Print 118 comment(s) - last by Aloonatic.. on Jan 27 at 5:09 AM

  (Source: 20th Century Fox)
Nothing can seem to stop worldwide audiences' love of Cameron's sci-fi epic

While some may criticize it as unoriginal for parallels to past movies and literature, James Cameron's latest masterpiece, Avatar is a smash hit among critics and moviegoers alike. 

Fueled by strong sales of more expensive 3D movie tickets and fueled by a viral marketing campaign online and off, Avatar proved a triumph in a hit or miss market that's seen even veterans like Harrison Ford recently deliver painful flops.  If Avatar has one problem it's that it's having a hard time keeping up with international demand, as the film quickly raked in over $1B USD within only three weeks of its December 10, 2009 release.

From a tech and science standpoint Avatar is landmark success for 3D animation, marking the first time audiences have embraced (for the most part) emotive human-like 3D characters alongside living ones in a drama flick.  The animation pushes the boundaries of current work, as does the xenobiology featured in the film (Avatar hired a team of experienced biologists to help develop the flora and fauna of the fictional world of Na'vi).

Now Avatar is about to make history as it is expected today to become the highest grossing film ever, sinking the Titanic's record total of $1.843B USD.  What is particularly impressive is how quickly Avatar pulled in the total, reaching $1.841B USD over the weekend, after only six weeks in theaters, and less than that in some foreign markets. 

In many countries, Avatar has become the top grossing U.S. film in their history, and even among their total top grossing films -- a remarkable achievement in countries with strong film industries like France.  Internationally the film has earned $1.288B USD, despite getting a bumped from China's standard theaters for a new Chow Yun Fat epic about the Chinese philosopher Confucius (Avatar continues to play in around 900 of China's 3D theaters).

Even as Avatar rolls towards the epic mark of becoming the first movie to break $2B USD, Cameron has announced that two sequels are in the works.  Considering Fox may have spent more than $300M USD on the film, that's great news for the 3D animation industry.

With its success, Avatar has drawn some backlash.  The U.S. Marine Corps disliked the unflattering depiction of the mercenary marine army whose leadership was corrupted by greed and bloodlust.  Others loved Avatar so much that they reported depression and suicidal thoughts out of regret they could not live in the movie's fantasy world.  And still others have complained of the film being too similar to past work, varying from Pocahontas (first popularized to the masses by the 19th century burlesque The Gentle Savage) to Braveheart.

Critics, for the most part, have been deaf to such criticism.  They rewarded Avatar with awards for Best Motion Picture and Best Director and the 2010 Golden Globe Awards.

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RE: I believe it
By mofo3k on 1/25/2010 4:54:26 PM , Rating: 5
Yes, I'm sure the Native Americans who were nearly wiped off the face of the Earth by diseases and genocidal acts are even grateful for the Europeans coming over to steal all their land and resources.

RE: I believe it
By whiskerwill on 1/25/2010 5:09:03 PM , Rating: 1
Considering there are more Native Americans today than there were then -- and more Native Americans killed by each other than by Europeans -- I think your comment is a bit off base. Also, how many Native Americans alive today would actually prefer to give up modern food, clothing, housing, and medical care-- to go back and live in a teepee? To have 75% of your children die before the age of 18? To die of a toothache, because dential care didn't exist? To have to abandon your grandparents to starve to death, because they were too old to move with the tribe?

As for the stealing allegation, why do you call it "their" land? Every square inch of soil had already been fought over, taken from one tribe by another a hundred times already before any Europeans ever arrived. Who does the land actually belong to? The person who stole it first, or the one who stole it last? Or the society that actually put an end to stealing, by creating and enforcing the concept of property ownership?

RE: I believe it
By ClownPuncher on 1/25/2010 5:53:12 PM , Rating: 3
There absolutely are not more Native Americans alive today than before the colonial period. There are fewer than 3 million AI/AN living in the US today compared to the 25+ million pre-expansion period

RE: I believe it
By whiskerwill on 1/25/2010 6:18:04 PM , Rating: 1
Lol, does no one learn basic science any more? You don't even need to know history to realize that 25M is a wildly outrageous estimate for what population North America could support with the primitive agricultural methods in use. Even if you throw in the (much more highly populated at the time) regions of Central and South America, many estimates of pre-Columbian population don't rise that high...and the vast majority of that is in the Aztec/Mayan empires

At the time Columbus showed up in America, there were less than 4M people in all of England (a nation using advanced agricultural methods, rather than mostly primitive hunter-gather techniques) and still starvation was not uncommon. How on earth do you think 25M could survive in North America?

Also, you don't seem to recognize that, while Central and South America did experience largescale depopulation, the vast majority of that was due to disease, and not widescale killing by Europeans.

RE: I believe it
By ClownPuncher on 1/25/2010 6:39:05 PM , Rating: 3
I never said anything about Europeans depopulating the continent. Disease is undisputably the #1 cause.

Yes, I absolutely do think North American could support more than the estimated 4 million living in England. You do know that England is pretty small, and not very well known for fertile soil, right? Not to mention fairly advanced corn agriculture areas here.

25 million is probably a high estimate, but even the most conservative estimate fall over 10 million.

RE: I believe it
By whiskerwill on 1/25/2010 7:03:44 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong again. An estimate of 10-12M for North America is the HIGHEST claim that has ever been made. The LOWEST estimates for indigenous population have been in the 5-8M range for all the Americas, with nearly 90% of that in or south of modern-day Mexico. In other words, the lowest estimates of North American Native Indians are substantially below one million.

In any case, the estimates continue to climb over time, for obvious political reasons.

RE: I believe it
By BaronMatrix on 1/26/2010 1:11:36 PM , Rating: 2
At the time Columbus showed up in America Europe had just prior very nearly wiped itself out with Bubonic plague.

And as far as advanced agricultural methods, how do you know what they were using?

Besides, agricultural: Plant seed, add water, repeat. Unless you mean they had automated scythes and plows. No they had horses dragging them too.

Also, the Pilgrims almost died without the Indians in the northeast helping them make it through the winter. GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT.

And to the TeePee comment, have you ever heard of a pueblo? Why do some people want to believe everyone needs them when that PARTICULAR person has invented NOTHING but a false sense of bravado.

RE: I believe it
By whiskerwill on 1/27/2010 2:35:25 AM , Rating: 1
Also, the Pilgrims almost died without the Indians in the northeast helping them make it through the winter. GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT.
Lol, do you honestly not realize that's a myth? The Pilgrims thanksgiving at Plymouth Plantation was for the large harvest they had, as a result of giving up their originali idea of wholly communal farming.

And as far as advanced agricultural methods, how do you know what they were using?
Um, from any of the tens of thousands of primary sources documenting their agricultural methods? Are you trying to embarrass yourself?

Besides, agricultural: Plant seed, add water, repeat. Unless you mean they had automated scythes and plows.
It just keeps getting better and better. Actually, I mean agricultural advances like crop rotation and fallowing, fertilization (sheep in the Middle Ages were primarily used to fertilize crops; their wool and meat were secondary factors), horse-drawn steel plows, and the beginnings of husbandry techniques leading to higher-yield strains. The European farmer of the late Middle Ages was productive enough to feed some 12-20 families in addition to his own, compared to the 3-4 the average Roman did (which is about the best the Mayans could do...North American hunter-gatherer Indians were even worse).

Honestly, learn a little before you try to debate these things.

And to the TeePee comment, have you ever heard of a pueblo?
I have. I also don't see many Native Americans today wanting to live in one either.

RE: I believe it
By Reclaimer77 on 1/25/2010 5:14:30 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, I'm sure the Native Americans who were nearly wiped off the face of the Earth by diseases and genocidal acts are even grateful for the Europeans coming over to steal all their land and resources.

Somebody clearly goes to public school....

RE: I believe it
By Freezebyte on 1/25/2010 5:31:42 PM , Rating: 2
Histories a bitch for truth. How did your mommy and daddy teach you what happened to the indians then?

RE: I believe it
By whiskerwill on 1/25/2010 6:05:42 PM , Rating: 2
Why don't you try reading actual historical documents? Start with something like Hakluyts Voyages, which contains accounts of the first English contact with Native Americans. For several of the tribes encountered, their very request of the Europeans was for weapons of help them finish off some neighboring tribe. In another case, the Indians they encountered (on islands off the coast of Va. IIRC) pretended to befriend the a pretense to allow them slay everyone in their sleep that evening.

Roll forward all the way up to the time of Sitting Bull, the great 19th century symbol for Indian rights...and a man who originally became known for killing neighboring Crow Indians, while on war parties trying to expand into their lands. The list goes on and on.

Were Europeans harsh on the Indians? Not nearly as harsh as they were on themselves. Had Europeans not arrived, we'd still be a group of illiterate savages raping, plundering killing each other as fast as possible. What "happened" to the Indians was civilization...and a damn good thing it did, too.

To throw you a bone, there are admittedly many sad tales to be told against the Europeans, particularly in cases like the Cherokee, who did try to play by the white man's rules, and still suffered as a result. But even they were better treated than they would have been if conquered by some other native tribe.

RE: I believe it
By Belard on 1/25/2010 11:49:29 PM , Rating: 2

Just like the blacks were so lucky to have been slaves in America. (Boondocks on AS just did a parody ep on this)

Humans suck in general.

RE: I believe it
By whiskerwill on 1/26/2010 12:15:39 AM , Rating: 2
Those blacks who were slaves were not 'lucky', but their descendants certainly are. Which is why you see so few wanting to emigrate to Africa, but millions of Africans still trying to flee their own continent.

I recently met a young gentleman from the Gold Coast. He arrived in the US by stowing away on a deadheading cargo ship...he spent four days on a tiny shelf inches above the ocean, and only feet from a massive propeller that would have diced him in a second had he fallen off. Eventually he managed to attract the attention of the crew, who brought him aboard the ship proper. Why not ask him if he'd have preferred to have been born here instead, even if it meant his great-great grandfather would have been a slave?

And let us not forget that nearly all those blacks sold into slavery were those captured not by Europeans, but by neighboring tribes in Africa itself. Had they not been sold, most would have either been killed or spent a lifetime in slavery on their own continent.

While not condoning slavery in any way, shape, or form, that fact does help put into perspective those mental infants who consider slavery to be nothing but a European exploitation of other races. For that matter, the very word slave itself derives from the word "Slav". Why? Because so many Europeans of Slavic descent were made into slaves, that the term eventually came to denote bondage.

Pretty much every person on the planet is not only descended from ancestors who kept slaves, and other ancestors who were slaves. Try to remember that when you're crying about past injustices that one one alive had any part in.

RE: I believe it
By delphinus100 on 1/26/2010 4:14:56 AM , Rating: 2
Many Africans today (and other immigrants, historically) do indeed vote with their feet, there's no denying that...

Which doesn't change the fact that most African-Americans are not descended from people who chose to come here, and for most of the time since, have not been allowed to forget their second-class status, long after abolition. Slavery, at the time, was not seen as a finite condition.

There are more ethical ways to encourage immigration, if that was the idea.

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