Avatar

Abstract

Current essay is a deep analysis of Avatar, a successful science fiction film written by a high-profile director James Cameroon. Having been observed in multiple reviews and critical reports, Avatar is a perfect topic for discussion and evaluation of different film areas. Cameron created an extraordinary movie for at least $300 million, percolating it in the head for over fourteen years before he finally started shootings (Keegan). The film is not only a sensational source of entertainment, but also the technological breakthrough, which represents Cameron’s new invention that contributed to the creation of a first-class movie. Being the first movie to collect $2 billion worldwide, it is really worth attention of everyone (Keegan).

 

This paper presents the key plotlines of the film, analysis of the reviews and the personal critique. The paper investigates the movie as a reflection of the events that take place in the world and the influence of Cameron’s masterpiece on people and culture. The problem of acting and technological editing of the image as well as the symbolism of the film will also be considered. Moreover, a short prehistory and peculiarities of the film shooting will be discussed. Generally speaking, Avatar is just an action adventure story, while in fact it uncovers a lot of important issues, starting with gender and ending with the global environmental problems, thus, it is important to discuss all the issues discussed in the movie.

Synopsis and the Key Plotlines of the Movie

The movie contains a story of a paraplegic marine Jake Sully who enrolls in the Avatar program on the planet called Pandora. As humans have depleted natural resources of the Earth by the middle of XXII century, they face an energy crisis. The RDA Corporation goes to Pandora in search of unobtanium. But the planet is inhabited by the Na’vis, three meters tall, blue-skinned humanoids who will not let their motherland become a human laboratory number two.

Pandora’s atmosphere is destructive for humans, thus, in order to explore the planet’s biosphere, the scientists use artificial Na’vi bodies or hybrids, called “avatars” that are operated by means of human consciousness. Colonel Miles promises Jake to restore his legs in case he agrees to gather information about the dwellers and their habitat Hometree, which is located in the unobtanium reserves. When he meets a woman Neytiri, his life completely changes. Neytiri tells him about the wonders of the planet: the language, connection of local people with nature, respect to the living beings and patriotism. He falls in love not only with the girl, but also with the whole planet, its dwellers, traditions and beliefs. He realizes that by destroying the Hometree, they would destroy Eywa, mother goodness, and the nation on the whole. Thus, he tries to persuade Miles and others to give up the idea of mining energy resources and insists on avoiding the war.

However, the war is coming, while Jake is considered to be a traitor and only the minority of people supports him. At the same time, he becomes a spy and betrayer in the Na’vi’s opinion and has nowhere to come back. In order to deserve respect of Neytiri and the Na’vi, he makes friends with Toruk, a predator honored and feared by everyone, and leads them to the victory. Still, his avatar is disconnected from consciousness by Colonel, turning him back to the disabled body and leaving him almost breathless. Neytiri rescues him and together with the Pandora’s dwellers they pray to Eywa to put his soul into the avatar body and the goddess helps him.

The plot itself is quite capturing: it stands out from other apocalyptic movies by its abundance of uncovered issues, such as religion and mythology, races and civilizations, environment and human property, militarism and imperialism. In spite of the long duration of the film, it does not seem overextended and boring. Moreover, the time just glides, leaving a pleasant feeling of incompleteness at the end of the film. The author of Titanic and Terminator proved one more time that the miracles of cinematography will keep on developing. Creating his “Pandora”, he worked out all the details, including flora and fauna of the planet, language of Na’vi and, of course, technological advances.

Due to the interview, the inspiration for this story is evolved by Edgar Rice Burroughs and Rider Haggard books, who were mainly jungle adventure writers (Warren). In addition, Sully and Neytiri pairing is very similar to Jack and Rose in “Titanic”: both couples come from different societies/cultures and consequently have to make a life choice. In general, the plot of the movie is not complicated. Certainly it does not belong to the category of one-time movies, but all the themes of the film are very familiar to the audience and do not require profound thinking and understanding from them. In such a way, the greatness of Cameron’s work is reflected in how artfully he refined such common problems as love, war and culture diversities to make up a gripping movie.

Filming Peculiarities

Design Features. James Cameron wanted to start his work on Avatar after he finished Titanic. It was his cherished dream to create a masterpiece but he felt that the technology would not catch up with his story, thus, he postponed the work till the better times. Starting with 2006, the director began the script development (French). The artificial language, created by his team of workers, comprised of nearly 1000 words (Anders). Trying to make everything perfect, Cameron resorted to the help of Barlowe, the illustrator of “Final Fantasy”, “Weta Digital” team and other studios and individuals who desired to accept the challenge. Furthermore, he created Fusion 3D technology in order to integrate animated heroes with real actors. Cameron and his team describe Avatar as an adventure trip of self-discovery in the context of ecology and imperialism. However, both admirers and severe critics see much more than he tried to enclose in his work.

When watching Avatar, a person feels something completely new with many differences from his previous creations. The success of the film is definitely attributed to its designers and filming system. It is known that the movie was designed by two different production designers: one of them concentrated on flora and fauna of the planet, while another one focused on human machines and other factors. In order to create Pandora’s floating mountains, designer Steve Messing visited China. As a result, the team worked on the karst limestone formations. Jungle scenes were shot in Kuranda Skyrail in Australia. The designers found a perfect balance between vegetation and rocks. A good sense of atmosphere, clouds between the mountains and the ground and 360° panorama of the mountain region created with Cameron’s visual effects surely deserve admiration.

Talking about the vehicle design, Samson helicopters seem to resemble Hueys from the Vietnam War. It may not be seized upon, if it were not Cameron’s multiple persuasions of the original idea. However, “Vietnam helicopters” looked effective and were even balanced with contrary images of the birds of prey. The AMP machines used in Avatar for combat, work and research of the Pandora resemble Armored Personnel Units from The Matrix Revolutions and the power loaders from the Aliens, which implies that all great things are made up on the background of already existent ones. A heavy research was conducted in order to create Grace’s bio-laboratory. The art director of the movie even visited “AmGen” in order to get acquainted with the laboratory environment, and such method appeared to be helpful, making the lab look as real as it is possible (Anders). Taking into account all mentioned information, it should be concluded that the team of designers deserves a credit for the executed work.

Color Management, Language and Music. A significant advantage of the movie is the color management. It is a kind of striking that almost all the vegetation of Pandora is green in comparison with a variety of weird bright colors of other objects. Still, it is only for the time being, before the night comes and lights up everything with bioluminescing. Along with a tendency to cyan tints, it was a right choice to use green colors in vegetation design, as the first one is very similar to the colors used to show depth and atmosphere. In case the team decided to use cyan, they would have definitely turned their unusual and bright picture into the monochromic and cold one. Still, it should be underlined that diluting the cyan plants with yellow items would both solve the problem of monochromatic image and also completely match the style of the movie. On the other hand, green color is psychologically associated with the Earth environment; the theme that will be discussed further.

Speaking about artificial languages that were specially created for the movie or book, the first art work that comes to one’s mind is Tolkien’s The Lord of Rings. Still, Cameron decided to go even further. Thus, the USC linguist Paul Frommer developed the language for Na’vis that was not a brand new but an absolutely fantastic idea (Hiscock). The work on the language was hard enough as the main goal was to create a language that had to be relatively memorable and pronounceable for the movie actors. At the same time, it ought not to be close to any human language. James Horner, the composer who cooperated with Cameron during the filming of Titanic and Aliens, also worked hard during shooting (Bryant). He used chorus singing in the Na’vi language. Furthermore, he worked with ethnomusicologists to make a music culture for the aliens. In this way, he not only facilitated film sensibilities, but also introduced a new musical culture that only contributes to the movie rate.

Acting and Technology

Cameron’s film is a hybrid with the full live-action shoot in combination with computer characters and live environment. A bit disappointing is the fact that live action takes only 40% of the whole movie, while 60% are covered by computer elements (Corliss). At the same time, it is the merit of Cameron that in spite of computerized imaging, the work is not perceived as a cartoon. Cameron’s virtual camera system can show the virtual counterparts of the actors, making it easy to direct and adjust the scenes similar to the live action environment. This astonishing method of filmmaking is described as a “big powerful game engine”. There is no need to interrupt scenes repeatedly as there is no need to carry out repeated lighting and camera setups, make-up, and costume fittings. This definitely saves time required for shooting, though it also requires dedicated work from the actors. Supporting Spielberg, who described the method as a digital make-up rather than a kind of animation, it should be emphasized that the new technology has exceeded expectations of the audience (Hewitt).

Cameron states that apart from the technology used in the movie, Avatar is not only the future of the movie-making, but also the future of the art of acting (Harris). Cameron’s technology and blue-skinned images do not replace the actors; instead, they “cover” and empower them. Still, it is far from being the truth as never mind how strong the computer effects are, the actor’s play, including body movements, mimics and looks cannot be replaced completely. In such a way, when somebody tries to convince one of the high-level of acting techniques and Oscar considerations, it can raise laugh of true experts in actors’ evaluation. Taking, for example, Zo? Saldana (Neytiri), who is considered to be a talented actress, we cannot see how she is blushing in her scenes with Sully or how she expresses conflicting emotions. It can be noticed by the naked eye that a lot of human manners are profoundly edited and corrected by means of special applications, thus, perceiving the Na’vi as the particular actors would be unfair towards the others. The actors had to work hard in order to make their “hybrids” look real, but still, it was not enough to impress Screen Actors Guild: they were not even nominated.

Guarantees

Exclusive-Paper.com is a leading custom writing service, the professionals of which are always ready to write an essay, research paper, book report or any other kind of academic papers writing. You may rely on us - Exclusive-Paper.com will deliver the best orders strictly on time. Our highly-educated professionals will do their best to help you receive the highest grades.

No matter how loud the resentments of the actors are, they prove that computer-rendered Na’vi forms are created on the background of their acting art each second of the movie, so that they will be not appreciated as high as the naturally occurring ones and it is no wonder why. Generally speaking, “blue alien” is a flat and cartoon-like image that does not bear any resemblance with the human emotions. However, alleging that the actors did not face any challenges would be incorrect as they spent much time for passing professional training procedures, including archery, firearm use, horse riding, combats etc. In addition, they learned Na’vi language. Thus, it can be said for sure that acting is a weak point of the movie, though in this half-animated type of work, it is not as significant as in Titanic.

Militarism, Imperialism, Gender and Race Themes

Avatar is surely a product of post-colonialism, describing the Na'vi as the indigenous population with deep respect to the environment and their goodness. Humans are described as a corporate military, which left dying Earth for Pandora resources. The movie presents an anti-militarism narrative, describing the soldiers as violent and cruel beasts. All of them are men, except for the woman helicopter pilot, who takes the good side in the end. Another problem that should be singled out is imperialism that implies the struggle of the modern humans against indigenous people as a result of difference in the level of military potential. Many reviewers compare the war between people and the Na’vi to the modern tribe struggles, aggressors of Irak, Israel and Palestine relations etc. (Monbiot). To be honest, the idea of confrontation is not a brand new one, thus, digging deeper, a lot of new analogs could be found.

The problem of gender is not mentioned in the critiques, but still it should be paid attention to. Unlike the fact that Sully is in the center of the story, he is not portrayed as a strictly positive hero. He is described as a naive and sometimes unreasonable person who lacks profound understanding. Grace, the major scientist of the bio-lab, is interested in the destiny of the planet and its samples; she interacts with natives and carries out pedagogical activity, while Sully treats everything playfully without considering the implications. Na’vi female becomes his guide and teaches him to be a part of their nation. The females participate in the battles, become the heads of labs and security force, furthermore, they play the role of spiritual leaders. In the movie, there is no remark concerning the female place, making it obvious that by 2154 the human world would have not been a sexist place anymore.

Sully is not only included into the Na’vi tribe, but also becomes the hero among them, which makes the narrative very similar to Dances with Wolves and The Last Samurai. The “white savior”, described as a dominant race member, rejected by his own kind, appears to be the best subaltern. In this way, racial themes in Avatar are rather hard to ignore. Is it an accident that almost all the people from Earth are white, while the Na’vi under the CGI suits are played by the actors of color?

According to the interview, the facial features of the Na’vi were inspired by beautiful ethic females. Cameron admitted that they were blue because he wanted to underline the cultural importance of skin color in our society (Harrop). This racial subtext seems to be quite cheap and flat-footed, though pretty decorated. The primitive stereotype of Afro-Americans who have a tribe culture and less intellectual development is too old-fashioned and this underlying theme spoils the art work. Still, speaking about the appearance of the Na’vi, their image is more than just incredible as already mentioned.

Want an expert write a paper for you
Talk to an operator now
Start live chat now

Environmental and Religious Themes in the Film

Among the major strengths of the movie is its environment protection context. Avatar is considered to be one of the most epic pieces of environmental advocacy in the world. Pandora and its dwellers are described as an integral organism. In this way, “killing” the forest, the Na’vi also approach the verge of death. As for all the environment related points, such as cruel exploitation of the natural recourses, indigenous people who can teach our developed society in many respects, destroying corporate interests and a planet as a collective creature, the movie shows how humans treat nature in the real world.

As a matter of fact, Pandora can be viewed as the same Earth that suffers from irrational consumption of its resources, which leads to the loss of biodiversity and other terrible consequences. The moment of the epic battle when the Na’vi are riding legged and winged creatures, arrows and bows are opposed to the automated weapons and helicopters as one of the most astonishing moments in the film. Furthermore, the nature itself uses self-defense: it sends wild creatures to help the Na’vi in the battle against the colonizers that symbolizes its struggle with the industrialized world and emphasizes that the notion of ideal world means the life without any technologies.

Many critical reports consider that the film uncovers the issues of religion and spirituality. This is a good point as James Cameron personally stated that he tried to make a movie that could touch the broad spectrum of human spirituality, presenting the Na’vi as the aspirational part of people who want to change themselves for better, while people are described as selfish and cruel part of nature, creating a kind of dichotomy (Harrop). The marine seems to be the key of the director’s work. He symbolizes all the people in the world who are to some extent disabled: earthbound, broken, inadequate, and lonely. Transporting Sully’s mind to the avatar body makes him feel a beautiful, sexual and athletic creature. Thus, we can come to the conclusion that Pandora is something like heaven where people revive and are “connected” instead of being lonely and disconnected in reality.

In addition, the movie draws up a lot of existing mythological and religious motifs. Cameron raised an important question of faith: should the living being be controlled hierarchically from above or ecologically by means of interdependence? This issue is rather relevant to the modern society. The movie concepts are very similar to other religions. For example, the Hometree can be compared with axis mundi from the North stories. Moreover, a lot of life principles of the Na’vi resemble Tibetian beliefs. The goddess Eywa is often compared with Pachamama of Andes. Some critics compare Pandora with the Garden of Eden. In this way, it should be mentioned that Avatar is a cradle of the most refined stories that together make up a completely new masterpiece, different from other beliefs, stories and works. In general terms, the Na’vi are the most splendid humanoids ever presented to the audience, which is one of the major merits of the film director.

Customer's review

5.0

"I've been using this service for two years and this guys never let me down. Customer support is perfect, any time you ask any question , you get instant response. I do love Exclusive Paper!"

Emma H. reviewed Exclusive-Paper.com on Mar 28, 2018 via SiteJabber Click to see the original review on an external website. ? Learn more about our commitment to verified reviews.

Conclusion

Avatar is considered to be one of the most successful movies of the contemporaneity. The movie with $2 billion gross has drawn attention of many critics who express their own ideas concerning the profound subtexts of the movie (Keegan). For many years, it was Cameron’s cherished dream to dedicate his work to the world. Still, there used to be no technological advances that could help him to make this dream come true.

The movie captivates the audience by pleasantly unusual filming and design method that is called 3D Fusion. Still, the lack of the real acting performance is rather notable, which considerably lowers the importance of actors in comparison with special effects. However, the work of actors must not be neglected as they have undergone serious preparation, including both physical training and language learning.

Among the strengths of Avatar the presence of multiple subtexts must be taken into account. The film bears anti-militarism and anti-imperialism motifs, describing cruelty and greed of people who take delight in conquering the weaker. The interesting issue presented to the audience is the gender. Speaking about the race problem, this primitive stereotype of distinction does not contribute to the film rate. One of the major problems described in the film is the environmental issue. Pandora becomes a personification of the Earth that suffers from irrational use of natural resources and cruel attitude to the living beings. Cameron integrates the planet and its dwellers into the single entity, which means that by destroying nature, people kill themselves. Another grapping theme in the movie is a spiritual-religious one. Cameron lets us see two sides of human entity, creating a kind of dichotomy in his work. In addition, the film focuses on a lot of existing religious and mythological motifs, raising the issue of faith and the question of the hierarchy and interdependence.

From the first sight Avatar is only a striking action adventure movie. But digging deeper, a lot of profound themes, including gender, race, militarism and other issues are uncovered. The combination of the most spectacular filming with the simplicity and accessibility of the issue presentation makes this film not only stand out owing its special effects and fame of the director, but also avoid being called a one-time movie. Avatar proves that the art and progress are infinite, thus in spite of seeming end of cinematography development, there is much left to achieve.

Writing Movie Review Assignments with Exclusive Paper Writers

Our Benefits
  • 300 words/page
  • Papers written from scratch
  • Relevant and up-to-date sources
  • Fully referenced materials
  • Attractive discount system
  • Strict confidentiality
  • 24/7 customer support
We offer for Free
  • Free Title page
  • Free Bibliography list
  • Free Revisions (within two days)
  • Free Prompt delivery
  • Free Plagiarism report (on request)

Place the First order and Get 15% Discount Order now Limited Time Offer

scroll to top call us
live-chat-button
Chat with Support