Friday, December 10, 2010
Hi Meltingpot Readers,
So, I finally watched Avatar the other night. Yes, I got a copy from the library, so, no I didn't pay for it. For some reason, I'm proud of not being part of the hype. That being said, because I had very low expectations for the movie (I mean no 3-D glasses and watching on my non HDTV. ), I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't love the film, but I was thoroughly entertained throughout the entire 180-minute spectacle. First, I can pretty much watch Sigourney Weaver read a grocery list and be enthralled, and the inner-geek in me loved the other worldliness of the planet Pandora and the faux science behind becoming one with one's avatar. That was pretty cool.
But what I enjoyed even more was trying to figure out why everyone kept saying the Na'vi people were obviously stand-ins for Native Americans, when all I saw were Africans painted blue? From the braided hairstyles (with beads no less) to the Masaai like costumes worn by many of the higher ranking Na'vi (see photo above), not to mention the long limbs and facial features of some of the actors, I kept getting a very East African vibe from the Na'vi. Many critics and commentators suggested that the Na'vi's connection to the earth is very Native American, but it's also very African. Isn't it? Many, if not most African cultures have deep spiritual connections to nature and the earth. Maybe it's because the Na'vi shot arrows and that's why people assumed they must be Native Americans? Do I have to point out that many Africans do too?
Of course it doesn't matter who the Na'vi were really patterned after. I have read that director James Cameron just wanted them to look "ethnic." And I guess if you're a White male, anybody with color is ethnic. The point wasn't to make the Na'vi one specific culture, it was to create a noble savage that we could all cheer for. And I'm glad the White guy decided to cross over permanently and live with the natives, but I wonder, if he hadn't been a paraplegic as a human, would he have embraced the Na'vi lifestyle and chosen to stay? That's the question I'm asking. Meaning, was being blue and able to walk better than being White and confined to a wheelchair? I'm just saying.
Here's a clever critique of the whole film.
I'm curious what you all thought of Avatar? Sorry this is so late, maybe you don't remember. But if you do, tell me your thoughts.