Humanity is not the most efficient or dangerous fighting machine in the world. While the move from all fours to a more bipedal stance allows for specialized tool use and the like, it makes them pretty slow, pretty off balance, and easy to take down. That’s why people had to develop weapons. Because they were way below average in terms in strength, speed, or dexterity. Humanity evolved from a four-legged animal and has made the best with an imperfect original blueprint.
Why do I bring this up? Well, in Avatar, James Cameron has continued the pretty silly idea of basing future technology on human-based design. This comes in the form of some giant robot vehicles that the human soldiers drive. Take a look.
Okay, here’s the the thing. These giant robots might seem pretty cool, no doubt. I’m not doubting that my inner 7-year-old that thinks giant mech suits are cool as fuck. Look how popular Transformers are and that idea, which I adore by the way, is rock stupid. And that’s what I’m getting at. Giant robots are cool but really ineffective in combat and that is why they are ridiculous for any army-type to employ in a combat situation.
What do I mean? People are pretty top-heavy with a high center of gravity. When you can create any kind of killing machine in the world, why make one look kind of like one of the least effective-killing machines, aka people. So, people machines are just bad design. But, whatever, there are plenty of examples of giant robots in the world of sci-fi. It’s dumb but to be expected. Fine.
But here is where Avatar gets reeaallly dumb. The mechs have fully articulated hands that are controlled by VR-style gloves worn by the mech drivers. So, if you built a giant piano or a giant guitar, these fuckers could make a giant robot band. Yeah, that’s a good use of military technology. So, what is the use of giant robot hands? To shoot giant robot guns, of course. Instead of having built in weapons, the giant robots carry fully separate giant robot assault rifles. So what does this mean in terms in combat? It means if you are involved in a firefight, the mech pilot fires his gun by pretending to hold a gun in the cockpit. It looks like Journey playing invisible instruments like in the “Separate Ways” video. Yes, that stupid. The fact that these soldiers don’t accidentally break the guns that their mechs are holding is a miracle.
But even this isn’t the stupidest thing. Well, when the mech in Avatar gets inevitably disarmed, it is forced to get into the obligatory hand-to-hand fight with the protagonist. So, this is when the giant robot draws a giant robot knife. Not a built-in blade, but an an actual giant survival knife drawn from a giant robot sheath from a giant robot belt. It proceeds to get in a giant robot knife fight with the protagonist. Why, oh why, would a giant robot need a giant robot serrated giant survival knife? Maybe it has a giant robot compass in the pommel? Maybe it might need to whittle a giant survival spear out of a giant robot piece of wood so it can catch giant robot fish in the giant robot stream? It is so asinine I don’t know how to keep writing about it. It has exhausted my brain to even ponder it.