Some films evoke different
emotions for diverse groups and Avatar is not only one of the more
groundbreaking films ever, but one of the more thought provoking.
For some, Avatar is a movie about the fight for survival, hope and the
redeeming quality of love. For others, it is a marked commentary on
their social systems, racial profiling or the continued ravages
perpetrated on the planet. It holds up a mirror to a society that holds
economic development and financial profits as more important than nature
and human life.
In the year 2154, a large multi-planetary corporation is hunting a rare
mineral called unobtanium on an earth-like moon called Pandora. The
indigenous population, the Naívi is threatened by extinction. A
paraplegic marine dispatched to Pandora to secure the unobtanium becomes
torn between following his orders and protecting the world he comes to
consider his home.
The storyline may not be new, harking back to films like Dancing with
Wolves, but James Cameron, the director conceptualized a social
statement touching on everything from deforestation to capitalism.
The surprising twist to the reception of the movie makes it stand out as
a commentary on life in the 21st century. Some reviewers found the film
to be profoundly racist with the protagonist taking the part of the
white man who single-handedly saves the planet and the second-rate
natives who were unable to save themselves. This stirred a heated debate
on the undercurrent of racism in American society today in reviews and
Still others believe that Stephen Lang definitely played a racist in the
movie, but, in the end, the redeeming message of the film was one of
anti-racism and an antagonistic perception of corporate greed coupled
with allusions to the war on terrorism and U.S. terrorist policies.
The Vatican released a statement condemning the movie as a propagation
of pantheism over Christianity since the characters clearly worship
nature above all else.
Even the Chinese government felt the slings of arrows and condemned the
film as a thinly veiled criticism of its human rights issues and allowed
the movie to only be shown in the few 3D theaters in China.
However, on the technological side, Avatar was ground-breaking with the
kinesiology of movement captured with a mix of infrared cameras,
computer software and reflective body markers. The technology may prove
useful in both athletic endeavors and rehabilitation for victims of
strokes and injuries. What started out as a biomechanical tool morphed
into an advanced form of cinematography resulting in a more advanced
medical analysis of the human body and how it works in medical
Perhaps in the long run, what Avatar has to offer is the old adage that
the ends donít justify the means. When principles are compromised, the
dignity of the individual, the solidarity of family life and the respect
of social and moral issues are trampled on by those who seek only to
find a pot of gold no matter where it is or who it hurts.