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Avatar Essay

1007 words - 5 pages

Paige Johnston
Film Essay
The critical acclaim that followed the box office destroyer, Avatar, out shined most films since the creation of Hollywood and the American cinema composition. Coming in at the second highest grossing film of all times only behind Titanic, James Cameron and his crew of artistic creators surely gave their audiences something to talk about. The film takes place in two separate worlds, the industrialized earth and the beautiful and plush avatar infested world of Pandora. The controversy of the film is centered on the humans mining the world of Pandora for a highly valuable element worth an estimated $20 million dollars a kilogram. The artistically drawn ...view middle of the document...

While Jake Sully presents the classical white savior that enters and falls in love with the native girl, this exact comparison can be made with the stories of Pocahontas and John Smith. The thing with comparing the two different stories is that while race may have been a direct problem between Smith and his native lover, Sully and his native love crossed barriers of species, language, physicality and etc. Many African American critics and foreign background critics alike proposed the question in speaking of the film asking “Why can't we save ourselves?” The construct of the film alludes that it took foreign individuals turning against their own kind [whether it be Michelle Rodriguez's character sacrificing herself to save Mother Earth or Jake Sully deciding that he wanted to take the final step towards becoming an Avatar and living the life he felt destined to live] to save the native individuals that were inhabiting Pandora.
Mr. Cameron didn't help against the racist undertones of the film by casting Avatar in the way that he did either. Jake Sully, as well as all of the other inhabitants of the natural world of the film were portrayed by Caucasian actors, while the voices of all the Avatar characters were played by African American individuals. This strong and definitive choice brings more racial barriers to the film than were first analyzed in the initial viewing of the film. The separation of the Na'vi people into tribe-like subcultures was another direct comparison between the natives of the film and an African tribal breakdown. The colonizer vs. colonized construction patterns of the film and story are what bring out the racial undertones that the film is accused of. Throughout the entire film there were specific examples where race did not have to be brought about, but was simply enticed for face value. The most tragic and blatantly destructive scene that most clearly presented racism throughout Avatar is difficult to put a finger on. One prime example...

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