A Special Bond with Nature

The film Avatar begins with an opening scene of an aerial shot above the trees in the clouds of what the viewer comes to find out is the planet of Pandora. There is a voice of a man narrating throughout the scene. The scene changes to a close up of a man’s eye and then zooms out to his full face. The opening few scenes of the movie already make the viewer wonder what exactly is going on.

The movie then transitions into explaining what exactly is taking place. The man in the first scene, Jake’s, brother has died and was working on a project where human scientists are combining their DNA with the genetic coding from one of the native people of the planet in order to create their own personal avatar. These scientists can control the avatars as if they were the actual avatars themselves, all while in a state of sleep in the real, human world. Due to Jake being a twin to his brother, he agrees to take his brother’s place.

Throughout the first portion of the movie, the viewer gets to learn more about the planet and the native people (the Na’vi). The planet has beautiful landscapes and scenery, similar to what is found on Earth. That being said, all of the animals and plants are different from what one would find on Earth and are capable of killing humans, hence the need for the avatars. We see different scenes displaying these different animals, such as Pandora’s version of lemurs and rhinoceroses.

After being chased by one of these new creatures, Avatar Jake must spend a night alone in the forest. As the native animals try to harm him, a Na’vi girl saves him and brings him back to her tribe. He is told that if he can prove himself that he can become “one of them.”  Jake then sets out to prove that he can do anything the Na’vi can do in order to earn their trust. There are continual aerial shots of beautiful scenery, including shots of him flying above the forests and panning so that the viewer can take all of the beauty of the planet in. The Na’vi people truly have a special bond with every aspect of nature. Jake says in a video blog that his avatar world feels more like reality and his real world as a human feels like a dream. He also falls in love with the Na’vi girl who first rescued him.

After gaining the trust of the Na’vi people, he has to tell the people that humans, referred to as the Sky People, are coming to destroy their home. Humans have depleted the natural resources on Earth and need to gain access to a valuable mineral, unobtanium, in order to fuel Earth. It just so happens that the largest amount of the mineral is found at the tree that Na’vi people live at. The people turn on him and he has to try to get them to trust him again. Finally, the people view him as a leader and Avatar Jake is able to lead them into battle against the humans. The Na’vi win over the humans and send them all home. The final scene of the movie is Jake being transformed into his avatar self permanently by the deity that the Na’vi believe in. A close up on Avatar Jake’s face shows his eyes suddenly opening, showing the transformation has worked. The movie both opens and closes with a scene of Jake’s face; the only difference being at the beginning he was in human form and at the end he was in avatar form.

The movie’s 3D animation and special effects are done amazingly and add a lot to the movie. Although the movie is clearly science fiction, one can learn something from it. The Na’vi people have such a close bond to nature that both the Na’vi and nature benefit from the relationship. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could have something similar on Earth?

Amanda

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One response to “A Special Bond with Nature

  1. Very nice observation about the film beginning and ending with a close-up of Jake’s face! This is the sort of detail that can lead to some very interesting analysis. Beginning and ending shots are often key for establishing the theme of a film.

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