Avatar: a closer look | Christian Movie Reviews, Music, Books and Game Reviews for Teens

Avatar: a closer look

A more in-depth review of James Cameron's mega blockbuster

I got the chance to see my first movie in almost a year, and I chose Avatar to see what all the fuss was about. What I found was that it was a great movie experience, but not a great movie.

For the three of you who are yet to see it, the film is set on the alien moon Pandora. Corporal Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is brought there to control an ‘avatar’, a body of the native Na’vi people, to try and persuade the natives to move out of the way for a mine.

My favourite parts were where Sully learned the way of the Na’vi. To get an insight into this fictitious native culture was a fascinating experience, with absorbing colours, customs and panoramas. It was my first non-IMAX documentary 3D film. I didn’t find the 3D all that amazing, but maybe that’s the point. It certainly added the sense of depth that James Cameron was aiming for. However, much of the film’s storyline was clichéd. The characters lacked complexity, the acting (apart from Worthington) was predictable and the storyline lacked originality. There is also a distinct lack of subtlety in dealing with themes of economic exploitation, the environment and even the war on terror. This is certainly a groundbreaking film in terms of the special effects and technology, but little else.

However, what was interesting was seeing Cameron’s view of ‘god’ on Pandora. The Divine for the Na’vi people was wrapped up in Pandora itself. It is the spirit of the land which controls the life on the moon. But when Sully calls on this god to help in their time of need, Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) states that, “Our great Mother doesn’t take sides. She protects only the balance of life”.

How different is this from the God of the Bible? That god is not a personal being whom you can relate to. That god is not loving, only coldly concerned for the balance of life, i.e. the environment. It is also a limited god as she is only located on Pandora, otherwise she would have saved earth along time ago.

In contrast, the God of the Bible is personal, willing to know and relate to us by his word. He is not limited in that the whole universe is his. And he is loving, demonstrating his love in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). He has taken our side, the side of those who trust in him for forgiveness. As much as I am all for caring for the environment, I would not want to swap the God who knows and loves me for the Mother of Pandora.

Read more about