When James Cameron’s Avatar first came out I was in high school. I didn’t think much of it initially. Drawing the likes of Atlantis, Pocahontas, and The Last Samurai in terms of story, I wasn’t blown away as my peers were. This was due to gung-ho-testosterone-fueled characters making sarcastic jabs at each other to fill a conversation much alike James Cameron’s classic Aliens along with a simplistic, overdone story of an outsider who finds solace and understanding in a generally viewed inferior side. Yes, the views and spectacle was epic but I was not won over. Needless to say, I enjoyed it for what it was as Avatar chopped it up on screen and hit all the right points. It strung at the feels, intense fight sequences, and technically speaking, was a marvel to look at.
A shade over a decade later, Avatar: Way of Water is released. Time to rewatch the OG before I hit the theater. Got to say, many of the visuals hold up to this day. Very, very few, close up shots with CGI looks a bit wonkey. The impact of the latter half of the movie still hits hard. The story takes time in setting up with its two and half hour run time, investing you in the Pandora world. Everything that is touched, matters. Every action, matters. A decade later it got me thinking, this is something that would happen if we left Earth and found a rare resource elsewhere in our star-studded sky.
It’s common to hear history repeats itself. To me, that’s what Avatar is about. At least what I see. If we came across a colony of people, an alien population, what would our initial greeting be like? Would we hold out our hand for trade? Start planning extermination so we can whip out a new roadmap? Think less of a tribal community instead of learning what they can offer? Or destroy something sacred. Think of the land and sky, how we’re here and not as disconnected from our own natural, organic network. With this in mind, Avatar has a close relation to Broken Arrow. A story about a man who tries to bring peace between the Apaches and the American Government.
We are capable of recycling our history. We are also capable of leaving this planet. I don’t think we are meant to stay, we are here to learn how to take care of ourselves and the nature around us. We have been experiencing the consequences of not doing so. That’s the beautiful thing of cinema, it reflects our life and our future.
I view Avatar differently now. A spectacle that opens the doors to the future. A story that’s easy to grasp but a pill that’s harder to swallow.
Thanks for listening to my rant.