Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mirror Images: The Unoriginality Of Avatar

The following is an article written by Jared Crawford, a fellow blogger, movie buff, film historian and expert of contemporary sociological issues.  He write this article a week after the film Avatar was released and has requested I post it here on my blog.

Mirror Images
The Unoriginality And Theft Of James Cameron's Avatar

A completely new and original idea is rare these days.  How many of us can claim to have had a truly original idea, thought, action, dream, etc.?  The answer is no one; those idealists have lived their lives and past on.  We now live in an age of Xeroxed ideas, stories, films and dreams that are constantly being recycled by the everyday, hardworking man and woman, all the way to the prestigious millionaires of the world.  Nothing is new, and everything has been done.  So when it comes to film one must ask, how do you create something that’s already be done?  That of course is the wrong question to ask; rather we should ask how does one make what’s already be done their own?

I of course am focusing all my literary efforts on the hit film Avatar which has taken theaters by storm and will eventually go down in history as the most watch film in movie history.  To be completely honest, I appreciate so much of what I saw on screen.  It was one of the more visually appealing movies I’ve had the pleasure of seeing.  Avatar is without a doubt the new foundation for special effects movies for years to come.  But to whom does Avatar owe the success it has achieved in such a short time?  Who should James Cameron be bowing down too in thanks for the inspiration of this film?  After all, I’ve already established that there are no original ideas; that they come from somewhere else, correct?  Two words, Fern Gulley.  Yes, the early 90’s animated feature about saving the rain forest is where Mr. Cameron not only was inspired to make Avatar, but literally stole the plot and inserted it into his flashy , over the top, predictable film.

There is not a single spot in Avatar that can’t be found in the cartoon classic.  First, let me begin by examining the obvious plagiarism of Cameron in the world of both films.  Fern Gulley contains a race of natives who are bounded to the Earth in a deep, emotional and physical way.  Every step of the way through this forest becomes a bright, colorful place that glows in the dark and lights up wherever it is touched, stepped on, or caressed.  Even the religious aspect of the movie is a persistent theme.  The fairies, towards the climax of the movie, gather together as one to call upon the spirits power to protect them in their time of need.  The fairies even communicate with the forest and feel its pain, crying whenever a tree is destroyed.  Tell me, where are these aspects not found in Avatar?

Secondly, the plot devices between the two films are absolutely identical.  There is a princess who is betroved to another male within the tribe.  That is interrupted by the introduction of an outsider out seems strangely American.  This stranger was also involved with the destruction of the woodland area and attempts to keep that hidden from the natives, with whom has become just alike.  Through a series of trials and tribulations, this male learns to love his new found friends and feels guilty for lying to them, which of course leads him to spilling the beans.  At this point, the entire tribe hates and shuns him (except for the mother of course) until our hero decides to sacrifice himself and save the day, in which case he is reaccepted into the tribe.  Included in this reflection is the intimate moment where the outsider and the princess share together away from everyone else, the similar and memorable characters that practically carbon copies of one another, and the big fucking machine designed to destroy tress in the blink of an eye.

All in all, the two films are virtually identical.  The only difference is the conclusion where one must go back in order to stop deforestation for the sake of industrial advancement; the other becomes a part of the tribe through spiritual and supernatural means.  My opinion?  Bill Kroyer and the rest of the Fern Gulley team should sue James Cameron for ripping off their idea.  And thank Pocahontas, Dances with Wolves, The Last Samurai, and a conglomeration of other films in which Avatar steals from.  No argument can be made that this film is the most unoriginal movie to have ever been made.

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