Avatar Plot Holes

February 2, 2010

The technology of Avatar required a decade of incredibly hard and discerning work to perfect.  Lots of very smart people spent years asking each other the toughest questions they could and testing out their best answers.  You can’t just B.S. this stuff out of nothing.  That stuff had to work.

So I’m still baffled at how an effort like Avatar, the technical achievement of which required years of aggressively smoking out and chasing down “what are we missing”‘s and “how can we do better”‘s, has a Swiss-cheese story that left me distracted with “wait a minute”‘s and “hey what about”‘s during the show itself.

The technology was tight as a goddamned drum and consumed ~1000X as many person-hours of debugging effort as the story, which blue-screens many times during the film itself.

What does that mean?

Yeah so anyway, here’s my list that I threw together the night I got back:

  • When the good guys ran off in that helicopter, why didn’t anyone chase them?  Why didn’t they do a remote-shutdown via radio?
  • When the Na’vi were fighting the humans, why not just drop rocks/logs/ropes into the helicopters’ rotors?  (It worked in Vietnam, after all.)
  • Why would the Na’vi frontally attack the soldiers instead of ambushing them guerrilla-style?
  • Why did Pilot Homegirl just strafe the Colonel’s ship instead of firing directly through the windows in the one advantage-of-surprise sucker-punch chance she had?
  • Why not camouflage the stolen transmitter station with leaves and branches and stuff to make it less visible from the air?
  • If missile tracking didn’t work in “the vortex”, then how could they drive their Avatar’s around?
  • Why couldn’t they circle back to find Jake before his first night outside?  Huh?  They don’t have flashlights in the future?
  • In the final battle, why not just run up and drop the fricking bomb already?  Why slow down and creep up on it and give the Na’vi a chance to attack?  Huh?
  • Why not drop it from higher up where the Na’vi can’t fly?

And finally…

  • Why did the humans just give up?  If Cameron were really channeling  the colonial experience, you know they’d come back with more guns and just murder everyone.

At least my last gripe has an answer: “He [Cameron] has stated that if Avatar is successful, two sequels to the film are planned.”

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4 Responses to “Avatar Plot Holes”

  1. Mrs. Buller Says:

    This is why I don’t go see “popcorn” movies in theatres anymore. The plot should be supported by the magic, not the other way around. The George Lucasification of blockbusters won’t get me to open my stingy wallet.

    Off to the library I go. . .

  2. craigrmeyer Says:

    Two or three months later, my best meta-answer to my questions above is something like this:

    “I simply don’t comprehend what kind of genius James Cameron is.”
    “It is *I* who doesn’t get it! I’m the dumb one!”

    As humbling an answer as that is, at least it makes some sense.

  3. Andrea Says:

    “Why couldn’t they circle back to find Jake before his first night outside? Huh? They don’t have flashlights in the future?”

    Trudy tells Dr. Augustine that it’s the colonels orders that they’re not supposed to stay out after sun down.

    “When the Na’vi were fighting the humans, why not just drop rocks/logs/ropes into the helicopters’ rotors? (It worked in Vietnam, after all.)”

    I thought about that, but I don’t think that the ikrans could carry much more that the weight of their Na’vi.

    “In the final battle, why not just run up and drop the fricking bomb already? Why slow down and creep up on it and give the Na’vi a chance to attack? Huh? Why not drop it from higher up where the Na’vi can’t fly?”

    They were doing it manually, so if they went too high or too fast they probably wouldn’t have pushed the explosives out at the right time to hit the Tree of Souls.

    “Why did Pilot Homegirl just strafe the Colonel’s ship instead of firing directly through the windows in the one advantage-of-surprise sucker-punch chance she had?”

    The Dragon ship was chasing Jake, so Trudy was just doing making a distrcation for him to get away.

  4. sean Says:

    If the dragons could only cary the weight of their riders they wouldn’t be able to toss around the helicopters. I think (though it’s not in the movie) the dragons would have to have some of the unobtanium as a mineral component in their bones so they could get a bit of anti-grav effect and still have enough weight to throw things.


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