Avatar ★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Here in 2022, there is so much computer-generated content. When James Cameron made Avatar, nothing compared to the innovative landscape we see on screen. It was mesmerizing. Oddly not mesmerizing enough for me to go back and watch it again until now.

Cameron takes on a plot concerning a planetary invasion of Pandora by humans. The indigenous beings are named the Na'vi. Humans genetically engineer Na'vi bodies to navigate through a brain connection remotely. Their interactions with the Na'vi are well underway by the time the film begins.

Thus it gives the film opportunity to explore the themes of planet and culture exploration. This also opens the door to similar positives and negatives experienced over millennia on Earth: exploiting resources for selfish interests.

Cameron utilizes diverse voices for the Na'vi, especially from people who hale from people groups that have experienced this type of exploitation.

However, the plot depends on the white savior complex. It supposes that the weapons used by humans overpower the Na'vi. The Na'vi, therefore, are helpless without him. Thus the war is only won through the ingenuity of a human navigating a Na'vi's body.

David overcoming Goliath stories are not uncommon. The Haitian Revolution involved self-liberated slaves leading an insurrection against French colonial rule. The Zulu warriors armed with shields and spears defeated the British army and their guns in 1879. There are many more historical examples where indigenous peoples defeated armies with more significant numbers and advanced weapons. Avatar only exemplifies that such stories are unheard of.

While the film has incredible visuals and groundbreaking technology, it also does a better job of disrupting the type of storytelling we see occur with box office hits such as this one.

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