For a movie supposedly unlike any other, I felt like I'd seen it before.
Don't get me wrong, the graphics were incredible and pioneering. Yet, it all seemed familiar: a powerful nation trying to force "savages" out of their home, a native princess falls in love with an explorer and teaches him to respect nature and the circle of life, a talking tree that helps them both... oh, yes. Disney made an animated version in 1995.
While the movie was very much about the mindlessness and arrogance of imperialism, I thought James Cameron portrayed his Going-Green powerfully. The natives of Pandora, the Na'vi, understand that their energy comes from their earth and travels through the life around them. To quote the movie: "They know that all energy is borrowed, and one day you have to give it back." This shouldn't sound like a magical world or a profound concept - this is how earth works, with all energy flowing from one thing to another, someday leaving our bodies and returning to the earth. Pandora, essentially, doesn't have much that earth lacks. Contrasting Americans' apathy and indifference toward their environment with the Na'vi's deeply spiritual attitude towards life and their ecosystem, Avatar caused me, at least, to feel like our earth was under-appreciated and lame, and current efforts to save the planet's health are a joke. A striking shot in Avatar was to see humans boarding a craft to return home as the hero narrates, "The aliens went back to their dying planet."
So on the note of learning to love our planet and all that lies on it, and the striking similarities between this new blockbuster and one of my favorite Disney classics, here's a video created by someone who agrees with me.