By Alejandro Ayala Polanco
After the premiere of Avatar 2: The Path of Waterthere will be viewers who will praise its special effects and action scenes, and they will do so with good reason, since they are undoubtedly exceptional.
Along with them, there will be others who will be captivated by their message of communion with water and marine species, whose development covers the central hour of the film.
Finally, there will be some who, like me, will leave the theater with mixed feelings, valuing the director’s attempt to reconcile a proposal for action with a call to conscience, but feeling unable to silence the noise of the multiple inconsistencies that, from an anti-species perspective, they abound in the film.
A noise that becomes deafening, and prevents any type of condescension, when you discover that the inconsistencies are not only present in the plot but also during the promotion of the film, to the extreme of validating acts of abuse and extreme cruelty towards marine species.
The action takes place years after the fight for the defense of Pandora that we saw in the first film. Jake Sully, the protagonist, tries to reconcile his role as Toruk Mato, leader of the Na’vi, with his family life: he has had three children with Ney’tiri, and has raised Spider, son of Colonel Miles Quaritch, his former friend, as his own. enemy.
Earth’s forces remain on Pandora, but this time they have a more ambitious mission: prepare the planet for a full-scale invasion, making it humanity’s new home.
In their eagerness to put an end to the native resistance, the terrestrial army uses a technology that allows them to insert a mental backup of their fallen soldiers into avatar bodies, putting a replica of Colonel Quaritch in command of this new contingent.
Overwhelmed by the persecution of his old enemy, which has put his children and community at risk, Jake decides to emigrate with his family and hide within a distant tribe. Together they will have to face the challenge of integrating into a new culture, whose customs and spirituality are linked to the sea and its beings, especially with the Tulkuns, large cetaceans similar to whales.
an inconsistent stance
It is then that the film addresses the theme that it has promised us, showing us, through the learning of Jake and his family, what it consists of. the path of water. The inconsistencies become evident in this phase: the natives recognize the Tulkuns as people belonging to another species, understand their language and respect their decisions. The entire community is capable of mobilizing in defense of these beings, putting their own lives at risk when the forces of humanity threaten them.
An attitude of respect and protection that, if it aspires to congruence, should extend to all species on the planet, and that, however, unjustifiably, does not. On the contrary, catching fish is as normal a habit as it is in our culture. In fact, one of the scenes idealizes the capture of a fish by one of Jake’s sons, using it to represent the communion between father and son.
A consistent message should teach us that, like whales, like us, and like everyone in the animal kingdom, fish are sentient beings, and as such, they are capable of suffering, develop interests, and their lives are the most precious asset they own. It does not matter the differences in size or shape, nor does it matter if their appearance pleases us or not, all animals want to preserve their lives.
What if the hunter prays before the animal he has killed? The sentence does not reduce the violence of the murder, it only fulfills a cosmetic task with which the hunter validates his act. And, of course, prayer is not a gesture of respect either, since the most basic imperative of respect is the one we owe to the lives of all animals.
Misunderstandings in the plot
In Avatar 2: The Path of Water we are told that the Tulkuns are beings of great intelligence, capable of even composing melodies. However, the level of intelligence is not the one that should define which beings we should respect. If so, it would be legitimate to kill for food anything less intelligent than the average human being.
We must remember that in our society we live with many human beings whose intelligence is inferior to that of other animal species, but even so we agree that they deserve the same respect as everyone.
If one of the aspirations of Avatar 2: The Path of Water is to lead us to a new look at our relationship with the other species on the planet, he should have opted for a deeper teaching, leading the audience to a look free of speciesist prejudices.
The technological deployment that the film demonstrates, creating scenes of surprising beauty, would undoubtedly have allowed it to make even the most uncomfortable ethical message digestible, teaching that no matter how human-like the intelligence of a species is: all animals must be respected because they are capable of subjective experiences; that is, because they are sentient beings.
The Serie Avatar You have wasted a great opportunity to promote a true transformation of consciousness. Instead, it has been content to promote empathy and respect for certain animals of its choice, arbitrarily excluding the rest of the planet’s species.
The Tokyo scandal: from discomfort to total disappointment
A few days after the premiere in Japan of Avatar 2: The Path of Water, its director, James Cameron, led a promotional event with several members of the cast in a water park in Tokyo. In such a park, dolphins are imprisoned in confined spaces, subjected to loud music and forced to perform acrobatics for human entertainment.
The dolphins come from the brutal Taiji massacres, where hundreds of these cetaceans are stabbed to death each year, some being kidnapped alive for these types of parks.
Personally, learning about this led me not only to abandon all condescension towards the film, but also to question to what extent it is legitimate to dose, adapt or lighten a message of respect for fauna and care for the planet with the purpose of get a larger audience.
In times of dominance of social networks, when it seems that the ultimate goal is to increase the number of followers, and not the certainty, consistency and authenticity of what is transmitted, I wonder how much space there is for uncomfortable messages. In essence, what is transformative is uncomfortable, and in the face of a planetary crisis, the transformation of consciousness is urgent.
Paraphrasing Camus, I believe that the role of the activist is inseparable from uncomfortable duties. Therefore, although I know that many people have been looking forward to this film and have high expectations of it, I must warn you that if you want to enjoy it, you will have to focus on its action scenes, its design work and musical composition, its special effects; that is to say, you should let yourself be enchanted by its aesthetic proposal, with the same attitude with which we rush to press “like” under an Instagram photo that we thought was pretty, without even bothering to read the text that accompanies it.
In no case watch it with the hope that this film fulfills its promise to deliver a deep and illuminating message about our relationship with other animals and the planet.
Avatar 2: The Path of Water it has wasted a great opportunity to teach us that the expression “I see you”, when used for animals of another species, should recognize the nature of another being and not the utility that said being has for us.
An unbiased observation should allow us to understand that beyond the differences in appearance, cognitive abilities and language, all animals have in common the interest of preserving our home, our freedom and our life.
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