avathontas avathontas



Apparently, they’re kinda similar.

(Thanks, Dave O.)

  • …then there’s the “FernGully” comparisons as well. So much so that…well:


  • Teri

    Funny, I thought it was more of a live action FernGully, minus the bat character.

  • mrscriblam


  • Isaac

    Perhaps storytelling isn’t just about the major plot points.

  • Pete

    The Story is pretty much ‘Dances with Wolves’, with a FernGully setting.

  • Adam

    You can get pretty close with Dances With Wolves, The Last Samurai, Last of the Mohicans, and several more.

  • Chris B

    Next will be the Avatar vs. Kimba debate HAHA It’s getting compared to everything!. I guess that’s going to be the next trend oh wait they have been doing that since they started making movies…. although seriously that Lion King vs Kimba is something to ponder…hmmmmmm

  • Come on, we know we all didn’t go see it for the story, Although Hexxus would look pretty awesome in CG eh?….eh?…

  • wORK_

    Yes!… I had the same conversation with a fellow peer who couldn’t stop saying “Avatar is the new Star Wars!”. I laughed him out the room and told him he needed to review Joseph Campbell’s catalog. I agree with the comparison, and would love to see this new technology applied to a live action by Brad Bird.

  • Lamont

    Cameron seems like he’s turning into another example of Lucas and Zemekis, where the idea of evolving on a technological level is apparently more important than evolving as a storyteller. Avatar is at least more tolerable than Lucus’ recent output. The script works for what it is and the 2hr 40 min goes by fast. But it felt like Cameron wrote the script in the 1980’s, dropped it in a drawer, and then didn’t bother to change or update it even after the technology caught up to it. The mo-cap work is fascinating, but the 3D isn’t much of an advancement. It made Pandora more believable for sure, but there were many missed opportunities to use it in service of the storytelling. The 3D supports the visuals, but it’s not being used as a cinematic tool. As a result, Cameron has set back the technology, because 3D is once again being associated with the visuals and not the story, and Avatar will now be the standard for future 3D Hollywood films.

  • Lamont

    District 9 was a far superior film, because while the protagonist’s situation was somewhat similar to Avatar, Neill Blomkamp managed to create a new kind of character, who was not only engaging, but unpredictible to watch. The audience craves that! It’s not that I don’t think Cameron/Lucas/Zemekis can’t give us newer, more interesting characters (It’s what made them successful to begin with). But I get this feeling their afraid to, because if the characters don’t think and act like they have in their previous films, which everyone is familiar with, they’ll lose their audience.

  • Pocahontas has blue aliens that tame dragons to fight robots?!

    Man, I should watch Pocahontas.

  • Lucky Jim

    “Pocahontas” never had a scene where a robot mech suit wields a giant knife while fighting a blue cat person. “Avatar” wins.

  • James Cameron doing his best Joe Besser voice: “Well, smartie, my movie made over a billion dollars! And I won’t sign your poster, so there!”.

  • Jonah Sidhom

    Lucky Jim, that scenario you described actually sounds really lame/cliched to me. I liked the movie overall though.

    I knew Avatar’s story seemed extremely familiar, I just couldn’t place my finger on what movie it was reminding me of, until now. Oh well, it’s not like any story can be truly original anymore… it’s all been done in some shape or form.

  • Rene Ramos

    wouldn’t surprise if Pocahontas isn’t based on something even older… maybe even from the 70s!

  • DBishop

    Hmmm, the first movie I thought of when I saw the Avatar trailer was “Battle For Terra” which flopped last year.

  • diego c

    Avatar is a collection of cliches.

  • squirrel
  • matt

    Everyone thinks they’re pretty clever with ragging on it about the other films (including Amid) it’s beholden to. I think they’re embarrassing themselves because their cinematic knowledge doesn’t even go back to Lawrence of Arabia. For shame!

  • Curt Vile

    I mean, both those movies are based on no bloody and regrettable era in American history. They must have ripped off that Howard Zinn book.

  • pheslaki

    It’s possible to tell a story that’s been told before and not make it so chock full of cliches that a computer could have written it.

    Yes, the glowing plants and blue kitty-elves are very, very pretty and all the noise and movement is entertaining. Babies are entranced by shiny moving objects, as well.

    Technology is not an excuse for lazy storytelling.

  • I haven’t seen Avatar, but I’m sure there are many elements left out and many generalities, like my comparison of The Mask and Disney’s Aladdin:

    A down on his luck streetrat (schlub) sees the unattainable woman of his dreams, a princess (an entertainer). He finds a magic lamp (mask), which gives him great powers. He uses the power to change himself in order to attract the woman. But a gangster (vizir) wants the lamp (mask), so he captures the streetrat and uses the lamp (mask) for evil. With the help of his monkey (dog) the hero is able to outwit the villain, destroy him and the lamp (mask) so it can never again be used … until the lame sequel(s). It didn’t hurt that a great improv comedian like Robin Williams (Jim Carey) provided the comedy.

  • Amelia

    Yeah the plot structure is familiar, but it was VERY well told. I just don’t understand why everyone is reacting this way to a James Cameron movie. I mean have you guys ever seen a James Cameron movie? I mean how groundbreaking was the plot of Titanic? The plot is usually fairly simple, the dialog is so so, the characters can be cliched, but what the guy excels at action/visual set pieces. He sets everything up so that by the time that visual set piece comes along you are fully invested in everything that happening. When Ripley goes to rescue Newt at the end of Aliens. Bud in the Abyss. That truck chase at the beginning of T2. The sinking of the Titanic. Etc…

    Comparing him to Lucas and Zemeckis is pretty unfair. Those two have completely fallen from grace. Star Wars and Episode I? Back to the Future and Beowulf? Everything that was great about those early movies was sucked out and replaced with nothing but cold emotionless special effects in their later films. Cameron is still doing what people loved in his earlier films, and doing it well.

    I mean honestly for as “predictable” as everyone says this movie is, while I was watching it I really had no idea how the characters were going to get out of any of the situations they were in. I was on the edge of my seat! Pretty much the only thing I knew was going to happen was that Jake would fall for the princess and have a change of heart. That’s it! There’s a big difference between reusing a timeless plot structure and being predictable.

    Anyways Cameron makes big, fun, exciting, visual movies, and while they aren’t groundbreaking on all fronts, they are still a joy to watch.

  • Not to mention that a lot of the graphics appear to be influenced by Roger Dean. I will write to you about getting some DVDS. Great stuff you have!!!!!

    happy new year

  • You think John Smith was the only white man to have ‘mingled with the natives’?

    You guys should read the story of Gonzalo Guerrero, a Spanish conquistador that married a Mayan woman, had kids with her, pierced his ear lobes and fought against the European invaders alongside his new people.

    Gonzalo was more Avatarish than the Smith dude ever was. Or did I miss the part in the movie where Neytiri returns to Earth with Jake? Oh wait! I just ruined Cameron’s sequel! :)

  • Dave

    all those people who worked on Ferngully are probably mad/sads right now ;[ because there story will be remembered as Avatar now instead of there own

  • Daniel Shock

    Amelia – you nailed it. An old story well told can be a joy.

  • tobor68


    gotta agree with amelia. at the end of avatar i thought the story familiar but extremely well done.

    it’s not a crime to create a story that has some familiarity to it. there are only 7 story types anyway. also, the medium of film has some restrictions, first and foremost is length. films have a very short amount of time to tell a story as opposed to books; a truly long format story. therefore, after 100 years of evolution, film formulas are bound to be boiled down to a few that really work well and can be considered safe.

    avatar was a risk for it’s financiers, a huge risk. cameron wanted to push the tech as far as he could and needed the money to do so. a more familiar story is a safer bet than an unfamiliar/riskier one.

    one thing that bothers me about our culture is the ability to throw the baby out with the bath water the moment we sense a flaw.

    as john lasseter’s brilliant ‘cars’ pointed out: slow down and enjoy the ride. the journey is more important than the destination.

  • PurpleSage

    As soon as the credits were over, I said to my friend, “Cowboys and Indians… Cowboy meets Indian princess; cowboy falls in love with Indian princes…”. I don’t remember names of movies very well but I immediately saw the parallels with Dances With Wolves. I saw Ferngully years and years ago. I nearly forgot about it until this thread. I definitely see the similarities.

  • Remember when Delgo tried to sue?
    No, probably not. No one cares that it’s similar to Delgo. And why would they anyway?

  • Christopher Cook

    “Unobtainium?” Isn’t that out of an Al Brodax Popeye cartoon?

  • cliffclaven

    Don’t panic until they announce this is going to be a trilogy, with the universe suddenly in the balance and throwaway lines from the original being cobbled into an Epic Backstory.

  • wgan

    like how many of you go to see avatar just for the story?? besides, it’s not a big deal at all considering, for example, star wars is inspired by Kurosawa’s film, while lots of Kurosawa’s works are straightly based on Shakespeare’s book, i never see anyone bitch about that. it’s just another story happened to based on a similar plot, that’s it.

  • matt

    It occurs to me now (to add to my Lawrence of Arabia admonition) that if Lawrence came out now net geeks would blast it for having no tension as “we already know what happens in the end”! Sigh…

  • FP

    Eh. AVATAR is a great thing, quibbles aside. There are quibbles, but the total experience blows them away. Now that I’ve seen it, I can dig into the AVATAR issue of CINEFEX and roll around in tech porn.

  • Brian Kidd

    Yes, we get it. AVATAR’s story has been done before. That’s because it holds up. Ask Moses. It was done very well in an incredibly-entertaining way. The movie is a success because it delivers on a number of varying levels.

    As for “Unobtanium”… um… Yeah, you got me on that one. I made total fun of the name back when it was used in THE CORE. I’m certainly not going to defend Cameron on his use of it. It’s a dumb name. I realize it has been used for some time as somewhat of a joke, but, in this particular case, it detracts from the film.

  • autisticanimator

    It’s probably because Cameron is who he is, but it’s slightly motivating that he got to make the movie he wanted to make. I may have to wait even longer than he did to even get a chance to pitch a (feature-length or even a short) idea; it would be hopeful to know there would still be an audience wanting to see it no matter how many times the story’s been retold or how dated it feels.

  • John A

    Thanks to the modern media, my short attention span is already over Avatar. What I’m looking forward to is what Brad Bird and Pixar plan to do with all this new technology to make “John Carter of Mars”. (which is also another story about a guy from another culture that arrives in a totally alien world but manages to score with the hottest babe on the the planet.)

  • MidgetEyeball

    Amusing comparison.

    I enjoyed the film (more than I thought I would, given the reviews ragging on the story). However, I walked out wondering if in the near future, Cameron might not owe recompense and credits to Alan Dean Foster (for numerous elements lifted from his novel “MidWorld”), just as Cameron was forced to do by court order, to Harlan Ellison, on “Terminator”.

  • FP

    –What I’m looking forward to is what Brad Bird and Pixar plan to do with all this new technology to make “John Carter of Mars”–

    Multiple bingo on that one. Stir AVATAR and THE INCREDIBLE IRON GIANT together and something special will poop out.

    …and reviewers will say “JOHN CARTER rips off AVATAR”.

  • Steve Gattuso

    “’Pocahontas’” never had a scene where a robot mech suit wields a giant knife while fighting a blue cat person.”

    Thank the fates. Mech suits are the dumbest SF cliche’ ever. And a knife wielding one? I watched that sequence and wondered how many braincells died in the process.

  • Tom G

    Nice comparison. What many people forget, however, is that Pocahontas was pretty god awful. And I’m pretty sure Avatar isn’t loosely based on history either.

    And, frankly, Avatar is more believable than Pocahontas.

    • Anonymous

      You’re completely wrong, Tom G. Don’t be so close-minded and awful!

  • Think before you speak

    please when complaining about films sum up some other golden oldies. the main storyline is always simple some examples:

    Apocalypse now:
    Assassin goes on journey to kill badguy. Meets badguy kinda likes him but still kills him

    Terminator 1 & 2:
    Assassin comes from future to kill a person who is important to the future. Someone steps in to protect this person these persons then bond during the film. Both films do this

    Back to the Future 1,2 & 3
    Kid does okay finds himself falling into the past, future or again the past. Needs to overcome hurdles to get to the correct present. Succeeds at coming back to present… he does this in every sequel.

    Things that do well in films are relationships because people want to see flesh. People love to see fights because they can’t do that but would love to fight. And now with the advent of extremely detailed CGI we can go to worlds never seen: thus Avatar!

    Btw a simple story is layered for example the Abyss. A simple story about two estranged people falling back into love under extreme circumstances deep deep under water while admiring the alien activity. Simple right? No because it has some extra layers. The film starts with the Nietzsche quote ‘If you look into the abyss then the abyss looks into you’ The whole film from that point becomes a metaphor for struggle. Get it?

    And Avatar isn’t about people wanting to fuck blue monkeys pocahontas style! It’s about the word Avatar. About how we can appreciate things if we see things through someone else his eyes being an Avatar. The last sentence just made ties into why Cameron chose the Pocahontas story. Can you see the metaphorical meaning in that. SEE it you monkey SEE it.

    But still the movie ties into how we live our lives through make believe characters namely Avatars and how these can enrich us. It therefore ties into our lives as mammals using computers and technology. So that makes the film very of our now! It says something about us as a race. So taking something that already exists and modifying it isn’t bad. It’s how you do it and how you use metaphor and meaning to make that experience deeper!

    But seemingly a lot of people who have commented don’t seem to get metaphor or seem to think at all about what they see on the screen. Because they all comment really ‘intelligently’ saying things like ‘I have seen this before therefore it is crap’ plus adding ‘they’re braincells died’ when watching. Well guess you don’t have braincells to begin with when saying that.

    Please use brain! Our race depends on it you stupid monkeys!

  • Yude

    Dear Think before you speak,

    Implying anyone lacks the intelligence to “get the metaphor” is laughable. Most peoples complaint with Avatar’s story is that it is a bunch of preachy cliche’s clumsily strung together, told without the sensibilities of the films from which its story was lifted.

    so bad in fact its simultaneously embarrassing and patronizing to watch.

    Nice FX though….

  • matto

    i’m sick and tired of people bashing a film for weak story and script/plot that’s not written for people with PhDs! for God’s sake just watch the movie! that’s what the activity is called isn’t it? the ‘watching’ part?? no one describe a movie going event as ‘hey guys let’s go listen to a movie’.. no. no they don’t because films are meant to be enjoyed visually.. now don’t come quote me on the ‘sound is 50%’ crap. i know as much as you do how important it is. all i’m saying is why can’t film critics touch on other important aspects of film making that we all studied in film schools – pacing, mood, lighting, continuity, camera work, colours… shitloads of stuffs! but no. all they know about is story. story. intelligent scripts.. maybe a little bit of acting if they’re not familiar with the actors’ faces. and it’s even better to see you idiots – all visual artists working in the industry to be falling this low.. “pocahontas in space/ dancing with wolves raping fern gulley/ dist9 had better story…” sad. why don’t you all go read a book instead next time you want to go out and do something that involves sitting still for 90minutes.?

  • Dr. Shrinker

    matto @ 4:51am: if “mood lighting, camera work and colours” are all you need from a movie and story is secondary, why not just stare at a lava lamp for 2 hours? Your comment perfectly sums up the problem many of us had with Avatar: insanely pretty visuals in the service of a trite, hackneyed story.

  • Grk

    Hear hear, Dr. Shrinker.