Sunday, January 10, 2010

Avatar: James Cameron’s Unapologetic Indictment of Western Imperialism

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima

"Avatar is also an emotional journey of redemption and revolution. It is the story of a wounded former Marine, thrust unwillingly into an effort to settle and exploit an exotic planet rich in biodiversity, who eventually crosses over to lead the indigenous race in a battle for survival," and "We're creating an entire world, a complete ecosystem of phantasmagorical plants and creatures, and a native people with a rich culture and language."

~ From 2007 Press Release from the Producers.

The most ambitious director in Hollywood, James Cameron's Avatar has become the second highest grossing box office hit in history after his first groundbreaking box office mega movie, Titanic.

James Cameron’s filmography is enough to justify the fantastic cinematography of his mesmerizing movies and his latest mega movie Avatar adds more aura to his genius. Avatar is more profound than Titanic in concept and depth, because of the messianic mission of the reformation of the earth and the transformation of humankind. So, in vision should not be compared to the historical fiction of the romantic Titanic. Avatar is a universal film on a rescue mission to save the earth.

There is a Jake Sully in everyone with the head in the clouds in romantic escapism as Jake was enraptured in the Na’vi utopian planet of Pandora. But as we know in Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman who cazrried a jar “that, when opened by her, unleashed many terrible things on mankind – ills, toils and sickness – and hope”, and that hope would be the magic of the exotic love of Jake and Neytiri, the hero and heroine of Avatar. And millions of Americans and geeks of 3-D movies are going over the moon for Avatar.

Who wouldn’t love a paraplegic Marine reminding us of a war hero who might have been wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan?

The journey of the romantic fantasy of Avatar did not start when Cameron began the production, but in 1994 when his genius gave him the idea of a fantastic science fiction epic. The characterization looks like something taken from Marvel Comics. Something that Stan Lee would have written.

The first impression of Avatar is the proverbial triumph of good over evil, but analytically Avatar is James Cameron’s unapologetic denunciation and indictment of Western imperialism and endorsement of biodiversity.

The feline blue-skinned species of humanoids called Na’vi could be the personification of the primitive native tribes of the world whose continents were colonized by imperialist kingdoms of the West. The apparent echoes of imperialism and biodiversity have resonated at every screening of the film all over the world and propelled the epic fantasy to record breaking success as the fastest film to make $1 billion in box office receipts after it was released theatrically worldwide from December 16–18.

The sci-fi epic is Sam Worthington’s wildest dream wish coming true as Oprah Winfrey would have loved to call it and Zoë Saldana was fine as Neytiri, the female Na’vi. But the best acting in Avatar was done by Stephen Lang whose role as Col. Miles Quaritch is unforgettable.

The credit for the success of Avatar should go to the director and the multiple Academy Award winning special visual effects company Weta Digital for the awesome digital visual effects that took the movie to greater heights in cinematography. Weta Digital is famous for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy..

The New York Times reported that President Barack Obama and his family saw Avatar in IMAX 3-D and this is the best format to see the film.

According to Avatar Movie Zone, watch out for the sequels, because Cameron said, "I have a trilogy-scaled arc of story right now, but I haven't really put any serious work into writing a script." So, James Cameron's fantasy still continues.


Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, the Publisher/Editor of Nigerians Report is also a TV/Film producer and prolific writer for local and international publications on movies and music and other subjects. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

About Avatar:

AVATAR takes us to a spectacular world beyond imagination, where a reluctant hero embarks on an epic adventure, ultimately fighting to save the alien world he has learned to call home. James Cameron, the Oscar-winning director of “Titanic,” first conceived the film 15 years ago, when the means to realize his vision did not exist yet. Now, after four years of production, AVATAR, a live action film with a new generation of special effects, delivers a fully immersive cinematic experience of a new kind, where the revolutionary technology invented to make the film disappears into the emotion of the characters and the sweep of the story.

More Details

Cast: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore
Director: James Cameron
Genres: Sci-Fi Action, Science Fiction
Avatar Features and Exclusives

Watch our exclusive interviews with the cast!
Director James Cameron and Sam Worthington talk about what it was like on the set of 'Avatar!'Watch Exclusive Cast Interviews!

Enter to win an 'Avatar' poster, T-shirt and more!
Grand prize of an 'Avatar: An IMAX 3D Experince' poster, T-shirt, 2 books and a Mattel toy!Enter Here
See Avatar in IMAX 3D or Digital 3D!
Check out our 'Movie Aliens: From E.T. to Avatar' photo gallery!
Watch our exclusive interview with Sigourney Weaver!

Avatar Trailers and Clips
Avatar: Trailer 2
Trailer: Avatar - Trailer (3:37)
Interview: Exclusive: Avatar - London Premiere (2:16)

More Videos:
Interview: Exclusive: Avatar - Cast Interviews
Scene: Avatar - James Cameron's Vision Featurette
Interview: Exclusive: James Cameron interview at Comic-Con '09
Interview: Exclusive: Sigourney Weaver interview at Comic-Con '09
Interview: Exclusive: Stephen Lang interview at Comic-Con '09

All-time worldwide box office

# Film title

1. Titanic (1997)
2. Avatar (2009)
3. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
4. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)
5. The Dark Knight (2008)
6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
7. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)
8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
9. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
10. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)


All-time box office -

# Film title

1. Gone With the Wind, 1939
2. Star Wars, 1977
3. The Sound of Music, 1965
4. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, 1982
5. The Ten Commandments, 1956
6. Titanic, 1997
7. Jaws, 1975
8. Doctor Zhivago,
9. The Exorcist, 1973
10. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937


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