Transcript: Avatar (2009)

43 min readDec 19, 2022

Transcript of 70mm’s Avatar (2009) Episode.

SLIM Hey, it’s your old pal Slim and this is 70mm, a podcast for film lovers just like you. Every Monday I chat about recently watched movies with my close friend and artist, Danny Haas.

DANNY What’s a wazoo?

SLIM And our spiritual advisor and movie insider, Protolexus.

PROTO Imagine if James Cameron had done a Star Wars trilogy. Like if there was ever a director to give the opportunity to do a Star Wars trilogy, like what are we doing over at Disney?

SLIM Our feature discussion during this special Avatar event month is finally James Cameron’s Avatar from 2009. Is it just a cheap knockoff of other movies that have come before it? Or is Cameron just finishing what George Lucas started? Let’s find out… now.

[70mm theme song ramps up, plays alone, fades out]

SLIM Some are calling this the biggest episode in the history of this podcast.

DANNY I can see it.

SLIM I’m getting DMs out the wazoo, Proto, about how large this episode could be for Avatar.

DANNY What’s a wazoo?

SLIM Google it. Incognito Google “wazoo”.

PROTO Geeze. I’ve never even thought to ask that question. What is a wazoo? [Slim laughs]

SLIM Stay tuned to Proto’s IG for a deep dive into the wazoo and what it is. So Avatar discussion is happening later in the episode. You can use the chapters if you’re on Apple to skip right to it, skip through all our BS. But I mean, we had to get to the real topic this week that part of broke news now on our IG account 70mmpod. The movie insider himself revealed that the DC Universe is in turmoil. Henry Cavill is out a Superman, Proto. You broke the news. How did you feel about letting the populace know?

PROTO I did. I mean, I have my sources. They fed me the intel and I was able to get it out there first. So I’m really happy for 70mm and our community. Just you know, hearing that news, I’m happy to provide that service to everyone. I mean, you’re saying turmoil, turmoil maybe for some who are involved in the DCU but I don’t know if James Gunn would say they’re in turmoil over there. I think certain actors and production companies may be concerned about what’s going on and you know how he’s really I mean, you there’s a power struggle here at DC and they’re in their offices, and it’s looking like James is winning, so good for him. Good for him.

SLIM Seven Bucks could be the big loser out of all this. They’re backfiring. Dwayne Johnson —

DANNY Retire.

SLIM Some are saying, Dwayne Johnson retire.

DANNY Stop taking steroids.

SLIM Alleged, that was Danny. Legal team, let’s consult after this episode is done recording.


SLIM I’m excited. Fresh start finally for those old DC folks and Warner Brothers Discovery Max. It’s time for a fresh start.


SLIM Plus, you know, Seven Bucks is crumbling but there’s one person I want to congratulate. That’s Danny, he just hit 1000 followers on Letterboxd I saw earlier.

DANNY Excuse me?

SLIM It’s official. [Proto claps]

DANNY 1000, thank you. This has been a long road. Proto beat me there. But it’s about quantity not quality.

SLIM I mean, you didn’t even log a movie the last week to begin with.

DANNY I did log a movie on Saturday, Slim.

SLIM What movie?

DANNY White Christmas. Do you follow me?

SLIM Oh, I didn’t see that. Legal team, let’s consult after the show as well.

PROTO I mean, we found Danny’s innovating last week, he logged a movie that he didn’t even watch right.

DANNY We have to continue to innovate.

SLIM That reminds me, I needed to shadow ban that review and potentially Danny’s account for that kind of action on Letterboxd. White Christmas. I don’t even know if I’ve ever seen White Christmas, it’s like three and a half hours is your wife’s favorite movie and you decided to go see it in theaters. Was that a true story that I heard?

DANNY Yeah, the our local indie cinemaplex, The Enzion in Winter Park Orlando, or Winter Park, Florida, was showing a matinee of it and I surprised Casey got our tickets to go see it because she loves it. I hate it. I don’t hate it. But I don’t, it’s not one of my faves. It’s no Singin’ in the Rain. Okay, right. But it’s a Christmas fav packed house. I think we were the at age 40 and 39, were the youngest couple there. And we didn’t get the ugly sweater Christmas memo before going. But I had a great time Mimosa is and popcorn and the movie, can’t beat it.

SLIM This was the couch theater that I saw photos of?

DANNY The couch theatre, the couch we saw, I don’t know, some Norwegian movie this year. But yeah, had a great time with Casey. Enjoyed watching it.

SLIM Did you get movie theater snacks or just mimosas and popcorn?

DANNY Mimosas and popcorn. We get free popcorn because we’re members. But it’s neither here nor there.

SLIM Oh my god. What a steal. I mean, who knows what’s happened on that couch in the last 30 years, you might as well I mean free popcorn for your troubles.

DANNY I know what happened on that couch.

PROTO It’s pretty wild to think that you can just go to a theater and have a drink, as someone who lives in New Jersey, like most people might not know this, like 90% of the states in the US, you can buy alcohol at literally like any business. like it’d be a gas station, it can be a kiosk and they’ll have beer. But New Jersey you have to, it has to be approved liquor stores so you can’t just go to a theater and have a drink with it.

DANNY You can’t like at all?

SLIM No, we have to go to spirits, like wine and spirits or beer distributors to get, or like a bar.

DANNY You don’t have any dine-in theater?

SLIM Some of them, they need like liquor licenses, at least in PA.

DANNY I’m sure they needed liquor licenses here too.

PROTO Let’s move on. [Slim laughs]

SLIM We’re not the liquor license insider with Proto. We’re the movie Insider. So let’s keep that straight. Proto, did you watch any movies this week?

PROTO Um, yeah, um, you know, I’m just continuing on in the Christmas spirit. We watched Home Alone this week, me and the kids. We watched Jim Carrey’s A Christmas Carol. Which is —

DANNY You rate that way high.

PROTO I gave it three stars. I gave it three stars. I don’t hate it. It’s, you know, it’s fine. It’s you know, the thing I think attempting Polar Express a few weeks before helped this viewing because they’re definitely in the same vein. But if A Christmas Carol is the black sheep of the family, Polar Express is like the kid that you keep in the basement or something. [Danny & Slim laugh]

SLIM It’s true, I can confirm.

DANNY Do you need a license for that in Jersey?

PROTO You know, there’s I didn’t notice until this viewing but the Ghost of Christmas Past is played by Jim Carrey as well, but it’s just like his head on like that candle. Do you guys remember that character?

DANNY I never saw this movie.

PROTO Oh my gosh, it’s so weird. It’s so weird seeing him do like his goofy Jim Carrey faces as this ghost.

SLIM I don’t want to see that.

DANNY No thank you.

SLIM I don’t want to see that. Zemeckis needs to be removed from any kind of CGI operation in theatrical movies in my opinion. Polar Express was — he might need to be sent to prison for Polar Express. [Danny & Proto laugh]

SLIM There needs to be an investigation from Congress into what went on in the creation of Polar Express and what it’s done to me for having to watch it many times with my son.

DANNY The January 6th of animated movies, they call it. [Slim laughs]

SLIM Again, that was Danny.

PROTO I also watched Home Alone 3, which I enjoy.

SLIM What the?

DANNY Interesting.

PROTO I think that’s a good movie, personally. I gave it three stars and for maybe it’s because this is probably the Home Alone that I’ve seen the most for whatever reason, we had this one on VHS and I watched it a ton. But I don’t think it’s that bad people give this movie a bad rap. I think it’s because you know they’re they have Culkin bias, you know, different casts you know, I’m Joe Pesci. So they just write it off immediately. Don’t even give it a chance, very typical for movie fans. But I give it a chance. And I think it’s good.

DANNY Is it Zemeckis as well?

PROTO No, Home Alone is of course your boy, Raja Gosnell.

DANNY I love his work.

PROTO Yeah, of course you do.

SLIM We should say hello to Katlyn who joined our Patreon this week at We have a link get access to the VHS village discord discounts on Danny’s beautiful prints. By the way, I saw that Avatar art. You’re looking at it right now if you’re listening to this on Monday, but there’s the three of us gorge gorge and also got access to 36 episodes in the 70mm vault just available for supporters. I didn’t realize it was that high.

DANNY We’ve done too many.

SLIM And for interns on our Patreon, we just dropped the Revenge of the Sith audio-commentary last week. The end of the journey for the prequels. Are you pleased, Proto, that it’s behind us? We don’t need to talk about those movies anymore.

PROTO Yeah, sure. But I had a great time, you know, on the journey. It was great watching those movies with you guys. I’ll watch any movie with you guys.

SLIM Yeah, we got to talk about our next intern movie. There’s rumblings.

DANNY No. There’s not rumblings. We’re not doing the OT.

SLIM I didn’t say the OT. We need to do the OT for the main feed. A New Hope episode. I mean, imagine like a month we do the original trilogy and Empire again? Empire Redux. Close with Return of the Jedi. I haven’t watched Return of the Jedi in maybe a decade. I have no idea last time I saw it.

DANNY What’s wrong with you?

SLIM I have to look at my Letterboxd too. That could be a lie. I don’t know. It just feels like a decade.

DANNY What’d you watch this week?

SLIM What did I watch this week?

DANNY I mean you’ve already seen Avatar 2.

SLIM I did. Listen, I would have fought against it. You know, I don’t like seeing movies ahead of time. Especially when we haven’t even talked about Avatar 1 yet. I didn’t want it to sully my opinion.

DANNY If you spoil any of it tonight, I swear to god.

PROTO He’s gonna get a confused, you know he’s going to confuse the two.

SLIM I’m going to accidentally some kind of plot point that didn’t even happen in Avatar 1.

DANNY Deleted scene.

SLIM No, James and I went to King of Prussia, PA. I remember I told someone I lived in King of Prussia for a year and they thought I made up a city.

DANNY It’s 100% made up. There’s no way. That’s a video game. [Slim laughs]

SLIM The bundles with the Prince of Persia on Dreamcast? Yeah, it was great, great night with James when no trailers no phones. This is the first time ever been to a press screening or an early access screening and they like wouldn’t let us keep our phones. What am I gonna do? take video of a 3d movie and put it on Napster? You can’t download a handycam of a 3d movie. No one’s gonna want to watch that.

DANNY Some psycho.

SLIM Sickos. They belong in prison, alone with Robert Zemeckis.

PROTO I thought you said “what am I going to do without my phone for two hours?” [Slim laughs]

SLIM James and I did have a nice little chat for the 30 minutes that we sat in our seats, talked about what he remembered or knew of the first Avatar. He got most of it pretty right, surprisingly, I don’t even know how. I don’t remember when the last time we saw Avatar. But it was awesome seeing his first 3d movie experience. Like oh, as soon as the credits came up, you know, his hands were going out and it’s like he was his mind was blown. He said it looks better than a video game, better than real life in some respects.

PROTO Yes, James.

DANNY What was your setup? Was it an IMAX 3D? High Frame Rate?

SLIM It was IMAX Dolby, high frame rate, 3d glasses. In fact, he even forgot that like when we got there there was in 3d until they handed him I handed him a set of glasses like what is this? I was like, bro, it’s in 3d. [Danny laughs] So yeah, this I mean, this is probably also his first like high frame rate anything, probably ever. But yeah, he had a great time. Lovef chatting with him after the movie. We’re on a nice movie high, together, father and son. Making memories together. Speaking of making memories, should we get into this Avatar business?

DANNY I think so.

SLIM Is it time? Jims Cameron. Jims Cameron? I wonder if that’s what his friends call him.

DANNY Old Jim.

SLIM 2009. This is our Avatar event month. We officially don’t have a name for this mini themed month. And let me just say real briefly before we get into Avatar, we know what we’re doing for January. And we’re going very hard for the month of January.

DANNY Should’ve seen the DMs today.

SLIM We have never gone harder in a month, in my opinion. People are not ready. Let me just say that much, okay? Hard. Proto, what is Avatar by Jims Cameron?

PROTO It’s the 22nd century and capitalism and corporations have one. Humans have expanded outside of our solar system and do what they do best colonize and lay waste to everything in front of them. Bad he Corp. I can’t remember what they’re called. Has an unobtainium mining operation set up on the planet of Pandora. There are large deposits, but they have a problem with the local NaVi population that they are looking to solve with explosives and bullets. Jake Sully, a human Marine who was enlisted in the avatar program commandeers a body of a NaVi so that he can connect with the natives. But along the way, he falls in love with the world, the people and his partner to shrug off his humanity and defend his new avatar.

SLIM 3d James Cameron 2009 3d is the future everything will be in 3d and high frame rates. Berto, how did you feel in the in the hype era of 2009 when this came out?

PROTO Um, I don’t really remember much about how I feel other than just, you know, the fact that it was exploding and everybody was seeing it. I remember going to the theater I went to the wow, you know now I think that I went to the Cherry Hill AMC theater to see it. And that’s where I’m going to see Avatar to. Oh,

SLIM can you get the same seat? You think?

PROTO I think I can. Crazy.

SLIM Danny, what about you? What were you thinking in 2009? Ahead of this movie. Were you buying in? Were you all in?

DANNY Yeah, I was definitely all in. I saw it. I saw it with a couple of friends I believe. And then I remember my mind being blown by the 3d of this movie. And then I never watched it again. This is the first time journeying back to Avatar outside the cinema. My kids have watched it in the car, like multiple times on DVD. What? So I feel like I’ve heard it enough recently, but I haven’t I hadn’t seen it since the first 3d viewing and theater.

SLIM surprised he didn’t log those viewing. Yeah. Backseat viewing that I heard 20 minutes of me. Paul and chat says car job. I’m not even sure you can say that. Can’t say I have to bleep that. I’m gonna just another added to the list with legal that we have to discuss after the show. It’s hard not to mention the hype levels around this movie and the discourse. Like you couldn’t escape avatar, Avatar jokes, Jim Cameron destroying his career. 3d is nothing like this is gonna be the biggest flop and it was like inescapable for so long. So one of the things I like love about just watching this is like, I felt so removed from all that. But you can just kind of go in and not not remember any of the baggage that like the hype or the most popular movie of all time, or whatever, all that be us. But I remember when I sat down to this, thinking that like, I think the only other 3d thing I’ve ever seen was like the old school 3d like Jaws 3d. Like that’s the 3d I had seen before avatar. Yeah. And I was like, this is gonna suck what sucks, like, this isn’t gonna be that good. And then I remember putting the glasses on, and the credits rolled up and I was like, Holy shit, but the like, this is pretty cool. So I was like Swindon. I was like swindled by cat. I feel like I was swindled in his favor by camera. When I saw this movie. I was like, Wow, this 3d stuff can be pretty cool. But after that, you know, everyone try not everyone. A lot of people tried to do 3d And it just wasn’t like, you know, it wasn’t the same. It wasn’t like built for 3d or all that stuff like this was. So that was my main memory of the Pandora and Avatar and also full disclosure. I think I had this like BLB logged at like three and a half stars or three stars, so I wasn’t like some big avatar nut. Like silly I’m not sure if silly is in live chat, silly in our Discord famously went hard against avatar, saying that there was no cultural footprint of of Avatar and for all these years. Oh, Mommy. I didn’t really think I had an opinion. I was probably just busting his BS in chat, but I felt like I was a big panda avatar lover really over the years I was impressed with it but

DANNY I feel like it’s just been like a running joke for so long. Even if even making the money it did it still felt like a complete joke and even when Disney decided to build their Pandora bar is sofa like what are you doing? Like why are you writing this? No, no one cares about avatar.

SLIM And the movies were like the late say like even when the park was done. You’re like the movies are so delayed like this park is what is the point of this park? Yeah, like the venues in the past? You know, it’s doesn’t fit with Disney. And the parks amazing. Incredible. Flight a passage is like the greatest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

DANNY Yeah, and then there’s rumors of them updating the video to the second movie stuff. So oh my God, there’s so much they can do with it.

SLIM Oh my god. Danny, let’s start with you. So in this segment, we’ll go roundtable we all three hosts jot down three things that we want to bring up in conversation and then we’ll we’ll give our letterbox rating. So Danny what’s the first thing you want to talk about for this viewing of Avatar?

DANNY So leading up so my viewing of this I watched the making up the the hour 30 Whatever it was capturing avatar or whatever. And I I was kind of worried about the cg of this because there’s not a 4k release. And from what I remember, I don’t know what they did to upscale or make things look better on the blu rays. So I was like, this is going to look so bad and Disney plus and And I was shocked on how good it still looks and the motion capture and one of the things James talks about in the making of was getting away from CG characters having like the dead eyes, which is like, you know, Polar Express has the Dead Eye characters and all that kind of stuff. So like I was looking for so much in this after watching the making of and I, I just was kind of jaw dropping when the CG gets close to the screen, the faces of the NaVi have materie and Jake’s avatar, when they’re touching their faces or when they’re putting on the tribal, like, makeup towards that battle fight or when he’s getting like accepted and when she’s like, rubbing the makeup on his face or the pain Excuse me. I just couldn’t believe how well this still looks after all this time. And those scenes the scenes in the in the in the forest of Pandora with the bioluminescent, like flowers and plants and as they step on the like this this movie kind of made my jaw drop again. Like I was watching it for the first time I couldn’t believe on how good so much of it still works while so much of it is so much of his his green screen like the the green screen rooms that they’re in and how he filmed the motion capture like it’s there’s like so little sets that were made for this like as we go through watching the prequels together, we talk about, you know how George set up so much of the Star Wars stuff and how it just looks so weird. But with this, like it was still absent of built sets. And it’s looks absolutely incredible.

PROTO Yeah, I agree. I mean, when I watched it in 2020, which I think was the first time I saw it since the theater and I kind of expected like, alright, this movie is 11 years old now. It’s gonna look aged or whatever. But I was blown away by this movie. And I was blown away pretty much blown away again, watching it this week for the show. It really does look incredible. And I think the thing that like stood out to me is there’s like, yeah, there’s so many scenes where when you look at him and you like pause it, you’re like, alright, this is all CG. Like, there’s no way they’re on a set here. But I think the thing that he maybe sets them apart that makes it different than other CG is that the like, the lighting looks so good. I think the thing that often gives away CG is that you see the character in like a different light than the what’s behind them. Right? And it kind of like it’s like, that’s the main giveaway. But in this it seems like they figured out some kind of secret sauce, so that doesn’t happen as much so it feels like they’re actually in the room that isn’t there. Somehow I don’t really know how else to explain it. But it just like it just I never really got that sense. I mean, there was a few moments maybe with like the Mec or like the Panther creature thing where it was like alright, this kind of looks a little smooth and doesn’t look totally right but for the most part I think everything looks incredible.

SLIM Yeah there’s a few scenes where like someone is in a Mac and it turns out it’s not quite right like even in perspective of in even in endgame and Infinity War. I remember specific scenes were like Tony Stark moving in a big suit. Like this looks like ass. I don’t know why. But one of my snarky reviews of Avatar was going to be that like, George Lucas walks, Jim Cameron could run I mean, he’s really like taken the baton of Lucas and annihilated it like he has he has destroyed the baton. Like it’s insane how so much of this stuff is is is special effects, but you’re engrossed in the location and we joke about how Disney is not really good at it in some respects and obviously Pandora costs like an insane amount of money to produce but man he has the secret sauce what is it what what is he figured out that has made his ability to just create something out of nothing and make it look so real? Like I don’t get it? It’s like mind blowing I’d want to I want to watch like a master or the masterclass from Cameron which I think he said that he’s watched but like, I need to follow him around like I’d love to just see him bark orders at like artists and say like, like him to point at the computers like the Phantom Menace making of Yeah, and like I just want to see that in action because he can do it and he can back it up. And that’s why you see like this, the tweets about him just like mouthing off to like reporters, like I can do whatever that if I want like I made so and so but like, at a certain point you’re like, he’s right. Yeah, he does it and he backs it up.

DANNY I would definitely suggest watching this making of because it shows the almost four years of developing This movie and working on it and creating the tech that needs to be made for the production of this and working with Weda. And it’s it’s the stuff they did before animating and filming and figuring all that is what was the most fascinating, because like this, this is stuff that hasn’t been done before. And I think the last time I was excited about this kind of character animation was watching The Adventures of Tintin and how Spielberg and Peter Jackson kind of did that and it was all in the same kind of vein of motion capture. And I think that’s the that’s the magic of it. This we’re not we’re not creating animated characters, we’re creating motion capture characters of actual actor performances where they’re doing some some incredible stuff. And I think that’s the secret sauce when it comes to it. There’s a very natural fluid performance to these characters that don’t feel like you know, Star Wars Clone Wars. Like there’s not like a animated This isn’t like a cartoon. This is this is a real actors performing.

PROTO One thing I love that he does is and I guess this could be my first point, but it’s just kind of like off the the CGI conversations. I feel like most modern CGI, when it comes to action, and maybe to like, obvious skate like the look of something they’ll speed things up to like make it move really fast. In an action scene in this, James Cameron actually slows everything down. Yeah. Which is really fascinating. And it actually is much more compelling to me to actually see what the heck is going on when I’m watching an action scene. Like the scene when the Terry fights the the Panther thing, or I guess her and Jake are there. And then also like the maxeen at the end, the way they’ll slow it down rather than like speed it up and make it like blurry and like kind of hard to track to give you maybe the sense of motion. They give they like make it almost like in slow motion to like just see every bit of detail. And I find that like so compelling and like engrossing and like drew me in more as I was watching those scenes.

SLIM My number one Pandora. Is this the coolest location created in the last several decades? I mean, yeah, stop it. Stop it right now. I want a Pandora No wonder they made a friggin theme park after this friggin planet. It’s amazing. Some of the just the visuals of the planet are nuts. They’re absolutely nuts. I can’t believe how gorgeous this planet is. Is it’s dazzling this planet all this the scenes in the forest I’m slowly walking through. I mean the friggin mountains the Hallelujah mountains. Oh my god. Why? Why so I mean, everyone can we did the same thing we poke fun why the hell was Pandora and Disney? But I mean when you’re rewatching avatar, you’re right in flight of passage. You know why it’s there? You know why is there and you want more? It’s nuts. I still can’t get over Pandora on on this watch Danny What do you think?

DANNY You know I completely agree in one of my like honorable mentions is the setting of the Tree of Souls area where they’re the like the weeping willow type at the very end when they’re chanting the bodies and stuff like that. i There’s something about that scene that I just all of them sitting together but that location of that tree just gives me the chills. I love the design of it. I wish there was a way Disney could have incorporated that tree into the park to see that night or something. But yeah, the locations are insane. And but my favorite bits of Pandora are the nighttime stuff because I love the glowing aspects of the the plants and how that just comes alive. It’s it’s incredibly gorgeous.

PROTO You know, when I watched us in 2020, my main thought was that I I would watch like a David Attenborough series of just, like just make it all up. I’ll watch six hours of just exploring the creatures and wildlife, which is like no small feat that whoever like whoever Jim has as like his concept team, the design team, like these people are going hard. Yeah. And it I mean, it pays off because it really is incredible. And you just believe in this world.

SLIM I jokingly compared avatar to Lord of the Rings. I mean, Lord of the Rings has some lush like I need everyone to calm down with what I’m about to say right now just all the Lord dweebs are gripping their couch. And their fingers are going in to the armrests. But like like the kid with the vein in his forehead, girl class, but like Lord of the Rings has amazing sets amazing visuals. How if your Lord of the Rings fan and you can’t give Avatar the time of the day? I’d ask why. Look at Pandora. Yeah, I mean the the history of the planet you want to live there. People talking about one go to New Zealand to live in the Shire. Send me to the frickin planet. Pandora. Okay, give me a shire on this planet. I’ll walk around wearing a loincloth paint myself blue if I have the same things. The same things. This is my Lord of the Rings. Avatar, okay.

PROTO Yeah, that’s why, you know, that’s what’s so funny about this too, is that anytime anyone’s talked about Avatar, I feel like everyone hates it, or complains about it or like makes fun of the worry. Which and I was like, that’s why I when I watched it again. I was like yeah, maybe like maybe people are right maybe like because I don’t really remember I didn’t really remember when I saw it. But like seeing it it’s like what like what are people talking about? Like this is so cool.

SLIM Yeah, yeah. Danny what’s your number two?

DANNY Oh, alright anime okay. I’m gonna talk about one of my favorite scenes is Jake taking the first flight on the mighty Kron the band she’s flying over Pandora that whole the I like I like the training of becoming a NaVi I like that they put him through that but the bit where they have to have him wrestled the Banshee and you know connect with it with the braid tail and the connectors and how you fly it how you ride it like even when he does the horse thing you you think of where you want to go and but there’s something about him flying the Banshee when even his character says this is what he’s dreamed of doing as a paraplegic and stuff like that. It’s like this is what he wants to do is to fly like this but to fly over the mountains and the floating the floating mountains that whole segment of this movie. I wish went for like 30 minutes just just like a wallpaper like a screensaver just have him flying over Pandora for however long you need it because that’s one of my it’s probably my favorite scene in the movie.

SLIM Oh my god. I mean, we can talk about like the bad writing. Or maybe it’s not bad, right? And maybe like lackluster. Yeah. We can talk about Jim Cameron’s writing me that’s probably what a Pro does points. But it’s hard to grapple with like the sheer beauty of everything else. Like the scene that you just mentioned. Like you’re you’re invested so hardcore in. It’s almost like they’re like documentaries, or they’re just like extended technology flexes so often in some of these scenes where you just almost like forget like yeah, that scene was sounded like ass. But man look at how he’s flying that Banshee right now. Pronoun number two.

PROTO Well, yeah, we could talk about the the writing, I guess I can agree. Maybe like the dialogue isn’t strong, which, which is never really James’s strong suit in his movies. But people complain about the story of this movie, that it’s, it’s on original, it’s simple, it’s plain, it’s been done before. And I just, like totally reject that. Because I think if you have it all movies that we watch, the story has been told before, like you’re not seeing anything new. Like it’s, it’s a different coat of paint, you know, maybe just a different idea, like someone having sex with a car or whatever. But like, outside of that, like it’s the same, it’s the same story, but it’s how you execute it. And I think even this, this is a simple story. It’s been done countless times. It’s done really well in this movie. And I don’t think that’s a fault of oven. Like that’s, that’s a strong thing to take, which really is what really is like an epic simplified story that’s like boiled down to like, just like the most simple points and just executed that I feel like that actually makes it more epic because like those things are like so obvious those points about you know the story and of just like you know, the hero going to the foreign land being accepted by the people and you know, yada yada. So I love that when even if it’s a story I’ve heard before is done well, because like let’s face it, I mean, we’ve we watch movies that are remade all the time. And we’re not complaining like we’re going to see him and pay for him.

DANNY I will say after you’re after what you brought up with Titanic episode about Jim’s writing, and I didn’t agree with you then, I find the first I don’t know 30 minutes of this is terrible conversation. The beating over our heads of Trent like lead and die getting us to understand what is going on, like explaining the Unobtanium explaining why we’re on this planet like that. Everything felt like we have to check all these boxes before we can start to tell the story about Jake or whatever what’s going to happen and the stuff that we don’t need to know yet it just it was just the conversations the military guys calling them Meals on Wheels like everything felt like so I don’t know it was like these are like it was just felt childish I guess a little bit when she makes the like joke about him playing with his his tail don’t play without you’ll go blind or something. It’s like is that a masturbation joke really that they had to throw into this?

SLIM Yeah, it’s tough because even like Proto said, like, it’s a really it’s a rehash of something we’ve seen 100 times before, we have to do it something different and it will probably be strengthened by him writing the setup, rehash scenes a little bit better. Just a little, just a little bit. I mean, you get like the the thing you’ve seen 100 times, the scientists doing battle with like the corporate wing of the company, they’re always butting heads, and there’s no respect and they never get enough money and et cetera, et cetera. You’ve seen it. I will say that, like in all that setup stuff, I was completely enamored with the technology that is just like appearing off screen like even the computer screens, the video chat scenes, his diary, all that technology. And this is like stuff that we’ve said in like for alien aliens or any classic sci fi movie that you’re like, Man that those computers look so cool, and fun looked awesome. But like all this stuff also looked great. And it’s decades later, and it’s something new that we don’t have still. But I would have loved to just walk around all that stuff like Disney, make a little bit more and Pandora, make me walk through one of their littles labs, you know and goof around with the computers there.

SLIM Put that in Epcot, your POS Epcot, that is outdated by 50 years.

DANNY Ohhh, be careful.

SLIM Put the labs in there! Future technology. That’s what we want. Your freaking cars are still running on gasoline in the world of tomorrow. What world of tomorrow has future cars running on gasoline, Epcot?! [Danny & Proto laugh] End it.

PROTO Let’s convert all of Disney World to Pandora World.

SLIM Who are we up to? Sorry? Proto, proto? No. Oh, is it slip me? Number two. I want to talk about in a Tyrian a bit but maybe just like quick, what am I like about the start of the movie? I my memories of watching this movie of habit starting out on Earth with J S. And I remember seeing like, whoa, like James Cameron, Future Earth. This is amazing. And I didn’t get that on the Disney Plus version. So I had to search like What the f did I remember watching? There’s three different versions of this movie. There’s the theatrical, that two from 2009. There’s a 2010 special edition rerelease with seven extra minutes. And then there’s a 2010 collector’s extended cut with 16 minutes that has that opening that I remember. So I guess I at one point had the collectors have extended cut on DVD. And that’s my last memory of seeing this movie.

DANNY So I tracked it down. I watched the extended this just because I believed I remembered it too. I remember that. I think the jig part was the most I remembered him in the bar. Fighting the guy even though he’s in a wheelchair. It’s it’s there was sorry, I cut you off in your thought I apologize. But it does frustrate me that it was taken out because I think it lends a lot more to Jake’s character. And there’s also two other main scenes in the movie that are removed that I just not this I don’t care about the sexiness all they take out as they’re connecting their braids. That’s like that’s what involved on it.

DANNY wanted to do it at some point. But they take out a scene where they run into the old abandoned school that they had set up and they explain why it’s not there anymore. And it just gives a little bit more weight to the Navi not trusting the humans anymore. The relationship with materie with Augustine Sigourney Augustine, thank you. Yeah, so corneas character, they just there’s a lot more weight and that’s taken out of this other release. That doesn’t make any sense for 16 minutes. I don’t understand what the point is of taking any of that out. Like it’s it’s such a little cut but there’s so much story that’s removed there’s even a great segment with the death of the brother the other guy, there’s just so much removed that it’s just really frustrating. Auto makes me glad to watch the extended version, because I’d rather watch that than the cut up stuff.

SLIM I mean, to be fair, I think the version of Disney plus is like the OG theatrical. So I don’t think any of that stuff was cut out but yeah, I think most people also remember seeing the collector’s edition because how many people bring up the likes the braid sex seen as like a gag, but like right, they would have bought the DVD to see that movie in the first you’re just telling on yourself, boy so my Yeah, I’ll save my, my, my Zoey material for my third so we can come back around with someone else brings it up. So Danny, what’s your what’s your number three for Avatar,

DANNY we’re gonna be talking about the Tree of Souls I, the two the two moments that I What’s what’s like two same type of moments when they bring Augustine’s body to be transferred over to her avatar. And then when they do it as well for Jake’s I don’t know what it is about that process or how it looks or you know, the religious apps application of whatever they believe in with a wha the tree and stuff like that there’s something about those. I just really love those two scenes. I like that. For whatever reason, the tree doesn’t choose to transfer Augustine’s body over to the avatar, but she does for Jake’s there’s something about that storyline that I really dig, I love the way it looks with the vines kind of wrapping their bodies and connecting the two with the like sprites coming down there. I just really love. I don’t know, I like I like that tribal aspect of this, that that part of the story as well. There’s a lot of like, connectivity with the families and I don’t know, I just I really dug it.

PROTO I think the you know, this, I think the movie looks amazing. But I also think the lore around the Navi is also amazing. Yeah, how well it’s thought out, just like these different ideas, you know, the, you know, the breed connecting with the other species. So like, all the species on the planet have this thing so that they can, you know, connect with each other and, you know, across species lines, and then that the way everything’s connected, and the fact that the tree holds memories of their, you know, their their ancestors in a very real, you know, practical way, not as just like, you know, wishy washy, like that’s actually happening. There’s just like so many cool elements. And then even like the language, like the fact that they have their language, and they have like these, you know, these the words and references for all these different things that they’re doing. I just found that like, so compelling, even the way that like, they’ll speak to Jake. It just felt like very much like a foreign are struggling to grasp this culture. And then eventually kind of understanding it more I thought that was really well done.

DANNY I do love the little bit of lore that they are, this is like a like a belief that are their lives are borrowed energy, and then you have to give the energy back to the Earth or the Pandora. I really love that little line, trying to understand this deep connection that people have to the forest. She talks about a network of energy that flows through all living things. She says all energy is only borrowed. And one day you have to give it back.

SLIM I also liked how he was pretty much welcomed almost right away into the tribe. Like they were so against the scientist but once they find out that Jake is a warrior, a soldier like they are they’re almost like more accepting like, yeah, because once they make the decision like he’s going to, he’s gonna say he’s going to learn our ways. And they at that point had no idea to do that with any of the scientists nerds that had like come before like they weren’t really that willing to try things over again. I thought that was pretty cool.

PROTO Yeah, they said he’s their first warrior Dreamwalker love that

SLIM are your dream Walker. Sounds like a novel sci fi novel. Proto number three.

PROTO So Stephen Lang is the villain in this. The Colonel who’s you know, he’s, he’s horny to kill everybody. I love him as a villain. Yeah, I like his scenes. Um, you know, I mean, he’s very much just typical, you know, military Hawk bro. out to, you know, so death and destruction. But I bought you know, I buy that and I like his performance in it. And I love the scene at the end, the battle and the mech. I just like the thoughts of like, Jim Cameron making a mech movie has the like. So there was the Game Awards recently. And it during the Game Awards, it was announced that from software is making a new armored core which is like a mech game that they make. And they have like a cinematic trailer they put out in the cinematic trailer like is in credible. And I feel like while watching this, I’m just thinking like, what if Jim Cameron made a Armored Core movie? Because that’d be all Whatever that I’d be all over it

SLIM I love that that final fight scene you know if when you’re thinking of like action movies you try to remember like what was the final like big battle scene I love that it’s contained in this like small circle in the forest near the lab and also it involves his avatar you know that he sees the the space where his avatar is so he immediately like goes there to try to open it up and kill some really great stuff in that scene. I love it. You see that Mac at Disney too? Right? Like right next to the gift shop or something yeah

DANNY it’s right there you know Exit Through The Gift shops right there

SLIM Disney’s got to do something to battle universal you know their their their plans for this epic land. Disney Iger. Bob. Let’s bring Jim back onto the campus. Let’s talk brass tacks. What other things from Pandora? Can we bring into Disney? Okay, I agree Neytiri, the star of the movie. Zoey, I love this character, love this character even from her first scene, kind of hunting him in the forest. And then she sees the willow the wisps or whatever the hell that thing is from Pandora like floated on her bow as she’s about to shoot him. And then there are a few other scenes where they’re attracted to him. And she makes the decision I should probably bring him in and show everyone what happen. I just love her character. She is like this fierce tribal warrior and in the fight scenes at the end, you see it all those scenes. I love the scene to where they’re training with a bow and arrow where they they like lock eyes at that one point where you realize something’s happening. Between these two. It’s happening. I loved her character she was my probably my favorite character in the whole movie. To be honest.

DANNY She really reminded me of Princess Mononoke a and like a real song type character her her movements her speed with the bow and arrow, especially the last fight which lets off to arrows into his chest like there was something about that shot of her like running onto the log or something that she’s incredible. share her performance is incredible that Her look is so great. I love her storyline. It’s just it’s it’s a really well done. Crash points

SLIM out Zoe’s mo cap performance is so good. It’s another thing to point out. I mean, they’re they’re act in their little hearts out in these mo caps. Their little hearts out. Yeah. In the suits.

PROTO Yeah, the scene where they were the tree falls and the way they’re all like in mourning, like screaming. Yeah, I don’t even think that like hey, these. This is fake. Like, it just like looks that good that you’re just like I’m immersed in what I’m seeing. Like, it’s not like ah, that doesn’t you know, no point with that. I really feel that way. Just saying something,

SLIM fellas. I mean, I love those like giant shots of giant things doing anything is it looks so realistic at that scale. Like you’re kind of in awe of the scale of it. Danny honorable mentions final rating for Avatar. The movie

DANNY honorable mentions. I love Giovanni rubbishy. He’s always a good Tweep Yeah, I I was taken aback to the first time I saw this movie again. This was like I felt like I was watching it all over. I wish there had a way of watch again in 3d again. Just to relive it. I love this movie. I think I am at five stars. Oh my gosh, I could watch this multiple times and enjoy it every time I watch it. I’m incredibly excited now for Avatar to this is this is a this is a banger. This is a banger movie.

SLIM Danny is telling the audience. Don’t let the bullies win. If you love avatar, let your avatar flag fly flag fly. Yeah, fly is a safe space. Eric says my VM isn’t going to go over well. We’ll be the judge of that Eric later in the show.

DANNY We can cut it off.


PROTO final thoughts. I got showed up at Jake’s speech there at the end. I love that that performance there of just like this guy doesn’t really use a marine doesn’t have much to say much of the movie and then he comes out with that speech for his people. I also liked the video narration the vlogs that he was doing was usually I don’t like narration and movies, but I feel like it works pretty well in this Oh, another thought I have watching this was Imagine if James Cameron had done the Star Wars trilogy.

SLIM Stole my God,

PROTO like if there was ever a director to give the opportunity to do a Star Wars trilogy? Like what are we doing over at Disney cross

SLIM I might have I need to hit stop on this report Diego laid out

DANNY for some gin

PROTO anyway, um, God Yeah, I’m, um, somewhere between four and five stars for this movie as well. You know,

DANNY follow your heart

PROTO I yeah, I the fact that it’s it’s it just holds up that well and like I feel on gross. Oh, another thing is this movies. You know, almost three hours long. I don’t feel that at all. At fly. I like the first time I like looked at my because I had to stop it. It was like getting pretty late. I was like, Oh my gosh, I’m halfway through it already. It didn’t feel like it at all. Five stars

SLIM I’m stunned. The stunning I’m stunned. Oh my god. I mean, where do we even go from here?

DANNY We got to. We gotta do a lot of pressure. Pressure. Don’t be pressured

SLIM by other nodes. The giant terraforming trucks. So badass. Yeah, so Gorny smoking a cigarette in this science facility in the future and wants to corny please can we? The amount of khaki pants in this MCAS wasn’t already in prison. I charged on some backups for some reason. I’m using his legs as the avatar for the first time. Super cool. Yeah, his reaction to that. I had a thought to like when was the soonest James Cameron could have feasibly made this movie. Given technology restraints at the time. Like it’s why it took so long. Yeah, it had to be in like 2009 No sooner I feel like

DANNY Yeah. Like watch this documentary.

SLIM I need to watch the doc. I need to I need to watch it. That’s just that’s it. I need to watch the DACA something I wrote kind of looks like gasoline. I don’t know what the hell I was talking about here. Maybe the water. I don’t know. The mo cap looks great on her. Oh, yeah. Have that line. This is the first warrior dream Walker. Oh, yeah, Jake, like, I think that was also maybe like a cut subplot. Or maybe that you saw in the rerelease? Like Jake, not even wanting to eat human food. Like he was he was becoming disassociated with his human body. And like his human needs of that that was very interesting. He got to see that over time. Although, even though Jim has cracked CGI, he has not cracked the human wig. Like Jake had some of the absolute worst eggs in history in this movie. Also, like there’s in all these movies, you will get like the love interest saying like, after they meet up again, for the first time after a fight or something, they’ll say like, Hi. I have like the corniest line. But here when they say I see you, oh, so that’s writing. That’s figured writing right there. writers room. Regarding his speech, I actually disagree. I would have loved for an interior to give the speech. Even though he becomes like the leader in this movie of the tribe. I would have loved for her to step up and give that speech because she’s like more involved in that tribe. The Corporal taking the the Titan out of the ship as it’s like crashing, pretty badass. Like that straight out of like Titanfall two. Yeah. And then the line also about how she’s telling the story. The aliens went back to their dying world. And they’re talking about Earth. Like that was so cool. I love that line. I really wish I would have gone to see this in theaters on the rerelease. Yeah, yeah. Like I agree. This looked phenomenal. But man, it would have looked even better and in 3d again. Honestly, this conversation talking about this movie. Of course, I’m five stars. Oh

DANNY my god. Of course.

SLIM It’s so fun to talk about what Cameron did with this movie. And people can make fun of it all you want like yeah FernGully but like he’s doing incredible things in this movie. manner. It’s I can’t in good conscience. go lower than five.

PROTO Thank you all together. No lower than love. I

DANNY see you slum.

SLIM I see you Danny.

DANNY I see us.

SLIM I can’t even keep up with chat right now. It’s going so fast.

DANNY The levitating gifts right now.

SLIM Also, I mean, if anyone’s out there is like listening. I can’t believe they gave it five stars. Give yourself up to just having fun watching a movie. You know, have a good smile yourself. Be free. And if you didn’t like it, that’s fine to have fun for once. All right, we got some letters I think And then maybe a VM for this episode. Just keep in mind too for. For people that aren’t really on the Patreon yet or subscribe on Apple or Spotify. We’re doing a mailbag episode. For our one this year we do a yearly mailbag episode. We’re recording it tonight. So it’s going to be in the feeds for our supporters this weekend. Goodness. All right, let me sort through here to see who had to hear from Logan. I think Logan has an email for this particular episode. All right, letter 270 mm for an upcoming episode. Oh, also, you can send us a email or a voice memo 270 Mm It’s Logan aka LP focus. I’ve been meaning to send in this letter for a while it’s bit of a few weeks behind so I haven’t heard the latest episodes. Just wanted to thank you for giving attention to smaller films and young promising directors This podcast is really introduced me to so many interesting and diverse movies that I still haven’t watched but I’m now able to talk about them at a dinner party or in my work slack Movie Channel. Films like somewhere in time Millennium actress house in 1959 is the human centipede part one no greater love, weight and so many more weight says they sound like condition they they sound like great movies that I someday might watch as even wash them. Again, I’m not sure what you guys are currently covering probably a new Greta Thunberg or Jordan Peele film. Well, I just wanted to say thanks for supporting the underdog. While those other podcasts are busy covering the latest and greatest popcorn flicks 70 mm is not afraid to take a risk and cover a movie like Mr. Nobody. We don’t talk about that episode. I mean, really, that choice takes courage. It shows that you guys are really in it for the love of film and not just big budget cash grabs that are engineered to dominate the box office, my God on a completely separate note. Can you please explain the difference between 24 FPS IMAX 3d 48 FPS real D 3d, Dolby cinema and screen x. I’m buying tickets tomorrow for a movie and I need to know what the best option is. Thanks, Logan. Logan, I think Logan having a little laugh at our avatars are gonna laugh at us. He’s having a laugh, as Dirk would say.

DANNY Yeah. See British.

SLIM I don’t know the difference between any of those options. I’ll be honest with you. But I did see Avatar two in a high frame rate. And it was like IMAX 3d. screen x i think is the one with three screens, isn’t it?

DANNY Yeah, some will call it a gimmick. Some call it a gimmick? Some don’t. I’ve never seen a

SLIM product. Can you? Are you ready to explain the difference between those three services?

DANNY Movie insider, please take

PROTO awhile. 24 FPS would be similar to like a normal movie. Anything higher would be something different that James Cameron is doing for this? And yeah, I think screen x is three screens.

SLIM 48 FPS, I think is was commonly referred to this as like the soap opera effect, isn’t it? Like wasn’t the hobbit in 48 FPS and people were like pooping? That was 60 it was some high wasn’t. You had to be high to go see The Hobbit movies? That’s for sure. Awesome. That was January. That was no way. Oh my gosh. Are

DANNY they in January?

SLIM No way. Jose. Do we have another one? Let me sort through. I think there’s a VM. And oh, yeah, we’ll see you there show I want to depending on how bad Eric’s might be, maybe we should just play it now. So we don’t end on a downer note. Eric Saffi him and let’s listen to that

as a team. It’s Eric. longtime listener, first time caller and full time friend. Avatar was released in 2009. I was in my freshman year of high school after having been homeschooled since the first grade. I had a naive and not yet culturally despondent mindset. At that time, I saw so few movies that I loved every single movie that I watched from unabashedly loving the national treasure movies to having a Paul Blart Mall Cop poster in my room. After seeing news stories of people watching avatar 10s of times I expected this was going to be stunning, fantastic and life changing. I knew I needed to see it. Fast forward and absurdly boring 162 minutes to young me walking out disappointed. This movie was the catalyst that taught me that not all popular things are meant for me or are worth experiencing. As I sit here 13 years later removed in the light of my seasonal affective disorder happy light as someone looked back in jealousy at the joy that every new thing brought me back when I was 14. But I can honestly say I’m happy to have learned to find my own path to stars and one life lesson Hey James is

SLIM full time friend what a what a what a sign in to that VM. I love that we need to use that elsewhere. Thank you Eric. I would also love to know more about your audio setup if you were in like a closet and they were like coats hanging above you. reporting that on your phone. Love to know more. It sounds very intimate. sounded very very intimate. Evan Hey, 70 mm first time writing and just gotta say I love the show been listening for a few weeks now. I listen only to the episodes of films I’ve seen because of spoilers, but I also take notes of ones I haven’t seen that interest me so I can go watch and then listen later unspoiled. I just got caught up today to the most recent one, which would be Titanic. But I’m not here to talk about Titanic as much as I enjoy it. Yesterday I took note of somewhere in time. This is to emails that reference somewhere in time what are the chances are

PROTO some movement

SLIM or campaign happening right now?

DANNY It’s a movement art. Yeah,

SLIM art is art orchestrating something behind the scenes in the discord. I had never seen somewhere in time or heard of it. It looked interesting enough. So I put it on my watch list. I figured I’ll get to it when I get to it. That very same day, I got a package from my grandparents. They sent an early Christmas gift to my wife and I it’s our first Christmas Mary and I couldn’t believe the timing. It was a DVD of somewhere in time.

PROTO Oh, no way,

SLIM with a letter about how they wash it every year for as long as they could to remember the magic. They wanted to send us something to make our first year of marriage special and they sent a film that is so special to them. And that’s when I cried it’s my grandpa’s absolute favorite. And I never knew until now can’t wait to pop it in and watch it with my wife. I have a feeling it’s gonna be a five banger for me. Just wanted to share because I thought it was the coolest thing ever hope y’all are doing well. Much love Evan.

DANNY What What a moment.

SLIM See what else have chills right now?

PROTO Yeah, imagine if I didn’t follow my heart and pick that movie right?

SLIM Yeah, imagine if you pick time bandits or whatever the hell that movie was instead that was your plow.

PROTO Yeah, time crimes time.

DANNY No way.

SLIM Oh, there’s the art. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, my queen. Okay, we have a VM I think it’s from Phillips

he 70 mm pod. This is Philip from Kansas City. Wanted to say Merry Christmas. I’m excited for the episode tonight. I just have my secret possum gift from VHS village. There it is. Sitting in my closet. I’m very excited for the trivia and gift opening party here. So thank you guys for the community errands. Done excited to hear that avatar episode and I just got back from a one day or a screening of the lay of water. And I’m eager for that conversation to start. So no real question. Just wanted to say thanks for everything you guys do. And have a happy holidays.

SLIM Thank you,

PROTO Josh. Early Thank you Philip feeling of

SLIM Avatar wave water, adding to it. It’s a podcaster it’s getting early press screening and press the press the press capital P

DANNY you’re going to see it again. Slim. You know,

SLIM I remember like ran home and started writing down everything I could remember from the movie, otherwise it would just be lost forever. I might have to go see it again. I’m Sinagua fing right next to 36 bucks probably to buy a 3d ticket. Who knows how much it’s gonna cost? I don’t want to think about it. Yeah, Phillip mentioned there’s a secret possum Secret Santa happening in the discord. It’s like a we’re doing a Google Hangout. Unboxing can be trivia that sofas putting on who was our guest last week for Titanic big time. So next week, I think that’s it for the VMs next week. It’s avatar way of water. We’re completing the event month with Jim Cameron. And then if you’re a supporter, the next episode you’re going to see is our mailbag episode. We have like, feels like 15 emails in there to sift through pearls pregnant to take a break get some Snickers before we record that. And we have we have January planned. I told you we were going freaking hard. January, okay. You don’t even know per day closing thoughts for Avatar as we go into the way of water.

PROTO If you listen to this episode, and you haven’t rewatched or even seen avatar ever. I think us all three of us giving if five stars is the official 70 mm recommendation to watch a movie. So I implore you to give it a shot give it a try. One last time, you know

SLIM one last ride with Jim Cameron at the helm. we’ll see everybody next week for the way of water.

[70mm theme song ramps up, plays alone, fades out]




A podcast for film lovers, inspired by Letterboxd.