Avatar –> The Statements Herein

Avatar was actually the very first full length 3D movie I saw at a movie theater.  During that time, I was much more of a hardcore gamer than I am now.  My job required me to be plugged into the internet constantly, so not only was I browsing everything video games, I was participating in all kinds of forums with regards to gaming.  I’ll never forget an off topic forum thread about peoples’ thoughts on the recently released movie Avatar.

The general consensus was not only was it a bad and or poorly executed movie, but that the messages conveyed were essentially dumb.  There was a lot of heat towards this movie from the gaming community.  I also feel that this was the general trend from the overall population, and evidence of this was the fact that Avatar lost to Hurt Locker in regards to some prestigious movie award.  (I constantly get the movie, theater, music, and sport awards all mixed up.)  It is true that Hurt Locker was an amazing movie, and it was true that Hurt Locker was able to create such an amazing story with a fraction of the budget that Avatar had, but it is in my view that the most influential factor as to why Avatar lost, was its messages to not only the Human race, but the ideologies of Western thought.

Also, I would like to consider the events when this movie was released.  America had already invaded not only Afghanistan, but Iraq.  Also, the American People had realized by this point that they were fooled into believing that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.  In essence, members of the government created a motive for war, so that other members of power granted the authority of war, so that war could be pursued for the financial interests of a select few.  It is known now that Dick Cheney was on the board of directors for the company Halliburton, a large construction company, who have been given contracts to rebuild an Iraq that we essentially destroyed.  Compounded by The Confessions of an Economic Hitman, it becomes very apparent that the Iraqi war, and therefore the deaths of thousands of American soldiers and citizens of Iraq, were due to the addiction of profits.  And well, that is essentially one of the core messages that is portrayed in the movie Avatar.

I will never forget watching the GOP Presidential Nominee debate on the thirteenth of September.  Ron Paul not only said something that was one hundred and ten percent true, but “boo’s” started to be heard throughout the whole audience.  Ron Paul’s view according to my understanding, is that we as America are going to constantly run into “Terrorism” if we constantly occupate countries across the globe for our own interests.  In fact, one of the nominees said that she would only establish American Embassies in other countries if there was an American interest to be there.  Everyone applauded!  In my view, this is so wrong.  What about the interests of the people who live in that country?

To go back to Ron Paul, is he essentially said the actions of American Foreign Policy created the events of September 11th.  He instantly got booed, but in my mind, this is true.  Osama bin Laden was very explicit as to why he did what he did.  It was not because of some religion that we practice, it had everything to do with occupation, exploitation, and bombing of innocent people.  Yes, when bombing it is very possible and part of war to have the bomb either miss a target, or kill someone who was not anticipated to be there.  That is the very nature of bombing.  However, that innocent person that we killed, has family and friends, who ultimately are going to question why the bombs were dropped in the first place.  Considering that, as well as the fact that people are more likely to become terrorists after experiencing the conditions of certain war prisons (I suggest watching the documentary Taxi into the Darkness), it really is the actions of America that brought this upon themselves.

Let me ask the reader this.  How would you like it if China came to America, establish fancy buildings called embassies that worked in China’s interests only, while at the same time exploiting our natural resources, and constantly kill innocent people?  I do not think we would like it.  And this is why our current foreign policy of, “Democratize or we will shoot” will ultimately bring more terrorist attacks on United States soil.  It sounds pretty tyrannical to me to force a nation to conform to a certain way to do things, and well, that isn’t American; that isn’t what America was predicated upon.

We all know that one of the resources we wanted from Iraq was their oil.  Not only are we addicted to oil as a society, but the very leader of our country had intimate ties to oil companies!  This solidified when I read an article from CNN, that released an interview from a military official.  Right after the attacks of September 11th, the United States dispatched special forces into Iraq to perform reconnaissance and if possible, secure the perimeter of oil fields.  I think from the very beginning, the men in power were looking at the events of September 11th as an opportunity to make more money.

And so, the message of Avatar, of pursuing profits at no matter the consequence, really does not bode well with men and women who not only believe in the free markets, but believe in maximizing profits.  Essentially, by seeing yourselves as a bad person in a movie, does not go well with the audience.

Which in my mind, explains why so many people on these forums that I participated in at the time, did not like Avatar.  They believed that financial security, and material wealth, were the road of not only success, but happiness.  And well, if keeping our way of life means invading other countries and exploiting their resources, then so be it.

But what is so beautiful about this movie, isn’t just this issue.  I would argue, that this issue is a very controversial one, especially in our culture, but other statements were made that were very well executed and delivered in my view.  For example, I felt the movie really showed the importance of not only learning something accurately, but learning something quickly.  If one were to think about this in a Darwinian perspective, someone who is unable to learn important lessons fast enough to survive well obviously die more quickly.  Which means, their genes are more likely to not be passed.  Which therefore means, that through natural selection, the species of whatever organism should have a population that is able to learn quickly.  And if one were to think about it, even in our current age and not necessarily survival, there is a huge advantage to be able to learn something accurately and quickly.  Because, the less time you invest in learning that concept, not only is money saved, but more time could be devoted to learning other things.  If those things are learned quicker, this opens the time doors to even more concepts that can be learned.  And so, someone who is able to learn quickly, will inevitably be more knowledgeable in the long run assuming they constantly push themselves to learn.  And so, I challenge what my third grade teacher told my class.  “It isn’t about how fast you learn it.  It is about understanding the concept at hand.”  Now, not all of that is true, but not all of that is not true.  But, in my mind, if teachers could teach methods to students on how to learn more efficiently, I think that would greatly benefit the student in the long run.  I do also believe that understanding something, is more impactful than simply memorizing something.

Another theme was love.  The tango of the two characters that fall in love, I thought was accurate in some areas.  For example, there are men out there that get crazy for a woman who is not only a challenge, but seems to be out of their reach.  It also shows that in order for a relationship to work, the two people not only need a foundation of friendship, but really have to be on the same page so to speak.  I forget her name, but the woman Avatar that taught Jake Sulli the ways of the people, wasn’t even remotely interested at first because he was unable to not only provide for them but a family (he was extremely ignorant of their culture and of ways to survive on that planet).  Through their journey of Sulli learning the ways of the people and the planet, not only was he becoming closer on the same page so to speak, but they were learning about one another and establishing a friendship.  Finally, at the very end, she sees Jake in his true form, as a human being.  I think what the movie might be attempting to show, is that through the journey of loving a person for a long time, one gets to see the very fabric of that person.  And well, true love not only means both members accept one another for who they are, but they ultimately do things for the partner first, and not themselves.

And well, even though this isn’t the only interpretation, and, there very well could be things in my interpretation that were inaccurate.  And if they were accurate, this could be vastly different from the real world.  But in my mind, I am not exactly sure that is important.  A lot of these statements, through my reasoning, I agree with.  I think in order to make a commitment with someone, I not only have to be a good friend, I have to put something on the table as well.  Finally, if I were to truly love this person, I would put her needs in front of my own.  And well, that is something that I want.  And if that does not exist in this world, I am willing to find a way to fight and change it.

This I think also sheds light onto another reason why popular culture did not like this movie.  Our current perception of modern relationships are very shallow in my opinion.  I think the main reason why so many relationships fail, is that sex is introduced initially, and not worked up towards.  In other words, there is no emotional or friendship foundation, to stay with the commitment.  Hell, when things get hard, I could just go to another club or bar and pick someone else up!  I am not necessarily saying wait for sex until marriage.  I am saying, that I think people should view sex as more emotional on both ends than it is currently perceived.  To think that a relationship is going to be successful because both parties like to have sex with one another, the likelihood of success in my mind is drastically reduced compared to two people who truly care about one another; not their sex organs.  And so, this view on love in Avatar conflicted with the current messages being portrayed in our modern culture in regards to relationships and sex.

To wrap all of this up, in my opinion, I think Avatar was one of the best movies that I have ever seen.  I absolutely love the story, I love the thoughts that it provokes in me, and well, I love the world that is shown.  People that are respectful to not only one another, they are respectful to the world around them, and well, they are respectful to their very creator.  And well, I also respect the people who made this movie for having the back bone to make something like that in our society.  It takes the radical, or the controversial thought, that eventually brings about a better world for all of humanity.



  1. Maxim said,

    September 15, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Nice post. I liked Avatar a lot as well. Not as much for the story, but for the beautiful world which was created, not just visually but conceptually. It also helped that I watched it in Imax 3d, crazy!


    • brengleman said,

      September 15, 2011 at 11:58 pm

      Oh very true! The whole idea of being able to tap into the neural network of the planet itself was really really cool.


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