Avatar was a thrilling, visually stunning and thought provoking movie. Content-wise there really wasn't anything new beyond the special effects. This was a re-telling of an old story. It's about the struggle of hunter-gatherer cultures to survive in a world being invaded by agricultural and industrial humans. It a story of the European-American wars against the Native Americans.
There are some interesting concepts that are touched on though. Concepts that age-old but often forgotten in our world of i-phones and x-boxes. The Nahbee frequently say things like "You can't see" and "I see you," referring with the way people see and understand. If you don't see, it means you look at things but you don't really understand them as a whole and you don't see their connection to everything else. Most people don't see. They only look at outlines of things, without understanding the whole. Like when you look at a banana in your kitchen, without also seeing the farm on which is was grown, the workers there and the journey it had to take to get into your kitchen, and then without contemplating where it will go from there. Anyone who is familiar with Native American spiritual belief will know this has a lot to do with the repeated saying at ceremony, "All my relations".
There's also the theme of civilized man and his dream to return to the state of the noble savage, along the lines of Dances with Wolves, the Last Samurai, Lawrence of Arabia, etc. Nothing new there. I get a little tired of this over-romanticized story but I can understadn it's appeal in the digital age we live in, where nature is on a downward spiral toward destruction.
I was half-expecting this movie to end tragically as it did for many tribes of Native Americans that were simply wiped out by Euro-Americans, famine and disease. But then I remembered this movie is made for American audiences, not academics.
My only complaint about it was that it was little over simplified and obvious. But then I reminided myself again that this movie was not made for American audiences, not academics.
*I know this is supposed to be a Tau blog so I'll say this. I am now really psyched about kroot. You may see some new kroot conversions and paint-jobs in the near future.