Oscars Movie Edition 2012: Na’vi’s Missing Carbon Nanofiber Bones; Violent Anal Rape Sells Books and Movie Tickets; I’ll Take a Shit Pie to Go, Please.
This past year saw an Oscar season populated with a fair share of talent basking in their own reflected glory as bastions of the single most important art form the planet has been lucky enough to know. After all, this is the industry responsible for such important works like Birth of a Nation, The Jazz Singer, and now The Help, not to mention Abduction, Dreamhouse, I Don’t Know How She Does It, Battlefield Earth, and New Year’s Eve.
In the spirit of the season, I’d like to reflect upon what I’ve learned this past year as a moviegoer, as well as some unanswered questions from years past. To this end, I’ve been plagued, since Christmas of 2009 when I attended a screening of James Cameron’s Blue Man Group/Pocahontas hybrid Avatar, by the question of the Na’vi’s curiously absent carbon nanofiber bones.
If you’ll recall, shortly after Jake Sully’s arrival on Pandora, he is informed by the stern, “you’re not in Kansas anymore” cliché spouting Colonel Miles Quaritch that the Na’vi are equipped with carbon nanofiber reinforced bones that make them “very hard to kill.” Either the scriptwriters later dismissed this seemingly important detail or it made for more visually compelling filmmaking to have the Earthborn Americans simply raze a host of seven foot tall super-Smurfs with the same ease and gusto as an Oakland police officer through a crowd of nonviolent protesters. Because if the Na’vi were ever endowed with such a potentially useful genetic code, there’s certainly no evidence of it anywhere in the film.
In which case, he must have recently rented them out to everyone’s favorite couch-jumping, webbed-foot fetishizing Scientoligist for his role in Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol. This accounts for why Ethan Hunt, William Brandt, and others can sustain the various and multiple life-ending blunt force traumas and endless bone-fracturing pratfalls that comprise the frenetic energy of the film. No human short of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo could sustain that sort of abuse without so much as a hot bath to soothe an aching body and, in her case, a brutalized anus.
Lisbeth might have been afforded access to those Na’vi bones, but Sony Pictures understands that violent anal rape with unusually large instruments sells tickets and garners rave reviews, as the gracious critical reception of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo so aptly attests, and so realism was elected over sparing Lisbeth the full effect of Stieg Larson’s insipid and deviant misogyny masquerading as militant feminism.
The suspension of disbelief is also apparent in The Help, in which baking a pie made of your own shit is portrayed as not making your house smell like a radical Muslim jihadist’s groin following a particularly raucous bout with his “lovemule”. Because anyone who has ever accidentally defecated on the seat-warmer of their car knows exactly how heat will produce a profoundly distasteful effect on biological waste. There’s a reason, in other words, that directors never have Lindsey Lohan sitting out in the sun for too long, and it is because the directors credit their audience with the understanding that the olfactory affront of a sun-baked LiLo would alter the plot of the film in such a way as to make not just her appearance but also her odor unavoidably repugnant. And so when The Help tried to make it seem like baking a shit pie would be no different from baking a cherry or an apple one, I found myself taken entirely out of the action. I’ve since written several strongly worded letters with detailed illustrations to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences imploring them to consider this most glaring of plot holes when voting for this year’s Oscar for best picture.
But it’s comforting to know that James Cameron’s imagination is out there, equipped and ready to help when Bella requires his expertise for Twilight 7: I Never Should Have Married at 18, when Edward begins beating her with an empty bottle of Jack Daniels after she spills his tin of Skoal inside the bedroom of their double-wide. It confirms that Hollywood creativity is alive and well, at least inside James Cameron’s mind.