- Has anyone else read Barry Longyear's 'Manifest Destiny'? How about Harry Harrison's 'Deathworld' series? Anne McCaffrey's 'Dragons of Pern' series? Ursula LeGuinn's 'The Word for World is Forest'? James Tiptree's 'The Girl who was Plugged In'? And, not to forget the mechanised armour incursion, Heinlein's 'Starship Troopers' and Keith Laumer's 'We Can Build You'?
This great action movie includes elements of all those, with James Schmitz's 'Balanced Ecology' underlying it all. The Terran incursion has found a mineral resource (naming it 'unobtanium' was the most hoky thing in the flick, but acceptable) and wants to move native sentients out of the future strip mine lands. Certain base personnel have been gene-matched to avatars - alternate bodies cloned from native DNA and their own - to infiltrate the natives and get them to move. The 'hero' is a dissident drafted when his twin brother got murdered the day before shipping out to the world 'Pandora'. The action shots and not-quite-alien scenery is fantastic, and the supposed savage aliens show as having aspects of organic technology better than the Terrans. Dragons big enough to take down helicopters and ground-to-orbit shuttles, a planetwide organic communications grid reminiscent of Stan Lem's 'Solaris', and a multi-level storyline make this a great film for 'mature' audiences. While the sexual references are clean and avoid specifics, the battle scenes do include carnage worthy of 'Shogun Assassin' or an accurate Civil War account.
The sample of mineral resource looked to me like a chunk of galena - lead ore. Maybe it's supposed to be like Sam Delaney's 'illyrium' from 'Nova', ultraheavy stable isotopes created at the moment before a star explodes. The planet Pandora has an atmosphere unbreathable by humans, looks like it's high in ammonia and ozone...
Go see this.