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Avatar: Summary and Analysis
Jake Sully is a combat marine who has been injured in battle. As a result, he’s a paraplegic. The VA doesn’t have enough money to repair his legs, so he’s in a wheelchair. After his twin brother is killed, Jake takes his place in a project on Pandora, a distant planet. Earthlings need a rare mineral found there in order to solve the humans’ energy crisis.
Pandora is a hostile environment for humans. The air is toxic, and the wilderness is filled with prehistoric-like savage beasts. Scientists have taken the DNA from the indigenous Pandorans, humanoids called the Na’vi, and combined it with human DNA to create avatars. These avatars can then be controlled by the humans in the quest for the rare mineral.
Jake is seduced by the evil Colonel Quaritch to infiltrate the Na’vi in exchange for an operation on his legs. Jake agrees, but he soon finds himself indebted to a beautiful member of the Na’vi tribe, Neytiri, who saves his life. After Jake falls in love with Neytiri and is indoctrinated into the tribe, his outlook changes. He wants to remain in his avatar persona and protect the people from the annihilation the colonel has planned.
I found this movie to be very entertaining. It’s a wonderful mixture of the past, the present, and the future. For example, many of the creatures on Pandora are futuristic yet prehistoric. The special effects are amazing! This is one you simply must see on the big screen and in 3D at least once. After that, you’ll want to re-watch it at home!
The film contains several examples of social commentary. The fact that the VA has run out of funding could easily be interpreted as a comment on our present economic downturn. The rare mineral needed for energy could represent oil, and the primitive Na’vi could stand for citizens of third world nations who have resources needed by more advanced countries.
The movie could also represent the historical conquest of Native Americans by whites. In fact, this is entirely plausible. One sub-group of Na’vi are called the plains people, and they, like the Plains Indians, are skilled horsemen and warriors. Also, the Na’vi culture is much like that of the Native Americans. They are children of the land, they’re hunters, and they have a deep respect for Nature. Even their dress, their weapons, and their use of “war paint” is much the same.
The climax of the plot is the traditional epic battle of good versus evil. You’ll find yourself cheering for the Na’vi as they fight against almost insurmountable odds in an effort to protect their homeland and their culture.
The scenery in the movie is spectacular, with mountains, waterfalls, and jungle foliage – interspersed with fantastical plants and creatures that will both entertain and amaze viewers. Even if you don’t especially care for science fiction or fantasy, you’ll enjoy this film. The action drags a little in parts – especially at the beginning. After that, however, hang on to your seat! The 3D is so realistic that at times you’ll find yourself ducking or reaching out to feel a falling leaf or seed pod.
Avatar was nominated for four Golden Globe awards, including Best Director, Best Picture (drama), Best Original Score, and Best Original Song. It has also been nominated for nine Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards, including Best Action Movie, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Editing, Best Makeup, Best Picture, Best Sound, and Best Visual Effects.
The movie is rated PG-13, for language and violence, although it lacks real blood and gore. Really graphic violence is absent, so I feel that it would be fine for viewers younger than 13, other than the small amount of explicit language used.