None of you understand. We’re not locked in here with you. We just lost our keys.

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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a “heretical” history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.


  1. Martin Porter
    March 8, 2017 @ 7:41 pm

    Oh no, not more Avatar. I believe we have another five films to look forward to as well, don’t we?

    I remember when it came out having to explain that, even though I am a bit of an eco-warrior, I really don’t like the film.

    My problem is the ideology that rejected modern science, hated Capitalists, dabbled in magic, idolised ancient pagan warriors and loved their native forests weren’t the environmentalists, but the Nazis.


    • CC0
      March 8, 2017 @ 11:45 pm

      Ok,so, going by your last paragraph, vegetarianism must be a real evil thing, since Hitler was a vegetarian (as far as I know), right?


      • Martin Porter
        March 9, 2017 @ 6:15 pm

        Err no, that’s nothing like what I said. Try reading it again.


  2. Sean Dillon
    March 8, 2017 @ 8:17 pm

    ” Cinema’s Deal with the Devil was when a young and insecure film studies, desperate for attention and recognition from the literary establishment, elevated the image of the director to exalted authorial status, and in doing so, literally deified him. James Cameron doesn’t think he’s a god, he thinks he’s God. Monotheistic. Infallible. All-powerful. The director is so obsessed with the master narrative written about him that he conveniently ignores the army of creative figures who it took to bring “his” vision to life.”

    This is one of those things that I’ve shouted at my brother, who is both a director and a fan of Avatar (though more because of James Cameron). It’s especially grating with him given he’s the type who wants to direct, write, and edit the project, making the work even more fucking hermetic. Even when I worked on projects with him, he rewrites everything and only once begrudgingly gives me story credit. I get that it’s collaborative and changes will occur, but I feel he doesn’t and expects everyone else to bend to his singular vision. Are all directors really like that, cause that’s just sad.


    • Josh Marsfelder
      March 8, 2017 @ 8:34 pm

      Perhaps not all, but the culture facilitates it.


    • Kaan Vural
      March 14, 2017 @ 6:08 am

      As a film student, I see this mentality all the time. Teens convinced that their deep and revolutionary ideas for fiction will change the world – if only they can master the cinematography, and editing, and write the soundtrack themselves, and learn how to do make-up so they can play all the characters…

      That’s a deep-seated need for control that is fine if you’re a painter or a novelist, but it just doesn’t work for film. Things like budgets and filming conditions are just too fluid to maintain rigid artistic vision. (Ironically this is even more the case with larger-budget productions.)

      I get joy out of filmmaking as a collaborative exercise, and I know a few others who do as well, but in the industry they’re the exception rather than the rule. Partly because the industry seems to despise collaborative credit. Consider that Carrie Fisher was one of Hollywood’s most sought-after script doctors, and yet for most her life received practically no public recognition for it. Her reasons for stopping were very telling, as well – it’s often a fundamentally exploitative practice.


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