Unobtanium?

Posted 2010.05.09 22.56 in Music/Movies/TV

So I finally saw Avatar the other day. It was a lot longer to watch, than it was to read the synopsis. It was a lot like the Pocahontas movie, only with blue aliens and heliopter gunships. I didn’t see the Pocahontas movie, but I read the synopsis of that too.

So the first big thing that stuck with me, was this unobtanium stuff. The word unobtanium has been around for a long time, and it more or less means something that is next to impossible to get.  I first encountered the term in the late 90’s, relating to Apple’s Newton eMate product. The memory upgrade was said to be made of unobtanium, because it was virtually impossible to get your hands on.

So in the movie… unobtanium sounds like it would be acceptable as a working-term for early on in the script developtment. But it shouldn’t have made it into the finished film. Considering this grey rock was supposed to be so important and so valuable that it was worthwhile to travel so far and spend so much money to mine it, I’d have really liked to know what it was good for.

I think the corporate guy said it was worth $20,000 / kg which at first seems like a lot. When you consider though that it takes about 6 years to travel between Earth and Pandora, and how much it must cost to move every kg of supplies back and forth, how much personelle and material had been moved to Pandora, and how long they had appearantly been there, $20,000 / kg seems fairly reasonable.

At any rate, my point is that I really wanted to know why this mineral was valuable. Was it a fuel source? Energy source? Did it have medical properties? Was it saving the lives of the people back on Earth?

I mean, the corporate dude was painted as a money-grubbing bad-guy; it’d have been nice to have a bit more behind his motivation than “it is valuable because we say so” and “I’m callous and money-grubbing for no reason“. I mean, did the blue people kill his father and rape his mother? Or did his sister go-native? Hey if Ripley was his sister, that would have been cool.

Anyhow, it reminded me a lot about the Stargate series – the books, not the television show. The books were much more interesting and believable. So the natives beat the humans and sent them packing… but if Unobtanium is so important, they will be back in greater numbers and with bigger guns. It also reminds me of Aliens, with the corporate wanker in that. At least there, we knew what the value was.

I’d still like to know what the hell Unobtanium is and what it actually does, to make it valuable.

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