In my quest to observe how new scientific knowledge of other planets would be assimilated into popular culture via films and other media, I have stumbled upon a movie called 'Avatar' directed by James Cameron.
Here's an overview:
In the future, Jake, a paraplegic war veteran, is brought to another planet, Pandora, which is inhabited by the Na'vi, a humanoid race with their own language and culture. Those from Earth find themselves at odds with each other and the local culture.
In a distant future, humanity discovers the planet 'Alpha Centauri B-4', and for those scientists and astronauts who've traversed the gulf between neighboring suns and arrived on its alien soil know it as 'Pandora'. A world filled with an incredible diversity of beautiful and deadly ammonia-breathing lifeforms. It's also a world that harbors treasures and resources almost beyond price.
I will stop here with my spoiler. Those who want more can click here at your own risk.
Already there's been plenty of movies that give reference to other planets but I am on the lookout as to how new movies would absorb new scientific findings about exoplanets. Will they actually have the word "exoplanet" in their script? Will they mention "Habitable Zones"? Will they consider habitable exomoons as a setting?
In this movie, 'Alpha Centauri B-4' is obviously using a different exoplanet naming system than what we currently have. From the looks of it, Pandora might be the 4th planet from one of the stars comprising Alpha Centauri. This is a great start! And what the heck? It's a movie! Must I expect much?
Although I enjoy movies for what they are, I tend to appreciate more of those movies that have accurate scientific references, more or less. For me, there's a reason why "Science" is in Sci-Fi.
Avatar will be in IMAX 3D, to be premiered on December 18, 2009. I eagerly await for this potential Exoplanetology movie of the year!