There's hardly a movie which everyone can truly enjoy together. But what's even harder to find is a movie with a vast array of subliminal separate plots reflecting society's multitude of problems yet interwoven seamlessly into one complete story so seemingly far away. Avatar, beyond a film with spectacular CGI, is one such movie.
The film starts off with an introduction of the corporation, RDA which is mining Pandora for its unobtanium, a mineral valued at $20million per kg. As the movie progresses, it becomes crystal clear that Parker Selfridge contains no respect either for the indigenous people nor the rich biodiversity on the planet, referring to the Na'vi as "blue monkeys". He tries to find out what they desire, by offering them medicine, food, education, teaching them English.
Isn't this such an imperialistic concept, yet still so apparent? Even in today's context, there're many instances of corporations, wanting to mine the rich oil in the Amazon, or the diamonds in Africa try to convert the local population by tempting them with many products of our civilized culture. The more nefarious taint the donated food, then offer them medicine in exchange for negotiations or religious conversions.
However, Parker is quickly stumped. He realizes the Na'vi are perfectly happy the way they are and have no desire to leave their Hometree. He then sends in Jake Sully and Dr Grace Augustine to try to infiltrate and understand them, possibly to convert the Na'vi. Eventually, Jake and Grace, having gained a complete understanding of the Na'vi's culture and appreciation of the rich biodiversity of the planet, tries to convince Parker to stop his plans.
What is amazing is that this actually happens in real life. Daniel Everett, who went to the Maici river in the Amazon to convert the locals to Christianity, came back losing his faith and gaining respect for the indigenous people. He says "One of the saddest things I've seen in Amazonian cultures is people who were self-sufficient and happy that now think of themselves as poor and become dissatisfied with their lives." (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008...everett-amazon)
Parker upon realizing that diplomacy, in the simplest sense, is not working prepares to send in the ex-Marines, mercenaries hired by the corporation, but not before replying characteristically of most administrators (& CEOs) "There's nothing more embarrassing as bad press, but more importantly, a bad quarterly statement is worse than a bad press." (exact words hard to remember)
Again, this very lack of respect for the locals underlines the attitude our world leaders take towards other less well-off countries. Let's us recall that Iraq was invaded because of the weapons of mass destruction which were never found. Iraq is now a unhealthy, unstable democracy but is producing a stable oil supply for the US economy, unlike under Saddam Hussein who was among the first of the oil-producing countries to not sell oil in US Dollars. Timbre, oil, diamonds, gold are just a short list of commodities we wage wars over under the cloak of self-righteousness.
Parker engages the help of Colonel Miles Quaritch to command the troops. Using intel previously gathered by Jake, Colonel Miles takes a preemptive strike using smoke bombs, then high powered missiles against a defenseless group of natives who only count the bow and arrow as their weapons. The Na'vi, realizing the danger they're in, quickly calls upon the help of other clans, thereby exploding the population of the Na'vis in the area from hundreds to the range of thousands.
The Colonel then give a speech (don't all officers like to give speeches) about the "fact" that the natives are trying to terrorize them, if they do not win then death would be upon them and terror should be fought be terror. Obviously to the audience, Colonel Miles is being hypocritical since he was the one who started the war first.
Yet, doesn't it sound so familiar? Extremism on one side, begets extremism on the other, a fact civilization has never managed to understand. Our current "war on terror" began with the same roots, a huge misunderstanding amongst the radicals and a few war hawks leading to a full blown war in Afghanistan, then Iraq with the deaths of many innocent parties like Tsu-tey and Dr Grace in the movie.
Thankfully, the Na'vi eventually won the battle and the humans are evicted, a happy ending for the film. Sadly, the future does not bode well for our own human race. As you have enjoyed the movie, I hope you think about what it means for our race to be conflicted by so many problems, yet unable to find a single and solidarity , defining and deafening reply to all of them.