Industrial-Sized Deals Best Books of the Month Shop Women's Handbags Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Andra Day Fire TV Stick Off to College Essentials Shop Popular Services tmnt tmnt tmnt  Amazon Echo Starting at $99 Kindle Voyage GNO Gear Up for Football Deal of the Day

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I gotta tell you. I love books that put you in the world of some sci-fi or fantasy movie. I especially love what is generally called technical manuals that delve into the nuts and bolts of the gear, creatures, and other things that are showcased in a movie. I have a fair number of these types of books so I have a good idea what makes a good one. One of the greatest of these types of books is Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual. If you have read it you know what I'm talking about. Tons of details on just about all of the stuff you can imagine from the first two Alien movies. Now James Cameron makes another hit sci-film and another book comes out to showcase the world Cameron created. And it's honestly a good book with lots of information, but it's nowhere near the calibur of the best out there.

Lets start with the good stuff. The Survival Guide is packed with information on the tech, animals, plants, aliens and planets portrayed in the movie Avatar. The book in of itself plays off as its own character in the movie. Apparently it's a stolen report on the planet Pandora that has been annotated by an eco-activist. Makes for a little entertaining banter on the entries. The book is packed with photos as well as information so this isn't some paperback novel type of guide.

You will find information on the climate and ecology of Pandora (including why that dang atmosphere is poisonous to humans). You will find information on just about every animal seen in the movie. You will find exhaustive information on the Na'vi's culture. You will find details on many of the vehicles and vessels used by the humans. You will find information on the guns, gear, and those mobile robot battle suits (called AMP Suits). So that all sounds fine and dandy. Why is it not one of the great technical books you ask? I have a few things to point out on that.

For one thing the information is lopsided. The book shows itself to be separated into different categories, but in truth you will find information that should go into one section squeezed into other sections. It makes for a bit of an ADD type of reading. For instance the entire book is peppered with little tidbits of Na'vi culture info like songs, rituals and items they make. Sometimes it's somewhat related to the section it's squeezed on, but I would have preferred reading all the Na'vi stuff in one section instead of having to find it in little pieces all over the book.

While they are terribly detailed about of information on what the Na'vi use to play music on and how they make clothes other sections aren't getting as much attention. For instance the book makes it a point to mention planet Earth is a mess, but only touches on a few details to just prove some point on the activists end. It would be nice to get some more meat on that since the movie hardly says anything at all (and even hints at details that would be nice to have elaborated on).

On that note three sections do fall behind their peers especially looking at the attention to detail the book goes into on other parts. Here are the three sections:

Flora - This is for the plants on Pandora. Its good for what they have entries on, but there are some glaring omissions in my point of view. One is either an omission or a conflict on canon. Remember that fruit Avatar Jake bit into while at the mining camp? Well it's possibly not in this book so no way of knowing anything about that one piece of fruit that had any bearing on the film. If it IS in the book then they screwed up the origins as the only fruit in the book is said to grow from hard to get trees (which isn't the case in the movie). Now that's admittedly a small detail. The biggest is the lack of entries for plant phenomenon like Hometree, Tree of Voices, and woodsprites (those floating seed things the Na'vi seem to take as omens). You would think such important plants in regards to the plot of Avatar would get very detailed entries. I know... this is supposed to be a survival guide so maybe they didn't have any info when it was "published"... but I don't care. This is a book for the fans. Include everything.

Fauna - This is for the animals on Pandora. This section does provide a lot of impressive information on just about all the animals seen in the movie. It's just not all the creatures seem to get a fair amount of attention on the info. One creature you will get just about all the etymology and behaviour stats while others get less than adequete explanations. So while the Great Leonopteryx has a lot of details on how the wings work you are going to have to figure out for yourself how exactly a fan lizard (those little helicopter lizards) actually spin/flies. The book I would call the Survial Guide's peer on this section is The Wildlife of Star Wars, which is just about a perfect guide to the animals from the Star Wars series of movies. Still the Fauna section of this book does give an impressive amount of info about a large number of animals.

Human Technology of Pandora - This is where the tech comes to play. Now they do a great job explaning interstellar travel and other sciences. That's a plus and puts them on the same calibur as the Colonial Marines Technial Manual. Now when it comes to the actual gear like weapons, gunships and other vehicles you get some decent information. However it's not exactly in the same calibur as said Technical Manual. Sure you get the essential stats, but for instance when I look at the picture of one of the guns and read the info I can't help but think they are leaving out a detail or two. Attack vehicles like the Scorpions and the Dragon heavy gunship have some decent BASIC details, but considering the sophistication of the vehicles I was hoping for more. Like the Colonial Marines book they have information on vehicles not shown in the movie and that's a nice touch to expand the universe. Only they left out some stuff like the submachine guns used in the base, the bulldozers and even the massive excavator. To me it's bad when you leave out notable tech to place stuff you either just get a glimpse of or hardly see in the movie.

So the sections could be better. Another thing I am little irked at is the size of the book. It's like cliff notes size only thicker. Too large to be considered a pocket book and too small to be a sizable shelf book. Likely made that way to further the whole "stolen manual" concept. However due to the size of the book the full color photos can't be enjoyed nearly enough if this was a full sized book. Also being full size would be nice so maybe additional information that was left out could have been added.

Now there have been complaints about the book having too much of an eco-warrior slant to it. I don't think that's a completely objective response. I see this book written as a character in the movie. You have the "official" information of the guide and you have the annotations from the tree huggers. Now admittedly the tree hugger stuff gets over the top, but I think that's simply the nature of the character being portrayed. The activist is a little too loopy and while they make a few good points the zealousness comes through... in an entertaining way I might add. So word of advice; look at the literary struggles between the two views as something of an Abbot and Costello type banter.

I will 100% admit that I am being very critical of this publication. The only reason being that I have read very good and very bad books of this sort. So let me be clear in that Avatar: An Activist Survival Guide (which is the title on the book) is a good book for those who wish to delve more into the world of Avatar. For those of you who are used to the best of these types of books my comments are mostly for you so you will be prepared about what to expect. For those of you new to these types of book you have found a great place to start. In spite of the faults this is still the absolute best resource out there for this movie. Is it worth getting? Absolutely. I don't regret my purchase. I just expected more.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2011
This book just added more appreciation for the imaginary world created by the Avatar movie. It is fun to watch the movie again (a weekly event for me) with the new info from the book making familiar scenes new and fresh again.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on April 15, 2015
The authors wrote this book as though it were an actual in-universe publication of the company exploring Pandora, so take the "party line" expressed throughout with a grain of salt. Additional commentaries on some of the entries in the book have a strong "pro-Na'vi" slant, as though they were written by a member of Greenpeace, but I can tell that the authors wrote them that way deliberately to sustain the illusion of this being an actual RDA publication used by Dr. Holloway or Jake Sully.

Even if you find the idea of a real-life book written in an "in-universe" style silly, the descriptions of the animals and plants of the fictional Pandora are highly believable; it's easy to see the effort James Cameron put into the world-building behind Pandora by hiring real-life experts in as diverse a range of fields as biology, botany, geology, and anthropology. For me, this book was a fascinating look into the ecosphere of Pandora, the fictional Na'vi culture, and the formation of the Hallelujah Mountains. If, like me, you're interested in world-building (perhaps you're a writer or sci-fi roleplaying gamer, or you're just interested in how life on other planets could plausibly evolve), then this book would probab;y make a fascinating reference for you on those grounds alone. If you liked the movie Avatar, and would like to know more about the setting that the movie takes place on, then this book is a must-have. Either way, it is a well-written exploration of an Earth-like alien world that really complements the movie experience.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This book helped me understand more about Pandora and its inhabitants and their way of life. I had to watch the movie again so I could relate to what I was seeing more and look for things I had missed the first time.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on December 27, 2012
An encyclopedic collection of facts about Pandora, its various flora and fauna, the Na'vi culture and the RDA technology, written from an in-universe point-of-view (so there is no information on the making of the Avatar movie) and set shortly before the movie events. There are a lot of images in this book, most of which seem to be concept models and sketches, only very few are movie stills. The images are not very large or clear. There's also a Na'vi to English dictionary included at the end (although without any notes on pronunciation or grammar, and a Na'vi translation of the phrase 'I see you' is not included either).

I'd recommend this to someone who has already seen the movie, as it will contain spoilers for those that didn't, and who is interested in learning more about the life on Pandora. Especially recommended to those who have seen only the theatrical version, as it contains some images and information on Jake's Earth.

BTW, my copy (first printing of the UK paperback edition) contained quite a few typos.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2013
I liked this book a lot, especially the way the information was layed out -short bites with great illustrations. A cool read.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on February 1, 2010
This gets a 5 star for the effort that the people have put into Avatar. This is a great addition to any Avatar fans collection. Granted, you might only appreciate it if you are a hard-core Avatar fan. I really enjoyed reading about this fictional moon "Pandora" and it's surrounding atmosphere.
The Survival guide goes indepth about the planets Inhabitants, Materials that makes up it's surface, even tells about the Flora, and what kind of machinery the Terrans use. This book adds so much more to an already expansive world that Mr. Cameron has put together, you can almost believe it's a real place floating out there in space.

All in all, this is a gem to own and I'd recommend it to anyone in your household who found Avatar to be an enjoyable movie.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on December 7, 2012
Written as an ecowarrior's handbook to the mon/planet Pandora as seen in the movie Avatar, I think I first heard of it either on the DVD or saw it at my local WalMart. 203 pages of every sort of detail you might've wished to know more about while watching the movie. The pages have a "carried in a backpack/pocket" look printed on them, and some pictures are taped or clipped (not for real) to them at times.

Pandoran/Na'vi flora, fauna, customs, language, RDA weapons and equipment- even details of life on Earth, it's all here.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on February 10, 2010
After i saw AVATAR for the first time, I felt like I had some how missed out on something. I wanted more backround information on the Na'vi, their culture and the world of Pandora, and was wishing that James Cameron had first written Avatar as a novel. Then I found this book, and it had everything I was wanting to know in it. I enjoy reading this book and think it is a "must have" for any science fiction/fantasy fanatic.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on August 7, 2011
I was a fan of the Avatar movie so I thought it would be fun to read this book on my airplane ride to China. What a great choice. I had other gadgets that could have kept me busy during my flight as well but I found I spent most of my time reading this book and "learning" about the world of Avatar. If you found the movie interesting and want to learn more this is definitely a good place to start.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure
The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure by Lisa Fitzpatrick (Hardcover - November 30, 2009)
$23.29

James Cameron's Avatar: The Na'vi Quest
James Cameron's Avatar: The Na'vi Quest by Benjamin Harper (Paperback - November 24, 2009)

Avatar (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray/ DVD Combo Pack)
Avatar (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray/ DVD Combo Pack) by Sam Worthington (Blu-ray - 2012)
$25.63
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.