Avatar (2009)

PG-13   |    |  Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Avatar (2009) Poster

A paraplegic marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home.

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  • Laz Alonso in Avatar (2009)
  • Stephen Lang in Avatar (2009)
  • Sam Worthington in Avatar (2009)
  • Sigourney Weaver at an event for Avatar (2009)
  • Zoe Saldana at an event for Avatar (2009)
  • Avatar (2009)

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James Cameron


James Cameron

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18 December 2009 | ib_quackyducky
| Happy Symbolical Birthday; to Jake, to Pandora and to James Cameron - who has been born again
Science fiction is, at its core, more than just a hypothetical fantasy about our distant neighbours twinkling in the night. It is also a reflection on humanity. It holds the mirror up to our faces and forces us to question who we are; when our aspirations, morals, ideals and weaknesses are put to the test, are we really who we think? And what is our place in the great darkness that surrounds us, frightens and amazes us? To know your own culture; learn another man's customs. It is only by comparison that we can truly see ourselves. And it is also only us, as subjective individuals, that can know who we are beneath our human exteriors. Many of us focus too much on our weaknesses and turn to God/s and religion for love and acceptance despite our faults, with heaven as the ultimate point of approval. Acceptance by someone or something that truly sees us, not only the shortcomings, but also for what we hope to believe that we fundamentally are; good, decent, with the heart in the right place, trying to make the best of what we have been given. Some of us don't believe in God, or profoundly question his/her/its existence. Many fear death, the unknown, never to see, feel or experience anything again. To be forgotten. For ever.

So the question becomes: does this introduction have a point and what does Avatar have to do with it? Mr James Cameron is a self-proclaimed sci-fi nerd and - not to mention - a human being (although I agree questionable, let us make that assumption for convenience sake) and just like many of us I am sure he shares many of the same existential thoughts and questions that find their way into our human brains and skeptic hearts. And like many of us he seems to share a craving for adventure, discovery, enlightenment and a curiosity of the world, the universe and the beings with whom we happen to share our short time here on Earth.

With Avatar, Mr Cameron manages to address most of these existential questions: who are we? Not in the comfort of our living rooms, nestled in the sofa with a bag of crisps and a chocolate bar in front of the TV, but in the face of choice. The choice between convenience and what we believe in. When all the luxuries have been taken away, and all the shields and walls and layers have been peeled off, do we like what we see? Avatarians have an expression; "I see you", which comes with such a deep ring to it because it is what we all want the world and people around us to do; to recognize, appreciate and care about us and to see that no matter how we might act and react on occasions, deep down we are good. These glasses we desire others to wear when they look at us also have another umbrella term; love. Some say love is blind, but to me at least, real love is not blind, it is understanding. It looks beyond the flaws and recognizes us for all the good things that we are. It sees our actions from our point of view.

The story of Pandora's box in Greek mythology depicts how numerous evils were let into our world in a moment of weakness on Pandora's behalf. In much the same way, humanity in James Cameron's Avatar goes to the planet of Pandora and is confronted with a choice; open the lid or let the box be. Naturally, the greed (for money, power, etc) wins, and so, the lid is opened. Naturally, it has consequences. However, just like in the original story of Pandora's box, something else was let into the world when the lid was pulled away, something to counterbalance the evils that had been unleashed; hope. The hope that the good will, eventually, win. In Cameron's Avatar, this hope is represented by a group of humans who are not set out to exploit the people and resources of Pandora, but to understand it. And with understanding comes the ability to see clearly, and with this comes, ultimately, love. Love is not blind, but ignorance is, and ignorance is the root of most evils taking place in the world today.

We all choose how we want to see the world. Everything is neutral as far as the universe is concerned; there is no good or evil, no good or bad, no morals set in some sacred stone at the heart of the heart of the universe. Morals are what we, humans, have created because we have a conscience. We have the ability to empathise and sympathise, to see the world through other's eyes as if they were our own.

On Pandora, everything is connected; the trees, the animals, the flora and fauna, the past and the present, the living and the dead. If we as humans could be as connected with each other and communicating as much, I believe understanding of each other's differences would ultimately result in the realisation that we are in fact more similar than different. I believe that one such medium of communication already exists today – the Internet. Another one is the media but the question is how well it is working.

I think Cameron's intended message with this film is very simple and – I admit – very cliché, but also very true and it doesn't hurt to be reminded of every once in a while; to see what we value and to stand up for it.

Plus, it's easier to see the world through another's eyes when it's presented with such smashing CGI...

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Did You Know?


Jake Sully's initials (J.S.) are the same as John Smith, a central figure in the historical and often romanticized story of Pocahontas. This film shares many similarities with the Pocahontas story in plot and theme. Like John Smith, Sully is a member of an invading force who falls in love with a tribal princess, after learning her customs.


Jake Sully: When I was lying in the V.A. hospital with a big hole blown through the middle of my life, I started having these dreams of flying. I was free. But sooner or later, you always have to wake up.


Magnetic fields strong enough to float mountains would interfere with (if not completely destroy) aircraft avionics. It would be impossible to fly in or around such fields as it would make the aircraft uncontrollable. The avionics two centuries from now, are more likely to be optical than electrical.

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits of any kind (outside of the 20th Century Fox title card). The title of the film doesn't appear on screen until the end of the movie.

Alternate Versions

Released to commemorate the 2010 Earth Day, the 171-minute Special edition includes the following additional scenes:

  • The first flight across Pandora is longer, with the helicopter flying past the Stuurmbeast herd. Grace informs Norm and Jake about it.
  • The squad reaches the abandoned school. It reveals that Grace teaches English to the Na'vi children until a serious incident came about (bullet holes around, etc..) which was insinuated about.
  • Jake and Neytiri running through the neon-lit woods is slightly longer.
  • When Jake joins the circle, a little Na'vi girl smiles at him curiously, but her father holds her back. Neytiri then arrives and hands Jake a fruit.
  • Jake tries to ask Neytiri her name, but she seems annoyed by that.
  • Jake, Grace and Norm proceed from the helicopter to the secluded laboratory. There's an explanation about the mountains.
  • At night, Jake and Neytiri run through the luminescent forest.
  • After Jake touches the Fan Lizard, it flies away in a radiant glow. Its fellow species follow suit and, to the delight of Jake and Neytiri, raise themselves into the air.
  • As Jake and the other Na'vi climb the mountain, Neytiri flies past them on her banshee, Seze.
  • The Na'vi goes for an aerial hunt for Stuurmbeast. Jake shoots one and exclaims in excitement. Neytiri follow suit as well.
  • The Na'vi destroy the Hell Trucks of the mining company.
  • The next morning, Wainfleet's squad sifts through the remains of the Hell Trucks. Turns out that Na'vi kill the soldiers as well. Quaritch and Selfridge watch the live broadcast.
  • Tsu'tey's fall from the sky is longer. A few plants decelerate and break his fall.
  • The scene with the Hammerhead Titanotheres has been extended.
  • The fight between Neytiri on a Thanathor and Quaritch is slightly longer.
  • Tsu'Tey's death: he knows he is dying and appoints Jake to be his successor. He insists Jake to kill him because by Na'vi customs, Jake has to pass him to the Eywa by killing him by his own hands. Neytiri starts to cry. Jake reluctantly complies with his wish, stabbing him by the knife as the camera passes by him.
  • The end credits has an addition of using Discovery Zone's Bless the Plague soundtrack. The copyright year has been replaced with 2010.


I See You (Theme from Avatar)
Performed by
Leona Lewis
Music by James Horner and Simon Franglen
Lyrics by Simon Franglen, Kuk Harrell, and James Horner
Produced by Simon Franglen and James Horner
Leona Lewis performs courtesy of Syco Music


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Action | Adventure | Fantasy | Sci-Fi

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