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13 Problems With The First Draft Of ‘Avatar’

The film Avatar has become one of the classics in science fiction.  While the movie broke all sorts of records and won a number of awards, Avatar almost wasn’t the great epic audiences enjoyed in theaters.  We got our hands on the notes of the first draft of Avatar that studio executives gave to James Cameron.

James,

Had a look at the new script.  Thank you again for resubmitting it on normal paper in the standard format.   We know you went to a lot of trouble, but trying to read an entire screenplay in those pictures you have to stare at closely before the 3D images become visible hurt our eyes.

Anyway, we think Avatar has potential of becoming a great Epic.  We just ask that you make the following changes:

-P. 1 – you state “this film picks up where Titanic left off.”  The story of the Titanic didn’t leave off in the year 2154 in outer space. 

p.3 – let’s lose the whole “Bertolli is ravaging the planet of Pandora in search of only the finest tomatoes for its sauces.”  Aside from the fact that this could be grounds for a lawsuit, it’s hard to believe that tomato sauce could finance an intergalactic mission.  Let’s use a fictional corporation instead.

p. 7 – you describe the Na’vi as being “10 feet tall and almost a half an inch wide.”  The audience will have trouble seeing creatures this thin, especially from a distance.

p. 12 – it’s 2154.  Why do the labels on all the avatar machines brag of being Windows 95 compatible?

p. 23 – while it worked for Clark Kent, we feel it far-fetched that dark-rimmed glasses would be sufficient enough of a disguise to fool the Na’vi into believing that Jake Sully is one of them, especially given the fact that none of the Na’vi wear glasses.

p. 26 – we understand the importance of using subtitles to translate Na’vi into English, but do we really need subtitles translating English into Na’vi?

p. 33 – While the concept of the Na’vi connecting with creatures of the forest is interesting, we don’t think that doing so via a “24 mps dial-up connection” is the appropriate method.  Even more confusing, the Na’vi  keep getting disconnected from the creatures when they receive an incoming call.

p. 42 – the script reads “interrupt the film to inform the audience that they’ve accidentally been given sunglasses instead of 3D glasses.”  Despite the fact that the audience would probably have noticed this error  much earlier than 40 minutes into the film, why would you plan to make such a mistake?

 p. 58 – Initiation into Na’vi society should be more complex than through purchasing a $40 membership card.

p. 69 – Why is Jake trying to negotiate a deal for the Na’vi to leave Home Tree in exchange for them getting the Tonight Show?

p. 77 – it is difficult to believe the Na’vi would survive very long if the strongest weapon in their arsenal was wiffle bats and balls.

p. 88 – script reads, “the humans bomb Home Tree.  Thousands of Keebler Elves fall out.”   Where did they come from?  You’ve made no mention of them up to this point and you make no mention of them after.

p. 120 – this ending needs to be rewritten.  In the middle of the battle you write “James Sully wakes up.  It was all just a dream.  He was never Jake Sully at all.  He’s Rose on board the Titanic.  The Titanic sinks.  The end. 

Make these changes and you’ve got a green light my friend!

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About Tim Kochenderfer

I'm about yay-high and weigh about yay pounds

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