Thursday, February 25, 2010

Avatar Rewrite

I've seen it again, and I think my love affair with the movie is mostly over. Something about it must still catch me, cause I still want to think about it, but mostly in reminds me of the Phantom Menace, a show with much potential that could have been really good. Here's my sketch on how it could have had a decent plot:

  • Unobtanium exists in small deposits here and there. It must be searched for, found, then quickly extracted before Na'vi or wildlife find them. There is continual low-level (though very dangerous) conflict. But there is a mother load under the mother tree: the miners could establish a continuing mine, with a defensive perimeter, save lives and equipment while getting the goods cheaply in large quantity.
  • A corporate rep wants peace. Peace is cheaper than war, after all. Military is not so gung-ho as it is cynical ("realistic"). Peace isn't going to happen, so it will be more expensive and deadly in the long run. (Since peace won't work, if you try it, you have all the expense and loss of life in that effort, and then you have the war as well.)
  • Grace and her cohorts were kicked out (as in movie). They were too excited about the sacred nature of the forest, did not come with humility, like the miners they came to take (even if only knowledge) rather than become a part of.
  • Jake is pulled between these three estates: war, peace, and investigation.
  • There is a similar conflict within the Na'vi: some aggressively hunt the humans, others hope for a less violent solution.
  • When Jake joins the Na'vi, those who don't like him try to embarrass him and trick him into doing stuff, many of which he falls for.
  • A few youthful girls, in this manner, decide to play at romance with the exotic stranger. They are caught with him, one holding his bonding thing, which causes great uproar, with Jake nearly getting expelled from the clan. Neytiri explains later: the Na'vi are like the dragons. They make a bond with but one other their whole lives.
  • Meanwhile, the conflict grows hotter. The Na'vi score an impressive victory, capturing a mining ship and slaughtering its escort.
  • Neytiri expresses her love for Jake. She wants to bond with him, but he refuses. Ultimately he cannot live there, he is dependent on the technology. He tells her to choose another.
  • Jake hears that the military has won out. Following the massacre they persuade the corporation it will be more profitable for the massive attack.
  • Jake decides to warn the Na'vi, to plead with them to leave and save themselves. The chief refuses. Jake gives details of the assault plan, trying to show how impossible it would be to resist. Chief says thank you, this will help them fight their war.
  • The Home tree is destroyed in the terrible battle, because of the greatly superior speed and firepower of their aircraft.
  • The Na'vi plan a retaliatory assault on the base, before the army goes after tree of souls. Jake, forseeing a massacre, again begs them to stop. Chief tells him, if you would help us, shut down the perimeter barrier.
  • Army reminds Jake: if they lose, he'll get to live with the Na'vi for 45 minutes until his air gives out.
  • Jake begs the tree of souls for help. Neytiri comes to him, tells him the tree doesn't take sides, then say she does. She asks to bond with him again. She does not expect either of them to live more than a day. They do.
  • Jake betrays the humans, shuts down the barrier, and fights from the inside, as human, in his wheelchair. Neytiri, who knows he can't walk from bonding with him, recognizes him and prevents his being slaughtered. The forest rises and overwhelms the humans. There is a dramatic climactic battle between Colonel, Jake, and Neytiri.
  • The peaceful faction of the Na'vi stop the assault from becoming a massacre.
  • Neytiri takes up the human Jake, and carries him into the forest. Her mother then tells them he can become one of them for real. He does.
Maybe needs a little tweaking and embellishing. I've left out details on Grace and the scientists. Trudy is worth keeping (especially if played by Michelle Rodriguez. Yow!) but will need her role reworked. But the conflict is much more gray, with bad guys on both sides, Jake is more conflicted, there's an interior barrier to the romance. The conflict is continuous and unavoidable. This is a story, worthy of the overwhelming setting.

I think I'm done.

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