*This article contains mild spoilers*
His name is Payakan, he is over a hundred meters long, he is missing a fin and he is the absolute star of Avatar: The Path of Watercolossal blockbuster with which James Cameron it has dragged us back to the forests and (now also) the beaches of the planet Pandora. The director’s most seasoned movie fans won’t be surprised at the way space whales steal the show from the highest grossing film in Spain since 2019, because the relationship of love and fascination that Cameron has spent decades maintaining with the ocean in all its fullness is more than documented. The tulkunas that is the name of the species to which Payakan belongs, they are the purest and most technologically advanced crystallization of what Ed Harris and his crew were in abyss (1989): the underwater and fundamentally alien marvel that, however, and in some twisted way, ends up connecting us to what makes us human. When Lo’ak, the middle son of Jake Sully and Neytiri, learns to communicate with the gigantic cetacean that has saved his life, as viewers we are too immersed in the poetics of impossible images that unfold before us to notice how foreign all this digital waste should be to us. However, the filmmaker’s intuition, together with his mastery of visual storytelling and the power of his visual effects, make the sequence the emotional center of this new Avatar.
The tulkunlike everything that surrounds the Metkayina culture, are inspired by the traditions and beliefs of the Maori people, for whom whales are little less than sacred animals. They are believed to be the quintessential incarnation of Tangaroa, the god of water, although in their mythology there are also different mystical figures and guardians of tribes who look similar to Payakan, which explains why the character of Kate Winslet always talk about a tulkun specifically as his spiritual sister. Therefore, taming or riding a whale would be equivalent, both for the Maoris and the Metkayins, to enter into communion with that path of water that, as the film tells us over and over again, has no beginning or end. But! In case all of this sounds closer to small talk new age that to a sincere attempt to bring the most expensive show in the western world closer to the spirituality of the ancestral tribes, stay with the incontrovertible fact that Pakayan is the most charismatic character in a franchise that is increasingly leaving the human scale more and more.. And he doesn’t need to say a word to win our hearts, even though he flashback that explains why he was forced to renounce pacifism helps us, without a doubt, to empathize.
Thanks to this big guy. Avatar: The Path of Water claim your place in the great and noble movie story with whales brimming with charismawhose first chapter was written back in 1940 thanks to the pinocchio from Disney. The beast known as Monstro was also, at the time, a prodigy of cinematographic technique, envisioned by its lead animator, Wolfgang Reitherman, as a rabid, Melvillinian creature, almost the antithesis of the gentle and sophisticated design that his companions applied to it. pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket and Geppetto. It’s not just that every one of his movements feels like a mini-tsunami onscreen, but the amount of detail Reitherman applied to his visuals made it the most complex animated creation to date.
When the studio released its anthology music, teacher (1946), the memory of Monstro was still so heavy that one of the segments featured Willie, The whale who wanted to sing at the Metso adorable and harmless that it served as an antidote for all the childhood nightmares caused by Pinocchio. Since then, whales have remained an essential pillar of children’s cinema.as they show free willy (1993) or Finding Dory (2016), although the terrifying Killer whale (1977), which arose in the wake of that shark that Spielberg hunted a couple of years earlier, he was moving on the opposite side of the spectrum. We have also had conscience-removing documentaries (Blackfish2013) and various adaptations of Moby Dickalthough the role that tulkun they end up playing in the path of wateras explained a more than welcome Jemaine Clementbrings these pandoric whales closer to those of another science fiction adventure: Mission: Save the Earth (1986), fourth installment of the saga star trek.