Originally released in 2009, ‘Avatar’ is currently the highest-grossing film of all time at the global box-office.
I don’t know if you know, but there are four more Avatar movies planned to be made and released respectively in 2022, 2024, 2026 and 2028. The first film was such a big success that only ‘Gone with the Wind’ earned more money (when adjusted for inflation) and it has also popularized 3D, digital animation and special effects in cinema that now are so common. So it is not a surprise that the sequels are being made, with the first two already filmed and currently in post-production.
It’s one of those films that examines the idea of the colonization of new planets by humans who always look for more resources. And it shows that our pride and sense of superiority is boundless, making us believe that we have a right to go anywhere and take anything we want. In this case, it’s a valuable mineral called unobtanium that can be found on Pandora — a beautiful planet inhabited by the indigenous tribe of humanoids called Na’vi. They live in harmony with nature, understand that everybody and everything is connected and respecting their planet. But humans see them as undeveloped savages, not understanding that their way of life is a choice and a necessity at the same time.
The story itself is like a western. When Europeans came to North America, they acted exactly the same way as humans do on Pandora. But some of the settlers got to know the Native Americans and their ways, and were captivated by their simplicity and spirituality. Mesmerized by their way of life, they joined native tribes and rejected the modernity with its greed and insanity. Just like Jake Sully in ‘Avatar’. And just like in his case, they were usually attacked and forced to coherence by violence.
The ideas in this film are very spiritual and obviously also environmentally aware. Neytiri teaches Jake about the spirit of animals and a network of energy that flows through all living things. We see Na’vi people worshiping a big, old tree. Their elders still live in that tree and guide them. And they can connect with things using their braided hair. They are able to command the animals using that connection. Together, all living things on Pandora, form one big organism.
Jake is born again when he becomes one of the people. It is like his spiritual awaking. He can feel that they are all One. He also connects with the Tree of Souls. From now on he understands that he was chosen to fight for his new home. He talks to the Sacred Tree and says ‘See the world we come from. There’s no green there. They killed their Mother. And they’re gonna do the same here.’ That confirms the suspicion that humans left the Earth looking for other habitable planets. So is there a lesson we can learn from that story before it’s too late?