Broti Gupta, Brandon Wardell, and Marianne Williamson were asked whether they could recollect the narrative of the highest-grossing film of 2009 in a semi-random manner.
2009 is December. The globe is experiencing a pandemic (swine flu) and a recession simultaneously (the great). In that year, you saw Barack Obama’s inauguration during his first presidential term. The Black Eyed Peas were played on your iPhone 3GS. Avatar, the latest science-fiction epic from James Cameron, will soon be released in cinemas. It will earn $2.84 billion globally, making it the highest-grossing picture ever.
And you don’t recall many details, correct?
Since its debut, it has been a running joke that Avatar has had little to no cultural impact. Despite this, four sequels are planned. The trailer for the long-awaited Avatar: The Way of the Water, which will be released in December, was only released last week. Avatar: The Seed Bearer will be released in 2024, Avatar: The Tulkun Rider will be released in 2026, and Avatar: The Quest for Eywa will be released in 2028. Hollywood seems to have trust not just in James Cameron, but also in moviegoers, the availability of blue body paint in the supply chain, and the entire premise of human life on Earth.
Still, despite the fact that my mind is a jumble of catastrophic news, excellent sandwiches from my life, and photos of my dog, I believed I recalled roughly what occurred in Avatar. Blue men, Zoe Saldana, an enormous bright tree, and… ponytail sex? But when I watched the new Mormon murder thriller Under the Banner of Heaven, I couldn’t help but wonder why one of the major characters was so similar. Where had I ever seen him before? I consulted IMDb in an effort to break this face-blindness spell.
Sam Worthington played the starring role in Avatar.
After 13 years, GQ contacted a variety of authors, comedians, and even a former presidential contender to recall what transpired in reputedly the most popular film of all time.
The human brain cannot recall anything before to the age of 16.
Since I was 15 when it was released, and the human brain can’t remember anything before the age of 16 (? ), I’m going to do my best to recall any aspect of it. Sam Worthington travels to a moon (?) where blue people reside in Avatar. They are called Na’vi, they are genetically modified to resemble humans, and their deity is the earth. Zoe Saldana is a member of the Na’vi, whereas Sigourney Weaver is a scientist who seeks to populate the moon for its resources. I recall it being basically comparable to the film Pocahontas, and I cannot wait for the sequel. — Broti Gupta, author of The Simpsons
Sam Worthington is put in a tanning bed that miraculously alters his state of mind.
Sam Worthington, an actor whose name I was astonished to recall, is a genuinely superb soldier in the United States Army of whenever the hell Avatar takes place. However, he becomes a paraplegic after being injured in combat. The good news is that as a terrific soldier, he is ideal for an experimental program run by Sigourney Weaver (crap, not Susan Sarandon, this is humiliating). Sam Worthington is put in a tanning booth that miraculously transforms him into the blue-skinned Kevin Durant alias known as the Na’vi, the intelligent humanoid race inhabiting the planet Avatar. It is a lovely planet, untainted by the trash dumb hands of humanity, where the trees are enormous and the colors are as intensely saturated as an iPhone shot, as nature intended.
Sam Worthington, who is attempting to connect with the Na’vi and comprehend their customs, is first rejected since he is essentially dressed like Groucho Marx and asks too many questions. Zoe Saldana, who portrays a genuine Na’vi, learns to admire his puppy-dog first-date enthusiasm, and the audience grows to like him. She vouches for Sam Worthington and explains him how the Na’vi construct a single mind with the Earth, sometimes by accepting instructions from a tree and other times by connecting their head-tentacles into the many beasts they ride. The Na’vi recognize that they are a part of nature, custodians of the life force that controls the planet of Avatar, and not its masters. Sam Worthington finally comprehends. However, it turns out that the military is not just interested in learning from the Na’vi! Sam discovers that the military is horrible. Because Earth is a decaying shithole and Avatar still has trees, nice trees, and I believe a metal they literally call unobtainium, it wants to grab the planet’s resources. Sam Worthington, in his Na’vi garb, defends the planet and the woman he has grown to love, Zoe Saldana, against the human invasion. In the end, with the assistance of James Cameron, we discover that humans are not kind to planets and that Channing Tatum has no competition in Hollywood. — Jon Wilde, GQ digital director
“Are we certain that this wasn’t simply one of those IMAX nature films that the Liberty Science Center shows?”
Was there a real storyline in Avatar? Are we certain that this wasn’t simply one of those IMAX nature films that the Liberty Science Center shows? I can state categorically that Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, and Stephen Lang all feature in this film, along with a man called Sam Worthington who allegedly formerly had significant blackmail power over Hollywood executives. In 2009, when I saw this picture for the first and only time, I walked out of Lincoln Square IMAX — the cinema with the greatest chance of understanding Cameron’s ambition — dubbing it a “3D Pocahontas,” so I’m going to presume that all the white folks had futuristic conquistador energy. Oh, and Giovanni Ribisi is a really awful person, correct? I believe that Sigourney’s character dies, yet I notice that she is scheduled for 2vatar, so…???? We’re all going to revisit this between now and Christmas, but I think Way of Water plays best if you’re 13 years old and don’t care about anything. — Frazier Tharpe, GQ entertainment editor
“There is just no way the blue people were not troublesome in hindsight, and I have a strange feeling they were bad at the time as well.”
I was 21 years old when Avatar was released. When the notion of waiting in long-weekend traffic for even one more second became intolerable, a group of friends and I exited the freeway to see the film in a UFO-shaped suburban cinema. If it appears like I’m telling you a lot about the circumstances surrounding my viewing of the film as a way to avoid remembering anything about it, you’re correct.
In my mind, it resembles Disney’s Pocahontas. There is a Science or Exploration Space Guy who is apparently searching for something in space “unobtanium.” This is the one thing I am confident I remember because, despite being sunburned, drowsy, and experiencing a headache from the 3D glasses, I was open-mouthed at the absurdity of that word choice. UNOBTANIUM. James Cameron, come on. How deep were you down in your one-person submarine when you came up with that? Be honest.
Okay, so I assume the humans from Earth arrive on a planet in another galaxy that has a FernGully-like atmosphere, and there are conflicts with the large blue natives. I have not rewatched the film since that first watching, but there is just no way the blue dudes are not problematic in hindsight, and I have a strange feeling they were troublesome at the time as well. My most vivid recollections include runes, loincloths, and Zoe Saldana. They are notably long and tall, and I believe they are also robust?
Oh my gosh, I just recalled that they ALL TRANSFORM INTO THE BLUE GUYS, even the visitors from Earth. I cannot recall how they do this; maybe they use a Matrix-style plug? Or by pseudo-spiritual space magic? I believe this is one of those films with several images of scientists huddled around a screen in a “sir, you’re going to want to take a look at this” manner, while a spiritual elder character shuts her eyes serenely and objects begin to light that, according to science, should not be shining. I believe the shimmering may also have a role in an unnecessary erotic segment of the film.
The film’s finale and finish are a total mystery to me. I suppose it leaves five films’ worth of questions unsolved, so how gratifying could it be? Author Monica Heisey
“I have no idea what I’m confusing with The Matrix.”
What I recall is a man being linked to some crap, and suddenly he’s in the Na’vi world with all the blue people on the planet of the blue people. And they are engaged in some kind of conflict, and he is in love with a blue woman. I am uncertain as to what I am associating with The Matrix in regards to his being in the goo and in this other planet. I’m similar to you in that I don’t recall anything of Avatar 1 at all. ― Brandon Wardell, comedian
“Aesthetically attractive in the same manner as a Windows screen saver.”
Even though I’m very certain I’ve seen Avatar twice in cinemas, I don’t recall anything about it. Before the more biased portions of my brain mix it with the live-action Smurfs film, the music video for Daft Punk’s “Digital Love,” and the ’90s Saturday morning animation ReBoot, the essential story aspects come to life in my mind. The film was good, visually pleasant in the manner that a Windows screen saver is pleasing, and maybe my inability to recollect specific details of the picture indicates that it drew liberally from previous films while making little effort to conceal its similarities. ― Chris Gayomali, editor of GQ stories
I believe the movie was about the difficulty of recognizing how literal an allegory may be.
So I’ve never watched Avatar. Nevertheless, my overall opinions at the time were that the film was released in 2009, and that viewing a film with incredibly beautiful visuals of tropical destinations was as much excitement as people could afford, which explains why it is currently the most earning film of all time. I recall hearing that the premise was identical to FernGully: The Last Rainforest, another film whose name I cannot recall but which I have seen. And this is about environmental protection. I’m aware that in Avatar, people are searching for a chemical called “unobtainium,” thus I believe the film was about the effort to see how obvious an allegory can become until people walk out. I believe it was a tale about environmental protection. However, it was unsuccessful since they still needed to produce Don’t Look Up. Consequently, I believe the environment is presently chilly. — Josh Gondelman, comedic writer-in-chief for Desus and Mero
They accomplished it with their ponytails.
I remember! Kevin Costner was tasked with exploring a distant area inhabited by wild eagles, buffalo, and restless aliens. However, he then encountered a pre-Sneakers Mary McConnell, who portrayed the female extraterrestrial buffalo. Then Costner said, “I once dreaded this strange new place and its peculiar traditions, but I now feel at home there. And I like the female bison.” Then, he and McConnell performed the action with their ponytails. Drew Magary, author
It is a bit strange and personal, but irrelevant to the broader narrative, so don’t worry about it.
Giovanni Ribisi desires a large quantity of unobtainium, which is located on the planet Pandora, along with a population of enormous blue creatures. Moreover, it is the future, thus certainly we can go to other planets. Unobtanium was also the name of the metal utilized by Delroy Lindo on the spacecraft that travels to the Earth’s center in The Core, which was released around a decade before Avatar. In any case, as the miners and military escorts search for unobtanium for Giovanni Ribisi, scientists including Sigourney Weaver and the game designer from Grandma’s Boy are investigating the Na’vi. The scientists have devised a method for beaming your mind into a blue man host body so that you may socialize with blue men; this body is known as your [looks straight into camera] avatar. When you are awake in your human body, your avatar is sleeping.
Anyway, a scientist’s employee dies, so they replace him with Jake Sully, his twin brother, since they’ve already spent a ton of time and money creating his brother’s blue counterpart. Jake is instructed to monitor the scientists to ensure that they do not interfere with the mining process. Jake ultimately acquires a Na’vi girlfriend who teaches them their customs, and as the tribe begins to accept him, he engages in Dances With Wolves mode and sides with the Na’vi against the military and miners. The scientists relocate the whole avatar operation away from the military facility since the bad guys might otherwise just cut the power cable (smart). The bad guys believe it’s time to blow up the massive spirit tree that the Na’vi regard as the abode of their deity Eywa, resulting in a massive last confrontation. Jake manages to tame the largest flying dinosaur-like creature by tying his ponytail to the creature’s tail, which is a bit strange and personal but irrelevant to the story, so don’t worry about that. Jake’s ability to tame the largest flying dinosaur creature essentially makes him the head of the tribe, allowing him to rally the other Na’vi tribes against the evil guys. The chief military officer fights in a mech the size of a Na’vi, and I recall that he has a large hunting knife the size of a mech, which is quite awesome.
The military loses the fight and the man with the large knife is dead, so the military and miners depart Pandora but Jake and several scientists remain (minus Sigourney Weaver, who I think gets killed during the battle but that might be wrong). Then, the Na’vi elders perform a rite that transfers Jake’s consciousness to his avatar, transforming him into a permanent blue person. I believe the last image is of his Na’vi eye opening, similar to the beginning of Lost. And that, in essence, is Avatar. — Patrick Monahan, writer and comedian
“Without a doubt, I’ve never seen whatever this is.”
Essentially, this little child had an arrow in his skull and was discovered under a block of ice….
Are they blue?
I have no idea what the heck you are talking about. I’ve never watched Titanic, and I’ve certainly never seen whatever this is. James Cameron? Who directed Alita: Battle Angel? – Tyler Tynes, staff writer at GQ
I consider it a gift to the world.
I found the core narrative to be so compelling. It revealed the truth, the entire truth, and nothing but the truth on the current state of Western culture. Unobtainium was sought for by corporate entities backed by government and military force. And the unobtainium is, of course, whatever resource offers them with a profit, regardless of whether acquiring it destroys plants, Earth, people, and life. These militarized corporations saw these very intelligent and indigenous people as barbarians. In reality, though, the invaders were the actual barbarians. Nevertheless, the native inhabitants of that planet fought back and finally won.
Also intriguing is the fact that there were individuals working with the invading armies who had conscience. Who did have hearts, who understood what was occurring, and who even redirected their efforts to aid the indigenous people and oppose the invading invaders.
I believe Avatar is a brilliant piece of art. Telling the story of how a sociopathic corporatist juggernaut is destroying the natural world and the wisdom of its indigenous peoples, claiming that in the end sanity and love will prevail, and then transforming this into a light-hearted piece of entertainment that is easy to understand and literally watched around the world. People often laugh at me when I say this, but I consider it a gift to the world. ― Marianne Williamson, former presidential candidate and activist