Avatar is emotionally involving, and convincing as far as modern day humans’ intentions are concerned. The futuristic, military equipment and gargantuan bulldozers used by the humans in the movie were only slight exaggerations of the real world. Its special effects bring Final Fantasy-esque landscapes to life, and the precipitous hanging cliffs—known in the film as the “Hallelujah Mountains”—could with ease trigger anyone’s acrophobia.
The Three-D I thought to be unnecessary; it often got in the way of the films intricate forest scenes. The characters ran wild through trees for most of the movie and my eyes often lost focus, distracted by the blur of intercepting branches. The Na’Vi’s unique faces and their world’s unexplored colorful creatures would have been easier to absorb had they been depicted more definitely; without the awkward, oblong protruding angles Three-D offers.
The addition of the depth dimension was not just for show—it sends an underlying message pushing the “moral necessity of seeing other beings fully.” (The realization that Three-D was used intentionally, however, won’t come to most viewers until after the movie, so it doesn’t save the film from being seen as a superficial, three-hour display of graphics and scenery.) The Earthlings saw the indigenous tribes of Pandora as savages, standing in the way of natural resources (much like we see the “uncontacted” tribes of the Rainforest today). They saw only their animalistic and natural qualities, but failed to consider their souls, intellect, or cultures, which is what separates all people from animals.
Avatar also offers the idea that humans, like the Na’Vi, were once also connected to the Earth as they are. This makes me wonder: did humans and animals at one time also have extending pony tails which physically conjoined, as well spiritually and mentally connected them to the wildlife? Was this trait, deemed unnecessary after our neglect and taming of Earth’s spirit, discarded as evolution progressed? Avatar was exhilarating to watch, and its subliminal spin brought new life to the ancient tale of colonialism versus aboriginality.