Monday, September 6, 2010

There Are No New Ideas

As I get older, I realize more and more that all the things we think define us as "different" or "unique" often just help us identify our tribe.  I am not special in the ways that I always thought I was, but I grow more comfortable with the idea over time.  Sometimes, I hate being pegged. I don't even like it when I go to a restaurant or coffee shop and the person who works there knows me so well, they want to give me my "usual".  I don't want to be an old woman who ate the same thing in the same restaurant for 30 years, but I am that person. I usually get one of two things at any given restaurant. One is usually the default and then I will surprise myself and the server every once in a while by ordering the other thing.

None of this is what I wanted to write about today, but I got off on a tangent. I have a feeling I'm going to have a couple before this week is over...

Although I'm still feeling under the weather, I decided that I really wanted to see another movie. I have missed most of what I wanted to see over the summer - just no motivation to go out on the weekends. So, sickie that I am, I went to see "Avatar" in 3D today. I would have seen it regular (and avoid paying $12 and a headache/neck ache) but it is the only one that is offered in the re-release.

**Spoiler Alert***

I liked the movie much more than I expected I would. Often, when something is billed as "The Best Movie EVER" or at least of the YEAR, I tend to shy away for a while because I am often disappointed. I liked the movie a lot - especially loved the glow-in-the-dark colors and things in the night sequences. The message was great, it was inventive, the CGI was good enough to not be distracting, the acting was good.

One thing came to mind as I was watching though - "there are no new ideas". That's okay. Just something that came to mind a few times while I was watching. This was a futuristic "Dances with Wolves" meets "Ferngully" with a splash of "Eragon" thrown in for good measure.

I don't mind that the ideas are re-imagined. I just think it is interesting that I didn't read/hear anywhere that this was somewhat derivative. I mean, think about it. Guy gets sent to some god-forsaken place to do the work of the military. In "Dances with Wolves", Dunbar was left to fend for himself - abandoned. Finally, in the course of his duties, he finds himself in another culture and decides to leave his post to follow his true nature. In "Avatar", Sully can't walk in real life but can in his "Avatar" body. He is left to fend for himself and in the course of his duties, he finds himself in another culture and...oh...huh. Same thing.

In "Eragon", a dragon chooses her rider and only has one rider. If the rider dies, the dragon dies. In "Avatar" the so-called Banshee (I can't remember the Na'vi word) chooses their rider and the rider chooses them. The Banshee can only ever have one rider. Hmm. Coincidence?

"Ferngully" - well, I threw that in because it was about environmental issues and the destruction of the rainforest. Not a bad thing to bring up again in these days of oil spills and whatnot. "Avatar" is basically a cautionary tale about how we are ruining our planet and that we shouldn't assume we can just ruin anything else out there without some kind of fight from the inhabitants of that other country/planet/universe.

For an archetypal hero story, this was well-done, nicely animated, good acting, good music and very engaging. A little on the long side for 3D for me - got myself a nice headache from it. I'm glad I went.

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