Flashback Fridays: December 2009

On this day, eleven years ago, James Cameron’s Avatar was released into theatres. Development of the film was lengthy and strenuous, with work on the project commencing as far back as 1994. Avatar was a technologically innovative film, breaking new ground with motion-capture technology. The film was universally praised for its technical effects, as well as its captivating storyline. The film centers around a universe in the mid-22nd century. It is here where humans are colonizing into the habitable moon of Pandora, a satellite inhabited by humanoid creatures referred to as the Na’vi. Lead protagonist, Jake Sully is given the opportunity to walk a mile in the shoes of the alien creatures. He becomes well acquainted with love interest Neytiri, and the rest of her tribe. For nearly a decade, Avatar boasted the record of being the highest-grossing film in cinema history, until being surpassed by Avengers: Endgame in 2019. Still, it boasts a record $2.7 billion in total revenue (Around $3.3 billion, adjusted for inflation). 

The first ever exoplanet to support liquid water, GJ 1214 b, was discovered on December 16th. This planet is believed to have an earth like atmosphere, but has an appearance that resembles Neptune. GJ is reported to be approximately 40 light years away and orbits the star Gliese 1214.

In the world of music, Jay-Z topped the charts with his iconic single, “Empire State of Mind.” This would be the last number-one of the 2000’s, closing the decade during its final weeks. The track features an incredible performance from Alicia Keys, who sings the song’s main hook. Originally written by singer-songwriter Angela Hunte and Janet Sewell-Ulepic, the song was intended to be an homage to their beloved hometown of New York City. The track was submitted to Jay-Z’s label, Roc Nation, who initially did not favor the track. Fortunately, with the approval from an associate of EMI Music Publishing, the song would end up in the hands of Jay-Z, who would rewrite many of the verses, while keeping the catchy chorus. Interesting to note, a parody of “Empire” would be released just a few years later by rapper Matty Fresh. Fresh would rework the song into being an homage to his home area, Schuylkill County

The Popular app “Angry Birds” had just released and it’s popularity skyrocketed. Originally released by Chillingo it was intended to be a small game but it’s popularity caused several spin off games, TV shows and even movies.

The most viewed video on YouTube at the time was “Charlie bit my finger – again!” The iconic video has become a staple of early internet history, boasting well over 870 million views as of December 2020. The video features then-three year old Harry Davies Carr and his then infant brother Charlie Davies-Carr. What exactly happens in the video? The title is fairly self-explanatory. Despite its simplicity, “Charlie bit my finger” became a global phenomenon; according to a 2017 CIA report, even Osama Bin Laden had it downloaded in his files. “Charlie bit my finger” is symbolic of the early years of YouTube, where just about any creator could go viral. The Davies-Carr family weren’t pre-existing celebrities, or well established creators; they were just a family who happened to blow up over the Internet, thanks to their humorous home-video.

NigaHiga, also known as Ryan Higa, was the most subscribed to person on the platform YouTube, and held that record for 677 days. He was born June 6th 1990 in Hawaii, and studied medicine before abandoning this to start his YouTube channel. He was best known for his comedy and later went onto become a comedian, actor and musician.

Writers: Micah Borrelli & Lucas Hydock

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