The story of Avatar is simply about a man from an industrial society who joins a low-tech (spiritually high-tech) tribal culture and becomes its leader. The benevolent imperialist is a common Hollywood export. Here are 20, or so most important things you should know about the global smash Avatar, that has set alight conversation on the internet and elsewhere just like The Dark Knight did in 2008.
Why was Avatar such a big hit?
In one word: conversation. Avatar was a movie made for the talking internet generation of today. Other word: 3D. But that is all greedy business talking. Read these 5 theories on why Avatar was such a huge success.
Also Read Denofgeek post about how Avatar went from dodgy trailer to global domination
Conservatives in America hate Avatar
Because Avatar is "blatantly pro-environmental and anti-war"
Because Avatar is "a big, dull, America-hating, PC revenge fantasy"
Liberals love Avatar
Because Avatar deals with the theme that "big business is sinister and in league with a malevolent state," something Americans have always liked. Recently, George Clooney's "Syriana", 2000's "Erin Brockovich" and last decade's "the Insider" all had similar anti-big business themes.
Because Avatar "offers a chilling metaphor for European butchery of the Americas".
Most people just loved Avatar because it entertains
Because they just loved the beautifully rendered landscape and figures, the 3-D spectacle and good old adventure storyline.
Some love Avatar because it highlights existing struggles by "indigenous people fight to save their forest homes from corporate exploitation".
The Chinese people loved Avatar because see their own story in it. they see in it how private developers, working with corrupt government officials forcibly evict them from their houses, using thug power, with very inadequate compensation and without their consent.
Those who resist are reduced to live in so-called "nail households" left stranded in the middle of busy, noisy construction sites.
The one thing that stuck out in Avatar
Jason Kottke asks,
How can a seemingly stone age tribe have "intimate access to a moon-sized supercomputer -- a neural net supercomputer at that -- that connects them to every other living thing on their world"
It just doesn't add up.
Storyline A. The expelled humans return.
Storyline B. Ignore the humans (at least until part three) and open up the possibility of a new threat, from a more defeatable enemy.
The obvious storyline for part two would be the return of the expelled humans, following a sort of The Empire Strikes Back blueprint.
There was a sex scene in the original Avatar script
The obligatory sex scene between Jake (conquering) and Neytiri (local girl) was axed from the movie. According to the Avatar script posted online by Fox, the Na'vi don't have sex like humans - they have "the ultimate intimacy" using their pony tail-like "queues" to mesh together.
Avatar-Pocahontas mashup videos
So far, Avatar has been accused of being a remake of Kevin Kostener's "Dances with the Wolves" and "Pocahontas", both involving stories of two races facing each other off, and then there is the girl.
There are many ‘Avatar’-'Pocahontas' mash-up videos, for example, here.
How can I speak in Na'vi language?
Fear not. A site is already up.
Go to Learnnavi.org
My four favorite reviews of Avatar
David Denby in The New Yorker
Science is good, but technology is bad. Community is great, but corporations are evil. “Avatar” gives off more than a whiff of nineteen-sixties counterculture, by way of environmentalism and current antiwar sentiment.
This article which puts a spin on the 'ideal' form if imperialism
...[T]he more blatant lesson of Avatar is not that American imperialism is bad, but that in fact it’s necessary. Sure there are some bad Americans—the ones with tanks ready to mercilessly kill the Na’vi population, but Jake is set up as the real embodiment of the American spirit. He learns Na’vi fighting tactics better than the Na’vi themselves, he takes the King’s daughter for his own, he becomes the only Na’vi warrior in centuries to tame this wild dragon bird thing. Even in someone else’s society the American is the chosen one. He’s going to come in, lead your army, fuck your princesses, and just generally save the day for you. Got it? This is how we do it.
And finally, the cutest review of Avatar: How Avatar is actually Terminator Part -5