The Ultimate Fan's Guide to Avatar, James Cameron's epic movie (Unauthorized) Paperback – 31 Mar 2010
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About the Author
Kevin Patrick Mahoney is the founder and editor of the literary website Authortrek.com. For three years, he served as the Web Content Editor of the Society of Young Publishers. He has previously worked for the UK publishers Random House and Orion. Kevin is also the author of the novel A Fame of Two Halves.
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Some of it was very interesting, particularly the material about the backstory and the scenes left out or changed from the script. Some was moderately interesting but could probably have been reduced significantly, such as the material about Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey and how it relates to this movie, comparison with Cameron's earlier movies, and the history of SF in general. And some that might have been of interest was left out altogether. I'm surprised the author didn't seem to notice the similarities between the banshees and Anne McCaffrey's Pern dragons. Another item I missed was how the hunter-gatherer Na'vi reacted to the humans' cultivation of their flora.
One thing I found really irritating was the focus on sex. I suppose there ARE hidden sexual connotations. But this young buck of an author had to have had his imagination directed by his hormones to have spent as much time on them and to have noticed all the things he did. Personally, I don't see why the neural connection between the Na'vi and their animals must be regarded as orgasm or bordering on bestiality. They had connections with their Mother Tree and their Tree of Voices, didn't they? As Grace says, all of Pandora is part of a network. Period.
The writing could have done with more editing. There are clear grammatical errors scattered throughout. Paragraphs seem to run on and on for pages and pages. I finally realized part of that is because of the formatting of the Kindle edition -- paragraph breaks tend to get omitted. However, I think in many places the author does run his paragraphs together.
Overall, I'd say the book was of some use, but was rather wearisome to read.
There are a number of copy editing problems and minor mistakes that aren't a big deal, but they are distracting as you read. First, I wish the deleted scenes were more clearly divided out in the book - just with a horizontal bar or something. Sometimes he doesn't make it clear that a scene was deleted (until after describing it) and so things can get confusing. He calls Jake "Jack" in the same sentence he says that he had 6 months before the bulldozers arrive (it's 3 months - which he gets right later). There's a funny statement about a hair queue being some "American term" - lol... no... maybe you should have checked with an American! I just laughed out loud at that part though. Obviously, it was nothing I took offense to because I've probably said the same things about British expressions. Also, along these lines, I wonder if the UK (and Europe) got a different cut because I know the "well of souls" was not called that... it was the "tree of souls" - and I have the DVD and am positive about this. There were a handful of these strange things like that in the book leading me to wonder if Europe got a bit of a different movie for some reason. What happens with the Dragon is also confusing from the book... I couldn't tell what was deleted or what may have been different in a European cut. Jake gets it to crash land - and not on any Na'vi that we know of.
I think the order could be fixed as well. Largely, it is in the order of the movie - but it does have weird points where it jumps ahead. For example, I agree with the other reviewer there is too much of a focus on sex, and this is what screws up the order a bit. The bestiality stuff was a bit weird - I never got that from the movie at all. He describes the sex scene long before it happens...then describes it again. This happens with a few scenes.
Also, there are a lot of references to Terminator and Aliens. I have only seen Terminator 1, so I was a little in the dark here. I wished he would've given more of a plot summary of these movies so I didn't have to look them up on wikipedia (which he did quite a bit in the book, which I found strange for an author doing an in depth analysis...wikipedia is kinda a big giant regression to the mean & a lazy way to get data... but still, it's a good book & I'd be too lazy to ever write it - so I don't mean to throw stones.)
I think it's an interesting read...and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in the film. Oh also, you may not agree with all his analyses - but just know you're getting his opinion & speculation on many issues (e.g. why certain people have certain names...who knows if he's right?) This is not James Cameron's view...so that's just what you get for reading this vs. waiting until whenever Cameron's commentary DVD comes out.
I agree with the first reviewer that this author also seems positively obsessed with what he perceives to be the sexual undercurrents in this film; for whatever reasons, he's reading all kinds of things into the movie that simply were never remotely hinted at, and CERTAINLY not worth major mention in a discussion of the film.
I consider this book to have been a total waste of money; I wouldn't even give it to an enemy, much less a friend, or inflict it on a library. This one goes into the recycle bin; otherwise, it's a waste of a tree, not to mention your time.