Tag Archives: Avatar

Avatar Screening Report

Obviously this was a great CG and 3D movie, but that’s not what really caught my attention. Things like the detailed animation of the forest and their colors are what grabbed my attention. I believe that James Cameron intentionally uses scenes like this to place us in the shoes of our ancestors forcing the Native Americans out of their homes. The type of land that they lived in was different to them and we didn’t understand the connection they had to nature, just as the Na’vi did to the forest. I have to laugh at how many times people who I have watched this movie with will the miss the pun of the element they are trying to mine “unobtanium”; kind of sounds like un obtain right? I think that even the word Na’vi is intended to be a play on the word native seeing as the people who drove out the Native Americans are the ones who labeled them Indians (or blue monkeys in the movie). I think that Cameron is also critical of the American culture today because we have become too dependent on our modern advances to care about nature or religion and spirituality. The military is protecting the big corporation who will stop at nothing to mine out and get that “unobtanium” that is so highly desired. They try to create this avatar program, but like any other big corporation it’s just a ploy to make the “tree huggers” happy.

Advertisements

Avatar: nature and 3D

Hello guys, sorry that I have been a little bit disappeared from the blog this past week but I was visiting my family that I only get to see once a year.

I would like to start posting first about Avatar, and then I will post about other things that I thought it would be interesting to share here with you guys.

Avatar, directed by James Cameron, was the first movie in the history of cinema that was released in 3D. James Cameron did a fantastic job trying to transmit the message that nature needs to be more valued and humanity is exploiting the natural resources. Another important message that can be interpreted in this movie is when the creatures na’vi took out their tales with some sort of mini-tentacles on the top to “connect” with the flying banshees or Toruk (Leonopteryx). Everything in nature is connected and is alive. The importance of this connection among all the species in nature is losing its essence for humanity. Some say that this movie also could represent the invasion of the British Empire and Spanish Empire in 1490 when they arrived to America, focusing in how the Empires ravaged all the gold and conquered everything, destroying many tribes and nature in the process.

The movie lacked a little bit about the joys and suffering from the characters. The story keeps going on without making pauses and showing what the characters are feeling and going through. It was somehow a little bit forced, not enough detailed in this aspect.

The graphic quality was very good. Even though the movie is science-fiction, the special effects and the 3D made it seem that it was almost real and captioned the spectator’s attention. 3D is not yet the most used technology at the moment for movies but it is very fascinating that James Cameron worked so hard and released an amazing 3D movie like Avatar. Especially, this is important because at the moment many people were against switching for HD films to 3D, and James Cameron showed that 3D can be a great technology to involve the viewers with the movie.

Screening Report – “Avatar”

James Cameron’s Avatar was released in 2009.  Originally, this movie was meant to be filmed in 1997, but, due to a lack of technological progress, James Cameron decided to wait.  Ultimately, because of his patience, Avatar is now known for being one of the world’s greatest animated movies.

 

The plot of the movie revolves around an ex-marine, Jake Sulley, who became disabled during his service.  After his twin brother died, government officials propositioned him to take his brother’s avatar to assist with a mining operation on Pandora to obtain a rare mineral called unobtainium.

 

With this avatar, Jake was instructed to try and connect with the Na’vi, the natives of Pandora.  Through a little dumb luck, Jake was able to achieve this at a relatively fast pace.  Through several trials, Jake proved himself with the Omaticaya tribe. 

 

Such trials bonded Jake with the people he was initially sent to manipulate.  Soon after his newfound loyalty to the Na’vi, the military forces from Earth planned an attack on the Omaticaya’s home tree.  Since the tree was rooted atop of a large supply of unobtainium, military forces decided the best option was to shoot the tree down.  Unfortunately, this decision left the Omaticaya with no home.

 

With the home-field advantage, support from other Na’vi tribes, and the unexpected assistance of the native animals, the Omaticaya successfully fought back against the military forces.  The movie ends with an complete Na’vi victory, and a ceremony where Jake takes the body of the avatar for good.

 

Due to the nature of this movie, it is important to note the original purpose of the film, which was to bring light to the issue of the environment.  More and more humans are taking advantage of the Earth’s natural resources, just like they began doing on Pandora. 

 

Avatar shows that being “one” with nature like the Na’vi is a much better alternative to raping the land.  By respecting your surroundings, all life can live together in harmony: the same concept utilized by Gandhi.  

Awareness

Jake Sully, a marine is given a chance to travel to a new world replacing his deceased twin brother as an avatar, which resembles the Na’vi people. The Resources Development Administration’s science team developed avatars that are similar to the Na’vi people in order to collect data from this new world. The new world is Pandora where the Na’vi people inhabit it. The atmosphere is poisonous to humans because you see them don facemasks. Pandora is unscathed, plush with vegetation and has valuable minerals. The RDA is planning to mine these valuable minerals but the Na’vi inhabit the areas they are trying to mine. This is similar to what many companies do today. They mine for resources in other countries destroying the natural habitat.

Grace, who is the head of the avatar project works with Jake to try to convince the Na’vi people to leave their home and learn about their culture. Jake gets lost in the forest during a mission. Neytiri, who is a Na’vi, rescues Jake. When Neytiri first saw Jake, she was about to kill him but a seed of the sacred tree had fallen on her arrow, which she had taken as a sign. He is brought to her people and her Neytiri’s mother tells her to teach Jake their ways. Neytiri takes Jake to ride on one of the animals and mentions there is a bond called “hailu”. This is where they were connected with one another and he was able to feel the animal’s heart beat, breath, and strong legs. Jake learns that there is a deep connection with the forest and there is a network of energy that flows through all living things. The Na’vi talked about how they see one another and other creatures saying, “I see you”. In one scene when Jake goes hunting with Neytiri he kills the animal saying, “I see you” and thanks the animal for its life. This shows that Jake had understood the world in a different way. He is connecting with nature. One of the Na’vi people explained to Jake, “all energy is only borrowed and one day you have to give it back; the body stays behind to become part of the people”.

The Na’vi people had a deity name Eywa, which is similar to mother Earth. It is mentioned in one scene where the people of Earth had killed its mother and there was no longer any green there. The Na’vi people worship the trees in Pandora. There were several different trees. One of the main trees was the tree of souls, which protected the balance of life. Grace believed these trees to be real because they had communicated with each other electrochemically similar to synapses in the human brain. Jake connects with the much-feared “eglan”, the “Toruk Mak Tu”, which was emphasized to rarely happen. The RDA and the Na’vi people go into battle over the land and the Na’vi people conquered the RDA with the help of Eywa. The last scene in the movie shows Jake beneath the tree of souls going through permanent transition in the avatar as one of the Na’vi people.

The beliefs of the Na’vi people are similar to some of the principles of deep ecology, enchantment, and animism. They believed that everything around them had a soul. They didn’t take any of the lives for granted. When they killed an animal, they were thankful for it. They were connected with one another as a community and were able to understand each other through awareness.

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

Avatar Screening Report

In the movie Avatar a former marine, Jake, is placed in a fictional world known as Pandora. The “people” there are known as the Navi. Jake is a paraplegic and agrees help Dr. Augustine complete a mission that his brother was originally involved with until he passes away. Jake agrees to use his avatar to enter this world. His body is still in our world, while his mind is controlling the avatar in the Navi world.

They are entering Pandora to search for unobtanium, an element, but they are unable to enter the world in their human form. The environment is deadly for humans, which is why they use their avatars (genetically engineered creations that resemble the Navi people).

While in Pandora, Jake falls in love with a female Navi. His motives switch from looking for the unobtanium to helping the Navi’s regain control of their home.

This film relates to how humans carelessly use the resources available to us. Although in the film they were able to explore another world for a needed resource, we are not able to do that. We need to start using our natural resources more wisely before we end up losing them.

The Imagery of Avatar

Avatar

            James Cameron’s Avatar (2009) defined a new era of innovative technology in the realm of film making. The 3-D animation and special effects used to create the environment of Pandora not only bring the universe to life on screen, but also the technology helps to compare Pandora to our world today.

            Cameron, who began writing the screenplay for the film in 1994 with a planned release date in 1999, decided that the necessary and best technology for the film hadn’t quite been made available yet. Finally, in 2006, Cameron used motion-capture techniques, which included body suits for the actors that allowed for them to become the “avatars” and 3-D imaging which interacted with the reality. The cutting-edge usage of technology set Cameron and his film apart from previous films because the use of animation and technology created a reality for his film which was different, yet similar to our reality.

            Pandora, which is the fictional universe of Cameron’s film, is the home to the Na’vi. These native creatures, played by real actors wearing body suits, were created to look like tall, blue creatures with human qualities. The plants, creatures, and natural surroundings in Pandora are unique to the planet. The shapes and contortions of the plants remind the viewer of plants here on earth. Also, some of the creatures on Pandora may look odd, but they definitely look and act like some of the animals we have.

            It is interesting that Cameron uses Pandora as an analogy to our world today. Although the environment looks completely different than ours, Cameron’s use of imaging and animation bring to life the world of Pandora, making the viewer fall in love with the images. The viewer gets transported into the 3-D world and begins to relate the world of Pandora with reality. The Na’vi’s humanistic features make them emotionally likeable characters, which the viewer quickly becomes attached to. The plants, animals, and environment of Pandora, because the Na’vi are so connected with them, also become an emotional attachment to the viewer. The beautiful imagery of the floating islands and the home tree of the natives give the viewer an attachment to the beauty of Pandora, and also a beauty towards the film in general. This epic film will forever be remembered for its stunning imagery and connection of fiction to reality that Cameron instills in his viewers.

-Sara