World's Industrialization in Avatar Movie
The movie Avatar encourages the audience to see nature as something to be respected and cherished through the main themes of Industrialisation and imperialism.
Although the movie Avatar may seem quite simple and just some ordinary action movie based in a fantasy world, there are many underlying issues present. Beneath the blue skin of the graceful Na’vi, the glowing plants, and the exotic creatures, there are dire warnings. Avatar isn't just a story set in the distant future on far-away Pandora. Although the earth which is shown in the Avatar is at the extreme end of the spectrum the environmental destruction that takes place in Avatar is happening right now on our own planet.
Industrialization and Pollution
The state of Earth in the movie Avatar is one of complete destruction and depletion of natural resources. In the scenes that take place on Earth, many people are wearing masks, showing that the air is thick with pollution/ diseases and general filth. This pollution is a byproduct of Industrialisation. When industries are developed to such a scale that we currently have, and especially to the scale that they have probably reached in the film, pollution is virtually unavoidable. Avatar contrasts Earth, a highly industrialized planet, with the very nature respecting planet of Pandora. Na’vi people are so happy being one with nature and are able to be content with that connection. They essentially worship mother nature, and in it, seem to have found the meaning of life. Humans on the other hand, live in a highly industrialized world where there is always a desire for self-improvement at any expense. In the movie, humans think that finding this metal is the key to what they need. When the humans fail, and the Na’vi live on, the audience sees that treating nature and all living things with respect allows for a peaceful and content worldly lifestyle.
By the 22nd century, humans have managed to exhaust Earth's natural resources and have traveled light years to Pandora,a densely forested habitable moon, to mine a valuable mineral, unobtainium - in order to stave off an energy catastrophe back on Earth. Pandora, whose atmosphere is poisonous to humans, is inhabited by the Na’vi, 10-foot tall, blue-skinned humanoids who live in harmony with nature but are understandably unfriendly to humans. The protagonist, Jake Sully, then takes on the mission to build trust with the natives to negotiate a deal with them. And the journey begins.
The main instance where this theme of industrialization is clear is shown in the following clip. The main attitude that this film encourages the audience to accept is that climate change is a bad thing and well basically humans are going to destroy themselves. The big machine that humans are using to excavate nature and the habitat of the Natives on Pandora doesn’t stop for the natives. They keep going with the “They have got to learn that we don’t stop”. This also goes to show the correlation between the Na’vi people and the Indigenous. The scene showed also incorporates many camera angles including High and low camera angles. The high camera angle is from the point of view of the big machine or from the humans' point of view whilst the low camera angle is from the Na’vi people’s point of view. This goes makes the humans seem more powerful and a threat to the Na’vi people.
The Na’vi’s love for everything in nature, their deep connection to the environment, and their sense of being a part of the natural world, contrasted to the humans’ desire to control and destroy nature is fairly obvious. What is also obvious is that the audience is meant to sympathize with the Na’vi and share their worldview.
This is done through a variety of ways in which one of the main ones is the use of color.
Throughout the whole movie, the choice of color has affected the audience's opinion on the characters presented. Dark and dull colors are utilized when the humans are showcased while when the Na’vi people are shown, the colors are bright. This goes to influences the audience's opinion on the characters as color play a large role in setting the mood. When the colors are bright, the audience sees the people are shown as good while when dark they see the people shown as bad. This is exactly the case in the Avatar.
This is supported by the following still. This low camera angle sends the message that the Colonel is powerful and in a sense a threat to the Na’vi and the other humans. The lighting used in the following scene sets the Colonel up to be seen as the antagonist in this film. This is done by having half of his face darkened out with no light shining on it while the other half is lit up showcasing all of his scars and imperfections. This again makes the colonel look rugged and places him in the antagonist position. This causes the audience to support the Na’vi people instead of the humans who are destroying Pandora just like they destroyed Earth.
There is a striking resemblance seen between Native Americans and the Na’vi people. When the Europeans first discovered America they automatically assumed the land and resources belonged to them and were there to service them. This assumption as well as the desire for wealth and power clouded their judgments, and soon was the only thing that mattered. The native indigenous people were just another obstacle in uncovering the wealth of the land, and the lifestyle of the natives was neglected and destroyed in the interest of the land.
In Avatar, the exact same thing is happening. White humans discover a new land with resources to promote wealth, and the interest of the Na’vi is ignored because greed is fueling the efforts of the humans. The only difference between the movie, and our cultural history is that the natives successfully fought off the Humans. Avatar as a film is an example of the guilt that we as people feel.
Target audience and Message
The target audience of the film may seem at first to be a younger audience, however, after seeing all the different messages presented in the film, Avatar is aimed at all ages. It's a cool movie for the younger children and a controversial one for those capable enough to see the deeper meaning and react to it.
Avatar, as a film, proposes that we as humans should completely change the way that we see the world and our place in it. Instead of seeing Earth as something that we should take care of, we should see ourselves as part of the earth. However, this is quite a complex proposition. While the movie strongly suggests to audiences that we need to change our actions and our thinking, it gives the audience no practical way to make these changes. When a claim is made but no solution is proposed, their message is often ignored and forgotten. The movie is telling the audience to undo centuries worth of damage in relation to the Earth. Avatar asks the audience to undo centuries worth of damage done to the earth and completely change the way we think. However, other than telling the audience to leave their comfortable lives in developed nations and live as hunter-gatherers in the Amazon, Avatar doesn’t give the viewers any way to act on the messages presented in the movie.
In conclusion, Avatar revolves around this idea of Industrialisation and warns mankind of what the future of Earth is if we continue to disrespect nature.