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Comment: Re:Really? (Score 2, Interesting) 387

by verbalcontract (#33375244) Attached to: First Review of <em>Avatar</em> Special Edition

I realize that, given enough thinking, you can extrapolate any rationalization for a weak point in a movie. But the problem is, the filmmakers didn't clearly answer those questions during the movie.

Consider for a second a theoretical movie: it consists of one shot of egg. 10 seconds into this shot, the egg disappears. The movie ends.

Now, you could find some rationalization for why the egg disappeared; perhaps it was just a hologram. Your rationalization may even be halfway plausible. But the fact remains that the filmmaker didn't go that extra step to convey a coherent, credible, original story. That's the problem with Avatar.

To address your points one by one:

1. Home territory: I believe it, but they should have had a scene where the N'avi come up with an actual battle plan that exploits their opponent's weaknesses. Remember in Star Wars, when the rebels meet before the attack on the Death Star, and Ackbar says that the Empire doesn't believe in the threat of a small strike force? That's how you tell a story.

2. The humans are vulnerable: This isn't supported by any of the shots or dialog in the movie. All we see the entire movie is an extremely well-equipped base.

3. The humans go soft for PR reasons: Again, this isn't supported by either the shots or the dialog of the movie. Instead, we have many scenes with the militaristic commander saying stock bellicose action movie dialog. We have a few shots of the corporate manager second-guessing himself after he orders the attack, but he doesn't take action and tell the commander to pull back.

4. The corporation is watched closely: Also not supported by any shots or dialog in the movie. There are no shots of the corporate managers talking to Earth, and Earth warning them about their actions. And most of the militaristic commander's dialog is to the effect of bombing them into submission.

This is what I mean about filmmaking laziness. Any scenes filling in the story points you've referred to would have made this a better movie. But the scenes just aren't there.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 387

by verbalcontract (#33371796) Attached to: First Review of <em>Avatar</em> Special Edition

Avatar was released in 2009. There was a movie you may have heard of, released on year earlier, named Dark Knight.

If you haven't seen either movie, there are spoilers ahead.

Dark Knight is an example of a good movie. Dark Knight features a relatable but complex main character, and a frightening and unpredictable villain with very specific goals. The movie contains scenes in which the main character takes specific actions with the specific goal of thwarting the villain; it likewise contains scenes that play out those actions being thwarted, or the villain creating new challenges for the main character. The actions and reactions taken by the main character and villain are significantly different from the actions of other movie characters in previous. It is, if you understand my metaphor, like watching a brilliant chess game unfold.

Avatar is not a good movie. It contains hokey dialogue, similar to that which has appeared in many other movies. It contains a journey of a main character through a race which is very similar to at least two other movies: Pocahontas and Dances With Wolves. It contains main characters -- the Na'vi -- who choose spectacularly ill-advised actions -- running their army of primitive warriors directly into a highly-advanced human force aided by machines. It also contains a very unlikely outcome of such a poor decision: The Na'vi win.

I understand that Avatar isn't Citizen Kane, and that it's not critical that it achieve such a lofty goal. But after movies like The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Inception, Ocean's Eleven, or any other "good" Hollywood movie, you can't give Avatar a free pass for being "just another Hollywood movie." Sure, you as the audience can just not see the movie, but James Cameron -- as the person to whom we're trusting those two to three hours -- can just read a damn book about story.

Comment: Re:Microsoft Security Essentials (Score 5, Informative) 896

by verbalcontract (#31526236) Attached to: What Free Antivirus Do You Install On Windows?

I respectfully disagree with your notion that Kaspersky is better than MSE. I had Kaspersky's basic anti-virus for 2 years before MSE came out, and it was a terrible resource hog. And not just during scans; the actual real-time protection would increase the time to open a video file from ~2 seconds after double-clicking to ~15 seconds.

Additionally, when it detects a suspicious file, the program issues the most gut-wrenching squealing noise I've ever heard. And it does this by default; you have to go into settings to disable the noise.

[/anecdote]

Comment: Re:Lost my interest (Score 3, Insightful) 268

by verbalcontract (#31177042) Attached to: <em>StarCraft II</em> Closed Beta Begins

I don't understand knocking Blizzard for splitting this into three releases. There's going to be 26 to 30 missions in the first Terran-only single-player campaign (source), which would put it on par with the first Starcraft. Presumably, there will be 26-30 missions in each of the following stories, plus additional units (as Blizzard has done whenever they've released an expansion to the game). Blizzard has never developed and released a half-baked expansion in its entire history; the closest thing might be Diablo: Hellfire, which was developed by an outside company, and I don't know if it was priced appropriately on release.

So what's the hate for, beyond the usual fishing for things to hate? If you really don't think it's going to be good value to you, wait until it goes on sale, or just don't buy the game. Chess is freely available to all.

Comment: Re:We Already Know This (Score 2, Interesting) 245

by verbalcontract (#31106702) Attached to: European Credit and Debit Card Security Broken

This doesn't seem like the average attack we see in the United States, where a false card reader and camera copy a victim's credit card stripe and PIN respectively. I'm by no means an expert in Chip and PIN, but Wikipedia indicates that the smart card chip is much more difficult to copy than the US's magnetic stripes:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chip_and_pin

From the text:

"Once the card has been verified as authentic, the customer enters a 4-digit PIN..."

It doesn't say whether all the credit card information is passed during this handshake, but if it's not, it wouldn't be possible to copy the card just by reading it.

Comment: Re:Waste MORE time!? (Score 2, Interesting) 1073

by verbalcontract (#29596017) Attached to: Obama Makes a Push To Add Time To the School Year

If only there were some way to play athletics for fun, instead of for profit. Oh wait. That's what everyone in high school does.

I agree there are some people talented enough to fall into the pro trap (especially on television), but for the most part, people in my (public) high school did sports just to have something to do.

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