Sigourney Weaver - the original Elegant Astronaut I honestly didn't know Sigourney Weaver was going to be in the new Avatar movie. This is significant to me because the movie Aliens, which was directed by James Cameron in 1986, has been my favorite movie for years. So yesterday, when I watched a cranky Sigourney sit up out of her sleeping pod and ask for her cigarettes, I was ecstatic!
There were many nods towards the Alien movies in Avatar. Aside from the smart, sexy, no-frills Sigourney herself (playing scientist Grace Augustine), there were also large metal robots operated by a human strapped inside. This type of exo-skeleton was made famous in the 1986 fight scene between Lt. Ripley (Weaver) and the alien queen.
The tracking devices used by the military on Pandora, where Avatar was set, were also very similar to the hand-held motion detectors used by the marines in Aliens.
The plot itself had similarities as well. Ripley had to thwart a sabotage attempt from a unethical colleague, Burke, who was attempting to bring back an alien embryo for military purposes. The idea was to secretly implant the embryo in Ripley, bring her back home and cash in the ultimate militant prize: a badass race of creatures who are bigger, faster and stronger than humans. One of my favorite lines in the movie is when Ripley figures out what is happening (she would, of course, die during the birthing process of the alien), and she says, "You know, Burke, I don't know which species is worse. You don't see them f***ing each other over for a goddamn percentage."
In Avatar, the humans are merely trying to convince the indigenous race of tall, blue, cat-like people to move away from their beloved "Home Tree" because of the rich stash of minerals right below it. Augustine (Weaver) clashes with the head military guy to try and preserve the rights of these spiritual people. Negotiations fail, the tree is destroyed, and war ensues.
The bottom line: money is the root of all evil.
Avatar has some breath-taking scenes. I plan to go see it again, but next time in 3-D.