Yeah, my adrenaline goes up when I see a poorly armed band of warriors derail a train. The underdog slashing at the supply lines of its vastly superior enemy. Cool stuff. Gives me the feeling little me also has a chance to get things done in this big world.
Almost all people sympathize with the underdog, especially if the underdog has the nicer, kinder ideals and values.
It’s hard not to spot the similarities between Avatar and the much older movie Dances With Wolves.
A soldier defects to the other side after discovering his enemies are actually the good guys and his own side consists of greedy violence loving maniacs.
The presence of the deserter then becomes a threat to the people that so kindly adopted him.
In Dances With Wolves the whites kill off the buffalo herds indiscriminately only to cut out their valuable tongue and their skins while leaving the rest to rot. Native Americans killed as much as they needed and used every part of the buffalo they hunted.
In Avatar there are no buffalo, but there are big sea creatures. The human invaders only kill them to get one specific substance out of them and then leave the rest to rot.
The natives in both movies are represented as good and harmonious.
In both movies you get to see that there are rifts between the natives as well and that there is no unified block.
In Avatar all natives are basically kind-natured.
In Dances With Wolves one Native American tribe – the Pawnee – is depicted as brutal, but the Sioux are almost represented as one big happy family. The reality was a little bit different and many Native American tribes made war on each other and were far from nice to the vulnerable members of enemy tribes.
A common theme in both movies is that caring for others makes us both strong and vulnerable.
This is a deep truth and a message that resonates.
Watching this movie as a father is a whole different experience.
I saw the first Avatar movie in the cinema in 2008 and it didn’t have much of an impact on.
Am tempted to watch it again and see what does with me now.
Am not saying James Cameron watched Dances With Wolves and decided: let’s redo this a little bit, but on a different planet and with blue people and in 3D.
I think these stories are born out of guilt.
I think Americans – not of all of them – feel guilty about how their country dealt with Native Americans and many ‘weaker’ people all around the globe.
It’s almost like the movie recreates the American trauma of struggling to defeat ‘primitive’ people even though the US army has the finest technology, resources and training programmes at its disposal.
That being said, it’s of course first and foremost a piece of entertainment.
Is it worth watching?
There are many story elements that are predictable. I could give examples, but I don’t want to spoil the movie for those who haven’t watched it.
There are some tear jerk moments that are quite nicely done, even when it’s obvious the scenes are really trying to get you to feel a certain way.
Since being a father is by far the most important role for me in this life you can guess that the scenes involving father-son interactions touched me the most.
Dances With Wolves also takes over three hours to watch.
I have rewatched that movie every year since the time of its release in the early nineties. I have never ever been bored by it.
Avatar 2 started to be quite boring about half-way through. That’s when it got predictable.
Some of the more cardboard characters also got more screen time then.
It won’t take a genius to spot that there was some kind of reference to Moby Dick as well.
There are more cultural references.
I doubt many viewers, especially outside of the US, will get where ‘I guess we’re not in Kansas anymore’ comes from.
Well, the viewers don’t come to spot cultural references. That’s true.
They come to see a good story that keeps your eye balls glued to the screen.
Does Avatar 2 succeed there?
I’d give it a six out of ten.
The way things look are generally not as important to me as the way things sound. This means the 3d effects were not that important to me and am much more hungry for great dialogue.
I watched this movie with Slovak dubbing, so it’s not entirely fair to judge the dialogues in this movie.
In their Slovak translations they sounded silly here and there, but I have heard far worse in other blockbuster movies.
The simplest and ultimate test for me to judge a movie is: Do I immediately want to see it again after having watched it for the first time?
In the case of Avatar 2 the answer is… no…
The same was true for the first Avatar movie.
It makes for an entertaining evening and it’s worth it to go to the cinema to watch this movie.
It’s good, just not very memorable.
Big plus: most of the female characters are interesting. Something that is still the expection, not the rule, in many blockbuster movies and series.
More interesting than the movie itself to me is what the movie suggests about how America is processing its past and how it’s shaped its identity.
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