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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Borrowing" Some Ideas, and Other Things I Noticed in Avatar

Like most people with a pulse, I caught the hype and went out to see Avatar (in 3D Imax!) and I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not a fantasy person. I only watched half of the first Lord of the Rings movie and hated it. I’ve never read a Harry Potter (and I write YA!). And I don’t even like superhero movies unless they’ve got Hugh Jackman shirtless. So for me to say Avatar was good means something. They converted me. But, it doesn’t mean I was oblivious to the dozen or so movies they ripped off in the process.



Let me explain. All writers steal stuff (subconsciously or consciously) from other works of art: books, movies, tv shows, songs. It’s true. As many an English professor will tell you: every story out there has already been written, you just have to find your own way to write it.

So Avatar ripping off other movies isn’t scandalous. It’s just curious and, at times, obvious. To prove this, my DH and I have compiled a list of all the movies we noticed (striking) similarities to. This is just our opinion, so don’t get in a tizzy if you bow down at the feet of the great James Cameron. This is purely for fun.


SPOILER ALERT!
(Read no further if you haven’t seen the movie. I will ruin it here.)




List of Movies Avatar Ripped Off


1. Return of the Jedi:
I’m not even a Star Wars junkie, and even I noticed that the fight scene at the end was straight-up Ewok. I was just waiting for one of the blue people from Pandora to jump into a robot machine like Chubaka and turn their weapons against them.

2. Braveheart:
There were a lot of similarities during the ground war where the underdog blue people (called Navi) try to outsmart the opponent who outnumbers them. And really, when Sully gave that inspirational speech, I know part of you was expecting to hear they’ll never take “THEIR FREEDOM!”

3. Apocalypse Now:
Come on, military guy gone rogue who’s lost all empathy for others? I was really hoping the crazy marine would just wink at the audience and say, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

4. Last of the Mohicans & Dances With Wolves:
White guy who fights alongside the natives— been done a lot. Actually, I think it would have been interesting if Sully wasn’t white. I mean he’s blue half the movie anyway, so why not mix is up, JC?

5. Independence Day: Michelle Rodriguez sacrificing herself by using her plane to try to blow up, for lack of a better term, the “mother ship.” And though Rodriguez was still typecast as a hard-nosed girl who can fight, it was refreshing to see her on the side of the good guys for once. All we needed to round out this movie homage was Bill Pullman declaring, “Today we celebrate our Independence Day!”

6. Thank You For Smoking:
When Sigourney Weaver demanded a cigarette after getting out of the Avatar chamber, my first thought was: how much did the smoking lobbyists have to pay to get that in there? Hey, the money for that big budget had to come from somewhere. And I think we all know Philip Morris chipped in a good chunk.


So there you have it. And please take into account that this list is based purely on the movies we’ve actually seen, so it’s incomplete. Feel free to add to it because, really, the possibilities are endless. I mean, blue people = Smurfs, there are a lot of ways to take it.


POP CULTURE RANT: E!’s Fashion Police
Watching Joan Rivers back on the fashion police was like watching Dick Clark on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve— just sad. Please, retire this woman. Again. She not only has no right to be criticizing anyone else’s appearance (her pot’s not only black, but it’s plastic), but she has one of the most painful voices put on this Earth. It’s like Rachel Ray mixed with squawking crow. Get me back Debbie Matenopoulos, at least she’s cute and age appropriate (by several decades).

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