Article by: Derek Anderson
James Cameron’s Avatar has smashed down competition in theaters and reigns as the highest grossing movie of all time worldwide. The film brings the audience into the new world of Pandora, a moon that the human race wishes to harvest for an ultra-powerful mineral by the name of unobtanium. The indigenous people of Pandora, called the Na’vi, live on top of the largest deposit of unobtanium on the moon and have no intentions of moving from their homes. This pushes the humans to fight for the resources and chaos ensues, involving warfare and death, which ultimately destroys the environment of Pandora and the culture of the Na’vi people.
Although the story is intriguing and the special effects are something from another world, there is a point that Cameron really wanted to drive home to his audience. It is the environment on Pandora Cameron wants people to see, being destroyed and ravished for minerals and resources, a mirror to reality and the present day world.
”I see it as a broader metaphor,” said Cameron in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. “Not so intensely politicized as some would make it, but rather that’s how we treat the natural world as well.”
Avatar is also the most expensive movie ever made. The new technology used to make the movie, 3D, is what cost the most, even delaying it years from when it was written back in 1994, because at that point in time the technology did not even exist. The new spin on 3D was to make it subtle and almost a second nature to the audience, immersing the crowd into the film. This 3D trick drops people right into the new world of Pandora.
The 3D factor makes Pandora a reality to the audience, which can only help Cameron’s attempts to say something about the environment.
”There’s a sense of entitlement – ‘We’re here, we’re big, we’ve got the guns, we’ve got the technology, we’ve got the brains, we therefore are entitled to every damn thing on this planet’,” said Cameron. ”That’s not how it works and we’re going to find out the hard way if we don’t wise up and start seeking a life that’s in balance with the natural cycles of life on earth.”
Jake Sully, a paraplegic marine is entered into the mission on Pandora to interact with the Na’vi. His mind is input into an avatar, a close clone of a Na’vi. Once he begins to interact with the Na’vi and is taught their ways of life, he begins to become closer with the planet and the Na’vi people. Meanwhile, the humans are moving forward with their plans to destroy the Na’vi’s home, which happens to be a giant tree on top of the biggest unobtanium deposit on Pandora. They move forward with plans and destroy the tree as well as everything else in their paths. The scenes show Na’vi people dying in the chaos as the humans mercilessly bombard their ancient home with missiles, gas and fire.
The destruction of the Na’vi home represents what is happening to our planet right now. Cameron’s attempts to mirror our society now with the newer 3D technology warms the feelings the audience forms toward the Na’vi people. Not left with much but each other, a new leader, and the most sacred part of their culture, the Tree of Souls, the Na’vi people fight off the human attackers and begin to build again, starting from scratch. It is warnings like these Cameron pushed intensely in Avatar and upon the millions that have seen the new blockbuster. Many think the Na’vi have got it right. Maybe society needs something like the most expensive film in history to open its eyes to something as simple as the nature that surrounds us on a daily basis.