10:02 a.m. CST


    by Trannyformers_Apologist

    ...from<P> "When news of Jake Sully's death reaches America, Pocahontas is devastated. She sets off to London with John Rolfe, to meet with the King of England on a diplomatic mission: to create peace and respect between the two great lands. However, Governor Ratcliffe is still around; he wants to return to Jamestown and take over, no matter what the cost. He will stop at nothing to discredit the young princess. Meanwhile.....The fairies of FernGully must venture outside the rain forest to rescue several young animals who were captured by poachers." <P>They say it will change. movies. FOREVAR!!!!!!!

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 10:13 a.m. CST


    by ominus


  • Feb. 9, 2010, 10:15 a.m. CST


    by ominus

    not exactly,he will be the mastermind of the new superman project: <p> <p>cool news if you ask me,but on the other hand if that means that they are going to convert supes into a dark character like batman,then fuck it.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 10:20 a.m. CST

    ..."There's a reason they look like humans"...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...interesting, but a bit worrisome.<P>That's very well worn territory...but he's a smart guy. He must be aware of what's been done already...right?<P>Right?

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 10:23 a.m. CST

    Oh and Copernicus your interview with Jim

    by ominus

    is fucking cool.congratulations man,you delivered again one of the most interesting topics in aicn.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 10:27 a.m. CST

    LaserPants Jim was studying Physics in his

    by ominus

    College.He is even a member of the NASA Advisory Council.He knows about this stuff.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 10:33 a.m. CST

    TheJudger you are wrong.

    by ominus

    science fiction has to do with science.that is what explores the relationship between science and the human. star wars is fantasy,not scifi,since the science there is the background,we are never shown how it influences the characters and the world since thats not the purpose of the movie. <p>And that is most obvious when Lucas tried to give a scientific origin of the Force and he fucked it wars is fantasy,not scifi.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 10:36 a.m. CST

    God, Cameron has a small penis

    by YackBacker

    "Let me impress a professor of Astronomy with MY knowledge of Astronomy!" Go suck a dick, Jimbo.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 10:38 a.m. CST

    I am sure Orci/Kutz would make Dark Matter

    by ominus

    in ST,the ultimate mcguffin/deus ex machina will be used to beat the bad guy,to destroy planets,for time traveling,to traverse multiple dimensions/universes,to save people,to defend the Federation,it will be used as fuel,food and drink,it will cure Picards baldness and as Viagra for an old Kirk. <p>since it is an 'exotic' matter,it can do everything as it fits those supertalented writers Orci/Kutz

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 10:38 a.m. CST

    The idea of seeding life throughout the universe is an old one

    by YackBacker

    Naturally Cameron would steal it for his next movie, as he cannot shit without seeing how others have done it before him.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 10:41 a.m. CST

    AICN getting pwn3d on the Nolan news

    by IAmLegolas

    wake up, fat boy

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 10:45 a.m. CST

    Enough AVATAR already, we've all seen it, what about Nolan?

    by YackBacker

    SUPERMAN under Nolan's guidance? Wow. AICN wake up, gents.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 10:54 a.m. CST


    by JayLenoTookMyJob

    "Most probably, dark matter is just objects like quasi-stellar objects like failed stars and Jupiter-like rogue planets, dust clouds, asteroids and cometary ice objects" Uh, no. Scientists have estimated numbers for all such objects and combined, they still don't account for the total estimated mass of "dark matter" in the universe. Therefore it is thought that such dark matter is an exotic form of matter that is so far invisible to all forms of detection we currently have. Of course, this fact doesn't mean it is mystical, only that we currently don't have the scientific means to locate or view it.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 10:58 a.m. CST

    Cameron is nowhere near as smart as Kubrick was

    by sansara07

    Cameron knows his stuff, but Kubrick was a bona fide genius. Look at the science in 2001, it's flawless and unbelievably prophetic. Now compare that to the hokey science of Avatar and Terminator films. Kubrick would never have been as loose with science as Cameron has been. In terms of smartness, Cameron is not really fit to wipe Kubrick's ass.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:01 a.m. CST

    sansara07, ever hear of the Kubrik/Moon landing conspiracy?

    by YackBacker

    That Kubrick was hired by NASA to help film the moon surface footage to fool us into thinking that we actually landed on the Moon?<p> Well, imagine if Cameron was hired by NASA... lots of blue mancats running on the surface of the Moon, with Papyrus subtitles appearing onscreen. Walter Cronkite would have lost his shit.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:07 a.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    There's a difference between dark matter and exotic matter. Exotic matter is a so far theoritical type of matter which would had different properties then the usual matter, like, say, it would cause a gravity pull out (almost like anti-gravity), as oposed to what matters do, which is by their very existence it causes a gravity pull toward their center of mass.<br><br>Dark Matter is just stuff we don't kmnow what it is, ence the name. Dark just means we can't observe it as yet, not that it's painted black.<br><br>Still, you are very correct about what kind of retard use for Dark matter Bob Orci and siemese twin Kurtzman would do for their next Star Trek abortion.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:09 a.m. CST

    YackBacker you dont steal something

    by ominus

    that is part of our worldwide remind me a guy in a greek forum,who insisted that time-traveling in T1 was a major plot-hole which destroyed the whole story !! <p>i tried to explain to him that Jim used a philosophical aspect of time-traveling which is studied in Physics,it is not just a story idea,it is a subject of Science,it is not wrong or stupid,its something which is explored in a philosophical level.the same applies with the panspermia theory which Cameron to use to explain why the Navi look like humans.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:10 a.m. CST

    Someone in a previous talkback mentioned IMMORTALITY

    by D.Vader

    And how this could be exploited on Pandora, people making Navi hybrid bodies in order to live life again, just transferring their consciousnesses into a new body. That's a VERY interesting idea that I'd like to see (at least) touched upon in a sequel.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:11 a.m. CST

    AsimovLives you are correct

    by ominus

    my mistake

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:12 a.m. CST

    Yack, exactly

    by sansara07

    Kubrick had such credibility that the Moon conspiracy footage theory had weight. Kubrick was in a whole other stratosphere compared to Cameron when he researched his subjects. He wasn't a mere popcorn peddler.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:13 a.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    I think you are making a classic mistake here. And it's due t tne very name Dark Matter, which has spured the imagination into beleiving it's made of unknown stuff. Thing is, we can't accuratly account for stuf we can't see, only infer their existence due to gravitational effects. So, no, we haven't accounted for quasi-stellar objects and rogue planets that exist in the galaxy because, since they don't cast light themselves, we haven't observed ONCE SINGLE ONE OF THEM. This is why it's absurd to even try to put them outside of the realm of the dark matter. Simply, dark matter means objects we can't see because they do not shine. Stars shine and thus we can see them. Objects that do not cast light, we can't observe directly, we can't pinpoint they are there. They are invisible. They are inthe shadow of the galaxy because they themselves don't shine. And thus, it's called DARK MATTER. As opposed to LIGHT MATTER. Dark Matter are, very certainly, just matter stuff that didn't became stars, and they out-mass all the stuff that turned into stars and the planets and planetoids and asteroids and cometary objects that orbit them. This might ruin the romanticism of "Dark Mattter", but the universe is not romantic. The universe doesn't exist to justify our prefered romantic notions and fancies.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:15 a.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    Kubrick is Cameron's favorite director, and 2001 is Cameron's favorite movie of all times. He watched it 25 times IN THE THEATERS back in the day. Think about that.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:19 a.m. CST

    sansara07 science in 2001 is not flawless

    by ominus

    he has done a superb job with the scientific realism in the film,although some scientific errors were slipped. <p>but for me the biggest problem with the film,was that it was never explained why HAL started giving errose.and i am ok to bring my own hypothesis on this matter,but the problem is that there was an exact HAL on earth,with the exact feedback but it operated without erros.(i am not talking about turning insane,thats another matter).and that creates a plot-hole in the movie.thank god Clack took notice of it and explained it in the sequel.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:19 a.m. CST

    The Judger...

    by kisskissbangbang're sounding a bit like a conspiracy theorist here. You just can't come up with cool ideas, you have to back them up, or suggest ways to test them. Zwicky was right, but unfortunately it took a long time to prove it. But at least in science, unlike most fields of human endeavor, if you're right, you'll be vindicated. If Burbidge was right, we'll know eventually. I doubt it, though, because if continuously created matter emerged as quasars, then why are all quasars billions of light years away, and why don't we find any in our galactic neighborhood? You don't get Nobel Prizes unless you can answer questions like that, and the math works out, and the empirical evidence supports you. Scientists are human, and some degree of politics is inevitable, but there's less than anywhere else, and accusing people of shunning you because of contrarian ideas should be a last resort, not the first.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:20 a.m. CST

    Sansara07, you forget a VERY IMPORTANT point...

    by D.Vader

    2001 was based on a novel by a bona fide genius and thus the case could be made that the reason all the science in 2001 works is not because of Kubrick but bc of Arthur C Clarke.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:22 a.m. CST

    In other words, Sansara

    by D.Vader

    You failed in your attempt to insult James Cameron's intelligence.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:23 a.m. CST

    ominus, it's not like that

    by YackBacker

    I'm not critical of Cameron using elements of a genre, but Cameron has relied heavily on pre-existing, distinct stories for AVATAR. Google "James Cameron plagiarism" and read up on the subject.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:24 a.m. CST

    isnt there a theory that Dark Matter

    by ominus

    is in fact the gravitational effect of a parallel universe to us? thus is is not matter at all,just the gravitational forces from something which operates above our 4D universe.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Yakster, using the "life-seeding" idea isn't stealing

    by D.Vader

    Its a very common theory and I agree that its a bit wrong to say that if Cameron uses that (old) idea, that it constitutes as stealing.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:33 a.m. CST

    D Vader

    by sansara07

    I'm not "insulting Cameron's intelligence". I'm saying that he can be very loose with science in his films. Avatar is a piece of hokey mass entertainment, let's not pretend it's an intellectual triumph.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:35 a.m. CST

    YackBacker sorry man i disagree

    by ominus

    when you take elements from common stories,you dont plagiarize,because you use something that it has been told already a thousand times. <p>the irony is that the haters who accuse Cameron of stealing,they themselves provide the ultimate proof that he is NOT stealing: <p>every and each one of them claims a DIFFERENT source,from where Cameron has stolen his story you get it? neither of them agrees on the same,single,original source where Cameron stole from.but they speak of multiple different sources. <p>but if multiple,different sources exist,then that means two things: <p>Either all the sources have stolen from one SINGLE,UNIQUE,ORIGINAL,SOURCE which begs the question which one is this original source and why the fuck the haters dont agree on this same source,since they are so fucking clever and know everything in this world <p>or a unique,original source does not exist,and its invalid to claim that all the sources have stolen from each other,because no source can claim the uniqueness of its originality.since none of the source stole from each,other,then neither Cameron has stolen from any source. <p>what happens is that all the sources look identical because they tell a very common,classic can say that each and one source has influence each other,but to say that their creators stole from each other,then you dont have a fucking idea about how ART work. <p>and thats it.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:37 a.m. CST

    My apologies, Sansara, it sure seemed like you were...

    by D.Vader

    Especially with this statement : "In terms of smartness, Cameron is not really fit to wipe Kubrick's ass." <p> It seems a bit insulting when your argument is based on the opinion that Kubrick's movie science is brilliant because Kubrick was brilliant, completely ignoring the reality that 2001 was an adaptation of a brilliant scifi novel. <p> Let's not pretend Kubrick came up with everything in 2001 himself.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:46 a.m. CST

    Hack the planet!

    by sewiz

    Seems to me the sequel would have to involve the humans attempting to tap into the communications network that is Eywa.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:47 a.m. CST

    He talks about the movie's science and tech...

    by logjam

    ... in this Discovery video:

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:51 a.m. CST

    Science of the Avatar

    by sewiz

    to continue from earlier... with the techno advancement the humans showed to project a mind into another body, they have obviously mastered the ability to communicate (at least on a basic level) with our own nervous system - which is similiar to Pandora (only that is a system on a much larger scale). Makes sense to me that if the company wanted to try and recoup on their lost revenue stream....they would attempt to hack into Eywa -either for intelligence gathering or to try and implant instructions.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Creationism vs Evolution...

    by bubcus

    I'm really curious into the middle ground, evolving in spheres of creation. You cannot create something out of nothing so "creationism" where God made everything out of nothing doesn't make sense, and everything we have evolving out of a pool of goop doesn't make sense either. <BR> One thought that came to me was that perhaps the Adam & Eve account is a reboot in itself. That life existed on this world and was wiped out, that Earth was left covered in water and "lifeless" and "God" commissioned a reboot of it... dividing land from water, etc... bringing a bigger meaning to his first commandment: "multiply and replenish the Earth." <BR> Curiosity is absolutely a treasured trait in mankind. We ask questions, we think it out, we explore options, and seek out logic... for things to make sense. <BR> These articles about the Science of Avatar are great and I love the inspiration it fosters....

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:57 a.m. CST

    In the sequel, we visit the litterbox moon,

    by Dingbatty

    covered in clay particles and blue crystals.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:07 p.m. CST

    D Vader

    by sansara07

    Kurick wrote the screenplay of 2001 with Arthur C Clarke. Kubrick selected a short story by Clarke called The Sentinel and asked Clarke to write 2001 from there. They collaborated very closely throughout the writing process. So your argument is a litle flat.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:07 p.m. CST

    Delicious Vader, point well-taken. ominus, allow me to retort!

    by YackBacker

    I said that Cameron took DISTINCT stories and adapted them for AVATAR. Not common as in a theme like "man v. machine" but something specific like "paraplegic controls an alien body in a hostile environment on an alien world and through his contact with the indigenous people turns against the humans." Go read CALL ME JOE by Poul Anderson. <p> As for the space-seeding trope, you're right, that wouldn't be stealing. That would just be lazy and derivative writing. Might as well throw in something about a monolith or a lost Voyager probe while you're at it.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:13 p.m. CST

    I personally hope there isn't some seeding story

    by D.Vader

    But I do think there is a reason for the DNA of the Navi and humans to be closely linked enough to allow for hybrids to be created.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:14 p.m. CST

    Points taken, Baltar and Sansara

    by D.Vader

    Admittedly, I was unaware of that fact. But I think Sansara actually helps my point in saying that Kubrick co-wrote 2001 with Clarke.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:31 p.m. CST

    i have read it and the similarity lies

    by ominus

    only in the plot and NOT in the fucking yourself just wrote me the plot of the book,not the storym,just the do know the difference between plot and story right? <p>have you read Firekind? a comic story from 2000ad.the story,and not just the plot, has a lot more similarities with Avatar than Call me Joe.and people say the writer of Firekind should go Cameron to trial for copyright theft.but you say that he stole from JOE.and i ask you.whats the case? he stole from JOE? if yes,then Firekind stole from JOE as well.and if its about stealing,then what exactly did the both writers steal from the JOE book apart from the plot? because their stories have no fucking similarity with the story of JOE. <p>and i ask something else: why exactly a plot or rather an idea is 'copyrighted'? i am not seeing Coca-Cola,dr Pepper and Pepsi suing each other for stealing the idea of a diet drink.because its an idea,you cant sue for an idea,ideas make the world to evolve,you know thats why a lot of people are agaisnt the copyright laws which the big Capital is trying to push worldwide. <p>if i write a story about the adventures of a captain and his crew of a starship,who the captain is womanizing and his best friend an alien,does this mean i am stealing from ST? what exactly did i steal? the idea or the story or the characters or the background? well? <p>monoliths and lost Voyager is products of a fictional story,parts of an artwork.Panspermia is a scientific theory,not proved but still a subject of Science.Cameron as a former scientists uses this theory,just like he used time-traveling.Which brings the questions.should HG Wells's family ask money from Cameron,for stealing the idea of time-traveling?? well?

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:45 p.m. CST

    the growing expanding earth

    by BendersShinyAss

    look it up!

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:49 p.m. CST

    Ominus, do you agree that Harlan Ellison

    by sansara07

    had a solid case for suing Cameron? If you do, then the author of Joe also has a case. The similarities are glaring.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:50 p.m. CST

    I realize for storytelling reasons why

    by Dingbatty

    the mercernaries were wearing present day camouflage, but really, by that time they should have clothes with electronic dye that can rearrange to create an exact picture of one's surroundings.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:51 p.m. CST

    Mr. Wayne Barlowe...

    by torpedoboy

    ...never gets any love. the "AVATAR" world wouldn't be jack without him.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:57 p.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    2001 is still the movie which still has the record for being the most realistic movie ever made, REGARDLESS OF GENRE. Food for thoughs, hem?<br><br>There are no theories about Dark Matter, because none has been observed and tested so far. And as many have said before, even it's own nature is just the subject of speculations. Thus, at best, all there is about it is not theories, but hypothesis.<br><br>And the notion of paralel universes is just that, a notion. And that notion was born on a possible explanation for a cause created by time traveling. Thing is, everything in the universe points out to make time travel to the past utterly impossible. Not hard or unprobably, IMPOSSIBLE. Thus, the notion that there migth be paralel universes is just that, a notion. And even if there were, it would be impossible to prove they existed, which again goes back to the same point, just a notion not based in any real evidence, however indirect. And for god's sake, don't ever mistake a paralel universe with "another dimention". Let stupid hacks like Orci, Kurtzman and Abrams make those dumb ass ignorant mistakes, because they are dumb ass ignorant idiots. We are better then those shits.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 12:58 p.m. CST

    Did Wayne Barlowe paint exotic alien worlds?

    by D.Vader

    Or just Hell landscapes?

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:02 p.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    A middle stanze on Evolution-creation is as idiotic and as ignorant as merely beleiving in creation alone. It's just that, an idea based on crass ignorance. Worst, it's even cowardly, because you don't have the courage to assume an position. You must assume there's wisdom in adopting a middle position. In fact, it's just as dumb only accepting creationism. It's the same as to say you half believe in gravity, and that there's an half, middle round position between accepting the theory of gravity and not accepting the theory of gravity. Tehre's no half-accepting tested proved theories. Either you accept it, or you don't. but to not accept a well tested and demosntrated theory (which is why it's called a theory, because it's proved already) is just not only ignorant, but dumb. Your position is just half-arseness, and as ignorant as the creationists. Sorry being so blunt about this, but there you have it.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:06 p.m. CST

    ominus, calm down dude

    by YackBacker

    First of all, you're not 100% clear on copyright law, I am because that's what I do professionally. No need to get worked up over it, I like you and I have nothing against you personally.<p> With all due respect, there's a lot about copyright that does apply to AVATAR. But I'll save that for another day, I'm more interested in the SUPERMAN TB.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:06 p.m. CST

    YackBacker, you have no idea what you are talking about.

    by Mr. Moe

    You've never read Call Me Joe, nor would you have ever known about the story if some dweeb on the net didn't point it out. There are many, many stories about crippled people using artificial bodies, and Call Me Joe was one of them. The story and plot to Joe was very different from Avatar. There was no indigenous race in Joe. The other female beings were created by humans, to operate on their own without human control. "Joe" uses them to create a new race. And they did not fight against the humans.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:07 p.m. CST

    I still say the aliens of AVATAR aren't alien enough

    by AsimovLives

    And the mvoie made big cheats with the Na'vi. They are just too human-like, specially in how they think, act, talk, personality traits, the works. I like the movie, but i do resent that Cameron had to go for so much cheating to make the Na'vi sympathetic. As if their plight wouldn't be enough. In fact, a bigger conquest as a storyteller, would be to have the Na'vi very alien, and by the end you would still root for them more then you would the humans. Something like that Neill Bloomkamp did for DISTRICT 9. And Bloomkamp even had a leading man who was, for most people, a despicable and obnoxious unsympathetic lead. Which makes Bloomkamp's sucess even more, err, sucessful. I really wish that Cameron had gone with his first instincts and really made the Na'ni as inicially intented, far mroe alien, almost fish-like in appearence. Making them into pretty tall cats is just a bit of a cheat, the way i see it.<br><br>Still, pretty good movie.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:07 p.m. CST

    wow asimov

    by BendersShinyAss

    you said something intelligent

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:08 p.m. CST

    for your post several up,

    by BendersShinyAss

    not directly above

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:14 p.m. CST

    they call it dark matter

    by BendersShinyAss

    not because it's dark, but because it's a gapping hole in what we know about the universe. geeeez.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:15 p.m. CST


    by BendersShinyAss

    the growing earth. the expanding earth. fucking look it up now!

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:16 p.m. CST

    Everything grows

    by BendersShinyAss

    who'd hav thunk it? heuck!

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:27 p.m. CST

    sansara07 thank you for bringing this up

    by ominus

    i will tell you about my experience.all these years i was reading and hearing how Cameron stole Harlan's Outer Limits episodes,and how he was forced to credit him after a trial took place.He didnt have to pay him anything,just to credit him,that was the official verdict by the judges. <p>now until 3 months ago,i had never watched those notorious OL episodes,which Cameron stole from. <p>Coincidently i discovered these episodes in youtube,so i downloaded them and watched.I am talking about Solder and the Demon with the Glass Hand episodes. <p>What i was expecting to see in those two episodes,and especially with Soldier, was the same story (with some differences ofc) with that of T1.Well i didnt see ANYTHING AT ALL to resemble the story of T1.WHAT THE FUCK??? <p>where is the soldier who comes from the future to protect the mother of the future leader? where the fuck are the machines which have annihilated humankind in the future? where the fuck is the human resistance? where the fuck is the picture which creates the whole time loop-hole? where the fuck is when the soldier falls in love with the woman,make love,impregnates her,and becomes the father of the future leader? where the fuck is the fucking CYBORG???????????? A CYBORG not a fucking robot which is an unstoppable killer,with the mission to kill the mother of the future leader,and not the future savior of the humankind from the attacks of some fucking ALINES???? WHAT THE FUCK?? where is the super AI computer? yes i know its in the IHNMAIMS novel from Harlan,but that computer was not the same like Skynet or even fucking HAL. <p>so you can understand how much i laughed with the idiots who all these years were claiming that Cameron stole Harlan's work.He was influenced from that? you damn right he was.but he didnt steal the story,he just took some core elements of the main plots (its another thing a soldier coming from the future by accident and another on purpose) and altered and evolved them to his own plots and from there he created his own personal,DISTINCT,stories which had nothing to do with Harlan's stories.and yes the intro of the T1 is very similar with that of the intro of the Soldier episode,but that does not the negate the originality and uniqueness of Cameron's artwork. <p>and as the case with the Harlan trial goes,please read this enlightening article: <p>as you can see things arent as they appear to be.anyway.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:30 p.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    What's so not inteligent about my last post? That i wished the Na'vi had been more alien instead of being so damn human?

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:31 p.m. CST

    ominus & asimovlives...

    by kisskissbangbang

    ominus: yes, there is a hypothesis based on string theory called the ekpyrotic hypothesis in which the pull supposed to be from exotic dark matter (everyone agrees normal dark matter exists)is actually from another "brane" (a structure from M-theory, an expanded version of string theory)which our universe/brane is bound to and cyclically collides with, which collision is mistaken for the Big Bang. A fine book on these topics is Before The Big Bang, but you could just Google ekpyrotic or Neil Turok, the coinventor of the hypothesis and find out more.<p>AsimovLives:a parallel universe is not a timeline branching off from ourscaused by intervention in time. That's an alternate universe. A parallel universe is simply (simply!)another spacetime continuum other than ours, with no duplication of our particular time sequence implied.<p>On my lunchbreak here & I've got to go; if I've been confusing or (heaven forbid) wrong, I'll try to clear it up later. Till then.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:35 p.m. CST

    As for the expanding Earth...

    by AsimovLives

    ... well, in truth, the Earth gains mass EVERY DAY. How so? On account of all the meteorites that fall. But the amount of mass they add to Earth is pratically negligeble, only about 3 tonnes of mass a year. Even a big one like the one that striked Earth 65 millions years ago and caused the Cretaceous–Paleogene Extinction (which killed the dinosaurs), even that would only add a very small faction to the Earth's mass, causing barely registable changes. The Earth is expanding in mass through meteorites, sure, but it's not something to write home about.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:38 p.m. CST

    asimov not exactly

    by ominus

    multiple universes comes from one of the two main interpretations of Quantum Mechanics. <p>

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:39 p.m. CST


    by BendersShinyAss

    blah blah blah.....

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:40 p.m. CST

    hey kisskiss thanx for your post

    by ominus

    very interesting info,i ll check the the titles you propose.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:43 p.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    A paralel universe existence cannot be proved, on account that we are limited to our own, as in, this is all there is, and you can't get out of here. Even if there would be other paralel universes, we couldn't know. And maybe it's for the best. Other universes would had a type of laws of physics totally alien to our own, on account of it's own particular cincunstances which it started. All our laws of physics that exist are dependend on the local conditions of the very first moments after the Big Bang.<br><br>As for alternative universes, i don't think the universe allow it to exist. To make one, through time travel, say, it would mean an impossible breach of the law of conservation of energy, in that it would need to create a whole other universe as big as our own out of nothingness! nothing cames from nothing. Which is why there's a sort of, say, fail-safe device in the very fabric of the universe that would prevent such a creation of infinite by nothing,or even the supression of paradoxes. Not because there's any consciousnes sin the universe itself, but merely as a result of the very laws that govern it. Paralel universes are impossible to prove, and alternative universe can't exist.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:48 p.m. CST

    Asimov not exactly

    by ominus

    one of CERN's experiment is to prove if a parallel universe exists by discovering his gravitational effect in our world.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:51 p.m. CST

    The most interesting theory of Dark Matter

    by Ray Gamma

    The best theory of dark matter is the suggestion that it is in fact all the technology and artifacts out there in the universe that has been created by massively advanced races. The idea is that the tech has become so incredibly advanced and massive over eons, long, long before we evolved on Earth, and it now makes up an 'unseen' 90% of the universe's mass.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:51 p.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    bla bla bla what?

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:53 p.m. CST

    Good interview.

    by hallmitchell

    So much better than the celebrity focused drivel that mainstream media do these days. Alot of these directors, actors etc have so much valuable knowledge and their air time is just wasted.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 1:59 p.m. CST

    yackbacker ok sorry man

    by ominus

    i got a bit carried away

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 2:02 p.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    What you need to take into account is that quantum mechanics uses a purely mathematical languagwe that has no relation to our common daily language. Which means that they have to come up with the best common language terms to describe what cann0t really be describe in other thing but very advanced mathematics. You have to realise that what is said about quantum effects have absolutly no paralal to our daily existence and to things we know. When quantum mechanics say about another universe that exists at that level, what they mean to sayu is that at the quantum level, things behave differently then expected in macroscopic scales we live in and experience our daily lives. In that regard, events at a quantum level do seem to happen in a universe different then ours. but it's in fact the same ol' universe, it's just evetns at different scales. and the fact that common language cann0t cope with the mathematics that are used to describe and portait quantum phenomena. It's, in truth, a matte rof a lack of proper words, definitions and more importantly, a mindlest to understand quantum events and it's laws. Mad worst by the fact that very little is known in howto bridge the gap between our macro-universe and the quantum scale of events. There's very little body of knowledge that can fill in the gap. One of the few such things, was what made Stephen Hawkins famous, as he took quantum and relativistic physics to explain and predict Black Holes. Superconductors is also another area of human knowledge where there seems to be able to make a pratical use of qunatum effects on a macroscoptic scale. But for the most part, there really is a wall dividing the quantum world from our own. Soemthing our daily language can't cope to describe in any way that doesn't sound fantastical or magical or impossible, and creates erroneous assumptions. Thus, paralel universes "ressonances". You know what i mean?

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 2:04 p.m. CST

    Ray Gamma

    by AsimovLives

    That's not a theory. That's not even an hypothesis. That's just fancy talk. It's, to put it nicely, fantasy. Bullshit, however, would be the more apt description.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 2:06 p.m. CST

    an extra-terrestrial civilization's trash out-massing..

    by AsimovLives

    ... the whole visible star mass of the galaxy the the ratio of 10 to one. Yeah, right! somebody is projecting our polluting ways to the rest of the galaxy. Because, like, every other fuckign civilization out there has to act and think and do like we do, right? I call that an incredible lack of imagination.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 2:17 p.m. CST


    by Ray Gamma

    I'd call you an incredible lack of imagination.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 2:20 p.m. CST

    ps "AsimovLives"...

    by Ray Gamma

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 2:23 p.m. CST

    Your command of spelling and grammar...

    by Ray Gamma much poorer "then" everyone else's on this talkback. Therefore how can you expect anyone to take your bogus scientific pontification seriously? You cretin.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 2:35 p.m. CST

    Sansar07 continues to be an annoyance

    by Turd_Has_Risen_From_The_Grave

    2001 is a whole different kettle of fish than Terminator or Avatar. 2001 is an art film with a premium on depicting absolute realism; Terminator or Avatar are action/adventure sci fi grounded in hard science but not beholden to it as the dictates of the story demands. That says nothing about Cameron's 'intelligence' but plenty about yours, since you cannot define, or are willing to ignore, context in your efforts to bash Cameron. Cameron is well aware of his science; if he chose to make an almost documentary like feature, such as his proposed Mars colonization film, he would have utter adherence to scientific accuracy, and you'd best believe he'd be successful. Turning this into an excuse for a pissing contest between Kubrick and Cameron is utterly irrelevant.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 2:45 p.m. CST

    2001 most realistic film ever?

    by thommcg

    Really? I mean, really? Perhaps if you ignore the Monoliths, Space Baby...

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 2:50 p.m. CST

    Just saying!

    by thommcg

    Realistic in regards, not so in others... still just a film.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 2:51 p.m. CST

    Wow Turd I actually agree with you on that front

    by IndustryKiller!

    While I find the convo these guys are having fascinating and cool, it really doesn't relate to Avatar. As one of Avatars biggest detractors, if someone said to me "Yeah and it's science doesn't hold water." I would consider that the least of it's flaws, as that is almost purely cosmetic in the grand scheme of the film. It's like saying the worst part of Episode 3 is when Vader yells "NOOOOOO!!!", yeah it's stupid, but in lieu of other gaping flaws it's really just a nitpick in a world of massive valid complaints.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 2:59 p.m. CST

    Life-Seeding was already done on an episode of

    by RandomWordRandomWord

    Star Trek TNS.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 3:02 p.m. CST

    It's funny tehy are having a conference on the science of Avatar

    by IndustryKiller!

    Cause, I mean, what a monumental and silly waste of time. It's like Marine biologists having an expo on "The Aquatic Ecosystem of Spongebob"

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 3:29 p.m. CST

    Turd speaks the truth

    by ominus

    listen to it @Random yes they did that episode to explain why most of the ST alien races are humanoids.Obviously Cameron is going the same route.Well better that 'man created by god to his image'...

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 3:53 p.m. CST

    it's all bullshit

    by HaterofCrap

    this reminds me of that science of star wars piece of shit that was on tv awhile back.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 4:05 p.m. CST

    Copernicus is coming to the

    by STLost

    St. Louis Science Center? Cool. I might have to see that. His article on the science of Avatar was pretty cool and this little ad hoc interview with James Cameron had promise.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 4:20 p.m. CST

    It's funny you guys going on about Kubrick because

    by white_vader

    as I keep saying and you keep ignoring, the floating mountains were meant to be in 2001 and abandoned (I guess the floating pyramids were as close as they got) due to not being able to realise them properly. Cameron is a huge 2001 fan and there's no way the mountains are not a tribute. Kubrick is my favourite director along with Kurosawa, so I'm not trying to bring him down at all, but the whole argument you guys were carrying on with further up is a little ironic, isn't it?

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 5:21 p.m. CST

    science of avatar

    by grisp

    Nice interview. Hope you get to talk with him in more depth at some point. I think the point, Industrykiller!, is that by talking about the science of Avatar (the possible as well as impossible) you can convey some real science to folks who might not be familiar with current concepts and discoveries, but who are attracted to learning about them because they saw a movie they liked and can relate to. <P> Not to belabor a point, but sorry bubcus, I agree with AsimovLives, there isn't really a middle ground on evolution. Either it works or it doesn't - you either accept it or you don't. You say "everything we have evolving out of a pool of goop doesn't make sense either" Really? You've evaluated the rationale, the time scales involved, the biological underpinnings, and the experiments that have been done to try to get at events that happened, admittedly, a very long time ago? More importantly, you have some evidence for an alternative idea that would lend it more support than evolution (say a crashed alien ship in the antarctic or something)? If so, please share. <P> I agree with several of you that it would be nice to see some more classic hard SF adapted to the screen by the likes of Cameron.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 5:44 p.m. CST


    by Hipshot

    Don't know if it was the most realistic SF film ever, but man oh man did they do their research. But crediting Kubrick for that, when clearly he leaned on Clarke massively, seems a little tunnel-visioned. But what's unrealistic about the monolith? Or the space baby? You are talking about a film that tries to give an impression of what contact with an alien species might feel like. The monoliths are a geometrical shape housing God only knows what technology. The star baby is an evolved human form, supported by the same alien species. Arthur Clarke and Kubrick TOGETHER created that film, with an army of techs. Avatar is one man's vision--supported by an army of techs. I saw 2001 in its original theatrical release, in Cinerama, and my mind was completely blown. My favorite film of all time. But its effects weren't perfect (note the moon buggy had no shadow) and it is rather sterile in some ways. Avatar is a kick-ass adventure story created by one of our best filmmakers, and stands on its own as one of the best SF films ever made. Top 100? Top 50? Top 20? I don't know. Individual tastes will vary. But Cameron is genuinely brilliant, and he's making geek movies, and we should be fucking happy about it.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 5:46 p.m. CST

    Ray Gamma

    by AsimovLives

    I'd like to see your grammatical command of the portuguese language. Why do you fucking geeks assume that everybody posting in here are american? Makes your "poor grammar = stupid" assumptions look positively stupid. Really, i wish to see your great command of the portuguese language, or any second language other then your native english. Really, i would pay to see that.<br><br>And i would love to see your reasoning why one who complains that too human-like aliens would be the one supporting a lack of imagination. The opposite is more like it. If you ask me, you were just trying to be a smart-ass, and doing poorly at that. Was that english good enough for you, grammar nazi?

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 5:48 p.m. CST

    Nice interview, he seemed to have some knowledge

    by TheWaqman

    about this stuff after all.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 5:51 p.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    In case you have been sleeping when you watched 2001: A SPACE ODDYSSEY, the space baby and the monoliths are stuff from an extremely advanced civilization who are as advanced in relation to the humans, as the humans of 2001 are to their ape-like ancestors. and that's the point. It goes directly to a famous Arthur C. Clarke quote, which says, sufficiently advanced technology would be undistinguishable from magic. That's the point. But in all the stuff that's about the humans, and specially the space travel, 2001 is stil,the most accurate and scientfically correct movie EVER MADE. EVER MADE. Try to come up with a more accurate movie then 2001 in describing space tavel. I fucking dare you.<br><br>Really, if you going to try to trash or put down 2001, you really better make your homework first. And think intelligently about it. It's a movie that demand intelligence, you know? You can't go about it as if you are talking about a Michael Bay movie, you know?

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 5:56 p.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    I'm not suprised that Cameron has a superficial knowledge of astrophysics and the tech involved. I'm suprised he actually knows many of the type of telespoces used and the techniques involved, which even many layman lovers of astrophysics know little about. The man really read a textbook or two. You got to respect that.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 6:07 p.m. CST

    er sorry what flying Pyramids in 2001???

    by ominus

    i dont remember any of those in the film.were they shown in the wormhole sequence?

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 6:10 p.m. CST

    STL Science Center in October.... Hmmm....

    by JumpinJehosaphat

    Well, I'll be there if I can find a way to pencil that in. *Checks calendar* Well whaddayaknow?! I'm wide open! See you there, Galileo or whatever!

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 6:11 p.m. CST

    jesus the man was studying Physics in his

    by ominus

    College times,thats why he knows hist stuff.he is even a member of the Nasa Advisory Council and he was going to travel to Space on a Nasa but then 911 happened,and they abandoned the project.Cameron is both a scientist and an artist,he is the ultimate geek.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 6:19 p.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    ´The "flying pyramids" as it were, i think he's refering to those abstract geometrical figures that seem to float above the strange oplanet that bowman is brough in after his stargate crossing. There is this lozenge/diamond like figures, which i guess he called pyramids for the lack of a better term. Still, it's all part of the "very advanced alien tech" which to us would look as amazing and uncompreensible as a jet fighter would look to a pre-hominid.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 6:45 p.m. CST

    Mr. Moe, no you're wrong

    by YackBacker

    A copyright protection can extend beyond the EXACT plot or story to cover an element of a work that is distinguishable and original in content. I'm not here to educate you, but let's make a deal- I'll read "Call Me Joe" (which I already downloaded a pdf of) and you go to 3 years of law school. Fair trade, Moe?

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 6:52 p.m. CST

    2001 artistic license

    by Nem_Wan

    A couple bits of realism Kubrick deliberately compromised: moving star backgrounds to create a sense of movement and vertigo (arguably this is as much a cheat as other space films putting sound in a vacuum), and design-wise, the USS Discovery One would require large radiators (similar to but larger those on the International Space Station) to dissipate the heat of its nuclear reactor. They were conceptualized but ultimately deleted because it was felt the audience would see them as wings. I don't think there exists a single work of outer space movie fiction where there is absolutely no cheating.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 7:28 p.m. CST

    Cameron make Rendezvous with Rama - please!

    by Rectal Blowout

    Fuck yeah!

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 7:28 p.m. CST

    Yackback read Firekind please

    by ominus

    and then tell me why the author of Call me Joe,hasnt sued the writer of the comic for copyright infrigment all these years.and you havent yet told me why Coca-Cola,Pepsi,Dr Pepper and what other refreshment drink company you have there,hast sued each other for copyright infrigment.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 7:32 p.m. CST

    Cameron's scientific knowledge

    by Hipshot

    Jerry Pournelle, science fiction writer and computer maven, worked in the space program and hob-nobs with NASA types, as well as having written some of the best selling and most carefully researched SF of the 20th Century. He took a meeting with Cameron, and came back shaking his head. "The man is a genius, and knows more about the space program than I do." His knowledge is not superficial. While the experts he hired for Avatar doubtless knew more about their individual areas than he, I bet if you asked them, they'd say he could discuss their arenas with depth and intelligence. My guess is that he's about as smart as anyone who has ever worked in the field. Maybe not as "good," but as smart.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 8:02 p.m. CST


    by bubcus

    " not accept a well tested and demosntrated theory?"<BR><BR> Dude, you're seriously attacking me for your own bigoted gratification. You apologize for being blunt? You're neither blunt nor sorry and you didn't even remotely understand what I was suggesting.<BR><BR> FACT: we dig up dinosaur bones dating back millions of years. Correct? YES.<BR><BR> BIBLE: Denotes that the world we currently live in commenced 7000 years ago with the fall of Adam and beforehand had no "death."<BR><BR>What I was suggesting is that Bible's Adam & Eve could hold water in today's anti-God world. That the old "world" died out, was left a lifeless sphere and that God set things back in motion. This isn't ignorant. This is exploring the possibilities which is anything but.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 8:10 p.m. CST

    James Cameron is the ultimate geek

    by ominus

    Scientist,artist and whenever he wants to fuck a new babe,he directs a new movie.and he has a real fire truck which he drives in his Malibu fucking cool is that?

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 8:11 p.m. CST

    A middle stanze on Evolution-Creation

    by bubcus

    "A middle stance on Evolution-creation is as idiotic and as ignorant as merely believing in creation alone."<BR><BR> No it isn't. I don't believe that God created everything out of nothing and I don't believe man evolved out of monkeys or salamanders or little fish in the sea.<BR><BR> Let's look at this Avatar element as an example. At the end of the movie, they transfer everything that Jake Sully is from one body to another... denoting a spirit transfer from one host body (everything that he is, thoughts, beliefs, feelings, memories) to another. I embrace this as I believe we are spiritual beings that when we die, who we are is not lost. I think that's a great thing.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 8:15 p.m. CST

    its pretty well known that the bible and the rest

    by ominus

    of the ancient myths concerning the birth of the world,are exaggerated,metaphysical stories of some real events which happened thousands of years ago.thats all.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 8:18 p.m. CST

    This is a guess...

    by kisskissbangbang

    ...but the "floating mountains" planned for 2001 was probably the floating island on which one of the aliens is waiting for the humans, in one of the early drafts reprinted in Clarke's _The Lost Worlds of 2001_.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 8:29 p.m. CST


    by kisskissbangbang

    "floating mountains were"...insert perennial complaint about lack of edit function.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 8:36 p.m. CST

    Thanks Copernicus!

    by zinc_chameleon

    It was my comment about the seeding, and I'm also the guy who noticed the four eyes and figured out some of what they'd do. The back pair are peripheral/infrared vision; the front binocular/daylight. But one of the most important things that isn't science fiction anymore is the possibility of repairing severed nerves, which btw is based on the same technology that can create Avatars. Best, it's got Canadian content! Google 'induced pluripotent stem cells cabbage looper moth' and have your world changed, folks.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 8:40 p.m. CST

    Yawn. Oh I'm sorry, was there an interview or something?

    by Onin Solstice

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 8:56 p.m. CST

    Ace of Wands

    by Turd_Has_Risen_From_The_Grave

    These are the same idiots who'll self-congratulatory backslap themselves and get all self-righteous, imagining that they're above Cameron's 'simple, predictable' plot, yet who'll utterly fail to pick up on the deeper ramifications, themes and metaphor contained the story, seeing things only in superficial terms. Fuck 'em all.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 9:23 p.m. CST


    by Kammich

    according to Rian Johnson(the dude that did Brick and Brothers Bloom), Primer's Shane Carruth has a sci-fi spec script that blew his mind. i hope it gets made, because with "Primer" Carruth took a $7,000 budget and made a pretty taut, challenging sci-fi movie. i'd be lying if i said it didn't go over my head most of the time, but i still liked it.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 9:51 p.m. CST

    Avatar looked fake.

    by yeah i'm a jerk!

    I didn't feel like anything I was watching looked very realistic, and Yes I saw it in 3-D. Most boring movie I've seen in a while.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 10:49 p.m. CST


    by kisskissbangbang

    Hey, thanks for answering my question. I had heard Primer was tough to follow, so when a friend showed it to me, I watched it _very_ closely. I was telling myself, "This isn't so tough," till the second time machine came into play about--what, 15 or 20 minutes in--and then, whoa! what happened? But I was able to follow just enough to be convinced Carruth was playing fair and knew what he was doing. My friend said you'd have to be psychic or a transcendent genius to figure it out on a cold first viewing, which would normally irritate me; but I was so impressed otherwise, I'm willing to cut him some slack. I've always meant to check it out again (and again & again)and see if it all really makes sense; I know there's websites out there dissecting it, but I'd rather do it myself. In any event, glad to hear he's trying to do another film. Why doesn't James Cameron give him a little of that 2 billion he just made (I know,I know, it's not all his) and make it happen? I'd sure consider it.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 10:52 p.m. CST

    I meant 15 or 20 minutes _from the end_.

    by kisskissbangbang

    Can't-be-muttered-enough complaint about missing editing function.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:16 p.m. CST

    Ooooo someone said time travel

    by TheJudger

    Theres no such thing. If you went in the past to alter an event. You'd just create and alternative future that you would be a part of. Lets say you were involved in a car accident and you lost an arm. So you go back in time and you go to the point in time when the accident occurred, and your prevent it. You return back to the future you came from. Actually it's the only future you can go to, and guess what. You still missing that arm, and the reason for this is simple. You created an alternative timeline for the past version of you that you saved. <P> That version of you with the intact arm still exist but he has his own timeline now thats separated from the future world you came from. He will not be in your universe when you arrive and you wont magically become him either. <P> This is why we will never have evidence of time travel. <P> We are involved in alternating timelines every day based on our choices. The phones ringing- Do you pick it up or not. You might have done both. The version of you that didn't answer the phone is reading this right now, and that version of you that did is living in an alternate version of now. It happens all the time. Both Back To The Future and the Terminator got this time travel thing wrong. The plots of those films stated that you could change the future by altering the past. You can't. Killing Sarah Conner wouldn't stop John from being born if John. John already is. The proof of this is him sending Reese back in time to stop the Terminator from killing his mom. It was already done. It happened and that John thats alive is in that alternate universe. Anything grown up john does to try to change the past is pointless. Because all managed to do when he does this is to creates an alternative universe. It doesn't have any impact on the universe he is living in. It can not. The only real way to enjoy time travel would be to go back in time to change something and then transfer yourself into you doppler somehow. <P> Maybe you could go into the past stop the even that cuts off your arm. Bring that alternate you into your future where the technology might be prevalent to transfer yourself into it. <P> That or you'd need an alternate universe machine but having that doesn't give you back your arm either. Lets say you use you time machine to go back. theres no point in trying to prevent the accident, but one thing you could. Give your doppler the lotto numbers. Then you go back to your future. You hope into the alternative universe machine. You stay in your future but you hope through alternating universe to find that doppler you gave the lotto numbers to. You find him you kill him you assume his identity and you have his riches. Havent really seen true time travel explored in films yet. Because these great minds still think altering the past can change the future. Nope...

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:28 p.m. CST

    Sophia Stewart's The Third Eye= Ternimator/Avatar/Matrix

    by TheJudger

    True or not. That story's plot could have been reworked into all of these films. No one talks about it anymore since the case was dropped. I have to add. How can you fight against WB and Cameron in a courtroom and win. You can't.

  • Feb. 9, 2010, 11:54 p.m. CST

    fraking drunk- try this again

    by TheJudger

    If you went in the past to alter an event. You would just create and alternative future that you wouldn't be a part of. Lets say you were involved in a car accident and you lost an arm. So you go back in time to the point when the accident occurred, and you prevent it. You go back into your time machine and you return back to the future you came from. Actually it's the only future you can go to, and guess what. You are still missing that arm! The reason for this is simple. You created an alternative timeline for that past version of youself when you altered that event. That version of you with the intact arm still exist but he lives in an alternate version of now that is separated from the now you are in. He will not be in your universe when you arrive back, and you will not magically become him either. <P> This is why we will never have evidence of time travel. <P> We are involved in alternating timelines every day based on our choices. The phones is ringing- Do you pick it up or not? You might have done both. The version of you that didn't answer the phone is reading this right now, and the version of you that did is living in an alternate version of now and he could care less to read this talkback. It happens all the time. Both Back To The Future and the Terminator got this time travel thing wrong. The plots of those films stated that you could change the future by altering the past. You can't. Killing Sarah Conner wouldn't stop John from being born if John already is. The proof of him already being, was him sending Reese back in time to create him and to stop the Terminator from killing his Mom. But Reese isn't that Johns father. Theres no possible way. He is the father of the John he makes after John sends him back. Poloriod or not. There's nothing that says Sarah wouldnt be at that same place and time to get that image take. So all of this future stuff with both tSkynet and John being very concerned with the events of the past is retarded. They change nothing for the futures worlds they came from. Skynet is a computer and it's probably being more logical about it. Thinking "fuck it, at least in an alternative timeline I will win" If you program a machine to do something it will do it. Skynets hardon to change the past makes sense. Johns does not. His current time and future is unchangable. What was done is already done and it wotn change what is. All John can do when he does this shit is create an alternative universes. It doesn't have any impact on the universe he is living in. It can not. The only real way to enjoy time travel would be to go back in time to change something and then transfer yourself into you doppler somehow.<P> Maybe you could go into the past stop the even that cuts off your arm. Bring that newly created alternate version of you (who is younger as well) into your future where the technology might be prevalent to transfer yourself into it. <P> That or you'd need an alternate universe machine, but having that doesn't give you back your arm either. Lets say you use your time machine to go back. Theres no point in trying to prevent the accident, for this plan, but one thing you could do is give your doppler the lotto numbers. Then you go back to your future. After you get there you hop into your alternative universe machine. You stay in your future but you hop through alternating universes to find that doppler you gave the lotto numbers to. You find him, kill him, assume his identity, and you have his riches. We haven't really seen true time travel explored in films yet. Because these great minds still think altering the past can change the future. Nope...

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:41 a.m. CST

    thanks Judger...


    you just ruined the last season of LOST.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 2:13 a.m. CST

    Never ceases to amaze me

    by TheMandrakeRoot

    Some of you people here are just the sorriest excuses for humans. Does anything bring you joy? You get a geniunely interesting article of two extremely smart people talking about space and Avatar, and all you take away from it is, "Well he still isn't a pimple on Kubricks ass". Who the fuck cares? I mean, fuck... now every director who displays actual intelligence beyond typical Hollywood bullshit is deemed worthless because they aren't as brilliant as Stanley Kubrick, one of the greatest director of all time? I'm all for having standards, but this shit is just ridiculous. What the fuck are you doing that makes you so high and mighty? Cameron has proved time and time again that he is a brilliant man who has a true passion for both the arts and the sciences. He easily surpasses 99% of working directors in terms of intelligence and vision, but that still isn't quite good enough. Yes, he likes to make movies for everybody, why should that be held against him? Frankly, most filmmakers of his intelligence would probably be making films that appeal to the smallest demographic, so we should be grateful that Cameron is still all about making movies that are FUN. There's some really shitty directors out there, why anyone would choose to hate on someone who has given us classic films - and never made a bad one - is beyond me. The only logical explanation is some strange personal vendetta. Avatar is no 2001, and there's not a damn thing wrong with that...the bottom line is it's GREAT entertainment, a good - certainly not perfect - film, but at the same time it's intelligent, and as Copernicus' articles show capable of stirring up some real interesting scientific ideas and debates. What other blockbusters do that? <p> And the cries of plagiarism are really getting old. If someone can point me to a story that is COMPLETELY original and borrow no elements from other works, please do. Are we really getting mad that Avatar shares slight similarities with a story written over 50 years ago? If anything we should be glad someone is keeping these ideas alive and exposing newer generations to variations of these great stories. I mean how can you bitch about Avatar, then go and praise TDK which borrows heavily from Heat, and praise Inglourious Basterds, which is a mash-up of countless films. That's exactly what influences should do, and at the end of the day Avatar -like those films - as a whole is completely it's own thing. It may share similarities with hundreds of stories but it still manages to come out as a completely unique piece of the end of the day it's through and through a James Cameron film, and nobody can deny that. Some of you just come off so fucking bitter, like your not satisfied unless your tearing someone down ...loosen the fuck up.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 2:42 a.m. CST

    Hey Mandrakeroot, hows it going dude?

    by southafricanguy

    Yeah, I have a similar question to guys like yackbacker. Why is only Cameron guilty of "plagarism" in your eyes? How is what Cameron doing any different to what say Lucad did with Star Wars which "rips of" so much stuff its ridiculous, or why should nt Bob Kane be sued for how much he 'ripped off" The Phantom and Zorro when he created Batman? Cameron is fusing together all his childhood influences just like any other person that has created pop culture, Stan Lee based the Hulk on Frankenstein and Dr Jekyl, so I guess the Hulk is automatically crap because that type of story was old already back in the 60s. Or for that matter what the fuck about District 9? Why is that raved over as original when the entire premise is taken from Alien Nation? Should nt Blomkamp be sued up to his eyeballs? Yet time and again there is always the same people that keep on about Avatar being unoriginal as their main gripe when its done nothing that everything else has nt done. In fact, Yackbacker, I challenge you to name me anything that is so startlingly original, that is not influenced by what came before. I have a feeling I will be waiting for hell to freeze over....

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 2:57 a.m. CST

    Fine interview...

    by BadWaldosRevenge

    Jim is one of the better filmmakers in Hollywood, if not the world, for his ability to merge plausible science with the story and instruct the vision to an extraordinary level made possible by participatory moviegoing experience. Avatar is one of these few movies that gauged audience's reaction on an emotional and sensory level while acknowledging it's a sci-fi fantasy adventure. At least Jim doesn't go far to "disrespect" the audience unlike some filmmakers who go for the visceral to provoke. Jim provided the audience a good, respectable-quality entertainment and in return titanic box office in-take. I think this movie will reach 3 billion soon, if they keep coming back. The secret to a box office success is to develop a plausible and well-plotted story and make a good, visually appealing film that respects the audience, Transformers II and other piece of shites notwithstanding. Jim has earned his stripes and I hope he goes further to promote innovation through learned science and discovery in space made possible with rapidly improving man-made technology put to good use. Of course, that costs tens of billions of dollars in tax money. I think Mars would be an ideal candidate for human colonization to improve Mars environment if weak magnetic field isn't a deterrent. I love that Photoshop picture of a terraformed Mars.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 4:02 a.m. CST

    You will never see a great serious sci-fi film

    by Ray Gamma

    Here's the reason why: </P> <P> People who write (or fans of) great serious sci-fi books like Kim Stanley Robinson's epic hyper-real Martian colonization trilogy "Red Mars/Green Mars/Blue Mars" are not working in Hollywood. </P> <P> Also, you can add everything from "Rendezvous With Rama" through to Greg Bear's "Eon" and Alistair Reynolds' "Revelation Space" to that list. You will never see anything on the big screen that has the depth and huge mind-shattering ideas of those kinds of novels. </P> <P> Even James Cameron, who I suspect IS a huge fan of serious hard-SF, has had to format his big movies into dumbed-down action adventures for the masses. </P> <P>Occasionally there have been forays into proper hardcore SF in mainstream culture, usually in selected rare episodes of TV series' such as Star Trek:TNG, but these isolated moments are usually surrounded by hundreds of episodes of soap-opera filler. </P> <P> Duncan Jones' "Moon" was a very commendable recent foray into the classic SF goldmine, but even that had a very limited scope in terms of hardcore SF ideas. </P> <P> Alas, writers and directors who are currently working in Hollywood are typically caffeine-loaded morons who put scenes in films like the infamous "WELCOME TO EARTH" Will Smith alien-punching scene from Independence Day.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 6:08 a.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    There was no mass extinctions 7000 years ago to justify a "god's reboot on Earth" nonsense. In fact, it's you, with your cration-evolution middle position that's the product of blind faith support. it's as falalcious and as bad as pure creationism. It's the same product of the same type of ignorance. You don't get to be looked as wise if you go for a middle position which doesn't really exist. The only truth there is, that's provable beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that Evolution happens. Evolution is a theory because it has been proved. Evolution exists. Creation doesn't. That's how it is. You creationists should be more honest about your blind faith based nonsense, instead of trying to disguise it with some nonsense like this "middle creation-evolution position", which is nothing. You are as wrong as creationists, you are just more deluded then they are. You beloved bronze age creation myth from Bible borrowed from the sumerian creation myth doesn't match with REALITY, and that's how it is. Deal with it.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 6:12 a.m. CST

    It's good to see haters bumholes bleed

    by theplant

    And boy do they bleed. Scientific fact. Those guys will not be able to walk straight again.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 6:24 a.m. CST

    Who was interviewing who?

    by Dazzler69

    It seems the roles were reversed in this interview.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 6:38 a.m. CST

    Awesome, more of this on AICN please!

    by Kobaal

    We all love this stuff.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 6:43 a.m. CST

    ACEOFWANDS....exactly dude. And another

    by southafricanguy

    thing, have any of these guys claiming its not simple on purpose read the old scriptment? I was more complex, Pandora was more alien, and the Na'vi were more alien too (Asimov my friend, read the old scriptment). If there was anything that dissapointed me about Avatar it was the simplification of everything from the old scriptment, but looking at it now, considering the huge costs involved, and the gamble being taken with an original film not based on anything with a pre-existing fanbase, I can see why Cameron elected to simplify it all. Its hard enough to get the average filmgoer to buy into and care about two non-human main characters that are basically just pixels, but to get them to accept an alien world and the possibility of it being something that could actually happen is damn near impossible at the level of success that Avatar has achived. I truly believe that Cameron will make Avatar 2 more complex and push things more as now he will have carte blanche to do whatever he wants. At least I certainly hope so, I for one would like to see Avatar 2 take more narrative and conceptual risks now that Avatar is so popular and has entered the pop culture zeitgeist so strongly. I think Cameron could get away with almost anything now....

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 7:02 a.m. CST

    "I don't believe man evolved out of monkeys

    by AsimovLives

    or salamanders"<br><br>Well, you shouldn't because it didn't. D'UUUHHHH!!! Try reading a litle bit more about the subject of human evolution before you ciment your convictions on bullshit, alright? MKan didn't evolved from monekys, and never once in the history of the theory of evolution that was ever said so. Man evolved form a common ancestor to the primates, a whole different branch. Man belongs to the Apes Family. Monkeys are a wole different branch of the primates. To say men evolved from monkeys is as absurd as to say we evolved directly from lemures. It's wrong, it's ignorant, it's fucking dumb!! But the earliest mammal, which which all evolved from, did looked like a rat. So there!

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 7:10 a.m. CST

    How close would a spaceship have to be . . .

    by Royston Lodge

    . . . before telescopes can identify that it's a spaceship and not an asteroid?<p> What are the odds that a ground-based civilization would even notice one extra little light in the sky unless they were specifically looking for it?

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 7:13 a.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    The problem with the alternative universe hypothesis for time traveling to the past and it's branching effect is that, from which is that alternative universe made of? Nothing can be made out of nothing. An alternative universe branching would need that a whole other new universe, as big as the one it branched from, get instantly made from the thin air. Wrost, from nothingness! And nothing can be generated from nothing. It goes against one of the very principles of nature, conversation of energy. Things are not created nor destroyed, they are transformed. Which means, for something to exist, something else that existed before was transformed into the new thing. This happens ALL THE TIME EVERYWHERE. The electricity that we use to run our computers and have this nice chat is from oil that was burned at a thermoelectrical central, or from uranium from a termal nuclear facility, or kenetic wind energy harvested by a windmill, from a dam, whatever. But it means there's a trade-off, the energy from oen source turning into anothe rtype of energy with then gets transformed, after it did it's job on our computers, into heat. And what's true this our computers is true for everything about the univers,eand the universe itself. The reason why the alternative universe hypothesis is, in the end, pretty nonsensical, is just that: there's nothing that can make that other universe, and all just because you traveled to the past and decided to pick up a red handkerchief instead of a white. Hell, the very notion of traveling back in time is also absurd, in regard to how the universe is and it's own nature. It's as if the universe had set safe-guards preventing paradoxes. No, the universe didn't did that deliberatly, it's just it's own nature. It's liek trying to make a cube sculture with liquid water, you can't because of it's own nature. Same goes for time travel to the past. Hell, even time travel to the future would require amounts of energy which are forbitative, to say the least.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 7:23 a.m. CST

    Royston Lodge

    by AsimovLives

    Believe it or not, the hardest thing would be to notice it was there, and not it's composition. To determine that it would be a spaceship, and assuming it's an artificial object made of alloys, those could be determined by radiospectrology. As soon it was noticed that the object was not made of natural components, the alarm would go off, this is a made object.<br><br>The big issue would be to know it was there. The best way to know it was there would be if it emited great amounts of energy in the infra-red band of the spectrum of light. Becasue that would mean some kind of propultion. It wouldn't matter what kind of engine it had, rockets, nuclear, anti-gravity, whatever, the end result would still mean emition of heat. From that, we could infer it's presence even before we see it. If, by chanc,e the ship came gliding, merely going through our solar system riding on the sun's own gravity, like comets do, then our chances of noting it would be fairly dim, specially if it was an object smaller then 500 metters in diameter. The great problem of projects like LONEOS (Lowell Observatory Near-Earth-Object Search), is that Near Earth Objects with smaller sizes are very hard to find. and by small, i mean, 500 metters diameter less. Adn yet, they might be the more dangerous, because any one of those could hit the earth undetected, and it's impact or high atmosphere explosion could be mistaken for a nuclear device attack. The imediat effects would be the same. So, say, if a ship the size of Kirk's Enterprise would come nearing Earth, we might only be able to detect it right at orbit.<br><br>Did this answered your question?

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 8:05 a.m. CST

    Yes. Thank you Mr. Wizard. ;-)

    by Royston Lodge

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 8:10 a.m. CST

    Douglas Adams' theory on Dark Matter

    by Royston Lodge

    Packaging material, specifically the little white foam "peanuts" we all know and love, are what comprise the "missing matter" in the Universe.<p> We're through the looking glass here people.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 8:32 a.m. CST

    southafricanguy and Ace of Wands

    by AsimovLives

    Hi guys, how you are doing?<br><br>Sorry to intrude in your conversation, but i wanted to put my two cents in your discussion.<br><br>The way i see it, the difference between plagiarist or derivative story and a tribute story is a matter of knowledge and respect. I find it very easy to see the difference between them when i watch a movie. It's a matter of said respect, and execution, with the later reflecting the former. A derivative story just goes through the motions, and you don't see any particular personal stamp into the story. A tribute uses the conventions abut does it in itpw own style. A good example of the later is movies like Batman Begins or Avatar. In both, ,the yused conventions of other, older movies and stories, but they do it their way. Batman Begins reuses the narrative devices of a ninja movie but does it in it's own way and style, told in a unique way. Avatar recollects the same type of story structure and dramatic beats of a Rudyard Kipling and silver age SF (of which the unobtanium, so mocked by ignorants Star Wars addicted fools without understanding, is from) stories. But those movies show a respect for their sourses, knowledge, and they are adapted to be used to their tales. Unlike those who pander and are derivative, who just copy and paste and use without much understanding, use just because some hit movie from before used it too (the worst recent example i saw is this was JJ Abrams's TWILIGHT TREK).<br><br>What blows my mind is when people fail to see the very obvious and decide to attack the genuine respectful movies and praise the real derivative works. Of course i can't say much about THE BOOK OF ELI because i haven't watche dit before. But i can about all the movies i have seen who are derivative and those who aren't. And sometimes, geeks and critics can be pretty obtuse, if you know what i mean.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 8:34 a.m. CST

    Royston Lodge

    by AsimovLives

    Glad to be of help.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 8:36 a.m. CST

    i'm so grateful

    by Ray Gamma

    i'm so grateful that we have this resident omniscient expert 'AsimovLives' on here who can completely refute the 'many worlds' theory and various other current scientific hypotheses. Thankyou for letting all of the astrophysicists, physicists, mathematicians, quantum physicists, and science fiction writers in the whole world know that they are wasting their time with this incorrect rubbish. </P> <P>While you're at it, can you confirm for us whether or not the meaning of life is definitely 42? Sorry, oh mighty one, for taking up your time with what might seem like trivial questions, but we humans are a curious lot.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 8:48 a.m. CST

    Ray Gamma

    by AsimovLives

    Don't be daft. Besides, an hypothesis is a proposal to explain of a phenomena which hasn't been yet either proved right or wrong. Which means it can be argued about to your heart's content, because it hasn't been proved or disproved<br><br>And if you ask me, the meaning of life is a false question. It's a type of culturally induced neurosis so that religion can have an hold on people. The way i see it, there's no meaning to life, not in that metaphysical way many think of it.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 9:33 a.m. CST

    real science fiction

    by jameskpolk

    Was all about conjecting "possible science into the future and weaving a human story around it<br><br>The idea of making crap up and trying to find a way to use science to explain it is an insult to Asimov, Heinlein, Pohl, Niven, and other Real science fiction writers.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 10:16 a.m. CST

    (500) DAYS OF ANDY

    by BringingSexyBack

    Andy: "So ... you're married." <P> Summer: "Yeah. Crazy, huh?" <P> Andy: *Feels like dark matter itself - cold, isolated in the universe, invisible*

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 11:04 a.m. CST

    Does "science fiction" HAVE to be "futurism"?

    by Royston Lodge

    Why should we, the readers, feel it is our duty to impose a narrow definition on "science fiction" so that any text that isn't some sort of speculative futurism is ruled to be unfit?<p> I can't remember which writer it was that said it, but I remember once a famous sci-fi author said that he had no interest in writing futurism, because it was too easy. Predicting society's path wasn't really a challenge. Creating interesting worlds and using science as a plot device to explore different aspects of the human condition was far more fun.<p> Gosh, I wish I could remember which author that was.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Royston Lodge

    by AsimovLives

    Science fiction did started out as futuristic. And until the late 60s and 70s, it was wholesome futuristic. It was only in those decads, when new writers influenced by the surrealists and existencialists, started to produce SF that was, deliberatly, mor fantastical in nature and less concerned with trying to portait a possible future.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 11:41 a.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    The reaçl insult is you making shit up just so you can make a dumb ass coment about me. It's you who are insulting the great classic authors, who, guessing form your coments, you just know who they are because you read about them in wikipedia. Kiss my ass.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:02 p.m. CST

    Is War of the Worlds "real" science fiction then?

    by Royston Lodge

    H.G. Wells wasn't trying to "predict" possible science in the future. He was telling a story about aliens invading the Earth.<p> Truth be told, there is actually precious little "science" in that novel.<p> So, according to the late President Polk, it ain't science fiction.<p> To which I say, "Balzac!"

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:21 p.m. CST

    Avatar = most overrated movie of the decade

    by Sithdan

    Possibly of the last three decades.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:24 p.m. CST

    Royston Lodge

    by AsimovLives

    For how science fiction was back then, yes, it was real science fiction. For what was known back then about Mars, the book was extremely plausible. It's only with hindsight from today we can say that the book barely matched the truth about Mars and a possible lifeform native from there. So, back then, War Of The Worlds was as realistic as a science fiction novel could get about such a subject.<br><br>And there's oemthing you are forgetting about Wells' stories. Calling them science ficiton is ret-con the term to those times. They were called, back then, speculalitve fiction. Which means, that then, indeed, science fiction was considered a genre which predicted future events and how the world of tomorrow would be like. They were predictive stories indeed. This notion that science fiction is merely or mostly fantasy is, in fact, quite a recent idea. Back then, and up until the late 60s and after, science fiction even sold itself as tales from the future.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:27 p.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    I think differently. If AICN is anythign to go by, the most over-rated movie of the decade is Abram's latest piece of shit. A mvoie so overrated, it was even praised above Avatars or any other major movies made this decade, or even the 90s, because EVERYBHODY in here, everybody from AICN's crew raved it. Literally. and for the end result, this puts Abrams's TWILIGHT TREK firmly in the top of the most overrated movies IN THE HISTORY OF THE SITE.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Actually, I believe they were called Scientific Romance.

    by Royston Lodge

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:54 p.m. CST

    Royston Lodge

    by AsimovLives

    Yes, indeed they were, that was one of the names given to the genre. Back at the begining, there was many names given to it, until later, by the 1920s i believe, the name science fiction stuck and became the accepted term.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:54 p.m. CST

    Cameron needs to do the commonwealth saga.

    by tradeskilz

    Thats great sci/fi. Filmed from the perspective of the Prime aliens and humans respectively. It would be mindblowing experiencing some of the events trough the eyes of the Prime's like in the books. On the one hand we have the insane human arms race and their efforts to try and contain what they unleashed from the Dyson spheres and on the other hand we get to experience the Primes struggle to try and understand concepts such as morality, individuality and humanity. I loved it in the book when the humans finally decide to deploy nova bombs on the primes and in the next chapter we get to experience the Prime trying understand why the humans hadn't used such weapons before. Finding no logical reason why anyone wouldnt just use the best weapon they have the prime attempts to apply human concepts such as ethics etc to the equation but ultimately failing to understand. In the book they devote a few chapters to the evolution of the prime race, from their first steps from the primordial soup to the intergalactic war that ultimately sealed them in to the dyson sphere. I guess the primes are sort of like our ants, only the 'queen ants' developed intelligece. And in true instect like fashion their society was totally merciless, territorial and industrious. They couldnt feel loss, pain, sorrow or emphaty. If a dirty bomb did the most damage, they deployed them all if it meant taking out a competing hive. Badass.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 1:03 p.m. CST

    I want Avatar 2 to be like Matrix Reloaded

    by knowthyself

    Turn everything you saw in the first film on it's head.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 1:03 p.m. CST

    We are far too civilized.

    by Royston Lodge

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 1:27 p.m. CST

    The Drake Equation...

    by tailhook

    Lol... that isn't science.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 1:33 p.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    The Drake Equation is scienc,e but it's not a theory, it's just an hypothetical premise based on no direct evidence. This is why nobody ever called it THE DRAKE THEORY. But as a mental exercise and a start up for ideas about the possibility of extra-terrestrial life and it's possible proliferation, or scarcity, it's a good basis.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 1:37 p.m. CST

    AsimovLives Needs To Watch The Science Channel More Often

    by Real Deal

    Parallel universes are a part of modern string theory. They are more than a notion but still a theory and a leading candidate for a theory of everything. Also Dr. Micho Kaku ( Theoretical physist at NYU ) says time travel is possible. I think I'll take the scientist's view over his.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 1:56 p.m. CST

    A Love Letter to Copernicus

    by bcmc

    My anus jitters as soon as I remember how much I loathe Copernicus' article on the Science of Avatar. It jitters even more than when I think about The Cove's heroic tone. I don't want to shove the anthropological or philosophical ethos down hard science lovers' throats. It tastes bitter because it lacks the sugary taste that pious objectivism turned into a beautiful cult. But for those who like their radish with some drops of Aunt Jemima, hear me out. When will "fiction" be taken seriously? Or to put it differently, when will "non-fiction" (yes The Cove I'm looking at you) be taken less seriously? There is no right answer because both answers for both categories are right. Taking something seriously means understanding it as real, and not taking it seriously means understanding it as not real. To take fiction seriously non-seriously means it's truthfully untrue. Or, to make the contrast (that shouldn't exist) again, to take non-fiction seriously non-seriously means it's truthfully untrue. Can fiction be true and non-fiction be false? Yes. Once we've dropped the idealization that fiction should remain faithfully purified with an untruthful status and that non-fiction should remain true and very distant from false, we realize that we've always mixed fiction with non-fiction, true with false, real with fake. Fiction has always tickled non-fiction, and a lot of times it was non-fiction's turn to tickle. Why were those japanese fishermen so evil? And were those mountains really supposed to be flying? What a waste of time. Next time a movie-geek astrophysicist realizes he's an alchemist wearing a priest's robe giving theatrical performances over the internet (and herding in a lot of interested cattle), maybe we'll have less anal jittering and have better discussions about Avatar.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 1:57 p.m. CST

    However AsimoveLives is Right About The Aliens In Avatar

    by Real Deal

    The general publican wouldn't be as sympathetic to them if they looked like dust mites. That much parallel evolution is unlikely but it's better than a blob of putty on their forehead. Since we really have no idea what an alien might look like ( and it's just a story ) I'm forgiving. Besides this film has a lot of other things going for it. It's a radical new way of portraying things on the screen and opens the door for a lot of othr SF movies to be made. Also I'm sorry AL has this holy crusade against Star Trek. I thought ( despite it's flaws ) was a well crafted film and resurrected a franchise that everyone was saying was dead. No small feat!

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 2:47 p.m. CST

    Real Deal

    by AsimovLives

    You need to read my post more carefully. My points made in previous posts was to do with the unfearsibility of ALTERNATIVE UNIVERSES which are created by branching out from an original universe, like how it's depicted in many time travel stories. I said nothing much about PARALE UNIVERSES, in that, frankly, it just might be near impossible, if not OUTRIGHT impossible to know the existence of them because we can't depart our own universe. At bes,t it's just expeculation.<br><br>The more important aspect is that to try to translate the language of quantum mathematics into colloquial speach, we get this strange notions like paralel universes and multti-dimentions stuff which, in our own colloqual conversation, sound byzarre and as if they are talking magic or come old fashioned SF stuff. The issue is translation, really. It's as if nature itself was a text writen in chinese, the phenomena rads as a japanese trasnlation, and maths is a german translation of the japenese translation, And then to put it in colloqual alnguage, is an engoish translation of the german trasnlation of the japanese translation of the origjnal chinese. and it gets worst with quantum physics, as if you put into the mix a korean translation before the japanese. The point is, to discuss quantum physics in plain colloqual language gives rise to extreme misunderstandings. And if you think my metaphor is too elaborated, reality is far more complex and puzzling. to talk about quantum physics phenonema and it's natural laws in colloquial language is like dancing about architecture.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 2:52 p.m. CST

    Real Deal

    by AsimovLives

    I think JJ's TWILIGHT TREK is the final nail inthe coffin of Star Trek. what he made is not a Star Trek movie, but a Staw Wars movie in disguised, with the logic, nuance, subtlery, thoughfulness, humanity and intelligence of Michael Bay's Armageddon. Star Trek finally died with JJ Abrams, In it's stead, there is now this abomination of an hybrid creature made half-Star Wars/half-Felicity, in space, with characters which have the name of other, older characters, and nothing else. The only achievement JJ abrams made is he made a movie for the Twilight crowd who thinks they are too cool for Twilight. It's Twilight Trek, through and through.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 2:53 p.m. CST

    Especially when you don't have an edit button...

    by Royston Lodge fall back on!!!<p> Grumble grumble grumble...

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 2:55 p.m. CST

    As for the public not accepting alien-esque aliens...

    by AsimovLives

    ... and not sympathetic to human-like aliens, i call bullshit on that, and i only have to use as example DISTRICT 9, where the public empathised with aliens which looked like a sick mizxture of a rotten prawns with an over-grown coachroaches. and by he end of the movie, you are completly sympathetic to them. Tjhat's storytelling. As much i like AVatar and admire Cameron's skills as a filmmaker as shown in the movie, with the Na'vi he cheatted, and needlessly, i say. He shortchanged his own skills as a storyteller, of which are suberb.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 3:26 p.m. CST

    bcmc you are trying too hard

    by tradeskilz

    Its like trying to read someones directly transcribed thoughts.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 3:35 p.m. CST


    by Lacobus

    But arguably Cameron goes for lowest common denominator, he wants every joe and his nan to like his film. Whereas D9 is hard sci-fi. So aimed at a more specific group of people. Also the prawns are living on earth in very human conditions whereas the na'vi are living very differently so perhaps D9 has more leeway for onscure alins their too.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 3:43 p.m. CST

    well in D9

    by tradeskilz

    the prawns wheren't the lead and /or love intrest in the story. Its not even comparable.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 4:27 p.m. CST


    by Turd_Has_Risen_From_The_Grave

    D9 was NOT hard sci fi - it was an action movie with some degree of satire and political commentary. I liked the movie quite a bit, but let's not pretend it was some niche tale. The fact that some believe it is is quite telling, I think. <p>Most of D9's audiences liked it, I expect, for its 'splatter' gore and shoot-em-up action (which absolutely resembles HALO, Call of Duty and other X-Box games in style and execution, all of which its predominantly young male audience is familiar with). It is not a cerebral movie, and is in no way any less appealing to the 'lowest common denominator' than Avatar. I also suspect that its low buget, 'indie' feel, and the fact that it was a sleeper hit that came out of no where, confer on it a level of credibility that far outweighs its content. Its a smart and well made movie for sure, but the idea amongst certain individuals that it qualifies as hard science fiction and Avatar does not, based on faddy preferences and prejudices and lack of knowledge of the genre, is quite irritating.<p> Ironically Avatar is far more beholden to classic sci fi literature than D9, which seems to be more influenced by other films and videogames, befitting Blomkamp's age as opposed to Cameron's. D9 is good stuff and far from the Bays of this world, but Solaris it is not.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 5:01 p.m. CST


    by Royston Lodge

    I cannot take any movie seriously when the main character walks around a space station wearing a mesh muscle shirt over his hairy gut.<p> I ... just ... can't ...

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 5:11 p.m. CST

    science fiction

    by grisp

    There's always going to be some tradeoff for a sci-fi film (in Hollywood at least) between potential scientific accuracy and storytelling - relating to characters, etc. We accept that, generally, if the story is exciting and well-told, and if the science isn't too far off base. I too would love to see really alien aliens (like the prawns in D9, or even more so), but as tradeskilz puts it, they wouldn't be a love interest (for most of us, anyway...) <P> I guess this is why the term science "fantasy" is used in lieu of sci-fi. I'm sure some of you feel that's a euphemism for "anything goes" - and I wouldn't entirely disagree with you. Still I have some hope that some of the harder SF can and will happen. Maybe I'm being too optimistic. I really enjoyed "Primer" too, and also followed it until they got to the nested time machines, at which point it became too nonlinear for me on first viewing. Thought-provoking films are ultimately the best ones, I think, if not the most popular. But that doesn't mean you can't have both. Wouldn't it be great to see "Ringworld" in IMAX 3D? Come on somebody, make this!

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 5:18 p.m. CST

    Τurd yet again he is completely correct

    by ominus

    D9 is well made but overrated.some of its flaws have already been addressed in other talkbacks.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 5:23 p.m. CST

    AsimovLives D9 didnt have a love scene

    by ominus

    the audience might have sympathized with the cockroaches but it has its limits.if some people laughed in the love scene between two humanoids aliens in Avatar,a lot more would laugh if they watched two alien cockroaches banging each other in D9. <p>in theory everything is good,but in practice that is another matter.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 6 p.m. CST

    Avatar had a love scene?

    by Nem_Wan

    Cameron cuts away from the action so fast I got whiplash from being knocked out of the story. There may as well been a card that popped up saying "Scene Missing: This Film Has Been Rated PG-13, Love MPAA." Imagine if he cut Terminator that way.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 6:13 p.m. CST

    Sorry for not showing you Jake-Avatar's dick

    by ominus

    and Neytiri's butt crack.But dont worry,they are already filming a porno-parody movie which addresses this omission.happy?

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 6:21 p.m. CST


    by BurnHollywood

    "An alternative universe branching would need that a whole other new universe, as big as the one it branched from, get instantly made from the thin air. Wrost, from nothingness! And nothing can be generated from nothing. It goes against one of the very principles of nature, conversation of energy."<p> Actually, it's a well-known that energy and matter exist as both waves and a particles, simultaneously.<p> What this means is that when we attempt to observe them, the actual wave function "collapses" into a particle, with a particular position and momentum. It may, however, possess EVERY possible position and momentum, and it's the act of observation that limits it to a single set. This raises the possibility (as in the Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment) that at least two different states can exist at once (the Cat is both dead AND alive until we open the box).<p> Carried to its natural extreme, EVERY possible position exists for EVERY particle in the universe, which leads to the Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics...effectively, legitimizing alternate timelines.<p> In other words, a universe isn't being created from's actually a natural aspect of the "multiverse" we exist in that new branchings take place, utilizing the same matter and energy, but in different positions in their wavefunction.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 6:44 p.m. CST

    Book Of Eli a tribute???? is Capone joking?

    by ominus

    that movie is almost a remake of Zardoz ffs.check this out: <p> <p>now if this is not stealing,i dont know what the fuck is.unless they got the rights,but i doubt it.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 6:56 p.m. CST

    crap i forgot

    by ominus

    the above link in tinyurl format:

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 6:58 p.m. CST

    BurnHollywood that begs the question

    by ominus

    how do we exist in this specific state? who observes us? god? or something else happens?

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 7:25 p.m. CST

    Cameron revealed origin in Keegan book

    by the_jujy

    In Rebecca Keegan's book about Cameron called "The Futurist", Cameron revealed the origin on the Na'vi as (I guess SPOILER ALERT) human explorers discovered Pandora, but the air was toxic, so they genetically altered human babies while they were still in the womb so they could live in the environment.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 7:37 p.m. CST

    Sigh AsimovLives

    by Real Deal

    " Star Trek " the final nail? LOL! Most see it as a breath of fresh air. He put the fun back into ST! Sad that you can't see that. However it's influence is far reaching as all kinds of Trek are now doing well because of it! Also you really should watch the Science Channel more often. Things have come a long way. Parallel universes and string theory were almost dead. Now it's called " M " theory or " Brane " ( short for membrane theory ). It explains a lot. We may never be able to prove it by going to a parallel world physically but it's possible we'll prove it with the math and circumstancial evidence ( like so many things in our world ).

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 10:03 p.m. CST

    Some fine apologizing you're doin there southafricanguy

    by IndustryKiller!

    I personally don't give a shit what kind of gamble Cameron made technologically. There is no excuse for making a dumb as rocks, one dimensional character-fest. The fact of the matter is he made a dumbed down movie, you even admit it. If you dont care fine, but it doesn't make it any less a fact that's it's a silly popcorn film.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 10:22 p.m. CST

    District 9 isn't very smart either

    by TheWaqman

    it did what Avatar did only more blatantly forced down our throats. It's fucking set in South Africa FFS! <p> Anyways Avatar was a really awesome tech demo for what will be the even more awesome Tin Tin. I can't wait for that movie.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 10:25 p.m. CST

    Also Cameron did right neutering his script

    by TheWaqman

    it basically made him the 2 billion. If he went in with the original script it would have been a hell of a lot more interesting, but it wouldn't exactly be this smash hit I'd imagine. <p> I just hope he actually pulls out all the stops for the inevitable sequel. Okay he's introduced the morons to his universe, now do something good with it.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 10:42 p.m. CST

    And to put Avatar and D9 on the same level is absurd

    by IndustryKiller!

    From a character standpoint alone. Let's compare shall we? Jake Sully: Cheesily written, badly acted, douche bag, cipher of a character with no motivation who constantly has his ass saved out of left field by acts of God. Wickus Van Der Merwe: Superbly acted (shares best performance of the year with Christoph Waltz) character who defies categorization. Racist yet still likable and compassionate, foolish but can believably learn from his mistakes, completely in charge of his own destiny and manages to fuck it up completely and redeem himself in the same reel of film. if anyone would challenge that assessment, all I ask is that you be willing to get specific about it in a discussion, lord knows I am.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 11:22 p.m. CST

    A Familiar Story isn’t Avatar’s Problem

    by TheLastCleric

    What the real problem is lies in the contrivances and cliché’s Cameron employed to tell the story. Every single moment of that film was painfully predictable and every character a pitiful little generic template. Familiar stories don’t bother me; we call those stories myth and legend. What annoys the living shit out of me is that Cameron decided to write something insipid and devoid of originality. He could have gone in so many interesting directions and instead we got what is essentially a Disney flick, and a mediocre one at that. When I look back on a film like The Abyss, I seriously can’t believe the same man directed this piece of shit. Also, from a design standpoint, the Navi were boring as hell. Big, blue with feline accents? Big fuckin’ whoop. Any of the numerous Star Wars aliens are infinitely more inventive and inspired-looking than the Navi.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 11:40 p.m. CST


    by BurnHollywood

    "that begs the question how do we exist in this specific state? who observes us? god? or something else happens?"<p> Karma, in Buddhist/Hindu parlance, which I guess translates into "God's will" in Judeo-Christian terms. In addition to being a Zen Buddhist, I'm more partial to Karma because of it's more faceless, mechanical nature. Good acts *tend* (don't guarantee, however) to promote good outcomes in more fortunate timelines, negative acts tend to route you into negative timelines. Go punch a cop and test it for yourself, if you have any doubts. ;-)<p> My take on it, anyway.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 12:08 a.m. CST

    Industry Killer, you're absolutely right

    by Turd_Has_Risen_From_The_Grave

    It is indeed absurd to compare D9 to Avatar. Avatar is vastly superior in every conceivable way. What we have with D9 is a vogueish, though smartly constructed -smarts being quite distinct from intelligence)- shoot-em-up more comparable to a science fiction Cloverfield than the science fiction greats. Like JJ Abrams work with Star Trek, its very much tied to its time and quite superficial when you pull it apart. It doesn't have a great deal to say about the issues it presents.<p>With Avatar we have an astonishing, classicist work more comparable to the original Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz. Its the opposite effect at work. Beneath its simple (not simple-minded) exterior is a carefully constructed and intelligent piece of work, that isn't afraid to wear its emotions and themes on its sleeve. <p>D9 will look awfully dated in a couple years, when we've moved on from the current preoccupation with shaky cam footage and hand held viewpoints (influenced by camera phone, video game and you tube culture). A sign of the times, indeed. Avatar will still hold up in 10 years, 20 years. Its traditional approach and universal story are its strengths.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 12:23 a.m. CST

    Avatar is nothing to get excited about

    by MajorFrontbum

    It's just a cartoon with shiny, pretty colors and a lead actor with a bad american accent.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 12:56 a.m. CST

    Again with the vagaries Turd, also about D9

    by IndustryKiller!

    You present a lot of notions, make a lot of claims, yet don't really care to explore them. You're that guy. I don't know if it's laziness or simply a lack of rational deconstructive abilities.<P>District 9 doesn't need to "say" alot about the issues it presents, mostly because it's too busy presenting them by fearlessly decontextualizing it's subjects. The genius in Blompkamps work is not the message itself, everyone knows racism in SOuth Africa is a problem, but how even handedly it presents it's case, or lack thereof. By saying nothing and simply letting the camera do the talking it allows the world to open up and say so much more than the typical science fiction metaphor. It's been said to death, but Cronenberg would be insanely proud. Particularly in the case of the Prawns, I'm not sure I've seen any other films that are so unflinching in presenting it's victims as the monsters they were forced to become. A monstrosity that is now the primary argument against them, an argument that happens to be true. By taking the human out of dehumanization, Blompkamp shows how segregation is a self perpetuating machine, a snake eating itself that one side starts and both sides continue. The Prawns are every bit as disgusting an immoral as the charges against them claim, and most audience members which catch themselves disgusted by them at first, until Christopher Johnson shows up. Shaming the audience in that capacity whilst completely avoiding sentiment is a feat to be admired.<P>He then humanizes, by LITERALLY dehumanizing, the man who in any other world, particularly James Camerons (I'm looking at you Giovanni Ribisi), would be your expendable company man asshole. Copley plays Wickus as a man completely at odds with himself and who he wants and needs to be as a man and husband, and more ignorant to that fact than he is on race relations with his alien countrymen. We watch Wickus, as he fights his own sense of decency every step of the way right up until the bitter bitter end, in actually learning some kind of lesson about the world around him, the whole time Blomkamp is practically daring us not to relate to the guy. That's balls, my friend. Copley hits every single mark as if he's been waiting years to prove himself. I dare you to find anything in Avatar as heartbreakingly honest and psychologically twisty as when he refuses, in fact BEGS not to shoot an unarmed member of the alien race whose dying larvae he was just cavalierly relating to popcorn.<P>As for the shaky cam, yeah it shook but it never once got confusing to follow. It's far less Paul Greengrass shaky cam (and yeah Turd, people are really tossing aside those shaky cam Bourne movies no one likes *rolls eyes*) than an honest to God man-on-the-scene documentary. I'm not sure there would be any other way to not sell out and let the audience off the hook than the style Blompkamp employs. It also allows the refreshing conceit of treating it's special effects, not as a showcase, but a totally matter of fact part of the world, our world, which has never looked so real while being fake.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 12:57 a.m. CST

    Lastcleric said it beautifully

    by IndustryKiller!

    well done

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 2:12 a.m. CST

    Oh, you undertand exactly the points I'm making

    by Turd_Has_Risen_From_The_Grave

    They hardly constitute 'vagaries'. You just don't care to acknowledge them - such is the nature of the zealot. That was evident in the other TB where many posters made a lot of great and insightful points, only to be wilfully ignored by someone (you) who was uninterested in hearing any other viewpoint or even acknowledging the most self-evident assertions. Your shtick doesn't wash with me, I'm afraid.<p>So D9 fearlessly 'decontextualizes its subjects', does it? A lazy assertion, though not as lazy as the film itself, which assembles a pot-pourri of 'relevant' social issues, but doesn't bother to apply intelliegent analysis to them. This film has nothing of the icy intelligence of Cronenberg (of which it shamelessly rips off 'The Fly' but without the gravitas). How can it be said to be an objective movie, allowing the viewer to reach his own conclusions, as you claim when it does its damndest to present its corporate villains (particularly Wickus' wife's father) as nothing but one-dimensional evil bad guys. There's no stacking the decks there? Compared to Ribsi's Selfridge, a character who at least seemed to express regret and guilt when the Na'vi hometree was destroyed, these are nothing but mere cyphers.<p>"We watch Wickus, as he fights his own sense of decency every step of the way right up until the bitter bitter end, in actually learning some kind of lesson about the world around him, the whole time Blomkamp is practically daring us not to relate to the guy. " Thanks for relaying your subjective opinions as 'fact' here - quite in keeping with what you accuse me of. This is not a rational, evidential analysis of the film. How exactly does Blomkamp dare us not to relate to Wickus? Other than presenting him as a bit of a dim and unlikeable, though funny, corporate stooge in the film’s opening act, once he goes on the run, every ounce of melodrama is mustered in relaying his predicament. Looking at photos of his wife; crying over the phone; having every other human character turn against him (not one of which is given any sort of development in the slightest). <p>What the hell is ballsy about showing him being forced to take out a prawn using the alien tech? Its an effective dramatic device, but a crude one, designed to elicit instant sympathy for the ‘other’ - the idea that its some sort of daring scene is laughable. Cameron’s approach is far more subtle, and less about flashy nihilism. We have Colonel Quaritch giving a speech about Pandora being a hostile, aggressive environment – a particular point of view, and one which is certainly true from a specific perspective. Once Sully is stranded in the woods and has undergone his induction into Na’vi culture, we the audience have been captivated by the beauty of the world itself, and are thus outraged at the rape of this planet and its indigenous folk. We have seen things through a new perspective. Cameron’s employ of 3D, copious planetary detail, and immersive details are not flashy baubles, but thematic and narrative components designed to engender an opposing perspective. All the language of filmmaking has been employed to do so, not mere gimmicky devices, and we are not ‘told’ what to think as in the supposedly impartial D9. Avatar, although not an art film is, in its own way, as bold as 2001 in employing visuals to construct a narrative. The title ‘Avatar’ refers not just to the titular beings, but also to the audience and their perspective, with Jake Sully also standing in as the viewer’s surrogate. I’ll think you’ll find that that’s a more ballsy and radical approach than D9’s cod-daring, which must only be impressive to 12 year olds who haven’t seem much in the way of challenging cinema – or indeed, even classic monster movies starring Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff, all of which played the same game of contriving sympathetic monsters using stock dramatic devices, decades before D9.<p> “Copley hits every single mark as if he's been waiting years to prove himself.” Are you his publicist? What has this got to do with anything? Again with the subjective statements.<p> As for shaky cam - it absolutely needs to be dumped. The Bourne sequels were completely ruined because of it, and it will indeed be relegated to a fad and replaced with the next voguish technique in due course. Its employ in D9 appeared to be nothing more than a sop to this – particularly since it was largely dumped in the latter half of the movie, again solidifying my statements about Blomkamp employing traditional melodrama to depict Wikus’ plight. If he were to have been truly ballsy, he would have used this objective technique (security cam footage/ interview/ news perspective)all the way through, right to the end. And of course, most of the interesting points of this film are also lazily dumped in its last half in favour of repetitive shoot-em-up action in lee of any clue how to wrap up the story presented.<p>So, no, I'm not 'that guy'. You, on the other hand, are a loudmouthed pipsqueak, who makes a lot of contrarian and utterly subjective claims about what the film is ‘trying to do’, masked in apparent objectivity, but have little grasp of even the basic tenets of screenwriting or wider filmmaking. Color me unimpressed.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 4:05 a.m. CST

    And that ladies and gentlemens is how

    by ominus

    Turd pawned Industrykiller.amen. <p>and Industry another thing: ''He then humanizes, by LITERALLY dehumanizing, the man who in any other world, particularly James Camerons (I'm looking at you Giovanni Ribisi), would be your expendable company man asshole.'' <p>i guess you havent seen the deleted scene where Ribisi and Quaritch have a strong conflict,before Quaritch overrules him and goes to destroy the tree of souls.Not that it wasnt evident from the movie,that Ribisi was NOT your Burke character,but i am saying this just to show you how fucking prejudiced (or stupid) you are about Avatar,so much that you havent understand the movie or you just prefer to ignore it.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 5:39 a.m. CST

    finally saw the movie the other day....agree with waqman

    by iwasredempted

    not in 3d though. but i have to say visually it was fucking spectacular. i have to agree with waqman though. the story came off a little watered down and hokey. the obvious native american metaphor almost ruined it for me. i was hoping for a little bit more of an "alien" culture. let's hope cameron takes a little more risks story wise with the sequel. great movie overall though. my 2 cents.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 5:43 a.m. CST

    wow that paragraph wasn't very apologies.

    by iwasredempted

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 5:55 a.m. CST

    could this be camerons "wings" period..

    by iwasredempted

    i say wings as in paul mccartneys wings era output. brilliant songwriter mellowing out and losing his edge... going for saccharin confections. let's hope he goes for R rated battle angel next.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 6:10 a.m. CST

    D9's aliens design WAS humanised! Design basics for TBers -

    by white_vader

    Jesus, the guys who made it COMPLETELY admit they changed the facial design with the proportions of the eyes and eyebrows/ridges, faces etc. to be more/recognisably HUMAN so the audience could relate. They even said is was to make them more sympathetic to a general audience. They're still bipeds, pretty much human scale, even if the carapace/exoskeleton is used in the longer shots to turn people off (they cut in closer to the basic face when we're supposed to identify with Christopher or the kid). It was a pretty good balance. If they had little beady eyes on stalks you woulda had a much harder time with any sort of connection. Pretty basic. I think a lot of people actually need to look at a photo of that design again because they obviously don't remember. The eye area is the most crucial part of any design, cartoony or photorealistic, because it's our first point of recognition and therefore understanding/sympathy. The mouth area is icky and like he's gobbling a seafood basket in one gulp, but the eyes and brow area are very human. On that note, how many people even really noticed you don't really see Manny's mouth in the Ice Age movies? That's right, because you're concentrating on the eyes. <p> Likewise the Avatar aliens have the big eyes but crucially the pupils are more human not catlike slits which would turn people against them as in previous sci-fi and monster stuff. Weird proof of this is the Koala - oh they're so cute. Until you get close enough to see they have piggy little (mixing metaphors here bear with me) slit-pupil cat's eyes. Suddenly not so cute. The Avatar thing balances the emotive and performance side of the equation with the logic of uneven days and (mostly) nights on the planet justifying bigger eyes, all the phosphorescence and so on. Fair balance also. <p> I think using Avatar and D9 to tear each other down depending on which "side" you're on is pretty fucking infantile, but on the particular note of humanising designs they ARE similar. Jeez...

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 6:21 a.m. CST

    white vader great points there !!

    by ominus

    well said

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 6:35 a.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    D9 has two love stories, : Wikus and his real honest love for his wife, and the smart prawn over his son, for whom all his actions are dictated. Thankfully, we were spared the ridiculousness of inter-spieces romance that is the single worst wrong-doing in Avatar, as i understand it.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 6:38 a.m. CST

    D9 vs. Avatar -- both are awesome, both say something

    by WickedJacob

    neither is shakespeare or clark. But really, these two movies both successfully showed us that sci-fi could at least have *some* brains and still make money. No reason to knock either of them.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 7:16 a.m. CST


    by white_vader

    Don't be harsh, Cameron loves him some of that alien poontang. ;)

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 8:04 a.m. CST

    AsimovLives yes love stories BUT not a love scene

    by ominus

    where the two lovers kiss and hung (and fuck but for obvious reasons we dont see this) under the romantic night sky of Pandora and the pink bio-luminescent light of the trees of Voices. <p>now in the above scene,replace the Navi cat-people with the D9 alien cockroaches and please do tell me if the emotional impact would be the same and the audience would react to it with the same way?

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 8:11 a.m. CST

    and another thing

    by ominus

    in D9 the love relation between Wicus and his wife was not treated very well,because most of the time they didnt interact on person. <p>i wanted to see the strong and dramatic scene when his wife sees her half-mutated husband for the first time.i want to see her reaction to it,i want to see the reaction of Wicus,i want the drama and the emotion and the impact of such a scene.where is it? the Fly had it,why not D9 which was heavily influenced from it? <p>at least the director managed to show the strength and the tragedy of that love story,with the last scene of the film which was brilliant.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 9:58 a.m. CST


    by white_vader

    Thanks dude.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 10 a.m. CST

    I liked the Navi 'love' scene.

    by tradeskilz

    Sure it was a bit corny but not more so than the elf love scene in Lotr or any scene in Titanic. I was surprised at how easy i related to Jake in that scene. The emotion on Neytiri's face was really well done and frakly i found the scene fairly touching.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 10:25 a.m. CST

    ominus: scene was too short is all I'm saying

    by Nem_Wan

    I wasn't looking for Navi porn, I just think the scene ended way too abruptly. The camera frame could have been waist up, or behind a plant and out of focus with just sound. I'm just talking about timing. It was too short relative to the build up. Cameron handled it better in Titanic and still kept it PG-13.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 11:07 a.m. CST

    yes it ended a bit quickly

    by ominus

    i mention that in my review.but dont forget that the original scene was a more lengthy but Cameron had to cut it for the pg13 rating and ofc for not making the audience a bit uncomfortable watching 2 cgi alien characters making sex. <p>but as it is,the love scene hold very well and remarks like: 'Cameron cuts away from the action so fast I got whiplash from being knocked out of the story' are just exaggerated.

  • Feb. 12, 2010, 2:41 a.m. CST

    Finally, Turd

    by IndustryKiller!

    Saying that the corporate masters chasing Wickus aren't well developed enough is missing the point entirely, unlike Avatar, they aren't the villains of the piece. It's like complaining that Thug #4 in Die Hard doesn't get a backstory. It's at best a tiny piece of a much larger struggle. Wickus' actual enemy is the scorn and ostracization from society. That even those closest to him find him repugnant and awful. And more than anything that is what defines his race against time, not death. The journey isn't of a guy fighting his corporate masters, it's of a man having his humanity sacrificed to the very thing he despises. prove how that aspect is underdeveloped and we'll see if you can come up with a point.<P>I also disagree it carries none of the Flys gravitas (whose espousing subjective assertions as fact now, eh?) First of all the transformation is clearly inspired by the Fly, but isn't ripping it off. In The Fly, the transformation IS the film. Cronenberg shows us how a man dehumanizes himself, and the excrutiating detail with which he portrays it is the entire point. D9 is about a man connecting with the world around him, and besides one or two small events (fingernails falling off), just enough to establish a sense of urgency, Wickus' transformation is left wisely tame, so as no to overshadow the films larger sense of social consciousness. Yes it follows the playbook written by The Fly as far as realistic portrayal of grotesque transformation goes (and really why fix what isn't broken) but the duel contexts of the same aesthetic conceit are completely different. In a theme as broad as "man transforms into something not human" those contexts are what makes all the difference. Anyway, by your own assertion I guess The Fly is merely a rip off of classic Universal Monster films, so in that regard I'm not really sure what you're getting pissed about if you think The Fly has so much gravitas despite using a "contrived" (your words) old cinematic theme. I also find it pretty funny that the guy who viciously defends a movie that even supporters admit is the identical story of Dances with Wolves and The Last Samurai, etc., would be talking about recycling plots as a cardinal sin. You of all people should know the devil is in the details.<P>As far as how Wickus' character is unlikeable, well for starters being a horrible racist, constantly making a joke out of a clearly dominated people's plight, the fact that he's an incompetent and undeserving example of success via nepotism, he's a coward, he uses the only person willing to help him, then betrays him at the final crucial moment. I think that pretty much covers it. You're response to that is he's upset his wife finds him disgusting? That's somehow cheaply sentimental? Yup, doubt anyone would care what their spouse thought about their transformation into a giant slimy alien. And unlikable characters can't have people they love, should they be anything but Unabomber type loners then they are immediately in the realm of the likable I guess. I'm not surprised that that throws you, given that you seem to like your bad guys broad and without a shred of humanity thrown in *cough* Quarritch. If any audience member does like Wickus simply because he loves his wife, and chooses to ignore everything else then it says more about the audience than it does the film. As for people not wanting anything to do with him, again you're right. The society that the film immediately, from the first reel, establishes as hating the very thing he's transforming into would be incredibly open to accepting a man who, already, no one really likes, particularly when he's wanted for a very heinous crime no one has any reason to disbelieve he committed. Right, silly me.<P>I also didn't say the scene where Wickus is forced to shoot the Prawn was ballsy (having him commit an incredible act of selfishness 10 minutes before the end of the film, THATS ballsy) I said it was honest and psychologically twisty. And it is that, being a casual and cowardly bigot, Wickus is, perhaps justly, pushed to his limits of how far his lack of compassion for the Prawns goes. The man has never had to face it eye to eye, happily letting others do the dirty work and riding that train to success. But here are all his sins literally staring him in the face, so what does he do? He cries and begs. It reveals his disdain for the Prawns comes from a place of pragmatism, not ideology, and his previous chutzpah is not just the faux macho posturing we knew it immediately to be, but a deeply psychological justification of actions he knows are unjustifiable. In that moment his real transformation to a thoughtful individual, which the movie, happily, does not feel the need to complete as it leaves him a work in progress, begins.<P> Naturally, I also disagree with your assessment of Avatars visuals having a place in the story. The only reason we have to think Pandora is an evil place is because Quarritch says so, and from the get go Quarritch is your typical R. Lee Ermy-esque army guy dickhead. But I would give him the benefit of the doubt if Cameron doesn't immediately thereafter make pandora seem like a tropical paradise. Nothing about it's introduction turns people off enough that Cameron would have to win them back over with the visuals. The audience immediately loves Pandora. it seems dangerous, but no more so than any remote landscape on Earth. And, in fact when Sully is attacked early on it comes off more as an arrogant prick mucking about despite repeated warning to be careful rather than the inherent evil of some place anyone would ever want to see destroyed for corporate greed. We don't need any convincing to be outraged and know the humans were brutal bastards, that's a given from the opening credits. I agree that Sully is an Avatar for the audience though, he's certainly dry and nondescript enough of a cipher that you would pretty much have to plug in the holes with your own details to make him anything other than utterly one dimensional. Don't act like Cameron was ready to make Pandora some dark evil place but HAD to create a lush biodome to win over a cynical audience who always sides with the humans. Maybe if he decided to portray the Na'Vi as anything more than absurdly noble stereotypes. <P>As for Copley's performance, I guess that's subjective. Just like it's subjective Daniel Day Lewis was brilliant in There Will Be Blood, or Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking. Are all performances subjective? To an extent, sure, but I don't think its subjective, even if you don't like the film, that Copley at all times exudes a sense of honesty given the situation he's found himself in. And I'm not sure any script this year asked its lead to play such a wide breadth of emotion. I don't need to publicize the guy, he already got a career out of it, I'm just an appreciator of great acting. As for what the lead performance of a film, one that appears in just about every frame, has to do with I really need to explain that?

  • Feb. 12, 2010, 3:04 a.m. CST

    Ominus and White Vader

    by IndustryKiller!

    Ominus, you're right, I haven't seen that deleted scene, probably because it wasn't in the film, hence it being known as "deleted". I don't care about a deleted scene, I care about the scenes that actually made the film. The only scenes that matter. I've never said Cameron is an idiot incapable of making a great film, quite the opposite. I love every James Cameron film save Avatar. And obviously even the script treatment for that was full of interesting ideas and characters, but only what made it to screen matters, dude.<P> And White Vader The Prawnsmight be humanoids, but theya re also never anything less than disgusting beasts, the only reason they were given even slightly (and I do mean slightly) humanistic facial features is to better convey a sense of emotion. And while you may be able to empathize with them, they are consistently repugnant and their actions portray them as such throughout most of the film. No one is sympathizing with them because they find them physically cute or sexy.

  • Feb. 12, 2010, 11:09 a.m. CST

    Interesting interview.

    by --- Emperor ---

    Nice going both Copernicus and Cameron. Enjoyable read. Thanks.

  • Feb. 12, 2010, 12:13 p.m. CST

    Ace of Wands

    by IndustryKiller!

    I don't think Pandora is a bad place, or is ever even portrayed as such, I was responding to Turd point of view that Cameron made Pandora gorgeous in order to slowly win over an audience that would be skeptical of it's worth. I'm saying that Quarritch assessment of Pandora never rings true tot eh audience, who is immediately won over by Pandoras beauty and to assert that Cameron had to do any real convincing is erroneous as he never portrays the place as anything other than a veritable paradise. Here's the sentence to which I was referring <P>"We have Colonel Quaritch giving a speech about Pandora being a hostile, aggressive environment – a particular point of view, and one which is certainly true from a specific perspective. Once Sully is stranded in the woods and has undergone his induction into Na’vi culture, we the audience have been captivated by the beauty of the world itself, and are thus outraged at the rape of this planet and its indigenous folk. We have seen things through a new perspective. Cameron’s employ of 3D, copious planetary detail, and immersive details are not flashy baubles, but thematic and narrative components designed to engender an opposing perspective.<P>And I;m not trying to say that Quarritch needed a Wickus amount of screen time, but if you think that's a well rounded character you've lost it. He's about as subtle as a sledge hammer, his utter disdain for the Na'Vi people is given zero motivation. What you say aboutt eh guy not seeing the Na'Vi as human is obvious, but that's not an observation of any depth or insight, what causes a man to be that completely cold toward another intelligent life form not entirely unlike his own species? Ok he's got a scar, but it wasn't put there by the Na'Vi and by his own estimation it was caused by his own carelessness. In fact I would think a guy like Quarritch would have a certain respect and reverence for a brave warrior caste. You can rattle off a laundry list of reason it could be, but it ain't anywhere to be found in the movie, and those are the kinds of small character motivations it should be subtly throwing you. I think Stephen Lang is a very good actor but the script gives him so little to do but growl that I find him almost impossible to take him seriously.<P>As for the Prawns in D9 not being able to pull, themselves out of poverty, uh dude, Blompkamp shot that in real South African shanty towns, people actually live in those places. Poverty and lack of education is, as a point of fact, often a self perpetuating machine people never pullthemselves out of. Why don't you go into any ghetto int eh world and ask if they think lack of education, racism, and classism is responsible for their situation, I guarantee they'll check all three. I mean do I really need to explain how that works?

  • Feb. 13, 2010, 2:57 p.m. CST

    Ace of Wands excellent post and IndustryKiller!

    by ominus

    I believe you didnt pay much attention when watching D9. <p>You say that ''Wickus' actual enemy is the scorn and ostracization from society. That even those closest to him find him repugnant and awful.'' <p>BUT in the film its obvious that the public'opinion has been influenced by the lies of the bad company.Remember the tv news where they were saying to the public that Wicus had sex with an alien,that he got infected and he was a danger for the public's health.They even published a photoshoped image to prove this.Its no wonder that the public turned against him. <p>And what about his wife? She was clueless about Wicus condition and what happened to him.She was crying for him,until her father lied to her in order to protect his company's interests.It was his father and the company with the fake news,that affected and changed both the opinion of the public and his wife.and even then,his wife finally decided to accept him back (and that thing was underdeveloped). <p>I dont know about you,but from the above,it seems more that the Big Capital is the baddie,and that the public is a naive pawn controled by it,and not the opposite. <p>And that proves Turd's point that the director does not let us make our personal conclusions,but rather shoves to our throat the labels he has given to the players of his story. <p>as for the rest,Turd and Ace said them all.My advice is to go and watch D9 and pay more attention,rather than come here and trash another movie because it gets more attention than your beloved D9.and take notice: i really really like D9,definitely a bluray buy for me,but it is very overrated and very flawed.

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 11:11 p.m. CST

    "No one is sympathising with them because they find them

    by white_vader

    physically CUTE or SEXY"?! Uh, you idiot. Nice disingenuous way to mix the two separate paragraphs together and confuse similar methods with the same result. Doesn't even work as a joke, and the reply contradicts itself. God knows on that argument what you took away from The Defiant Ones. Never mind dude. Never mind.

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