There is no doubt that Avatar 2: The Way of Water (El Camino del Agua) is one of the movies of the moment, and after the premiere of the sequel after 13 years, fans are already beginning to wonder everything about the cinematographic world created by James Cameron, as is blue skin and other curiosities about the Na’vi race of Pandora.
Avatar: What was the inspiration for the story created by James Cameron?
The main plot of the first Avatar film (2009), which focuses on the battle between the Na’vi people and humans trying to colonize their planet, alludes to the European colonization of the Americas between 1492 and 1800.
“Avatar is a science fiction retelling of the history of North and South America in the early colonial period.” He testified to director James Cameron in his legal statement (via Insider) after facing lawsuits. In which it was alleged that he stole the idea from existing movies and TV shows.
“Avatar made a very pointed reference to the colonial period in the Americas, with all its conflict and bloodshed between Europe’s military aggressors and indigenous peoples. Europe equals Earth. Native Americans are the Na’vi. No It’s meant to be subtle.” Said the director.
The film’s theme of protecting biodiversity and ecosystems is also tied to the central plot of imperialism. This according to Bron Taylor, professor of religion and nature at the University of Florida.
“The film metaphorically tells a true story of how imperial cultures have spread across the globe, destroying indigenous societies and biodiversity wherever they prevail, which has been almost everywhere.” Said the author, who wrote the book “Avatar and the spirituality of nature.”
Despite its resounding success at the box office, Avatar has also been characterized as a “white savior movie” by some critics. As the Na’vi people finally defeat the humans after Jake Sully, a former Navy officer who is genetically engineered to become an avatar, helps save them.
Avatar: The indigenous peoples who inspired the blue skin of the Na’vi
In addition to films like “The Emerald Forest”, “Dances with Wolves” and “The Jungle Book”, which deal with interactions between white characters and indigenous cultures, James Cameron cited Hayao Miyazaki’s film “Princess Mononoke” as an inspiration. for Avatar.
This latest Japanese animation production tells the story of a young protagonist who finds herself in the middle of a war between the gods of the forest and a mining colony.
James Cameron also called the Japanese cyberpunk manga and anime “Ghost in the Shell” the future of Avatar. This in terms of how humans can remotely control and transfer their personalities into alien bodies.
As explained by the filmmaker, the term “avatar” means “descent” in Sanskrit. In Hinduism, it refers to the gods who descend from the heavens and take human or animal form.
“In this movie, what that means is that future human technology is capable of injecting human intelligence into a remote body, a biological body.” Said James Cameron in a 2007 interview with Time.
Meanwhile, the human manifestations of various Hindu deities, including Vishnu, Krishna and Rama, are depicted with blue skin. Just like the Na’vi do.
“I just like blue. It’s a good color.” James Cameron told Entertainment Weekly in 2010. “Also, there’s a connection to Hindu deities, which I like only conceptually.”
Forests and language
Aside from the Avatar’s blue skin, Pandora’s ecosystem has achieved sentience in viewers through its network of electrochemical connections between the trees and plant life on the planet. Spirituality in the world of Avatar is based on indigenous societies, explains Bron Taylor.
“There are pantheistic themes in which the entire world is perceived to be deeply interconnected and even divinely interconnected.” Said the academic.
Relations between the Na’vi and Pandora are “characterized by reciprocity, not just an intent to exploit, and feelings of empathy, even kinship.” Bron Taylor added.
In fact, James Cameron told the aforementioned medium who hired Paul Frommer, a linguistics expert at the University of Southern California, to create the Na’vi language. Which has roots in different real life cultures.
“He eliminated the 30 or so character names, place names, and creature names I could think of. They had a bit of a Polynesian/Maori influence due to spending time in New Zealand and other places throughout Polynesia. So that he used some Polynesian roots, but there’s also some African, there’s (from) Native American, there’s even some bits of the Latin languages, and then he mixed it all up with German sentence construction, where the verb is last.” recounted James Cameron.
Floating in the mist like icebergs are the Hallelujah Mountains of Pandora, which according to the designer of the movie, Dylan Cole, were greatly inspired by the limestone karst formations in China. Other inspirations were the tepuis of Venezuela and the karstic formations of Thailand.