OBJECTIVE: Watch Avatar once per every week of 2014.

WHEN: November 14th, 2014, 7:35 pm. (Week 46, November 9-15.)

WHERE: In my apartment in Portland, ME.

FORMAT: DVD on a 19” AOC LED computer monitor; digital download on an iPhone 3.


PHYSICAL AND MENTAL STATE: Tired, full of crappy pizza.

Before starting this viewing of Avatar, I was thinking a little bit about Jurassic Park (which coincidentally I watched every week last year). I was thinking about how so many of its characters are fleshed out by the environments they reside in. Check out this shot of Grant and Sattler’s trailer:

Sattler Grant Cutout Cat

The clutter shows us so much about how they live their lives. Work has literally invaded their living space in the form of the dusty tools strewn about the room. And above them, on the shelf, is a cardboard cutout of a cat, a stand-in for the children that this environment is too harsh to accommodate. I love it (though it’s distinctly possible that I’m over-thinking it).


Don’t even get me started on how perfect Nedry’s desk is.

So this made me wonder, is there any character development via set decoration in Avatar?

Right off the bat, I’d like to mention one of my favorite shots in Avatar, Jake opening up a locker from which no one has bothered to remove his dead brother’s initials.


It’s a cold, sterile reminder that Jake doesn’t belong here and that the person who does is dead. And Jake gets this reminder while literally floating around in a disoriented state. Boom. Good job, Avatar.

Okay, don’t get your hopes up, that was the high point. Our next stop is the work environment of corporate stooge Parker Selfridge.


Alright. Golf = business asshole. Got it. This guy is a company-loving dickbag. Though I wonder why, assuming the AstroTurf putting green is a permanent fixture on the floor of his workplace, he has resorted to a coffee mug for his hole. If he had the foresight to bring out a long roll of fake grass, wouldn’t he have packed one of those little fake ramp and flag devices as well? Well, never mind. Parker likes golf. What can we learn from the rest of his office?


Well, looks like MORE GOLF. Seriously. His shelf has at least two, possibly three golf trophies on it, in addition to a picture of someone (himself?) playing golf. WE GET IT. Also three plaques (possibly golf-related) and a model of the lunar lander. Off to the side there is a Na’vi headband. Everything is neatly arranged and sterile, which kind of seems to run counter to his casual “I play golf in the control room” persona. But whatever. I guess he’s the business version of a mullet. Business in the front office, party on the back nine (GOLF!).

Alright. What about other areas of the RDA headquarters? By virtue of its function, we can forgive the bio-lab for not having many personal touches. You’ve got to keep an area like that sterile. 


Though Augustine is allowed to smoke there for some reason.

Jeez, everything in this movie is either a sterile lab/office or a jungle. There’s really only one other noteworthy area to touch on, the mobile link trailer. Seems as though Augustine has snapped some pictures and stuck them to the front of her fridge. Aww.


Specifically her food fridge.

Alright, so we get a brief reminder that Augustine has experience working with the kids in the Na’vi village. It’s nice, and a little humanizing. Woo.


Some of these children have eyes deader than a Polar Express-conducting Tom Hanks.

So, did I learn anything new about Avatar‘s characters by looking at their surroundings this week? Not really, no. I guess you could say that all the sterile interiors could be a deliberate choice to make the jungle seem more interesting and inviting, so you can’t really fault the film for spicing up its decor. And, you know, sure, that works pretty well for a first viewing. But this is my 46th, and it seems mighty fishy that these people who are trapped on Pandora for years have done next to nothing to personalize their work stations (aside from displaying an occasional love of golf). But, bah, whatever. Sure. Fine. Good. Eh. See you next week.