Avatar is a movie my husband and I have been waiting to see since the first trailer came our over the summer. We actually went down to the nearest IMAX to watch the 15 minute preview in July…which only made us more excited to see it opening night. We wanted to get the 6:30 show, but it was sold out (we’d gotten there an hour early) and the next IMAX showing was going fast so we got our tickets for the 9:40 showing (yes, a 4 hour wait) and as the time grew near we were just hoping it was going to be worth it.
It was. While this movie is based entirely on planets, people (navi), and technology that doesn’t even exist, it still had a very realistic feel to it. The characters’ struggles and relationships and dilemmas were something we could all relate to in one way or another – keeping us engaged and connected to them, especially the navi (the blue people). Cameron encompassed so many themes throughout this movie that I think anyone who’s seen is has gotten something different out of it. The human/navi struggle is not unlike the struggle many civilizations have dealt with throughout history and still do.
On a personal level we deal with how to relate to people who happen to be different than we are – sometimes relations are good, sometimes it’s romance, and sometimes we don’t get along at all. Often times, these relationships cross paths and affect individuals as well as groups and the question is how to handle it. Avatar took that universal problem and portrayed it openly – it’s a struggle we all identify with, whether we agree with the decisions of the characters or not – it shows that there is a cost to the choices you make, both good and bad. Every action has consequences and James Cameron did a fantastic job showing that in a very real, yet subtle way.
Avatar also makes you ponder the decisions of people in power and brings to mind the fact that people are still people regardless of differences. Just because one person is a blue Navi, doesn’t mean they are any less of a person than we are – resonating perhaps with slavery in the 1800’s? While it’s no longer practiced in the western world, there are similar issues facing us – things that make us think of people or children as less human, when they have as much intrinsic value and as much of a right to be alive as the most powerful among us.
There were many metaphors and themes that were left up to interpretation based on the individual – some people started wondering about rain forests, some about life, others about struggles of civilizations and history. Avatar is a movie that resonates deeply with people because it excellently portrays common human struggles and decisions that we all have to face. I hope this stays in theaters for a long time because it’s beautifully done. If you haven’t seen it yet, you really should.