James Cameron's Avatar vs. Cartoons from the '80s and '90s
Unless you've been living under a rock or hibernating in Antarctica, you will have noticed that a rather popular movie about blue aliens and evil humans pretending to be aliens has recently hit the shelves of your nearest rental store, Walmart, or RedBox. James Cameron's movie Avatar has caused quite a stir in the entertainment universe for the past year. Gaining a cruiseship-load of praise from Hollywood elite and consumers alike (Leonardo DiCaprio called it "astounding" and "unbelievable," but we all know he owes Cameron one from his role in Titanic), Avatar has reaped the benefits of years of expensive production and special effects.
I myself enjoyed a lovely Christmas-tide afternoon watching the blue aliens and their human counterparts as they frolicked among light-up plants, rode dangerous dragons, and found love in inter-species romance. Basically, I enjoyed the film in its visual aspect, even though the storyline was a bit too much tree-hugger for me . What struck me though, was how all the hype about the Avatar movie failed to recognize the unoriginality that is, to me, so blatant. Once the film hit the silver screen however, this unoriginality became known to more than just me.
I'm not the only to think that James Cameron spent the years after Titanic watching cartoons from the '80s and '90s...
Let's take a look (just for fun) at all the cartoons that might have influenced James Cameron in making Avatar.
My favorite comparison is FernGully, the cutesy environmental cartoon movie from 1992. This was a movie that made quite an impression on my little child mind. Fairies, talking bats, and lush rainforests took hold of my imagination. Too bad the story was so lame: A guy who is helping to kill a rainforest is magically shrunk to the size of a fairy. He falls in love with a natural-born fairy and decides to stop killing the rainforest. Sound familiar? Read more about the comparison between Avatar and Fern Gully here:
A popular comparison is made with "The Smurfs," a cartoon from the 1980s. Na'vi are blue just like the Smurfs are. Na'vi say strange words like the Smurfs do (ok, so the Smurfs just say "smurf" all the time). They even like cute little animals like the Smurfs do.
"Thundercats" was another cartoon series from the '80s that looked like Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical on steroids. Thundercats are aliens that look like cat-humans. They live on the planet of Pan-- excuse me, I meant to say they live on the planet of Thundera. Thundera was attacked by enemies from the planet of Plun-Darr. Alas, another planet destroyed by outsiders...
"The Ewoks" cartoon was a spin-off from Star Wars. Ewoks are lovable bear-like creatures that live on the planet of... Endor. Huh. Anyway, Ewoks just want to live their own peaceful lives minding their own planet, but their enemies just won't let them alone.
You know, the Na'vi are kind of like the Care Bears. Care Bears live in Care-a-Lot, and they really do care a lot about everyone and everything. Just like Care Bears (devoid of clothing), Na'vi take care of all creatures on their planet, even the dead ones.
Another beloved cartoon from the '80s was "Rainbow Brite." She was so cool and colorful. Although Rainbow Brite doesn't look like a Na'vi, she rode a very special steed to help her win her battles. Something like a flying banshee, don't you think?
Let's not forget the other side in the battle for Pandora. The US military in the movie is an awful lot like the characters in the '80s cartoon "G.I. Joe." Only, G.I. Joes were good guys, and the soldiers in Avatar are viewed as evil war-mongerers.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Personally, I think Cameron should have watched more "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" when he was creating the enemy force in Avatar. Ninjas have sick skills, whereas soldiers just have machines. Plus, these guys were green... imagine Avatar if it was green guys against blue guys!
Ok, so Braveheart isn't a cartoon... but look - blue faces!
Am I exaggerating? Maybe, maybe not. What do you think?
What did you think of Avatar?
Blue Man Group
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