March 27, 2013
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*** After finally being forced to watch Avatar for a class assignment, I figured I would share my initial reactions to the movie on here. ***
To be honest, I wasn’t too excited to see Avatar, but a lot of that comes from how big of a hit it was due to the romance between Jake Sully and Neytiri. I get easily turned off from movies that are popularized on such a shallow plot line. Given that very little attention was shown to the underlying environmental and cultural story line, it’s easy to understand how this one went “under the radar” in regards to being seen as a movie that could pose the chance for people to change their core values. In order to review what I think was most important about the movie, I’ll skip the boring repeat of the plot line and get right to the meat of the matter.
Environmentally speaking, this movie was magnificently done in a way that helped to capture the effects of how a plant is treated. Reminiscent of Lovelock’s Gaia theory, a concept that I firmly believe and have adopted as a form of faith, the interconnectedness of the planet responds directly to what the habitants do. If the planet is taken care of, as the Na’vi do during their existence, than the planet grows and flourishes, taking care of its inhabitants. The the planet is wastefully used, as is the current practice on Earth and what the private army tends to do to Pandora, the planet will wither and no longer support the life on it (which is the sad fate our current planet is heading for).
In the cultural aspect, it’s a wonderful example of what British colonialism did in the past, what the United States still practices now, and how the current generations are growing up with a lack of cultural respect and appreciation. Not being open to the differences in religious and cultural ideals was something practiced by the British in regards to the Native Americans, Indians, and Aborigionies; currently the US cares nothing for the cultures of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, or the rest of the Middle East, not to mention Puerto Rico and Guam; many 20 and 30 somethings feel that those moving into the states need to assimilate and become “Americans,” dropping all their cultural ties that make them who they are – since Americans are frowned upon for having culture, new comers can’t have it either. This private group run by ex-Marines that are trying to take over Pandora summarize all of that in a disturbing way that would give any culturally aware human being nightmares.
What detracts from the movie are the more “Hollywoodized” components. The idea of the “hero” falling for a princess is way too over the top. It’s been done so many times that it’s ridiculous to see in a movie that could have stood on its own without it. Imagine if Jake had simply come to a realization of cultural awareness without having a night of passion with Neytiri? One would think that if he was truly that open to the Na’vi ways to begin with that it would have been more than a likely possibility. Or the horrible coinage of “unobtainium” and “Pandora?” Need I being spewing on how uncreative that is?