In minds of many of those who have not seen it yet, The Avatar – James Cameron’s hit movie -, could have only meant to be the first of high graphics but repetitive full-of-action-“alien” adventure film of the new decade. It was bound to come and top its predecessors such as the Terminator, The Aliens and the likes thereof. However, there was something more intriguing and awakening than Avatar’s wonderful 3D technology and the array of its colorful pictures. Such awakening freshness, many agree, was the hidden message behind Avatar’s story!
The Avatarpolitical, social and its cultural message could be summarized as follows:
1. Our understanding of other cultures and peoples lives is only a perception
No matter how closely we resemble or how far we differ from each others’ biology, our understanding of another culture is only what are told and hear about that society and its people. This attitude was evident in almost every human character occupying sacred land of the Na’vi, known as Pandora.
2. Reality of a society is only understood if one lives amongst the people of that society, even as an “Avatar”
The main character of the movie, Jake, did not possibly understand, the natives ways of life, their costumes and what they value until he was forced to live as an Avatar amongst them. He not only fell in love with, princess of the Omaticaya, Neytiri, but also with simple but rich, extraordinary and precious lifestyle that the natives possessed. This change of attitude was very clear when, at one point Jake mentions something to the effect of “Dream and reality has been changed” for him; implying that his real life is now feels like a dream and his life as an Avatar is what feels like reality.
3. The “aliens” may look ugly to some, but to themselves they are beautiful
Beauty, attractiveness and love are all relative terms and subjective. They have to be viewed within the context of their application.
4. They love their children too, even ugly aliens in The Avatar
Yes, the “aliens”, the “enemies”, the “foreigners” and the “backwards-always-crazy” people of the far land love their children too.
This reminded me of Sting’s famous “Russians” song , except I would put it this way:
“The Russians, surely, love their children too”
Watch the “Russians” here and remember that “There is no such thing as a winnable war, it’s a lie we don’t believe anymore”
5. Political and materialistic motives are real incentives behind invading and occupying armies
Surprisingly Hollywood and Cameron show that this is true even on planet Pandora.
See history of Colonization of Africa, America, India, and Australia. Drawing parallel between the recent wars of Iraq, Afghanistan and the struggle of the children of Palestine are very easy.
6. Freedom fighters are not “terrorists”
This is another evident message of of the movie; when the natives of Pandora, start defending themselves by attacking humans’ massive military planes and gunships with their spears, bow and arrows. They gather together, while marching forward to push the enemy out and away of their land knowing that many of them are bound to get killed.
7. Self-destructive pride prevents one from accepting the truth
This was the case for Colonel Miles Quaritch, the head of the mining operation’s private security detail. His pride did not allow him to put his arms down even when everything was over and the humans had lost the war.
He died fighting for his pride.
8. One who stands for justice and truth, even against his own people, is not a “hater” or a “self-hating anti-republic”
Jake in the end proves this.
Once he saw the truth about life on Pandora, his conscious forced him to fight along side the native na’vi and against his own occupying people. He did this because “It Was the Right Thing to Do”
“They send us a message that they can take anything they want, and we will send them a message that “this, this is our land” – Jake, the Avatar
9. The oppressed will eventually prevail over the Oppressor
This is the reality of the universe, the balance of justice and peace, as close as our neighbours and as far as Pandora’s planet in the movie The Avatar.
10. Do not judge Avatar by its trailer
I did, and I was wrong.
Though the trailer of Avatar made the movie appear as another “3D” propaganda product for war mongering and nationalistic slogans, its content and its message was to the contrary.
The message of Avatar was of peace, independence, love, liberation, freedom and self-sacrifice; a potent dose of wake up caffeine to the occupying forces and their supporters.
The reality of Avatar was fresh and an awakening.