(NaturalNews) If you see just one film this holiday season (or even this year), make it James Cameron's Avatar. It's a powerful, inspiring film that demonstrates movie-making at its best, and it delivers a crucial message for our time: That all living beings are connected and that those who seek to exploit nature rather than respect it will only destroy themselves.
Much of the press about Avatar has focused on the special effects, the motion capture and the 3-D presentation. These are modern filmmaking marvels, for certain, but the film succeeds for a far more important reason: Its story -- and its message. Others have reviewed the film in a more critical light; notably Alex Jones who sees it as more of a propaganda piece (http://www.infowars.com/alex-jones-reviews-a...). But I see the film differently, and I think it carries a strong, positive message. (Spoiler alert: This article discusses some of the plot elements of the film.)
With Avatar, Cameron has delivered a fast-paced fantasy adventure that weaves together a stream of powerful themes that are so important to our modern world that they extend far beyond the world of fictional film: Issues like corporations destroying nature for profit, the lack of respect for living creatures, and the failed policies of "military diplomacy" that the USA continues to pursue. The themes in Avatar reflect the greatest challenges of our modern world, and the message of Avatar is both deeply moving and highly relevant to the future of human civilization.
Not many who view Avatar will understand all this, of course. To the younger crowd, Avatar is simply a cool action-adventure film with a compelling love story that makes it a great date flick. But to those who've been around on this planet a little longer, the story of Avatar is a far important story of good versus evil, war versus peace, destruction versus healing and isolationism versus interconnectedness. This depth of sensitivity to life is rare to find in any film these days, much less a blockbuster feature film, but that's what makes Avatar so truly remarkable: It speaks to viewers at many different levels, intertwining the core themes of human mythology in an extremely tight, fast-paced screenplay that doesn't let a second go to waste.
That's classic James Cameron, of course: Cutting scenes, dialog and seconds out of the film until it becomes a polished, tightly-presented story that transports you into the on-screen world and doesn't let go of you until the credits roll. It's an emotional story, too. Much like Titanic, Avatar convincingly pulls you into the minds and hearts of the key characters, delivering an authentic emotional connection with the on-screen characters even though their skin is blue.
The overriding theme of Avatar is one of western Colonialism, where western nations use their military might to invade lesser developed countries, terrorize their people and pillage their lands for valuable natural resources.
And yet these acts of military imperialism are always justified by the imperialists. As the top military commander says in the film in response to the natives resisting their lands being pillages, "We'll fight terror with terror!"
It remains the standard operating procedure of any military imperialist nation: Invade whatever country you wish, and if the locals fight back, condemn them as terrorists and use that as an excuse to turn up the heat with even more bombs and weapons.
Gaia and the interconnectedness of nature
One of the more interesting elements in Avatar is the neural connection fibers that each living creature is born with on the planet. Animals, humanoids and even the trees have these neural connection fibers, allowing all living creatures to "plug in" to each other's neural networks. Once connected, they can feel each other's emotions and thoughts. They are, in essence, operating as one single being with expanded sensory awareness.
This plot element is largely thought of as fiction, but in reality, it is merely a representation of something that's very real in our world: The interconnectedness of all living systems through methods that science hasn't yet identified. Although science won't admit it, there does exist some medium of communication between living things right here on planet Earth.
Plants, for example, really do talk to each other through their roots and other sensory systems. The study of this field of science is called Plant Neurobiology, and the world's top research facility is the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology in Italy. There, it has long been established that plants are, in fact, intelligent. (http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/new...)
Recent research actually demonstrates that plants communicate over their own "chat networks" where important information is exchanged about what's happening in their immediate environment. (http://www.physorg.com/news109944832.html)
The world depicted in Avatar also demonstrates the healing power of Mother Nature as the key character Jack Sully has his consciousness transferred from his broken human body to his much stronger alien body through the help of a healing tree (into which all the natives are neurologically plugged in, too).
The concept of Gaia is also unleashed in the film, although it's never referred to as Gaia. At one point in the film when all hope seems lost for the natives, Jack Sully prays to Gaia to help save them, at which point the female character Na'vi says, "[Mother Nautre] doesn't take sides. She only maintains the balance of life." This demonstrates a much deeper understanding of the role of nature than most modern humans grasp.
Avatar and the Amazon Rainforest
Much of what takes place in Avatar could be described as a very accurate reflection of the struggle between petroleum companies and the indigenous populations of the Amazon rainforest.
As someone who lives in Ecuador full time, I am particularly aware of some of the local details of this struggle. It is essentially the same setup as Avatar: Native people live in harmony with the environment, respecting the life around them, and then a western corporation shows up and destroys their ecosystem, poisons the people and exploits the land in order to mine it for valuable natural resources. The people fight back and they're met with military force.
This reflects the very modern story of the indigenous Ecuadorian Indians versus Chevron and its oil drilling agenda. Read more about this conflict between Chevron and the people of the Amazon here: http://chevrontoxico.com/
What's satisfying about Avatar, of course, is that the natives fight back. Rather than allowing their lands to be destroyed by corporate greed, they fight the imperialists with intelligence and a network of willing animals operating via land and air -- animals who ultimately allow the natives to defend themselves against the invaders.
Here's where Avatar really becomes fiction, because in the real world, spears usually aren't victorious over bullets. And hoards of large bullet-proof animals don't stampede to your rescue. But that's Hollywood, and it makes for a great story even if it's not an accurate reflection of what happens in our world.
There's a level of violence in Avatar, but it's not gratuitous, bloody violence. It's not gore, and the military action violence that takes place in the story always moves the story forward. James Cameron never uses violence solely for the sake of violence -- he uses it in the film as a crucial part of the story.
Technology and emotions
The reason Avatar works is because the technology has advanced enough for CG (computer graphics) to accurately capture and render the subtleties of facial expressions. As human beings, we are hard-wired to read and interpret subtle facial expressions as emotional content, and without the subtleties, computer-animated characters look stale and plastic.
But thanks to the remarkable technology that Cameron has applied to Avatar, facial expressions are convincingly carried through the computer-rendered alien characters (no doubt with a fair bit of 3D modeling work to help augment the motion capture). The result is a level of human authenticity (in alien-looking characters) that has never been achieved before... in any film!
Remember, though, that technology alone never makes a great film. It's the story that really makes it work. Technology just makes the story convincing.
Go see Avatar
If you love nature, and you love to see beautiful alien worlds depicted in breathtaking scenery, go see Avatar. If you love action films, or a touching romance, or science fiction, go see Avatar. In my opinion, it is easily the best film of the year, and perhaps even the best film of James Cameron's career.
It also delivers a message that feels right at home to NaturalNews readers: The love of nature, the interconnectedness between all living things, and the victory of good over military might. Avatar is much more than an action flick. It's much more than a love story, too. In my view, it's an urgent message for our modern world where many of the atrocities committed by the human invaders in Avatar are being carried out right now against our own planet.
When it comes to planet Earth, after all, humans are the imperialists. We have destroyed much of the natural habitat on our planet; we've poisoned the rivers and oceans; we've polluted the sky and burned up much of the planet's natural resources. In our quest for more energy, more consumption and more profit, we are stupidly destroying our own planet... and destroying our own future in the process.
We are, in effect, both the invaders and the natives on this planet, and through our misguided collective consumption, we are destroying our own land, our own trees and our own home. And because life is so delicately interconnected, in destroying our own planet, we are only destroying ourselves.
This is one of the many messages that Avatar delivers. Go see the film yourself to catch the rest.
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