Some reflections about movies (Avatar)


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Hello everybody! My names is Omar (Raiven on the internet). I already introduced myself on the appropiate thread, so I will not repeat all that in here. I'm a movigoer since I was a kid. At first just for the fun of it and then for the stories that could be told on this format. One of the movies that I've enojeyed the most, and which has also intrigued me the most (not for the complexity of the plot, but for the content) was "Avatar", by James Cameron.

I have to say first: I loved the movie. Now, a lot of people, friends included, told me that there was no way to enjoy this movie, which they, and a lot of people described as "a mindless use of FX on a movie with no plot". Then other people asked me how could I love it if my beliefs are not the same as the ones described on the movie. Well, here are my relfexions about it.

Avatar (for those who have seen it) is at a first glance a "green, hippie movie". The main characters come to love the aparently savage and free existence of the na'vi and their relationship with Pandora, and the humans come off as cruel villians who only wish to destroy beauty trhough techonology. For a time I was on a forum dedicated to the movie in which a lot of people try to "rescue" the message from it, gloryfiyng the ecological implications in the story to an almost fanatical level. As with anything in live, movies have to be watched with a healthy level of imparciality. In my opinion, Avatar is not an "anti human" or "anti progress movie". The heroes in the movie are the ones who came to Pandora to understand it, while the villians are those who come to conquer it. The scientists in the movie are gentle people who seek to communicate with the na'vi and their culture, and in the end, the scientist are the ones who help defend it. For me, this is a way of saying that science can be a tool por peace and understanding, not a weapon, which many people do (just see how the colonel wants Jake's Avatar as a spy).

On the other hand, we have the RDA (Resource Development Administration) which arrives to Pandora with guns and bombs in the search for a mineral that can end the energy crisis on Earth. Their personnel are mercenaries, dumb miners, a sadistic colonel and a greddy boss. Now comes the interesting thing about the movie. The villians are the people who are searching for a way to save Earth. Ironic. However, in the other media where Cameron tells more about his universe (I'm talking about the book: "An Activist Survival Guide") we learn that the main objective of the RDA is not to save Earth, but to make as much money possible, regardless of the future of mankind or the lives of the na'vi. This is what I call an example of wrong capitalism, where the so called "entrepeneurs" want to get profit and they don't even care who they have to kill in order to achieve their goals, all the opposite to the ideas what I call "good capitalism", where we have the right to earn our living wihtout stealing or destroying the lifes of other people.

In the end, the good guys win and the the bad guys lose. The RDA is expelled from Pandora and the na'vi can live in peace.

When I said I loved this movie that did not mean the movie was perfect, flawless, or the graetest movie ever made. Not at all. Cameron's worse and almost unforgivable mistake in this movie was to present both sides (na'vi vs RDA) in complete black and white. Through interviews, media like the "Activist guide..." and other opinions from fans of the film, one can see that Cameron wanted to prove that techonology can be used to preserve and understand the natural world, or to destroy it completely. Not a very original message, but a little far from the typical "green" philosophy nowadays. However, the black and white nature of the movie make the audience believe that techonolgy is all wrong, and trees are all good. I liked the na'vi culture on the film, but a lot of people and fans don't seem to realize it is a "romanticized" view of many south american or african tribes. As far as I liked the movie, I would hate to live on a tribe in the middle of the jungle, but most likely, they'll just shoot me on sight before I put a foot in their village.

In the same fashion, Cameron did not want to show humans as immoral, cruel beings who only seek to destroy. Rememeber Doctor Augustine (a little bland for my taste). Human, who wanted a peaceful coexistence with between both cultures, she even had a school to teach english to na´vi children( Jake's character is a little more complicated on this part, so I will write about him later) Human nature posseses both traits, we can preserve, protect, or destroy and conquer, but un my opinion Cameron lost a part of his old genius and didn't explote this reflection as he should've had.

Anyway, this are some of the opinions I had about the movie. I will post others later, after reading your own comments and opinions.

Thanks for reading!

Edited by Raiven
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  • 1 month later...

Raiven,

Welcome! I like your piece. We see eye-to-eye on this one. This is one of my favorite movies, regardless of the message from its creator. What I took from it, mostly, was a property rights issue. The "evil" corporations were exploiting land for resources which did not belong to them. Their best efforts failed and they took the low road in driving out the Na'vi from their homes. Clearly, this is not laissez-faire capitalism. It is greed driven by desperation. The actions of two men (Parker Selfridge and Colonel Quaritch) drove the conflict. They were essentially hoping it would fail to show their true strengths. Not all of RDA backed them, but most did (herd mentality).

Great movie, great scenes... a great work of art. Each side will see their own message, but this movie clearly has many to accomodate a wide audience.

~ Shane

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The movie is brilliant from a technical effects viewpoint. Even stunning.

The story is old hat, trite and banal. White Man vs. Noble Savage.

I have seen it before, many times.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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The movie is brilliant from a technical effects viewpoint. Even stunning.

The story is old hat, trite and banal. White Man vs. Noble Savage.

I have seen it before, many times.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Agreed. Some folks still need to be told, though. Maybe one day it will sink in. Doubtful. 3D version rocks. But I do think this movie did a better job at telling it. And for that alone, this movie will be memorable, for me.

~ Shane

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