Avatar (2009) Return to Pandora

This entry was posted in Adventure, Epics, Fantasy, Sci-Fi by Cleave on

This film when it was released was ground breaking with its special effects and artistry. Artistry in that many of the landscapes almost seemed painted and anyone who has ever play Guild Wars, especially in the Tarnished Coast region, will see many of the areas in the film. Some of the concept artists worked on both the film and the game and you can see it. For those that are Guild Wars fans you get to see the plants and the landscapes come to life in ways that you only dreamed and gives you a sense of how it all works together. Games aside the film is about 2 cultures clashing and the tensions that arise from it.

On one side you have the corporation that is mining the planet for a rare ore called unobtanium that sells for an ungodly amount back on earth. They are strip mining the planet and can’t understand why it is that the natives are so mad at them. They have given them schools, medicine and other trinkets, (New York anyone?) to bribe or buy them off. On the other hand you have the Na’vi, The People, who are at one with nature and fight with bows and arrows to protect the land. The world to them is sacred and they see what the corporation defiling the land and their goddess Eywa.

So, we have a film that pits the corporate greed against that of the want to live in harmony. No wonder the mega rich didn’t like this film and everyone else on the planet did! The story is more then just greed and the exploitation of a native people, it is also about one man learning about himself and who he truly is. You could say this story follows many parallels as that of Pocahontas, where a military man falls in love with the chieftain’s daughter. That is the one biggest parallel that is in the film but the film is in no way just a modern far futuristic version of that tale. In this film we have a situation where a two brothers are suffering great loose and how the loose of one is the gain, though not known at first, the gain of the other.

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) has just lost his brother to a mugger that killed him for his money. The two are identical twins which is very important. Jake is also an ex-Marine who was shot in the back. Now he is paralyzed from the waist down and has no use of his legs. Throughout the film you actually see his legs getting thinner and thinner. Now because the brothers were twins they share the same genetic makeup which makes Jake all the sudden a valuable asset to the company. The company is mining Pandora for the unobtanium and are using avatars, a genetic mix of human and Na’vi DNA so that they can better interact with the natives.

The Avatar program grows bodies to look like the natives that a human “driver” is able to interact with. A person will enter into a capsule and connect with the avatar body in such a way that they are literally 99% in the other body and their own body is just asleep. In this way they can walk, work and breath in the atmosphere of Pandora. It also allows them to better interact with the natives as they now look mostly like them except that they have 5 fingers and toes instead of just 4. Since Jake is a genetic match for his brother he is able to connect to his brother’s avatar. In this way the company is not out the millions that were spent to create the avatar for the other twin.

Grace (Sigourney Weaver) at first sees Jake as nothing more then a cripple that has robbed her of the scientist that she was expecting. All she sees is a gun happy jar head that will do nothing but cause her trouble. It is Jake’s training that actually helps to keep him alive when he becomes separated from her and her team the first time that they go out. The world is a wonder to him, he doesn’t see profit or scientific discovery, he sees the world as a child does, full of wonder and beauty but also not aware of the dangers that are out there waiting to kill him. He got a taste of that the first day driving his avatar when a panther like creature chases him off a cliff and over a waterfall. He winds up having to fend for himself in a totally alien and hostile environment.

Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) is a Na’vi and comes across Jake as he is trying to fend of jackal like creatures as he tries to survive the night. At first she was going to kill him till what she calls a Messenger of Eywa lands of her arrow and stays her hand. She instead watches and waits till the last moment to help him. She is constantly calling him a child and tries to get rid of him till many of Eywa’s messengers light on him till he looks like a glowing lamp post. It is then that she decides to take him to her village, Home Tree, so that he can meet her father Eytukan (Wes Studi) and spiritual guide mother Mo’at (CCH Pounder). It is at that meeting that it is decided that Jake will be taught the ways of the people and then it will be decided what to do with him.

This is a film that has both meaning as well as entertainment. It has vast vistas that take your breath away and fast moving sci-fi elements that will have you on the edge of your seat. This is a film that you will want to watch more then once or maybe more then tenth. It will be interesting to see what James Cameron will do with the sequels to this film. I know that I am looking forward to seeing them.

I give this film a Musing review of ★★★★★☆