With mixed reviews from journalists and moviegoers alike, James Cameron’s epic “Avatar” has already made over a billion dollars worldwide after only being released a few short weeks ago. For many, the movie is so wonderful and filled with so many concepts that folks are seeing it over and over again. The detractors complain that the movie criticizes everything from the United States and its military, Christianity, and big corporations. Some even say that the movie is not original and that it’s reminiscent of “Dances With Wolves” with blue people and that it’s another “great white hope” trying to save the natives. Well, I say that the movie is all that and more and that it’s a fascinating ride through an extraordinary world.
“Avatar” is the basic story of the mean old Americans going to a planet called Pandora to steal one of their natural resources. Marine-like soldiers inhabit the planet and one of the soldiers (Sam Worthington) is sent (through an avatar) to infiltrate the nice blue natives and wham – he‘s supposed to get ’em. As luck would have it, he falls in love with the main beautiful blue lady (Zoë Saldana) and turns on the Americans.
Simple enough, but it’s not that simple. The film is filled with so many messages that it’s hard to ignore. The messages include global warming issues, corporations stealing natural resources, loving nature and earth, how religions can take many forms and loving other people from different backgrounds based on content of their character.
As for the movie being representative of Native Americans, I found that the blue people incorporated several ethnicities. While they rode horses and used bow and arrows, they also wore African hairstyles and African inspired jewelry. Most of the blue people are played by people of color – which I think was James Cameron’s point – in the film he is dealing with how indigenous people all over the world have been damaged by and invaded by outsiders.
In response to the great-white hope saving the natives criticism, I have to admit that I was concerned about that as I was watching the movie. However, as I continued to think about it, I realized that everyone worked together to save Pandora. The white guy stands out because-well-he was white. Besides, maybe Cameron is making a statement about white guilt in regard to colonialism and how in some cases it has not been good for the world. Hmmm, food for thought!!
Meanwhile, I need to see the movie again to take it all in again. Pandora rules! James Cameron rules! I want to be a blue person!