After Jake’s brother is murdered in a mugging, Jake is recruited into the ‘Avatar‘ program in his place. The Avatar program, funded by The RDA corporation, is a program in which scientists merge human DNA with that of the locals from the planet Pandora, known as the Na’vi to create Na’vi clones in order to communicate with them. Jake’s brother had been scheduled to ‘pilot’ one of the clones and it was feared that his clone would be rendered useless until Jake, being his brother’s identical twin and therefore exact DNA match was signed on to take his place.
The scientists of the Avatar program wish nothing more than to explore Pandora, collecting samples of the indigenous plant life and to open peaceful communications with the Na’vi people. The RDA corporation however have far more sinister motives for being on Pandora. Pandora just so happens to be a rich source of unobtanium, a metal worth far more than gold. The RDA also have a security team, Sec-Ops which consists of thousands of ex military solders who are trained to shoot first and ask questions later and who have little regard for the inhabitants of Pandora.
Most people involved with the Avatar program are reluctant to use Jake considering Jake is a paraplegic ex marine with absolutely no Avatar training. Jake soon proves his value to the team however when on his first outing he makes contact with one of the Na’vi, Neytiri, the daughter of the chief of the local tribe. At first Jake’s only interest is learning what he can of the Na’vi in order to report back to Colonel Miles Quaritch, the superior officer of Sec-Ops so that RDA can devise a plan to remove the Na’vi from their village inside the Hometree, which just happens to sit atop an extremely large deposit of unobtanium. Things become complicated for Jake when he finds himself falling in love with not just Neytiri but with the Na’vi and Pandora itself.
I’m of two sides when it comes to Avatar. The visuals are of course stunning, there is no doubt about that. Everything from the landscape to the Na’vi is so realistic and lifelike that it just makes you believe that such a place could actually exist. The Na’vi are beautiful as well as enchanting and the viewer has little difficulty cheering for these underdogs. Even the love connection between Jake and Neytiri is sweet and sincere.
My only real complaint with Avatar is the entire human race.
Avatar takes place in 2154, that’s 144 years from now but according to James Cameron, not only do humans not evolve into a kinder more intellectual species… we get worse. I understand the message behind Avatar, really I do but to think that out of thousands of humans stationed on Pandora only five, FIVE actually have an ethical dilemma about slaughtering an entire sentient species that just so happens to be able to speak English, is unfathomable to me. When Sec-Ops is burning down Hometree and setting the Na’vi alight with it, why does only one person say ‘fuck this, this isn’t what I signed on for’?
Is the message of Avatar that the human species is doomed to being little more than Neanderthals? Even after another 144 years are the majority of humans still going to have the ‘Kill em all!’ mentality? Will we never grow into the peaceful species I hope we could be? Sure it may be naive to think that humans could ever live in peace but think about just how far we’ve come along already. Yes there is still war, yes there is still poverty but there is also social awareness, there is compassion, there are organizations such as Amnesty International and UNISIF whose goals are to spread awareness and compassion and to stop suffering around the world.
I guess what I’m saying is that even though I enjoyed watching Avatar, my vision of the future of the human race differs greatly from that of James Cameron. I guess only time will tell whose vision holds true. To quote John Lennon, ‘You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…’
Avatar stars Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana, Giovanni Ribisi, C.C.H Pounder, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Joel David Moore, Dileep Rao, Laz Alonso and Wes Studi and is avialible on DVD and Blue-ray on April 22 2010.
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