Despite its technical achievements, long time readers will know that I wasn’t much of an Avatar fan.
While visually impressive, its overall message irked me.
Yes, the Na’vi win, BUT… ultimately, it’s still a story told mostly through the eyes of a white man. The message is clear, and maybe even dangerous. James Cameron could have made the alternate choice in his fictional story and “allowed” the Na’vi the fortitude to fight AND win, completely absent of the presence of a “helper” from the other side (the white Jake Sully-type character we’ve seen in several previous similar films).
Surely, within the Na’vi tribe, there could have existed a leader capable of inspiring and rallying the troops to victory, just as Sully did; Surely “The One” could have come from within, instead of from outside. However, we get a similar, if not trite meme – the transformed white male hero/savior.
It’s as if white male filmmakers need a face and voice they can readily identify with within films of this nature, so much that they can’t possibly fathom scenarios in which the indigenous people could actually be capable of fighting and winning completely WITHOUT the help of a conflicted outsider. That, in effect, helps further the notion that indigenous people all over the world, victims of American or European imperialism, whether currently or historically, are helpless without the presence of outsiders (read white people); and this only reinforces white supremacy, which is where I think the danger lies.
This is just lazy filmmaking and the more I think and talk about the film, the more problematic I find it; so I can’t say that I’m particuarly excited about the fact that we’re getting at least 2 more Avatar movies.
Revealed in an interview with MTV over the weekend, Cameron confirmed that the next 2 films will be made back-to-back, and he even adds that he has an idea for a 4th film, which would act as a prequel.
“I haven’t really put pen to paper on it, but basically it goes back to the early expeditions of Pandora, and kind of what went wrong with the humans and the Na’vi and what that was like to be an explorer and living in that world… Because when we drop in, even in the first film in ‘Avatar 1,’ as it will be known in the future, we’re dropping into a process that’s 35 years in to a whole colonization. That will complete an arc and if that leads into more, we’ll start, not imitating ‘Star Wars,’ but it’s a logical thing to do because we’ll have completed the thematic arc by the end of three. The only thing left to do is go back to see what it was like on those first expeditions and create some new characters that then become legacy characters in later films. It’s a plan.”
The next two films he says he’s penning the scripts right now, together, with 20th Century Fox shooting for release dates of December 2014 for Avatar 2, and December 2015 for Avatar 3.
Rumor is that the action in the next film will take place OFF Pandora, although where it’ll be set isn’t known. Earth maybe? How ’bout if the Na’vi take human form, just as Jake Sully became a Na’vi, and are played by the actors who voice and motion-capture their Na’vi avatars – Zoe Saldana, C.C.H Pounder, Laz Alonso and Wes Studi.
What would you like to see happen in Avatar 2, 3 and 4? Maybe with enough opinions, we can collectively influence Cameron’s script… maybe not.