AVATAR: MORE THAN JUST A MOVIE
Many films and books describe human evil, aggression and desire of possession opposed by love, inner beauty, harmony and self-sacrifice. In real life, we face the same too often. In many of us wars, violence, political games, lies, and egoistic user lifestyles evoke a desire to hide, to escape to an unreal life, where one can turn to another person and get a second chance. James Cameron’s “Avatar” (2009) is a famous and successful movie that deals with the mentioned issues.
The action is taking place in not a far (for a human civilization) future, unfortunately, not very happy for the Earth and its inhabitants. Humans of the depleted Earth badly need resources to support their existence. They found a valuable gas on Pandora, but its atmosphere is poisonous for them. To explore a new planet scientists use “avatars,” hybrids, operated by genetically matched humans, which look like Pandora’s Na’vi aborigines. The Na’vi live in an absolute harmony with nature and will fight for their sacred land to the last. Unfortunately, humans always take what they want and somebody’s sacredness can’t stop them, they “come like rain that never ends,” unless they are stopped.
Jake Sully, a paraplegic former marine gets a chance to join a group of scientists who explore Pandora’s biosphere. He spends three months in his avatar. This time is given to Jake to persuade the Na’vi to move from their colony, so that the Earth representatives could start yielding the gas. Jake has his own egoistic interest in the mission, as he was promised to get enough money to recover his legs. But soon Jake changes his mind. As an avatar he receives not only healthy legs and strength, he finds love, freedom and what’s the most important himself. “Everything is backwards now. Like out there is the true world, and here is the dream.” This new world gave him a second chance, a second life and the purpose in life, “worth fighting for”. Jake’s transformation speaks for the film’s high spirituality, which is clearly read between lines. Cameron’s message is to make us understand that the true power lies in creation, which is impossible without a strong spirit; violence can lead to destruction only. So, the “Avatar” has a close connection to religion. An Irish columnist David Quinn, describes it as not a profound movie, in its own superficial way it deals with profound things — indeed, the profoundest thing of all: religion (2010).
A spiritual and religious matter is opposed by political themes. It’s easy to notice that the The Resources Development Administration (RDA) representatives are prototypes of modern governmental authorities, who often solve problems with weapons. They recognize no defiance, no respect and no pity. They declare somebody an enemy, fight, and take whatever they want. The RDA struggle against the Na’vi resembles conquests of aborigines and their lands by modern people, which took place in the past, and are happening now in the form of war conflicts. Cameron chooses this allegory as an attempt to open our eyes to what is going on around us.
One more issue involved is people and environment. The film director created a realistic model of what possibly can wait for us in future. Earth without forests, fresh water, natural resources can become a real result of human deeds today. Cameron plays with contrasts, opposing a desolate Earth to a rich, awesome and generous Na’vi land. He sends us an environmental message. In one of his interviews, Cameron points out that the “Avatar” is an environment film . . . It has these things that we all need to be thinking about. It maps to real issues in our world right now . . . What the negative impact of that is going to be to all of us everywhere. It’s how we all lose (2010).
We are all humans and must remain humans whatever happens. We are alive and inseparable of nature, no matter how hard we try not to seem such. The secret of happy life, without wars and violence, and anthropogenic disasters is quite simple. It’s harmony. Harmony with environment, each other, and first of all with oneself.
Cameron, J. (Director) & Cameron, J., Landau, J. (Producers). (2009). Avatar. Retrieved from http://english-films.com/52-avatar-rasshirennaya-versiya-avatar-extended-edition-2009-hd-720-ru-eng.html
Lang B. (2010, January). James Cameron: Yes, ‘Avatar’ is Political. TheWrap. Retrieved from http://www.thewrap.com/movies/article/james-cameron-yes-avatar-political-12929/
Cameron, J (Interviewee). (n. d.) James Cameron – Interview – Avatar [Interview transcript]. Retrieved from Lybo Website: http://lybio.net/james-cameron-interview-avatar/film/
Quinn D. (2010, January). Spirituality is real reason behind Avatar’s success. Independent.ie. Retrieved from http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/david-quinn-spirituality-is-real-reason-behind-avatars-success-26627222.html
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It is easy to get confused about the difference between literature reviews and essays because these two writing structures can be based on the same research. However, the main difference is on where the emphasis is placed.
The purpose of an essay is to use what is known about a subject to prove an argument or point of view. Not all of the knowledge of a topic may be used in an essay, but only what is relevant to the argument. In an essay, mentioning the people who discovered or developed the knowledge is generally only for referencing purposes.
On the other hand, a literature review is designed to be a critical analysis of all the knowledge that has been discovered about a subject. Its purpose is to examine all that others have already discovered about the subject and the researchers working on the subject are considered to be key.
At a sentence level, one way to emphasise a particular aspect of a subject is to place that aspect at the beginning of sentences and paragraphs.
In an essay, where the focus is on the knowledge itself, it is put to the front of sentences. For example:
Playing computer and video games have risen dramatically in popularity. It is estimated that three billion hours of gaming are played globally each week. The major reason for this is because players are able to tap into a high level of emotional satisfaction that is difficult to experience in everyday life (McGonigal, 2011).
However, in literature reviews what is considered to be more important are the authors and researchers who found or developed the information. Therefore they appear at the beginning of sentences.
Jane McGonigal (2011) estimates that three billion hours of gaming are played globally every week. Her research suggests that the major reason for this is because players are able to tap into a high level of emotional satisfaction that is difficult to experience in everyday life.
This is not to say that both kinds of sentences can be used in both types of writing. However, the overall trend for essays is to emphasise the information, whereas for literature reviews the trend is to emphasise the authors.
For more on the differences between the structure of essays and the structure of literature reviews, check out QUT Cite|Write