Movie of the year: Avatar

Undoubtedly one of 2009’s greatest phenomena was the 3-D cinematic behemoth that was Avatar.  In short, James Cameron’s (director of Titanic) recent masterpiece is stunning.  The trademark blue creatures which have been raising some eyebrows in the world of cinema do not at all disappoint.  If you see one movie in the next couple months, see Avatar, you definitely won’t regret it.

As for the story, imagine Pocahontas.  Pocahontas? Yes. Pocahontas.  Except rather than being a Native American in pre-colonial America, imagine her as a nine foot, blue skinned Na’vi on the planet Pandora in the twenty second century.  In fact, other than the minor differences in time, location, and species, the story of Avatar is almost completely identical to that of Pocahontas.  There are the Americans in search of a valuable mineral, there are the clashes with the natives, chances are you know the gist of the story.  Yet Avatar is a far more multifaceted beast.

Perhaps what struck me most about the film was its all-too-obvious themes and motifs which were seen throughout the film.  I think the greatest and most profound of these was the importance of a connection with nature.  The Na’vi (the natives of the planet Pandora) are able to literally connect themselves to all manner of natural things (plants, trees, animals etc.) – and while humans wreak havoc on Pandora’s beautiful jungle landscape, the juxtaposition of the two ways of seeing nature makes itself apparent.  The Na’vi’s literal connection is meant to illustrate the connection with nature that they experience as a people.  James Cameron’s purpose in this regard was probably to point to humans’ own treatment of our planet and attempted to contrast the Na’vi’s connection with their planet with humans’ general disregard for the welfare of nature.

All in all, Avatar is a spectacular film.  With its meaningful messages and absolutely terrific special effects, this is simply a film that cannot be missed.

-Patrick, 17, Teen Center Adviser

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