On Unobtanium

Listen, we all know that the Golden Globes are given out by a bunch of hucksters with no legitimate credentials. But it still bears mentioning that the best drama of the year, according to a major awards show televised on a (for now) national network, and the second-highest grossing movie of all time, hinges on a plot based on the imaginary mineral Unobtanium.

Unobtanium.

For reals.

A rare and powerful natural resource on the planet Pandora (!), Unobtanium is very difficult for humans to obtain, you see.

A few critics and Internet humorists have taken swipes at the concept and naming of Unobtanium, but now that we’re entering awards season, and Avatar is apparently being taken seriously, we really need to take a step back and think about this for a minute.

Has a film up for Oscar consideration, aimed primarily at adults, ever so brazenly insulted its audience’s intelligence? And more importantly, have we as Americans grown so stupid, so incapable of critical thought, that we’ll lie down and accept this kind of bullshit without fighting back? I wish I could commission Rage Against the Machine to reunite and write a song called “Unobtanium.”

The special effects and blue people are obviously the selling point of Avatar, but must its plotting and dialogue be so inane? James Cameron famously worked on this film for more than a decade – he couldn’t have crossed “Unobtanium” out of any of the drafts of the screenplay? Or maybe he just went with the first draft. Any gibberish word would have worked better. “Verilunium.” “Lariatarine.” “Perpoplatz.” It doesn’t fucking matter.

Even George Lucas must shake his head sadly when he reads some of Avatar’s dialogue:

  • “If he makes it to the Tree of Souls, it’s over. That’s their direct link to Eywa.”
  • “You are not in Kansas anymore. You are on Pandora, ladies and gentlemen!”
  • “They’re pissing on us and not even giving us the courtesy of calling it rain.”
  • “And we will show the Sky People that they cannot take whatever they want! And that this… This is our land!”
  • “I was a warrior who dreamed he could bring peace. Sooner or later though, you always have to wake up.”

I love a lot of big, dumb action movies. I love Terminator 2. I love Die Hard. Christ, I even liked Live Free or Die Hard. I don’t need an artist’s touch to grace every movie I see. But Avatar is aggressively, willfully stupid. Or, as Roger Ebert put it, “All hail Avatar, yes, but the year’s best picture? Give me a fucking break.”

Here at Pop Culture Has AIDS, we received an inside scoop that James Cameron’s next project will be a series of remakes of beloved classics. Below are a few sneak previews of the changes that Cameron will be making with his noted sense of subtlety and lyricist’s way with words.

Citizen Kane

Original Version:

KANE’S OLD OLD VOICE

Rosebud…

Cameron version:

KANE’S OLD OLD VOICE

Sleddie…My beloved sled, Sleddie. Lost innocence!


Pulp Fiction

Original Version:

PUMPKIN
(staring at open briefcase)

Is that what I think it is? It’s beautiful.

JULES
(nods head)

Cameron version:

PUMPKIN
(staring at open briefcase)

Is that what I think it is? It’s beautiful.

JULES
(nods head)

Yep. It’s a shitload of diamonds. And Marsellus Wallace’s soul! And nuclear secrets!


There Will Be Blood

Original Version:

DANIEL

What can I do for you?

PAUL SUNDAY

You look for oil?

DANIEL

Yes.

Cameron version:

DANIEL

What I can do for you?

PAUL SUNDAY

You look for oil?

DANIEL

No, actually. I look for the precious natural resource SymbolOfCapitalismium. It’s also known as WillMakeYouRichButDepleteYourSoulium


The Godfather

Original Version:

Rocco kisses Michael’s hand as Neri shuts the door blocking Kay’s view.

FADE OUT

Cameron version:

Rocco kisses Michael’s hand as Neri shuts the door blocking Kay’s view. Kay runs to the door and pounds on it.

KAY

Michael! Why did you shut the door on me?

MICHAEL

Because Kay, you are now going to be shut out of a big part of my life. I am going to be “behind closed doors,” as it were.

FADE OUT


The Departed

Original Version:

Just before the credits roll, the camera pans to reveal a rat crawling across the balcony railing.

FADE OUT

Cameron version:

Actually, James liked this one just the way it was.

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2 Comments

Filed under Film Has AIDS, The Dilemma

2 responses to “On Unobtanium

  1. Pingback: Looking Back on Avatar | Pop Culture Has AIDS

  2. Pingback: On The Hurt Locker « Pop Culture Has AIDS

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