The obvious hype about the special effects and CGI certainly is well deserving. The colors, the creatures and the creation of the planet of Pandora is exquisite! The glowing fluorescent pinks and greens and purples that form the flora and fauna of this planet is a trip to paradise! It is pure beatitude! Needless to say, one falls in love with it, instantly.
But to me, it is the movie’s strong underlying theme that jumps out: one of the relationship of the creatures to the Creation, of the inhabitants to Nature.
The movie begins with humans who come from the earth to take over Pandora. Their armed forces attack this planet, showering bombs and opening fire on the land that you just fell in love with. To the natives, the ‘Navi’ people, everything on their planet is ” inter-connected”, like a complex circuit, and there is an energy flow in all things present. Nature is their Divine Mother and they actively communicate with Her. This is a great feat of the film where Nature is personified as a Matriarch, as against unthinking, unintelligent and non-interactive matter existing by chance! The Navi’s have a ancient colossal tree which is their home, and is sacred to them. It is so beautiful and enormous that it is awe-inspiring. This lush green tree is bombed and brought down in flames! That moment becomes a tipping point of sorts for the audience. Seeing its destruction, and annihilation of this haven makes your heart bleed! How short-sighted, how foolish and dim-witted these attackers are, you are compelled to think!
This is also the point where it crosses the line of an unreal story to blatant reality. The reality that you can identify with: the reality of us and our planet. And then it flashes – what the army is doing to Pandora is exactly what we, as a race, are doing to our Mother, our home – the ever giving Earth! She is mute, maimed and mutilated, and we can’t even see Her tears! What mindless destruction? Wars born out of self-centered objectives, and worse justifying it all! Taking for granted all we were conferred with! It is as if a veil is lifted, and one clearly realizes the chaos, the confusion and the pandemonium all around us caused by our actions, and we just wouldn’t stop!
From a general, I scale back to a micro level and see myself in a different light: me – as an individual-with Nature. I feel humbled. I feel gratified. Questions like “what can I do”, “what/how can I stop” stir me up. “Climate crisis“, “Global warming“, “greenhouse effect“, “carbon footprint” – mere popular terms until sometime back- actually start making sense like never before! I now have a strong conviction and a new-found sense of belonging towards the environment. I make a solemn resolve to myself, to choose to do what is right. Ever since, I see the sentiment guiding my actions and approach.
To me, Avatar has a strong message to convey. And what a spectacular way of delivering it!