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By the time you read this, Avatar will have grossed enough to pay down the national debt, bail out a few more banks and provide top-shelf health care to everyone west of the Mississippi.

Unless you are living somewhere east of Pandora, you know the basic story line of this monster hit. A team of space travelers—including a paraplegic Marine, an altruistic but tough-talking scientist, a greedy corporate schemer and a cigar-chomping military man—are sent to a faraway moon to explore and exploit. The scientists want to play nice with the natives, but everyone else wants to mine the land for its valuable resources, leaving its back-to-nature inhabitants in its charred wake.

 

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