Titanic, a contrabulous fabtraption of a film that towered and tottered with huge follies and foibles, was redeemed by one, simple fact: it was a story about what’s true in us human beings. It took us as whole, integral persons. And it did so perhaps only as a convention of plot derived from historical necessity, a point made all the more poignant by implied and explicit content of Avatar. From the looks of it, two films couldn’t be more different. Titanic was about a love that could only be understood personally and historically, a love that transcended real human time and a real human being, even while residing and abiding completely within it and within her. Avatar looks to be a story about a trans-species love that can only be understood impersonally and ahistorically,* a love of the future (like that in Wall-E) which depends completely on a human perspective even while perversely alienating us from it in the extreme. There is something uncanny, and not in a good way, about a CGI-driven love story about a non-human alien and someone genetically engineered halfway out of their humanity by the government. And the trouble with geeks is that a fair number of them are likely to be so geeked out about the vast possibilities of scientific fantasy that their ability to recognize an uncanny valley when they see one is ruthlessly repressed. The trouble with geeks is that for them, a human love story isn’t cool enough — is simply boring.
*plus gigantic explosions.