Posts Tagged ‘Avatar’

Avatar sequel to film deep sea in 3D

// September 27th, 2010 // 2 Comments » // Science in the Movies

Say wha-?

There’s gonna be a sequel to Avatar?


I mean, I think the movie was awesome and all, but when it finished it finished. Finito. No more. No dramatic suspense music to imply the indignity of a sequel. No sudden return of a villain. Nada.

The story was just Pocahontas, after all. And Pocahontas didn’t have a dumb sequel (did it?)

This whole “every successful movie must have a sequel” really pisses me off. It just DETRACTS from the awesomeness of the original. The one exception is Ace Venture.

The good part about this (silver lining Captain, focus on the sliver of silver) is that part of the movie is set in the deep sea. And to make that part of the movie, James Cameron is going to film the deep sea in the Mariana Trench (south of Japan.) 11,000 metres down. Humans have only been down there once, in a hardcore sub that can withstand the excessive water pressure which is 1000 times stronger than atmospheric pressure.

If he can do it, the footage could be supercool scientific data for the abyss that is the deep sea. We know more about the moon than we know about the deep sea, and there’s probably stacks more sweet stuff down there. And James Cameron can do ANYTHING. Where science has so far faltered, James Cameron and his trusty checkbook will succeed. Aw yeah.

Hat tip to Dr M at Deep Sea News, who amazingly did not like the first movie. *blink*

My Opinion on the Science behind Avatar

// January 4th, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Science in the Movies

Avatar Movie Still

Have you seen it yet? It’s the best movie of the decade, and it just became the fastest movie to make $1bn in ticket sales. This post contains spoilers, so if you’re lagging behind the majority then run along now, come back later. I’ve held back from this post to give people a chance to see it, but I’m gonna explode like cannon fire if I don’t do it now. Note: This post be me opinions, and make no mistake, I want to believe.

What struck me most about the movie is how REAL it was, after seeing it I had this overwhelming urge to go there, to see it for myself, even if just in a dream. To feel authentic, an animated world needs to pay extreme attention to detail to how the real world works. Director James Cameron brought in Jodie Holt, chairwoman of the department of botany and plant sciences at UC Riverside, as an expert. She helped suss out the plant-communication thing and how a botanist would study plants on another planet. After that she helped put together a massive tome called Pandorapedia, with Latin names (yay!), taxonomy and descriptions of the plants.

According to this interview, Jodie Holt had one major problem with the movie – Grace smokes in the lab. A big no-no, not only for OH&S but also because of the Tobacco Mosaic Virus which dwells in tobaccy and can be unleashed on unwitting plants causing mass destruction. I counter with this – why would a virus that evolved on Earth have any effect on plants that evolved on Pandora? Viruses and the cells they infect usually evolve together. Sure, some viruses can jump species (like HIV) but not, you know, species from another planet. Plus in the future we might have wiped out the Tobacco Mosaic Virus, indeed, she might be smoking some non-cancer-inducing super-tasty tobaccy from the future.

These communicating plants though – that’s something else. Very cool. It actually reminded me of an Animorphs book (the Andalite Tales, anyone?) I think talking trees is definitely possible – Strawberries can communicate a caterpillar attack to other bushes in the network (albeit connected together by runners) so the other bushes can protect themselves. Given the right environment, I think it’s entirely possible that a whole ecosystem could evolve to communicate for mutual protection, and over time I think it could give rise to consciousness. Hell, that’s how we did it, right?

Actually, a lot of the plants and animals look mighty similar to Earth counterparts… I always thought if we met aliens they would be completely and utterly different to us. My sciencey explanation for this is that a meteor containing biological building blocks started life on Earth (the “a rock did it” theory), and one of those same meteors hit Pandora. With the same start and similar environments, it’s not altogether impossible that similar life would start on both, is it?

Finally, the Avatars themselves. How can you get your mind to control another body? Was the Avatar brain computerized to respond to the movement sensors in that sensor-bed? The human-alien hybrid concept is pretty out-there, and the idea of DNA being important to a mind-body link is something totally new, but think of this. As shown in the making of – Avatar was made mostly by motion capture. The actors performed in front of a screen and then a 3D image of the alien was mapped over them. Isn’t that exactly like being an Avatar?

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