[FoRK] A comment on Avatar

Simon Wistow simon at thegestalt.org
Wed Dec 23 19:53:55 PST 2009

On Thu, Dec 24, 2009 at 10:16:44AM +1100, Jeremy Apthorp said:
> James Cameron clearly wasn't trying to construct a deep, plot-heavy
> film. Have any other James Cameron plots been anything but tissue
> paper and cellophane? I mean, seriously, 'unobtainium'? 'Flux vortex'?

Just to be clear 'unobtanium' is a sort of inside sci-fi joke to mean 
some sort of McGuffin or just as short hand for materials that have very 
strong properties. 

It's even spilled over into real life - for example Skunkworks engineers 
used the term instead of Titanium in documents whilst building the 

That said, I'm not necessarily arguing that inside jokes belong in 
movies, especially when they have a potential to come across as just 
plain dumb. See, sort of, the use of "Sabotage" in the last Star Trek.

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