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Monday, December 28, 2009


First of all, without giving away any of the plot, if you haven't already seen it, you should see the movie Avatar and you should see it in a theater with the new 3D technology. Otherwise you might as well wait for it on DVD. Don't worry, this entry isn't going to be a movie review. I just felt it was really cool to be in a theater full of people and to feel the energy of excitement with this new added sensation to the movie going experience was unveiled. I haven't been this impressed since I heard the digital audio of Jurassic Park for the first time or witnessing the special effects of The Matrix. Now that these things have been done to death in every other movie, it's not as cool, but it's fun to see something when it first comes out.

Enough about the actual movie. I had plans to see it on Saturday, but it was sold out. We had to buy tickets for today's (Monday's) showing. The theater was packed. I realize that this is a big movie, but I can't remember a movie that I've seen in the past five years in Japan in which more than a third of the theater was filled. Even for big movies on opening weekend. Avatar has been out for over a week and you still have to buy tickets in advance. I'm not sure if it's a reflection on the movie-going audience here or if it's a reflection on Avatar.

I'm guessing that the movie sensors here had a bit of a dilemma. I've only seen three other films here (Japanese animated film "Ponyo," Japanese dolphin killing movie "The Cove," and Michael Moore documentary "Capitalism: A Love Story") none of which had a many love scenes. (Don't be fooled by the title of the Michael Moore film!) Therefore, I've had to take people's word for it when I hear that movies here get butchered. Any scene with kissing, affection or more sensitive scenes get taken out along with any kind of nudity. According to IMDB, Avatar was given a PG-13 rating for "for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking." The warfare and smoking would pose no problem and probably the language wouldn't be an issue. I'm surprised that the sensuality and the blue, 3-meter-tall alien boobies made it through. They aren't prominent, but I'm willing to bet that if the actors were wearing the exact same costumes without the blue make-up it wouldn't have gotten through. Then again, I haven't seen the movie outside the U.A.E. so maybe some of it did get cut.

While I did enjoy the film as a whole, I had one major annoyance. There were no English subtitles for when the aliens were speaking. I understand that I live in a country in which the predominant language is not English. I could kind of accept it in Japan where less than 0.2% of the population was a native speaker of English but here 80% of the population is foreign. Of that 80%, most don't speak Arabic and most speak English as a second language at least. I'm guessing not many speak the blue alien language, either.


  1. You bumped into Bono and watched Avatar the same day?

  2. Did they have an orphanage for your kids there too for when you and Mineko have movie nights?

  3. Our maid takes care of the kids when we go out but in this case my wife didn't go to the movie with me.

  4. I have a sense that the movie Censors didn't give a flying flip...but that's just me. :)

  5. I saw it last weekend...great movie, Very heavy. Reminiscent of Dances With Wolves with a touch of Braveheart....Weird that there would be no subtitles, I think you need to see it with the subtitles for more clarity if nothing else.

    The movie did put a lump in my throat in several moments....CGI films are getting very deep these days.
    I cite UP! as a prime example, the opening montage of the little boy and his little girlfriend as they play and the lifetime they eventually shared to the bitter end is probably the first time that I was emotionally moved watching a CGI film. Same can be said for Avatar....But, maybe I am just a softy, huh?

  6. Interesting also, your'e comment about the country being 80% foreign. I experienced the same in Kuwait where I was stationed in 2006-2007 and Qutar where I took a 5 day R&R.

    The U.A.E. seem to use a lot of "cheap" laborers in the form of what I learned from the military are called "Third Country Nationals" or T.C.N.'s, these people comprise the working class as it were. They operate the shops, restaurants, etc.

    It was rare to get a glimpse of a local unless you went to the shopping district in Kuwait City. On Camp Patriot it was all T.C.N.'s. They did our laundry, cooked and served our food, cleaned the base and porta johns.....pretty eye opening if you ask me. Anyhow just my two cents......

  7. I described Avatar as "Dances with Wolves with blue aliens on one of Jupiter's moons." I got strange looks from my wife for that one.

    I'm with you on the T.C.N.'s


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