Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Avatar's subversive message

If you have not seen it already, go do so. ‘Avatar’ is a brilliant movie. And not just because of it technical wizardry. It’s got an inspiring message of resistance in the face of exploitation, and apparently overwhelmingly odds. Its central characters, members of the Na’vi people, rise up to protect their homeland in a struggle of national liberation against a corporate empire which is seeking to destroy their way of life in order to steal their natural resources. Sounds familiar? The colonisers consider themselves more civilised due to their technological superiority but what comes across most strongly is their emotional immaturity and inhumanity, expressed in their lack of empathy for others and the environment, in which their own needs and interests are the only consideration.

The parallels with the ‘war on terror’, corporate greed, and environmental destruction will not be lost on many of those watching. The film is also unusual in that it portrayed the consequences of the cold unleashing of destructive power on those on the receiving end. Even more unusual for a blockbuster was that it crossed into the subversive by emotionally tracking the journey of those facing injustice - the fear, terror, hurt, pain and then resistance. The film does this without resorting to crude stereotypes, and encompasses subtlety and beauty instead, makes it even more powerful - and worth watching again!