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Avatar: closer to reality than fiction

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

Avatar gives us a message of awareness, warning us of the importance of taking care of our planet, respecting different cultures and protecting the environment above all else.

On December 16, Avatar 2: The Sense of Water and, once again, the debate was opened about the messages that James Cameron could be sending through his films... And it is that Avatar could be closer to reality than to reality. Fiction.

The first Avatar was released in 2009 and was the highest-grossing film of all time until 2019. Its story shows us how an ex-marine named Jake Sully is sent to the planet Pandora, where humans extract the rare mineral unobtanium, which can Help the Earth out of the energy crisis. There he meets Neytiri and discovers the Na'vi universe, thus changing his life completely.

Its sequel shows us the story of Jake Sully and Neytiri as a couple, they have formed a family, and they fight to keep it together. However, an old ghost from the past once again jeopardizes the peace of Pandora.

While some people don't see the connection between Cameron's fiction and reality, the parallels are more than obvious. Avatar is an ode to indigenous communities and how society has taken away what was theirs to exploit it to the fullest, a clear example of colonialism and capitalism.

Cameron, the director, explains it to us in the Avatar universe with two groups; the Na'vi tribe and humans. In fact, as far as humans are concerned, their role is to represent the technocracy of the Western world and its ambition. While the Na'vi tribe honours the tribal lifestyle, traditional medicine, collectivism and the sense of nature, representing the oriental mentality. This tribe is represented in a human aspect so that the viewer can feel identified with it and, thus, be able to compare themselves and put themselves in their shoes.

The life of the Na'vi was paradise, but after the intervention of humans, everything changes drastically. The greed of large companies to get precious metals, the conflict of spirituality, racism, and the impact of humanity on nature quickly destroy that idyllic world that was Pandora. In the same way that our society slowly destroys the planet we live on and, without thinking about it, it would do the same with another planet to be able to exploit.

In fact, if we look at Eywa, the Tree of Souls, who is the guide of the tribe in Pandora, is shown as a symbol of respect for tradition. However, when it is cut off, the humans show themselves as terrorists by destroying one of the most precious assets of the Na'vi; that which united them to their ancestors, to their land, to their religion.

The fall of Eywa is nothing more than an example of imperialism and the relationship of society with indigenous groups. As James Cameron himself explains, history is full of moments in which those with power have destroyed the weakest in order to appropriate their assets, their culture and their beliefs. In this way, in Avatar, the same is expressed through the human invasion in Pandora.

The role of the Na'vi is very important in the film, because their relationship with nature is very special; instead of fighting against it, they learn about it, about the animals that surround them, about the vegetation with which they live. They are connected to their planet in a spiritual way, something that we can observe when they join their hair, and that is that nature is not their enemy, but their companion.

Humans, on the other hand, have completely exploited their planet Earth until they ran out of natural resources, and for this reason they are now looking for new resources on other planets. This is a clear metaphor of what will happen to our planet if we do not learn to conserve, care for and respect the environment in which we live. We must take care of our planet Earth, because if we don't, the day we run out of our natural resources will be our end.

Avatar: The Sense of Water has been inspired by the indigenous communities of Polynesia, while the first one was inspired by the communities of the Amazon. However, as far as the tribes in the film are concerned, we are talking about a general representation of the cultural diversity that exists on our planet and the importance of caring for, maintaining and protecting it.

In this sequel, the Na'vi will once again have to fight against the ghost of the past that represents humans. Once again, Pandora will be in danger.

One of the most crucial points that give the film so much importance is the activism of its director, James Cameron. Following Avatar, he began to openly promote a sustainable and vegan lifestyle, showing concern for the ecosystem and nature. In fact, he has funded environmentally friendly educational programs and encouraged more filmmakers to do so.

Such is his involvement in the fight against climate change, that in 2010 he was asked for advice on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill off the coast of the United States in the Gulf of Mexico.

There is no doubt that James Cameron has perfectly expressed what climate activists have been protesting for years; the importance of taking care of our planet before it is too late. We cannot look away, it is time to put a stop to the climate crisis and begin to repair the damage caused by human ambition.

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