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The One Ring Forums: Off Topic: The Pollantir:
Best "war veteran switches side to the natives" movie?
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Poll: Best "war veteran switches side to the natives" movie?
Dances with Wolves
The Last Samurai
Avatar
View Results (22 votes)
 

sauget.diblosio
Tol Eressea


Aug 8 2014, 5:25am

Post #26 of 46 (324 views)
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I voted Dances with Wolves, but [In reply to] Can't Post

here's a list of "going native" films from a poll on IMdB a while back...

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Dances with Wolves (1990)
The Last Samurai (2003)
Avatar (2009)
Pocahontas (1995)
FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
The Emerald Forest (1985)
A Man Called Horse (1970)
Run of the Arrow (1957)
Black Robe (1991)
The New World (2005)
The 13th Warrior (1999)
Soldier (1998)
District 9 (2009)
Dune (1984)
John Carter (2012)
Battle for Terra (2007)
Little Big Man (1970)
Man in the Wilderness (1971)
Farewell to the King (1989)
Medicine Man (1992)
Enemy Mine (1985)
Khartoum (1966)
Hidalgo (2004)

Of these, i really love Lawrence of Arabia, Dances with Wolves, Apocalypse Now, Black Robe, District 9, and Little Big Man-- that's quite the list of pretty great films from such a potentially hackneyed premise.


Annael
Immortal


Aug 8 2014, 2:56pm

Post #27 of 46 (308 views)
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I found a lot more meaning in "Avatar" [In reply to] Can't Post

as a mythologist I was delighted to see so many avatars, as it were, of the Goddess - every one of which rescues the "hero" at one point or another. To me it was a continuation of Cameron's inquiry into where technology was taking us, only this time he offered a possible answer -- use our science to find a way to connect with the Earth/the feminine instead of walling us off from it. The final fight for me was not between the natives & the invaders, but between the natural world and the machines.


Magpie
Immortal


Aug 8 2014, 3:35pm

Post #28 of 46 (306 views)
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My reaction to criticism of this movie always interests me [In reply to] Can't Post

Partly, I just - as a rule - don't like 'meme' criticism. I mean, if you put a 100 people in a room and showed them something they'd never seen before... you'd easily get 85 distinct comments on what they thought. And the people that had almost identical reactions and comments would marvel that they were so similar.

But on the internet, a critical meme gets created and people are gleeful to repeat it over and over and over again.

But beyond that, I react to dismissive criticism because I really don't think the movie should be dismissed. I don't have a problem with someone not liking it. I just think it deserves more respect than people give it.

Why do I think it deserves more? That's the question. And when I go back to reread what I wrote about it in the past here, it's clear I didn't think this was the best movie ever made. So why does it matter to me that people might be dismissive and scoffing?

I think it's because what I did like about the movie touches the core of what I find most significant and profound in this world. Connection.

As an example, some samplings of things I've written in the past:



I think most of us noticed how the environment reacted to the Na'vi (and it's hard to know if it would react to humans because we don't really see that much). When you touch some things, they recoil. The moss and other plants' bioluminescence react to the touch or pressure of the Na'vi. That was a 'cool' factor for me.

But it was interesting to see how Jake's interaction to the environment changed over time. Early in his experience he is always whacking and swatting at things... I presume, thinking they are in his way. Or maybe it just pleases him to whack at things (like small children are wont to do with a stick at the bushes). But that goes away completely as he settles in the existence of the Na'vi. It's his connection to and his reverence for the life as he hunts that convinces Neytiri that he is ready to bond with the flying animal.

Another part that moved me more the second time around was how the entire tribe comes together for a few rites. One is when Jake is admitted to the tribe and they create that web of connection with their hands on shoulders. The other is when they are trying to allow Grace to enter her Avatar body. They are working so intently together for the sake of another. For the sake of an 'other'. I think human connection and the concept that one will give for another is something we all crave and frankly, I think we get far too little of it. It's all about the individual sometimes. I think my life circumstances have made any instance where someone takes extraordinary measures to help someone else terribly moving. Gut clenching, tears welling moving.




Annael, you wrote something I responded to. You wrote: "My favorite scene remains the moment where Neytiri finds Jake in his human body, because the connection between the real actor and the CGI character is so beautiful."

and I responded:
That was one of the most successful parts of Avatar for me. (at least, story-wise)

I think Cameron did something interesting with the physical difference in appearance between humans and Na'vi. The Na'vi were a lot bigger than humans but he only showed that a little in the beginning. Then, we usually saw humans with humans and Na'vi with Na'vi. That allowed for that scene when human Jake is dying and Neytiri realizes what's happening and goes to him. Then we see, in a close up and concrete way.. how different the two species are. It's almost shocking (to me, anyhow). It was easy for Jake to love Neytiri when they both looked alike. Jake's avatar body looked like everyone else's and he could believe he was one of them and Neytiri could 'pretend' he was, as well. She knows he's something else, but neither she nor he is confronted with this in order to be 'in love'.

But in that moment, the full truth is out there and must be confronted. Can fully human Jake love Na'vi Neytiri? Can Na'vi Neytiri love fully human Jake when they look so different? They do. At that moment, they can rely on nothing but what their hearts tell them and their hearts are true.





There are many moments in Avatar that move me deeply because it taps into a piece of me that is very important to me. That 'piece' of each of us will be different for us all and others will not respond to Avatar in the way I do and will (we hope) find other things that do speak deeply to them.

I sense that parts of it tap into meaningful things for you, too, Annael.

I don't think Cameron is perfect and I don't think Avatar is perfect. If someone doesn't respond to myths and archetypes and connections with nature... then Avatar isn't for them.

But why discard the entire movie because it reminds one of another movie? Why dismiss it merely because the same archetypal story used by many others is being used to tell this story with its own unique emphasis and artistic style?

I guess, all I hope for is for people to rise above the memes of the world and form their own opinions and express them with articulate intelligence.

And maybe, a bit of me hopes that people will push aside the sheeple 'Dances with Wolves with Smurfs" meme and look for the gems that are in this movie: the concept that we are all connected as beings and, as beings, we are all connected with nature. We can nurture and respect each other and the world around us or we can move in a fog of disconnect that shields us from the consequences of our behavior and attitude.


(This post was edited by Magpie on Aug 8 2014, 3:37pm)


Darkstone
Immortal


Aug 8 2014, 4:18pm

Post #29 of 46 (304 views)
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Yes [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the point of the movie is indeed the ambiguity. Will he/won't he go native? Is he/isn't he going native? Did he/didn't he go native? It's like how at his funeral at the beginning of the film everyone gives a different answer as to who he was.


macfalk
Valinor


Aug 8 2014, 4:48pm

Post #30 of 46 (308 views)
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My own experience [In reply to] Can't Post

"Partly, I just - as a rule - don't like 'meme' criticism."

I get that! I do indeed. And I have no doubt that the internet has created some form of "meme-criticism" as you put it against Avatar, but it was not the case for me. When I went into the cinemas, I had not read spoilers - I had not read any internet comments sections or forums. Just reviews. So my mindset going into the cinema and watching Avatar was not "I'm going to hate this movie because it will be a rip-off!". Au contraire, it was excitement, rather. But I went out of the cinema dissapointed because I had not expected the premise of the movie to be so similar to other stories I had fell in love with and that damaged my overall impression of the movie. My criticism of the movie has nothing to do with the internet hate against Avatar, it's what I felt after watching it and it's what I feel today about the movie. My reaction was the same as these internet bandwagoners without even having read any of that, and I think that may ring a bell that the story could have tried harder not to copy elements of other similar stories, in my mind at least.

Of course, one could make the argument that "there are no truly original stories/movies, everyone copies each other etc". True, but for me, I've only felt this with Avatar and not any other story really.


(This post was edited by macfalk on Aug 8 2014, 4:55pm)


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Aug 9 2014, 11:15pm

Post #31 of 46 (287 views)
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How 'bout LotR? [In reply to] Can't Post

Would Legolas and Gimli count? ;)

I don't think either one really joined "sides". They were more like making their own side; or p'raps they could be considered having joined the world of men. What would you call it once they sailed to Valinor? Gimli joining the Elves?


arithmancer
Grey Havens


Aug 10 2014, 1:46am

Post #32 of 46 (282 views)
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That's what I call it too... [In reply to] Can't Post

But I still voted for Avatar. Seeing that in 3D is as close as I will ever get to seeing another inhabited planet.


Lissuin
Valinor


Aug 10 2014, 4:49am

Post #33 of 46 (291 views)
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Men go native. Women go...what? [In reply to] Can't Post

That's an interesting list of films, s.d. Except for Pocahontas, it's all male conversion stories, yes?
I'm really sleep deprived at the moment, so I'm not going to try to figure this out now or look up examples of woman-goes-native stories, but it just jumped out at me and deserves a comment that maybe will create discussion. Just a curious phenomenon. Reasons? Mainly males leave home on adventures to exotic cultures? Mainly men write stories about such adventures and make them into films? It hasn't been generally sanctioned for females in western societies to leave home voluntarily and try on another culture? They weren't soldiers or whalers or miners, so, yeah, I guess that's it until very recently.

Sorry, I just feel dopey. Will sleep on it and try to contribute something coherent tomorrow. Don't mind me. Carry on.

Edit: Ah, yes "war veterans" was in the op.
Good night all.


(This post was edited by Lissuin on Aug 10 2014, 4:51am)


Maciliel
Valinor


Aug 18 2014, 12:34pm

Post #34 of 46 (259 views)
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one not represented here... [In reply to] Can't Post

 
... "dances with orcs."

a rollercoaster of empathy, suspicion, role-reversal and a little cannibalism.

cheers --

.


(This post was edited by Maciliel on Aug 18 2014, 12:34pm)


Maciliel
Valinor


Aug 18 2014, 12:50pm

Post #35 of 46 (263 views)
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yes, this is a more exclusive list [In reply to] Can't Post

 
have to do some thinking about this one (female leads going "native")

the first that come to mind...

v for vendetta
the bitter tea of general yen
out of africa


the reverse of this....

the king and i


cheers --

.


Dame Ioreth
Tol Eressea


Aug 18 2014, 1:15pm

Post #36 of 46 (260 views)
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Men go Native. Women go... shopping. [In reply to] Can't Post

Seriously. That's still a lot of what we get. Just like we got a lot of the bumbling father who is an idiot. Formula and rehash are still prevalent in film-making, I guess.

One woman did come to mind. She didn't go native but she did cross over a to another "side" for awhile. Mulan. But then she went back, so I guess that doesn't count.

Spoilers here but you could argue that Vanya from HTTYD2 went native with the dragons.


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Aug 18 2014, 11:59pm

Post #37 of 46 (245 views)
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There are some real-life examples [In reply to] Can't Post

Lady Hester Stanhope and Isabelle Eberhardt are two women who "went native". Mary Stewart's novel The Gabriel Hounds features a character based on Lady Hester.

Wikipedia offers a list of Female Explorers, most of whom achieved their exploits without going native.

But yes, I think the scarcity of stories about women explorers or women who went native probably reflects societal mores and attitudes which made it more difficult for women to attempt such things.


Darkstone
Immortal


Aug 19 2014, 1:22am

Post #38 of 46 (244 views)
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Catherine the Great [In reply to] Can't Post

The German princess became the best ruler Russia ever had.

One might also add Dian Fossey who basically went one step beyond native.


Maciliel
Valinor


Aug 19 2014, 3:22am

Post #39 of 46 (239 views)
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"woman explorers" [In reply to] Can't Post

 
just as a side note (and nothing personal, silverlode!) it bothers me on a few levels to see anything like...

woman explorer
woman president
woman astronaut

why?

well, first off... it's grammatically incorrect. how can you tell? well, flip it....

man explorer
man president
man astronaut

see how silly it sounds? the correct form would be

female explorer
female president
female astronaut

the other reason the "woman + N" phrase bothers me is that it's often used as a pejorative...

woman driver

this was a very popular, if unkind and sexist, epithet a few decades ago. and the general, derogatory nature of that combination hasn't died out.

so, i encourage folks to be grammatically correct. and if you hear one of those "woman" phrases.... the next time an opportunity presents itself, start talking about that "man senator," that "man chef," that "man professor," that "man writer."

thank you in advance!!!!!!


cheers ---

.


DaughterofLaketown
Gondor


Aug 19 2014, 3:30am

Post #40 of 46 (239 views)
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Well personally I have only seen avatar and almost all of The Last Samurai [In reply to] Can't Post

But I voted for dance with wolves because I hated Avatar and the plot line seems the best.


(This post was edited by DaughterofLaketown on Aug 19 2014, 3:33am)


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Aug 19 2014, 3:31am

Post #41 of 46 (240 views)
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Well, yes. [In reply to] Can't Post

And, though I had remembered myself as talking about female explorers, I see that I typed "women explorers" instead. As you observe, grammatically incorrect - and also lazy. My apologies.


Maciliel
Valinor


Aug 19 2014, 3:45am

Post #42 of 46 (237 views)
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you must know [In reply to] Can't Post

 
you must know, no apologies needed!

you just inadvertently tripped one of my language sexism wires. : )

cheers --

.


(This post was edited by Maciliel on Aug 19 2014, 3:46am)


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Aug 19 2014, 4:56am

Post #43 of 46 (250 views)
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It was a fair point. :-) // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Annael
Immortal


Aug 19 2014, 2:18pm

Post #44 of 46 (222 views)
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there's so many subtle ways of wording things [In reply to] Can't Post

that reveal a subtle "ism" behind the thought. Like "heroine" which is a diminutive of hero, as if a female hero is not as big a deal as a male hero.

I run into this a lot working with the ideas of Jung & Joseph Campbell. Brilliant men but definitely oriented towards seeing the world from a male viewpoint, and a lot of the terminology and the ideas they gave us reflect that. When we talk about female psychology and the female journey, we need a totally different vocabulary!


Maciliel
Valinor


Aug 19 2014, 2:59pm

Post #45 of 46 (217 views)
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i never use "heroine" [In reply to] Can't Post

 
many years ago, i went through the same through process. since that point, i never use "heroine" any more -- just "hero," to describe either females or males.

cheers --

.


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Aug 20 2014, 6:40am

Post #46 of 46 (230 views)
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I never use heroine either [In reply to] Can't Post

because to my ears it sounds like I'm saying/writing "heroin" which sounds ridiculous and stupid, I think.

Hero really should be used for both genders, I think- not only does it remove the sexism of it, but it also is easier to say without sounding like a popular illicit drug Crazy

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