James Cameron’s Avatar, review (spoilers)

I checked out the long awaited James Cameron movie a few hours ago and, as you guessed, I’m moved to flood it out of my system before bed. Even more so because I saw it entirely without company to say ‘wow’ to.

For starters (and I’m echoing every present and future review on it so far), it is unarguably one of the most lavish looking films you’ll ever see. The ludicrous budget was not at all wasted.
My eyes couldn’t help wandering away from core foreground action because lots of little interesting things were grabbing my attention around the screen. I didn’t even see the 3D version and found it very immersive. The CGI is also top notch as you do forget that these blue humanoids in a detailed world are just film magic.

The plot however is slightly cheesy (as is some dialogue) and has a very thinly veiled eco message, but the whole movie package is so well done that this fact really can’t retract any points.

Also as a straight male (I could be alone on this observation now) I was surprised by how good looking 60yr old Sigourney Weaver looked. Some of her flesh is shown, in a tasteful way. Alien fans will also note a nod to her Alien trilogy in that she wakes up from a hi-tec bed.

Directorially, it’s very easy to spot Cameron trademarks as they’ve not changed too much (thankfully). One example is the contrast between the smallness of humans and the largeness of the machines (some reminiscent of the rebirthed Cain from Robocop 2) around them, and the array of colourful information devices (The Abyss).
There’s also the fesity females (not Sigourney here): One is Sam Worthington‘s love interest and another is a latino gun toter who nods to Vasquez from Aliens. Speaking of which, one of the villains – Parker Selfridge – could easily be related to Paul Reiser’s character from said film. A beast in the film also enters and resembles that film’s mother alien, somewhat.
Also, the end has a big engaging show down after a seat gripping series of battles, rolled into action by a Braveheart style war cry (maybe I’m comparing face paint now…). Blockbuster movie 101 done right.

I can’t help pulling out old movie observations as I’ve been a fan of Cameron since the first Terminator film as a child. The second 18 certificate film I saw while still in a single figure age…Speaking of which, aircraft from this film remind me of that from The Terminators.
And speaking further, this is miles better than Terminator 3 or Salvation and makes you almost want to cry that Cameron never bothered to helm them (although wise to let a told story lie).

One thing that was a let down is that the blue aliens aren’t very alien. Sure they were meant to be humanoid (and it’s not implausible that aliens like us out there), but their look, clothing style, speech, language and behaviour was really just largely stereotypical African. I’m not saying I was hoping for Star Trek like race differentiation but it didn’t seem well cooked.

More unoriginality stems from the fact that entering the alien environment is virtually similar to exiting the false real world of The Matrix. But as so much sci-fi ideas have already been milked I can’t blame Cameron for going for a relatively new, underused one.
I also wish there were more black people in the film. Not that I think Cameron has a hidden agenda. But there are usually only a couple of black characters in a film of his, and even T4 managed to represent a global cast united against robots.

That aside, the 3hr film (first one I’ve seen with an intermission) didn’t make me pull my jumper sleeves back to check the time. It was a stunning looking film with a sustainable plot.
It doesn’t cut new ground for Cameron but it keeps his legacy alive. And I shall surely be looking out for the DVD.

Oh, but unlike The Terminators or Aliens this is a film where you cheer when the humans lose!


Seasons Greetings & A Vitamin D Forum

I know it’s early but my scant blogging habits (opposed to my needless tweeting) means I’m better off greeting people now while I’ve taken the time to sit down and write.

Anyway, let’s see (I always write this – must change)…

The first thing is as well as continuing laborious editing work on my novel I’ve recently started a few handwritten brainstorms on a book about vitamin D; I have a title, chapter names and a list of what I should be squeezing into them.
I had planned to do a dedicated blog on the subject but I’ve concluded that what I’ve written in my two related blog posts would only really be repeated in detail, making it not an eye opening read.
That’s not to say I may not regardless decide to create a dedicated blog in the near future but since my goal is now focussed on promotion than investigation, I feel another book on vitamin D would be very helpful. So, unlike past promises I am actually now following up my posts in some way.
This would be my second writing project and first non-fiction one.

I’m not a published author but that should not be a reason to not try. Not only will creating a book encourage me to juggle with two writing projects of different kinds, but it will keep my writing streak running.

Though I’m not a medical professional there’s nothing stopping me from sharing my theories (and expanded thinking on existing theories) and personal perspective. Though a Dr. title would help before my name it need not be a major disability. I have after all had the blessing of my words – indirectly – by Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, Dr. John Cannell and Dr. David Grimes.
Whether I can publish it or not doesn’t really matter until I complete it. If not, the contents could easily be serialised freely on a dedicated blog, and even if I can sell it, some material could be shared as a sample.

Part of me finds it very bold to envision, but I’ve learnt from recent events that if I don’t think bold I will never even attempt bold.

In the meantime though, since I can’t find a single vitamin D only message board I thought I’d create one. I’ll add this to my two relevant posts soon, but maybe this can be a definitive one?

Okay, let’s move away from vitamin D.

Like most people I’m pretty bad with New Year’s Resolutions but regardless they’re fun to think of and can provide goals that you might be lucky enough to see through. I might’ve succeeded in my 2009 resolutions without me knowing as I can’t remember them!
I’m not going to create a long list as so much is hard to manage.

1) Complete both my writing projects so that they can start being offered to agents by Summer.

2) Be more a planner than an opportunity waiter and vocalise thoughts more. (I recently had an event I’d call as perhaps a brief rehab style character assessment that triggered this, and I realise my laid back attitude and lack of interest in being a big talker has been detrimental in different ways to different people)
3) Finish the remainder recordings of songs in my music project by February and aim to start playing gigs by Summer. Part of the onus is down to my partner learning lyrics and finishing writing his entirely own portion of songs.

I think three is enough…I’ll try and come back to this post next year and see how I did.

So, the only thing left to say is Merry Xmas & Happy New Year to all who’ve ever read, followed and made contact with me. Please keep coming. I like the attention!

Think, not accept

Cholesterol, AIDS, climate change, illegal wars…Big topics.

In the last few years I’ve become more of a questioning person. This can be clearly pinpointed from when vitamin D and holes in the cholesterol/heart hypothesis grabbed my attention.

Perhaps the event has made me more paranoid or it has actually created a truly healthy balance. I find myself admiring sceptic groups and individuals who present arguments with at least a grain of plausibility. And even those who make claims that I find too outlandish still impress me with their daring to take on orthodoxies that are as tough as steel and fortified by guards ready to shoot them down.

For example, as an advocate of vitamin D I do not agree on dissenting information about it, but those who question my siding help me to look at my argument and see if I can strengthen it. If I cannot, then my ‘enemy’ (I can’t find a better, more subtle word at this moment) may actually be a saviour. And that is why I would refrain from ad hominem attacks because I do not want to destroy opposition; I want to remain challenged. By focusing on what matters, everybody ‘wins’ and no one’s character is assassinated.

There is just half an hour left until World AIDS Day ends and I admit that I am a sceptic on HIV (but not immunodeficiency). I am not a denialist as I don’t believe I possess enough knowledge, or indeed have the personal insight to be absolute.
While some people might find this abhorrent, I do not push my belief on others because of my uncertain fence sitting. I do hope though that people respect it as an opinion which helps to generate discussion on what is clearly a major health problem.
I believe orthodox opinion is losing and for a love of humanity I cling to what I think are appropriate reappraisals.

But health isn’t the only thing to be sceptical on. I’m going to be showing some neutrality now, but most can’t have failed to notice that climate change (as in being human caused rather than natural global warming) sceptics aren’t that much the pariahs they used to be. An email breach concerning documents on it has tallied with, for example, TV news segments which seem to have retracted from the position of absolute doom.

And then there’s also the Iraq war. It’s been recently stated that it’s not ‘illegal’ but of ‘questionable legitimacy’. Though what this implies is that the UN most probably would have sanctioned the war through proper channels, the two quoted terms pretty much mean the same thing – that they were based on an erroneous belief of WMDs as a means to create a plot for war.

What I ideally want most people to do is think. We live in a nation where most people seem to be interested in reality TV shows than they are in studying party policies and bothering to put an x on ballot papers come election day.

Perhaps I’m turning into a grump but I’m dismayed that less people think and questioning is seen as a bad thing. The blame could be laid on schooling where you are told from day one what is, than allowed to find out what is.

A popular orthodoxy is not necessarily a correct one. And as I progress I’m hoping to challenge more of my established opinions. Because being an irritant to myself and others is actually a very noble thing.