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The Avatar stories just won’t stop. But to kick off this collection of tidbits about your favorite billion-dollar baby, here’s a great little morsel kicked off by criticism of the fact that Sigourney Weaver‘s character smokes in the film. The director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education sees Weaver’s character Grace as a pro-smoking icon, while Scenesmoking.org has labeled Avatar with the ‘black lung’ rating, indicating unacceptable tobacco use in the film.

All of which is fairly ridiculous. And yet James Cameron’s explanation of the character manages to be more so, as it muddles the movie’s metaphor with respect to the meaning of the interaction between human and Na’vi. Read Cameron’s comments, and a couple other Avatar tidbits, after the break.

In an email to the New York Times, James Cameron explains Weaver’s character:

She’s rude, she swears, she drinks, she smokes. Also, from a character perspective, we were showing that Grace doesn’t care about her human body, only her avatar body, which again is a negative comment about people in our real world living too much in their avatars, meaning online and in video games.

Which says what about Jake Sully, who also embraces his avatar body over his disabled human one? If Grace’s avatar is escapism, then how does Sully’s get to represent liberation? The Na’vi are presented as a racial ideal connected to the pure essence of nature…except for when Grace is using hers like a kid who won’t walk away from Modern Warfare 2? Maybe we’re missing something here. At least Cameron is more clear with respect to the idea of allowing characters to smoke. “If it’s O.K. for people to lie, cheat, steal and kill in PG-13 movies, why impose an inconsistent morality when it comes to smoking?”

Meanwhile, want to learn how to speak Na’vi? There’s already a wiki explaining some of the intricacies of the invented language, while the site LearnNavi.org bills itself as an educational resource. Knock yourselves out, sci-fi word nerds.

Finally, if you were let down by the erotic interaction (or lack thereof) between Jake and Neytiri, look forward to the DVD, which Cameron says may reinstate a couple of brief cuts that were necessary to lock a PG-13 rating. If you can’t wait for that, Zoe Saldana explains how the Na’vi do it, but you’d probably already figured this out. [ReelzChannel]

If you sync to your banshee and you’re syncing to a tree, why not sync into a person? I almost feel like you’ll have the most amazing orgasm, I guess. It was a very funny scene to shoot because there were so many technical things that sometimes you have to keep in mind that paying attention to all those might disrupt the fluidity of how a scene is supposed to take place. And because Jim was shooting for a PG-13 rating, we couldn’t move in certain directions. The motion would look a little too past the PG-13 rating standards.

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