On 3rd December 2009 when I was attending the Irish Future Internet Forum in the Digital Hub in Dublin, I was interviewed by the Digital Hub TV. Here is the edited interview, you can also find it here: TSSG Interiew.
I too saw the movie and enjoyed it immensely, especially the full immersion in the 3D world that was so well realised. I too felt a bit let down by the black and white moral juxtaposition of the final third, that lacked all nuance. Would it not have been much more interesting if the military guys were real people too? or the if the plot had focused on another element of the rich world?
Strangely, as in no one else I have spoken to thought the same, I thought that the film was most like The Mission, essentially a recreation of the moral conflicts that arise with colonisation; for any American or European audience the main such example in our collective history was the discovery and exploitation of the "New World". Indeed the culture on the Avatar world does share many features of the native north American ethos. The Mission has a much more nuanced plot around the religious justification for joining the natives in resistance, and perhaps a more realistic ending where this resistance is doomed to failure against the might of European expansionism. I remember first hearing The Mission as a radio drama that dwelt even more on this debate, that was curtailed for the more visceral and visual movie. Avatar does include a sort of coming of age subplot that works quite well in terms of engaging the audience in the culture.
As for Paul's plea for a cinema that celebrates the science of exploration instead of the blockbuster military show down, perhaps I could direct him to the excellent Mars trilogy of books by Kim Stanley Robinson. If these are ever dramatised, they will need to preserve that focus to really reflect the books.
Despite its flaws, so well described by Paul, Avatar is one of the best science fiction movies of recent times. But really good science fiction is always better a book, as no director can ever capture what people can imagine in their own heads.
A facinating illustrated article about 3D visualisation of data, as Christmas ornaments russell davies: datadecs.
Netcraft have posted an analysis showing that the UK National Rail website is suffering under the increased traffic load as worried comuters and travellers check the availability of their routes: National Rail website affected by snow - Netcraft.