Sunday, August 22, 2010

Obtaining the Unobtainable

The Wife and I watched Avatar the other day. My reaction to the film is still pretty much what it was: I liked it as a well-made, beautiful-to-look-at SF adventure flick. Nothing earth-shattering from the story standpoint, but just an extremely well-crafted popcorn movie. And you know what? There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, and in truth, I'm even kind of OK with the film's Best Picture nomination, since William Goldman has long noted that adventure films and comedies are the hardest movies to get right, and yet, those are the kinds of films that get snubbed left and right at Oscar-time.

I do want to note one thing, though. I remember lots of reviews either lightly making fun of James Cameron, or ripping him outright, for his naming the elusive mineral the mining company in the movie is looking for unobtainium. Well, a few weeks ago I was reading David Brin's Startide Rising (which I ended up bouncing off and stopping in the middle, despite the book's somewhat classic status), and I found this passage on page 93:

None of the other moons in the Kthsemenee had the one attribute this one possessed: a core of almost one percent unobtainium. [Emphasis added]

Well, lookee there. Cameron just used a term that David Brin used in a highly-regarded novel years before. What a yutz!

1 comment:

Robert John Guttke said...

It was a ghastly movie. Predictable and pretentious. There were moments when I thought a neon arrow was pointing at a scene and flashing on and off while reading "this is important and will mean something later". The 3-D effect didn't impress me, the fantasy world didn't impress me, the cliche characters annoyed me... and at the end when it was requested to return the 3-D glasses for recycling, I kept mine. Plan to send them to Cameron and ask for my $11.00 back.