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Monday, January 11, 2010

Avatar Revisted


Okay folks. As much as I love the Avatar movie, I can't avoid the different perspectives out there. If y'all are keeping up with the buzz (maybe I'm the only sci-fi junkie out there) then you've heard about the "White Messiah" theme in the movie. Now as much as I was enamored and still am with Avatar, I can't avoid talking about this theme. If I had to point out a weakness in the film, that I majorly ignored in my first blog, the white messiah theme would definitely be it.

But from a writer's standpoint, how would characterization and narrative structure change? The Na'Vi would fight the humans, a war against two species? I could see that. However, if I want to play devil's advocate, perhaps James Cameron did not want the invaders to be generalized by everyone being depicted as evil? Perhaps by one of them having a redeeming quality, he thought it could give his movie an added layer of complexity. Or is the message something else, and age-old punchline we've been forced to hear a million times?



To be honest with y'all, the white messiah theme definitely slipped my mind not after seeing the movie once but twice. Now that my eyes have been opened to it, I have to re-evaluate how I feel about the movie. Was that an underlying and covert message all along for us to subconsciously process? Or was I too deaf, blind, and dumb to see what was smacking me in the face all along?

Y'all be the judge.

Peace and stay blessed...

4 comments:

PrettyBrownChick said...

Brittany I also enjoyed this movie and a scifi/fantsy movie junkie. I totally missed the "White Messiah" message. I didn't take note until I th buzz in the cyber world. I understand completely the emotions everyone has but I don't believe when James Cameron started writing the movie years ago, he wanted to send a political or racial message. I believe he just had a vision for a wonderfully amazing, scifi/fantasy movie "based on every single science fiction book he read as a kid." I'm sure if Lee Daniels, Tyler Perry, John Singleton or any other director had written the story the Messiah may have been black. Can't a movie be made just for pure entertainment or a grown man's kid fantsy come to life? I loved the movie and can't wait for the sequel.
Carla

Brittany said...

I really do hope Cameron was trying to avoid this formulaic theme so many other movies have intentionally included into their movies. I'm torn because I see where "White Messiah" advocates come from, but I know that Cameron couldn't have made the film merely between white humans and indigenous-looking extraterrestrials. That would have definitely been soci-political. He plans to make a sequel, so I can't wait to see where he takes this epic adventure.

Brittany

D said...

I love that you posted this. I have to disagree with the White Messiah theme theory because the white scientists never approached the Navi as white or human. They approached them in the appearance of the Navi, and the movie entailed the assilation and socialization of the white soldier, Jake, into the the Navi culture, not the other way around. This culminated in Jake ultimately rejecting his humanity and taking on the Navi identity. Also, the movie suggested that Sirjourney Weaver's character tried to assimilate the Navi into "human" culture by teaching them English and what not, etc., but this ultimately failed. Also, I feel as though Cameron presented the Navi as the ultimate moral protagonists in the film, whereas the only humans who were seen as protagonists were the ones who sided with the Navi, and who, through the avatar, actually experienced having a Navi identity.

Afrikaisi said...

I BELIEVE THAT THERE WAS A BLATANT ATTEMPT TO USE THE WHITE MESSIAH THEME IN THE MOVIE. YOU MUST SEE IT THROUGH YOUR PURE EYES AS AN AFRICAN PERSON. (I KNOW THAT SOUNDS LIKE A BIT MUCH, BUT SOMETIMES WE NEED TO PEEL BACK THE LAYERS OF BRAINWASHING WE HAVE RECEIVED OVER THE YEARS BEFORE WE CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT WE ARE LOOKING AT.) PEACE