I, too, was way more upset when the tree fell and the forest burned than when any of the characters, human or Na'vi, died.
As for the mining, I got the impression they had been mining the ore from other places on the planet, but the main bit of it was under the tree, so they were grabbing what they could while they prepared to take the tree. So that's what I assumed they had been doing for the previous five years. I think they assumed from the start that with some diplomacy, they'd be able to move the Na'vi without the violence, but by the time Sully arrives it is becoming more and more apparent that diplomacy isn't going to work.
Oh, I figured they were mining elsewhere, but there is a narrow track through the wilderness on their map with no side-tracks or areas of destruction/construction. So the evidence of the movie itself points to a large contingent of the paramilitary force working solely on the road project.
Oh, and I remembered one more thing that bugged me. Time to edit.
I dismissed it as tongue-in-cheek, a little wink at the audience. That is the least of its faults.
Notably, one European DID defect to the Maya, and became a successful war leader. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gonzalo_Guerrero
He ended up getting shot by an arquebus.
I've seen him presented before as being quite helpful in fighting off the Spanish.
4. The air will kill a person is a minute or two. Yet touching or eating the plants has no ill effect.
Well, oceans and lakes kind of work that way too. No breathable air down there, but eating the fish won't kill you.
When they have mountains floating in the middle of the air, I tend to take that as a cue that rigorous adherence to the laws of physics is not a priority of the filmmaker.
Yeah, I messed that one up - see retraction.
2009-12-21 05:27 pm (UTC)
Where is Basya when you need her??????
You mean they are less strategically-savvy than EWOKS????
Woe, woe, woe.
2009-12-21 05:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Where is Basya when you need her??????
Yup. Amazing but true.
I agree with most of these, and number 5 in particular. I feel like the movie would have been a lot more defensible (and not just "the human is just smarter!") if #5
hadn't been in the movie.
I agree, but my (internal) rationalization was that it was stated over and over that the smaller gliders, and by analogy the Turok-whatever, had to *choose* their rider. So I figured that the turoc could have flipped the guy off in about 2 seconds if the nature goddess hadn't approved - the "getting a drop on it" strategy was just a... test, as it were, to see if the guy could get near enough.
I don't know if that makes it better or not, but it helps a bit to me.
Maybe Cameron ws playing to the lowest common denominator in the audience? The ones who wouldn't notice or ask these questions* but would come away from one viewing with a clear message that
1) Nature is worth saving
2) Destroying Nature for profit is EVIL (anagram: VILE)
3) Just because a people/species aren't "Like Us" doesn't mean they're "less than human" and can be obliterated by Military Testosterone Poisoning
4) Military Testosterone Poisoning is EVIL: Understanding, Respect, Cooperation is GOOD
And I see your earlier post point about being icked by the theme of the White Guy Saving the Native Peoples. But the Na'vi did a damn good job of fighting for themselves. Sully just had an advantage in that he knew the military players, their mindset, training, and weapons capability: so he was in a position to think ahead of them and use their own against them.
Instead of "racefail" one could also see it as "Don't be such an arrogant superior arse, White Dude: other cultures can actually be better than yours. And hey: stop comparing -- it's ALL good. 'Because Allah loves variety.'" (My fav Morgan Freeman quote from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.)
(BTW, I didn't get to see the end of the movie: just at the climatic battle scene the screen started stuttering, and they couldn't fix it. So will have to go elsewhere to see what the hell happens in the end.)
*(I didn't while watching, I was too distracted by the oooooh shinnnney! But now that you mention them, they're pretty damn obvious! :-) )
Edited at 2009-12-21 09:15 pm (UTC)
But that is always the point of these tales. If the Noble Savage was easily eradicated, there would never be a reason for the White Man to come among them - no one makes movies about a plague that wipes out 90% of the native populous. It's the combination of Noble Savage Wisdom (and overconfidence, since the Noble Savage does not understand the Overwhelming Forces they are up against) and the White Man Savvy that *all* these movies fetishize.
Say what you will about the Ewoks, at least they were the ones saving whitey's butt in Return of the Jedi.
With you 100%.
(Unobtainium's supposed value is in what they say it is: room temp superconductor... so there's its no-need-to-mention-it value.)
Anyhow, a story about a drive for a resource so valuable, the story essentially reduces it to allegory ... and a plot so hackneyed it could use Hamburger Helper to lend interest. Yeah.
But doggone, weren't it purty?
It's another way of looking at it, yes.